The workhorse reborn! Isuzu bakkies have always been, and remain, tough little trucks. They are built to work. The new KB 250 is no exception.
It supplements the existing common-rail engine Isuzu KB 250 D-TEQ Base and Fleetside model, but costs around R30 000 less.
The new KB is bigger than the outgoing model, but appears smaller than the new competition, like the Ford Ranger, Mazda BT50, VW Amarok and Nissan Navarra.
The low-pressure turbo engines are generally very reliable and economical.
Isuzu has received reports of this older engine logging over one million kilometres in normal commercial usage.
The base model is very basic. It has a split-bench front seat with reclining mechanism, PVC seat trim, vinyl floor trim, two 12V auxiliary power supply points, a remote fuel flap and is radio-ready, meaning you have to fit your own radio, but it has speakers fitted.
Think 1980s bakkie. The interior is very spartan and basic, but it does feel solid.
The Fleetside model adds a higher ride with over-slung rear leaf springs. Engine sump guard 6.5J X 16 wheels fitted with 205 R16C tyres, driver and front passenger airbag, seat-belt pre-tensioners and a pollen filter. It has a manual air-conditioner and a cup holder. These bakkies do not have ABS, brake assist or electronic brake force distribution. Nor do they have airbags. Fortunately they do not go very fast, but unfortunately they cannot stop very quickly when loaded.
Out on the road, this KB is not as good as Ranger or Amarok on tar, but in the rough, the KB is still king. It is somewhat skittish on fast gravel, especially when unladen, but is as good as the old KB, which many believed was the best bakkie for gravel roads.
Compared to its new competition, the ride is a bit rigid and very truck-like but comfortable in an old school kind of way.
The low-pressure turbo engine fitted in the Fleetside and base models produces 58 kW at 3 800 rpm and 170 Nm from 1 800 rpm – which is not a lot, but allows for efficient driving characteristics as well as acceptable pulling power.
Fuel consumption for general driving should be around 7.8 litres per 100 km.
Competition includes the GWM Steed 5 2.2l (R144 900), Mahindra Gerio 2.2 CRDe (R66 995), Mitsubishi Triton 2.4 (R179 900), Ford Ranger 2.5 (R184 000) and Nissan NP300 (R189 500).
I think the best buy is the Steed 5. It looks a bit like the previous KB and behaves like one.
The new Isuzu KB 250 Single Cab models retail for R197 200 (base) and R214 100 (Fleetside), including VAT, and come standard with a five-year or 90 000 km service plan and a five-year or 120 000 km warranty.