IF IT AIN’T BROKE
Isuzu has updated its trusty KB range. We headed to Namib Desert to put it to the test
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