Isuzu KB240 4×4

Isuzu KB240Generally I don’t like bakkies as private vehicles, don’t see the point, never have, never will, which is why I’ve always been quite a fan of the Isuzu KB range. They are without a doubt the most workmen like vehicles in the sector – very few have plush interiors and none have fancy gadgetry to entice those city slickers with an inferiority complex (see Toyota Hilux owners).

The KB 240 I drove up to Jo’burg for the weekend was just as I expected, well from a utilitarian point of view anyway. The black bumpers (ie non-colour coded), plain cloth interior, chunky dials and bare centre console give testament to the fact that this vehicle has been designed to be a work horse. It’s a good laugh then that Isuzu quote the LE and LX interior specs as “Opulence” levels. I wonder if the working class understand the meaning of the word…

The leaf sprung rear suspension is hard, set to carry a load of bricks or something equally blue collar-ish. Even depressing the clutch and changing gears feels like manual labour. The gearbox has a very long action meaning it’s no mere swivel of the wrist, but rather a swing of the arm. While all of this sounds mighty uncomfortable, I’ve driven far less comfortable sedans to Jo’burg, so I have no real complaints about the Isuzu.

The 4×4 system in the KB is not a luxurious extra, but something to be treated with brutality, like an old farm mule.Isuzu KB240 Much like an old farm mule it’s not quite as good as the competition, even the soft-looking Mitsubishi Triton is more accomplished off road, however it does give the sense that it’s built out of indestructible materials, like granite and cast iron. Every movement between 2×4, 4×4, low range and diff lock produces a satisfyingly solid clunk as bits of the drivetrain engage with one another.

Unfortunately for this particular KB, the engine can’t match the appearance. It’s a 2.4 litre four cylinder petrol motor that produces a not so impressive 96kW and 207Nm. In a vehicle tipping the scales at 1.7 tonnes you might imagine it was a fairly lengthy trip to Johannesburg…and you’d be right. Adding around 500kg for the return leg just meant it took even longer.

What I worry about is whether Isuzu can justify a price tag of R323,500 to their customers, considering the current and incoming generation of double cabs from the Chinese manufacturers.

Take GWM for example. You can almost buy two double cab’s (they don’t seem to have a series name) for the price of the Isuzu that I guarantee will be just as mule-like and even if they’re not as reliable, you’ll always have a spare. Not to mention the new Steed, which looks basically the same as the Isuzu and only costs R195,990.

It’s just impossible to beat prices like that if you’re looking for a work horse. 

Price: R 323,500
Engine: 2405cc 4 cylinder petrol
Power: 94 kW
Torque: 207 Nm
Acceleration (0-100 km/h): 14.78
Top speed (km/h): 162
Fuel consumption (l/100km): 14.0

Miles Downard
Photo Credit: Quickpic

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