Long-term introduction: Isuzu KB 300 D-TEQ LX 4×4 DC
Ever since the Isuzu KB 300 D-TEQ LX 4×4 DC made its debut in CAR’s headlining leisure-bakkie comparative test (May 2013 issue), we’ve been eager to be reacquainted with the Port Elizabeth-built double cab for an extended period.
The KB has been on sale for a year and a half and, although it outsells the Mazda BT-50, Mitsubishi Triton and Volkswagen Amarok, it still lags the Ford Ranger, let alone the aging Toyota Hilux, in terms of sales.
HJM 681 EC is determined to prove that the buying public should see the KB as a stronger proposition – and it garnered a lot of interest as soon as it arrived at CAR’s offices. Finished in a handsome metallic blue and fitted with a colour-coded Mystique canopy replete with roof rails and a spoiler, the KB made an immediate impact. In fact, eager road trippers in our team enviously glanced at the tow bar fitted to the Isuzu.
In last year’s comparative test, we found that the Isuzu was narrower than its aforementioned rivals, which would usually be to its detriment – but not when parking at a crowded mall. Having said that, at 5,3 metres in length there’s little to choose between the KB and its rivals – so either measure the length of your garage before buying one, or prepare to hold an emergency jumble sale!
Ingress to the Isuzu’s cabin is made easier by the standard side steps and the driver’s seat offers comfortable support, although – despite the rake-and-reach-adjustable steering column – taller drivers cannot sit as close to the wheel as they’d like owing to the shallowness of the footwell. Nevertheless, the cabin affords a variety of luxuries, including climate and cruise control, Bluetooth handsfree phone connectivity, an MP3-compatible radio/CD audio system with auxiliary and USB inputs and nice-to-have folding side-mirrors. In addition to dual front and side airbags, the cabin is further equipped with curtain ‘bags.
The KB has impressed so far in terms of its pliant ride quality and its tractable engine. The quality of the gearshift is a trifle vague, however, and although we appreciate the practicality afforded by the Mystique, it makes the rear demister – in the rear screen of the cab, not the back window of the canopy – pointless when you’re trying to see where you’re reversing on a crisp winter’s morning. I eagerly look forward loading up the Isuzu and taking it on its first long-haul adventure.
Mileage on arrival: 585 km
Mileage now: 2 701 km
Fuel consumption: 8,9 L/100 km
We like: dapper looks and good ride comfort
We don’t like: lack of Bluetooth audio streaming