Recently I’ve driven a number of Isuzus in various configurations – single, extended and double cab, petrol and diesel, manual and automatic transmissions and two and four wheel drive.
Our road test editor asked me to name the one I liked most, even with a bakkie lineup of some 20 models, the choice was easy: Without a doubt, the KB 250D-TEQ Double Cab X-Rider 4×2 is my personal favourite.
Based on the entry level KB 250 Hi-Rider D/C, the X-Rider was launched as a limited edition of 700 units in 2016.
The market demand resulted in Isuzu bringing it into the fold as a permanent member of the KB range.
What’s makes it so different? Well with black finished components such as, grille, bumper guard with integral fog lights, tubular side steps and a sports bar, replacing the usual chrome, goes a long way to making this a very different KB.
Add a set of 18 inch diamond-cut alloy wheels carrying 255/50/18 General Grabber AT tyres and embellish the vehicle with X-Rider nomenclature and it transforms into a bakkie with attitude.
The test vehicle was finished in Maranello Red really accentuating the black trim. But it is not just the exterior that carries the new look.
Inside the theme continues with X-Rider branding on the front seat headrests and door panels.
Black leather seats carry red stitching, the steering wheel and gear shift knob are covered with black leather.
The dash board is pretty much standard fare for a KB, with touches of piano black enhancing the durable hard plastic surfaces.
Standard are projector headlights, manual air conditioning, keyless entry, electric windows and steering wheel satellite controls for the radio.
Safety incorporates ABS, EBD, BA, and ESC with traction control, hill start assist and airbags for driver and front seat passenger.
Under the bonnet the proven 2.5 litre 4cylinder turbocharged diesel engine provides more than enough grunt to cover every aspect of your motoring.
With 100kW at 3600 r/min and 320Nm of torque between 1800 and 2800 r/min driving through a 5-speed manual gearbox power reaches the road through the rear wheels.
Surprised at my choice of a 4×2?
So was I initially, but the X-Rider proved capable in any situation I encountered and convinced me that I really did not need those extra driven wheels.
If this worries you then add the optional rear differential lock.
Fuel consumption is claimed at 7.7l/100km but you can expect to be above that on a normal driving cycle. I returned around 9l/100km and with its 80 litre fuel tank you have a range of around the 850 t0 900km mark.
The cabin is very occupant friendly, both front and rear seats are comfortable and reasonably supportive, rear leg room is good and for those who like to take everything but the kitchen sink with them, there is plenty of stowage space and holders for your bottles.
The driver’s seat is height adjustable, but steering wheel adjustment is limited to tilt only.
Ride quality is good for a vehicle in this class, but you can expect a firmer ride over gravel roads that are in less than good condition.
That 2.5 litre diesel delivers excellent bottom end power with torque spread allowing an easy drive, initially it sounds a little agricultural but that decreases when cruising in fifth gear.
The gearshift is not the smoothest but it is not a major issue and you soon learn to live with it.