Over the years I’ve learned to ignore marketing people because they are clever and say the smartest things imaginable. They make you want (scratch that, need) things you never thought you’d need. So when I got our test Isuzu KB300 D-TEQ LX 4×4, I was greeted by their payoff line (Isuzu Delivers) on their Connect touchscreen infotainment system. I ignored this. I initially thought to myself, here we go again, I am already being told about the pedigree of the car before I even test it. Well, I was in for a lovely treat.
Overall and exterior
The outside has not changed much and there are better looking kids out there but, our test KB LX has a distinctive grille with chrome finishing and redesigned headlights (plus LEDs with daytime running lights) which made it stand out. It actually, in fact got the odd compliment. So, there you are, in the LX range, you will not be in a bad looking bakkie. The other models without this chrome finish and LED lights do tend fade into the background however. This is not great considering that vanity is a thing for leisure bakkie owners. This is not a problem for the KB LX as it has donned with chrome finishes on the rear bumper and mirrors which pushes it up in the bakkie looks leagues. Other than that, the KB300 D-TEQ LX 4×4 tries to keep things functional with its long and somewhat narrow looking body.
The KB has what appears like an extra-large interior with decent room for back passengers. Those back seats could offer more support though. Being behind the wheel made me feel as though I was in a really modern car thanks to the Isuzu Connect touchscreen infotainment system (with Android like graphics) and the TFT display next to the speedometer which shows things like fuel consumption (I did a decent 10.1l/100 km) and range. Pretty impressive for a car that looks like it belongs strictly off-road. Surprisingly, the Isuzu Connect touchscreen is DVD compatible. This is a useful feature but the size of the screen may just undo the movie experience. The car comes standard with navigation, Bluetooth audio streaming, Wi-Fi connectivity and a reverse camera (clarity could be improved). An unexpected plus was the good sound system with 8 speakers some of whom are roof-mounted. This sound system could put a lot of cars to shame actually.
The standard gear
The KB LX has as standard features as Hill Descent Control and Hill Start Assist. Isuzu also throws in side steps, a tow bar and roof rails. I deployed the Hill Descent Control driving down Vryheid hill and it worked liked a charm and I almost forgot that I was not in charge but the car had taken over.
The KB 300 D-TEQ LX 4×4 is powered by a 3 litre engine with 130 kW of power and 380 Nm of torque. The engine is loud at take-off but the noise lessens from the second gear and upwards. The KB is a big car but I enjoyed driving in the city, the open road and off-road. The massive bakkie feels car like and is comfortable in the city. Navigating city traffic is not a chore and parking the car is fairly simple, especially with the reverse camera. The drive on the open road is smooth and enjoyable. This is not because the KB can glide along peacefully on the highway but because it hugged corners of the windy Botha’s Pass in Amajuba Battlefields Route. The 4×4 Isuzu comes to nits own off-road. We took the KB to the top of Vryheid Hill. The routes at the top of the hill had become rocky and quite treacherous after the heavy rainfall in the Abaqulusi Region. This was not a problem for the KB. It took the rough terrain in its stride. We barley had to engage 4-low and get more torque. Pretty impressive or maybe to be expected if you are 4×4 enthusiast who buys a bakkie for such use on a regular basis. So, it looks like those marketing people weren’t messing with me and just doing their job as Isuzu Delivers.
Finally, our test KB 300 D-TEQ LX 4×4 is priced from R558,100 and the price includes the following:
Warranty & roadside assistance: 5 Years/120,000 km
Anti-corrosion warranty: 5 Years/Unlimited km
Service plan: 5 Years/90,000 km
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