Sprint Review: Isuzu KB 3.0 D-Tec 4×4

One new car, lots of information

As a city kid that was transplanted to a farm at the tender age of 10, a bakkie has always held a certain kind of magical fascination for me. I think it stems from those early days of embracing farm life on a massive estate that mixed dairy, sheep, fruit and grape farming into one fabulous whole and which was managed by friendly farm managers who didn’t mind nosy kids tagging along for a ride on the back of their sturdy farm bakkies.

That exhilarating feeling of adventure as we explored sheep tagging, helped haul bales of silage to the cows or just got to hold on tight as we traversed the farm road in these diesel belching agricultural vehicles has stuck with me and meant that I was exceedingly thrilled at the prospect of this week’s set of wheels arriving in my drive.

What did we do with it?

My latest test vehicle was the tough and tenacious Isuzu KB 3.0 D-tec. A hulking blue beast crouched on 18-inch all-terrain wheels and exuding an air of can-do confidence. Oh the excitement! The first trip took it to get dirty (a highly polished bakkie needs to get its feet muddied) and I have to admit, it handled the rutted tracks, steep inclines and fall away dongas and middle-mannetjies of  the farm just fine.

It purred up the hill at a burbling 1500rpm and delivered us to the most exquisite sundowner spot high up the slopes of the Helderberg and carried us back down with aplomb.

Then, you have to test load capacity. Another thing that thrills me with getting a bakkie on test is the prospect of loading that capacious load bed full of bags of manure for my garden… and those of several friends besides.

The added advantage is that the ride comfort level rockets sky high as the leaf spring suspension behind absorbs the weight and stops shuddering over every inconsistency in the tar. There’s an argument here for keeping this workhorse fully loaded!

Why would you drive one?

In comparison to say a Hilux or Amarok, the KB300 offers substantially less comfort and more of a tough working vehicle image complete with harder ride, slightly smaller proportions but this doesn’t mean it isn’t more than equal to the job. One of my favourite features in this Extended cab option was the suicide half doors allowing for easy access to the bench seat behind the front seats and a nifty lockable storage box bolted to the rear bench (available as standard on LX models only).

The space at the back is adequate to accommodate an additional person or two (with a bit of padding in the rear ) for a safer ride than a journey on the back load bed….. but if you asked the kid in me, I’d have ask where the fun is in travelling like that? Fuel economy wise, I found the KB a tad thirsty, only averaging 8.5km/l on the 80-litre tank.  Our model also came with the optional infotainment centre with touch screen, Bluetooth audio and phone.

What did people say?

I had one couple stop in their tracks and run over to come and investigate the powerful and good-looking KB 3.0. They were incredibly interested in its towing power and practicality. Others likes the metallic blue paint job. I enjoyed its rugged can-do attitude. The Isuzu KB 3.0 D-Tec is available from N$451 800.

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