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Posted: 27 September 2016
Base price: R366 380
Engine: Isuzu 4JK1-TC Hi, 2499 cc, four cylinder, CRDI with turbocharger and intercooler
Power: 100 kW at 3600 rpm
Torque: 320 Nm between 1800 and 2800 rpm
Zero to 100 km/h: About 16.5 seconds
Maximum speed: About 175 km/h
Real life fuel consumption: About 9.7 l/100 km
Tank: 80 litres
Tare: 1922 kg
GVM: 3000 kg
GCM: 5000 kg
Maximum braked trailer mass: 2100 kg
Ground clearance: 220 mm
Approach / Departure / Breakover angles: 30 / 21.4 / 22.4 degrees
Wading depth: 600 mm
Warranty: 5 years/ 120 000 km; with roadside assistance
Service plan: 5 years / 90 000 km; at annual or 15 000 km intervals
Sometimes a straightforward 4x2 double cab with decent dirt-road capability is all you really need. The Isuzu KB 250 with HO engine and high rider suspension fits that bill – no touch screens, cruise control, powered mirrors, high-falutin’ music boxes or girly visor mirrors – just good, honest pickup (GHP).
Unfortunately, GHP sometimes gets overlooked as buyers cluster around LE and LX models with all their toys. Isuzu SA therefore decided to offer a well-priced KB 250 HiRider, with some extras, as an alternative.
It’s called X-Rider and includes: Black front bumper guard, LED daytime running lights, wheel caps with Isuzu branding in red, black tubular side steps, black bin bar, blacked-out B-pillars, X-Rider body decals, 255/60 all-terrain tyres on 18-inch diamond-cut alloy wheels, leather upholstery with X-Rider branding on the front head restraints, remote keyless entry and a 2.1-ton towbar. It comes in three colours: Summit White, Switchblade Silver or Maranello Red and retails at just under R22 000 more than the Plain Jane vehicle on which it’s based.
There’s a catch, unfortunately. Diff lock is not a factory option on X-rider, despite its very macho appearance. Whether or not that’s an issue is for you to decide. We’re just mentioning it – in the interest of full disclosure, you understand. A further heads-up is that the low and wide General Grabber ATs fitted to our test unit rode more harshly than the fabled KB comfort we’re accustomed to.
Before you get the idea that this pickup might be a little too basic for your needs, let’s look at some features: ABS brakes with brake assist, EBD and ESC with traction control; skid plate, sump and fuel tank guards; two airbags; automatic door locking at startup and unlocking in the event of a collision; ISOFix mountings; transponder immobiliser with anti-theft alarm; height adjustment for the driver’s seat; filtered manual air conditioning with venting to the back seat area, and powered windows with one-touch and anti-pinch for the driver.
As we said in our test of the 4x4 LE version earlier this year, the bin’s load level is at about waist height for shorter people. It’s provided with four load lashing rings inside but none on the gunnels – more in keeping with its sporty image than is expected of a workhorse. Its payload capacity is 1020 kilograms.
Seating space in the back is generous although we found the backrests a bit too upright for sustained comfort. Three full belts and two head restraints are provided. Storage consists of a pair of seatback pockets and rather small door bins. Thanks to the KB’s flat floor, centre passengers should be reasonably comfortable, while entry and exit is easy. Standard flooring material is carpet, although a set of neat, moulded rubber covers is available optionally.
The driving space is practical rather than fancy. The two-speaker sound system takes CDs and offers USB and auxiliary inputs. Good news is that the central armrest box can actually accommodate a few discs and the USB connector has been upgraded to the normal, wide type one expects. Less good is that playback defaults to Track One each time you restart the engine. Punching the ‘random” button, second from left, becomes reflexive.
Other practical kit includes one-and-a-half glove boxes, a “pie warmer” indentation on the dash top, an open slot below the steering column and a drop-down box by the driver’s right knee. Front door bins are small, like those at the back. Air conditioning and music controls consist of simple dials and buttons, while phone- and music satellites can be found on the steering wheel that adjusts for elevation only.
Performance is steady rather than hair-raising and the five-speed manual gear stick is at easy reach, although its action is a bit notchy. Pedals are nicely spaced and the footrest is easy to get to. Grab handles at both front doors make climbing in and out a breeze too.
As we said, this KB 250 X-Rider is practical with sporty touches – so who really needs more?
Test unit from GMSA press fleet
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