What happens when you give a team of highly-qualified and specialised designers and engineers the opportunity to custom-design and engineer a new vehicle for a specific market, with localised production and engineering facilities at their beck and call?
The all-new Isuzu KB.
Representing the pinnacle in a long series of robust, reliable and part-of-the-family KB bakkies, the all-new, sixth-generation Isuzu KB is the culmination of years of experience, modern technologies, forward-thinking design and clever engineering. Built locally at the General Motors South Africa (GMSA) plant in Port Elizabeth as part of a one-billion rand investment project – which is supported by the production of the Chevrolet Spark and the new Chevrolet Utility half-ton bakkie – the new Isuzu KB not only picks up the baton where the outgoing KB left off, but brings with it a unique and special attribute: local development.
New Isuzu KB is SA-tough, and there’s one for every purpose
Whether it means traversing a dirt road to your most remote customer’s factory depot, climbing the Sani Pass into Lesotho or launching a boat into the Vaal River – the all-new Isuzu KB can handle whatever its gutsy South African owners can throw at it. Building on the robust reputation of its forebears, the new KB still offers exceptional strength in many aspects, including towing capacity (up to 3 500 kg), engine performance (up to 380Nm) and drivetrain ability, where a low-range transfer case and a clever suspension setup means no matter where the KB is taken, it will get its occupants back safely and in comfort.
With a massive 23-model line-up, there is certainly a new Isuzu KB for any fathomable purpose. Whether a business needs a hard-working, well-priced workhorse like the KB 240 4x4, which is able to swallow 1 146 kg of goods in its vast load box, or a career-focused dad needs a comfortable, economical and capable off-roader for leisure purposes, like the KB 300 D-TEQ Double Cab 4x4 LX – the wide range of body styles, engines and drivetrain configurations means there is a new KB to suit any specific needs.
A 2.4-litre normally-aspirated petrol motor is accompanied by the 2.5-litre D-TEQ turbocharged diesel engine and the range-topping 3.0-litre D-TEQ turbocharged diesel unit, which brings with it a great whack of torque (380Nm). Both 4x2 and 4x4 drivetrains are on offer, along with manual or automatic gearboxes. The new Isuzu KB’s 4x4 system is particularly impressive, featuring a clever Terrain Command rotary switch control which allows the driver to switch between rear-wheel drive (2H), four-wheel drive with rear differential locking (4H) and low-range (4L), with shift-on-the-fly capability up to 100 km/h.
The new Isuzu KB’s suspension design has also gone under the knife, with a new design allowing for better on-road comfort and improved handling while still maintaining excellent off-road ability and adaptability, depending on the model: the front end sees the fitment of an independent wishbone setup with coil springs and gas-filled dampers, while the cleverly overslung leaf springs at the rear ensure the new KB loses none of its legendary bakkie capabilities whilst further improving ride and handling.
Crafty body design has also elevated the new Isuzu KB to new heights in its segment, where the different body styles – including Single Cab, Double Cab and Extended Cab with rear-hinged ‘Flex Doors’ – allow for a multitude of requirements to be met, whether they be passenger- or carrying capacity. The engineers’ thoughtfulness and ingenuity can be seen in several instances on the new KB, a highlight of which is a culmination of engineering and design requirements meeting at a happy medium, where the integrated rear tow bar is cleverly hidden behind the rear bumper, neatening up the KB’s rear valance while still providing ultimate practicality.
“The all-new Isuzu KB is a great milestone for GMSA and we see it as a huge step up from the trusty previous-generation KB which found favour with thousands of South Africans in years gone by,” says Mlungisi Nonkonyana, Isuzu Brand Manager.
“Not only are we proud to have been able to customise the new KB in its design and engineering phases but with left-hand drive production for our new sub-Saharan Africa export markets also part of the PE production investment, we really expect big things from the new KB. In its local context, it is the quintessential South African bakkie – designed by South Africans, for South Africans. And, being as capable as it is in any environment, it’s a true go-anywhere, do-anything vehicle with exceptional value to boot.”
STORY BY ISUZU