Isuzu has up­dated its trusty KB range. We headed to Namib Desert to put it to the test

Car (South Africa) - - DRIVE - ISUZU KB300 D-TEQ DOU­BLE CAB LX 4x4 PRICE: ETA:

THERE might be more so­phis­ti­cated leisure bakkies in the mar­ket, but Isuzu is stick­ing to its guns with the depend­able KB. This means that the facelifted range of­fers the same line-up of en­gines and trans­mis­sions and, read­ing be­tween the lines of what was said at the launch, it is still a fair while be­fore a new KB is re­leased, even though the com­pe­ti­tion in this seg­ment of the mar­ket has never been as erce as right now.

Let’s start with the cos­met­ics. The KB’S grille and head­lamps have been tweaked and these now in­clude LED day­timerun­ning lights. There are new 16- and 18-inch wheels, while the re­designed tail­gate fea­tures an in­te­grated rearview cam­era. In terms of tech­nol­ogy, hill-start as­sist has been added, the in­stru­ment clus­ter has been re­designed and the touch­screen in­fo­tain­ment screen hosts Tom­tom-sup­ported satel­lite nav­i­ga­tion and a Wi-fi con­nec­tion.

Driv­e­trains are un­touched, but Isuzu has tweaked the rear sus­pen­sion, with sev­eral me­chan­i­cal al­ter­ations de­signed to make the KB more com­fort­able over bumpy gravel and tar­mac roads, all with­out af­fect­ing its han­dling ca­pa­bil­ity.

The launch took place in and around the dunes sur­round­ing Walvis Bay and Swakop­mund. With Isuzu hav­ing done plenty of ho­molo­ga­tion and de­vel­op­ment in South Africa be­fore the sixth gen­er­a­tion was launched, the KB has al­ways been known for its good ride qual­ity on South­ern Africa’s of­ten chal­leng­ing roads, and this has not changed. The KB feels par­tic­u­larly planted at speed on gravel roads.

No changes have been made to the en­gines, so the 4JJ1-TC Hi 3,0-litre, four-cylin­der pow­er­plant con­tin­ues to de­velop a solid 130 kw and 380 N.m. And, although it’s still cou­pled with a ve-speed man­ual gear­box, you rarely nd your­self outside the torque band. De­spite the max­i­mum torque de­liv­ered from a low 1 800 r/min, the pow­er­plant’s ex­i­bil­ity means that you can eas­ily pot­ter round with the rev nee­dle sit­ting as low as 1 500 r/min.

With the tyres de ated to a more sand trac­tion-friendly 0,8 bar, we were ready to head into the dunes. The early morn­ing’s low tem­per­a­tures and the mois­ture in the air helped to knit the nor­mally loose sand into a grip­pier sur­face, so our rst sand­driv­ing sec­tion was ne­go­ti­ated with lit­tle fuss.

How­ever, as the tem­per­a­tures in­creased, the sand be­came looser, re­quir­ing a change in driv­ing style to en­sure we didn’t

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