July is bakkie month and among three new model ranges launched in SA, Isuzu of­fers the bakkie with the best new car smell.

The Witness - Wheels - - FRONT PAGE - AL­WYN VILJOEN

JULY is new bakkie month in SA.

Hot on the heels of the three Fiat Full­back bakkies and nine Ford Ranger 2,2 au­to­matic mod­els, Isuzu has added the KB X-Rider to the KB range.

For this re­porter, it was love at first smell in the new KB. Bakkies and cars these days con­tain well over 15 kg of acrid-smelling glue, which makes it very easy to get a new car smell that is sharp and un­pleas­ant. Not so in the KB X-Rider, which is the first new car in a long time that man­ages to mix leather and glue into that per­fect new car smell.

It rides like a car too — soft rid­ing over the bump­i­est roads even with­out a load on the back be­ing the hall­mark Isuzu over the years, and in­side the cab you find ev­ery­thing cars have to of­fer.

The new­comer can be read­ily iden­ti­fied by a num­ber of vis­ual cues such as stylish black di­a­mond-cut 18-inch al­loys and black tubu­lar side steps, but some less ob­vi­ous fea­tures are what mark this spe­cial edi­tion KB as a spe­cial kind of work­horse.

The X-Rider boasts an up­rated tow­bar with a 2.1-tonne braked trailer ca­pac­ity, LED day­time run­ning lights and re­mote key­less en­try. Apart from the leather seats and X-Rider logo em­broi­dered on the front head­rests there is also a multi-func­tion, leather­trimmed steer­ing wheel with the red stitch­ing, which stitches also ap­pear on the gear­lever gaiter and the seats.

Pi­ano Black in­serts are used on the doors, where a bold red ‘X’ mo­tif add the fi­nal tough to the on-road pres­ence, which is built up with day­time run­ning lights, big 255/60 all-ter­rain rub­ber on 18-inch di­a­mond-cut al­loy wheels, wheel caps with the Isuzu brand­ing in red and dra­matic black tubu­lar side steps, a sports bar and a blacked-out B-pil­lar.

Vice-pres­i­dent of Ve­hi­cle Sales, Ser­vice, and Mar­ket­ing at Gen­eral Mo­tors South Africa, Brian Ol­son said in a press state­ment the X-Rider aims to of­fer real value and in­di­vid­u­al­ity in a brand which is well known for tough­ness, re­li­a­bil­ity and com­fort. “The X-Rider fol­lows on the suc­cess of spe­cial edi­tion mod­els of the past, such as the Mid­nite and Serengeti.

“The X-Rider con­tin­ues the tradition but at a lower price point, pro­vid­ing added ex­clu­siv­ity and ex­cep­tional value for money,” Ol­son added.

What he did not add in the press state­ment is that all the sugar cane farm­ers who swear by Isuzu can look for­ward to the au­to­matic gear­box be­ing paired to Isuzu’s 2,5 en­gine as well in the not too dis­tant fu­ture.

All X-rider de­riv­a­tives will be pow­ered by the new, 100 kW/320 Nm Nm high-out­put ver­sion of Isuzu’s proven 2.5-litre com­mon rail di­rect in­jec­tion tur­bod­iesel, an en­gine which has been a stal­wart of the KB range since a Septem­ber 2015 facelift.

The X-Rider is of­fered in a trio of classy colours — Sum­mit White, Switch­blade Sil­ver or Maranello Red — and the full ar­ray of changes ap­pli­ca­ble to the ex­te­rior in­clude:

Pric­ing

Isuzu KB 250 HO X-Rider Ex­tended Cab R355 900 Isuzu KB 250 HO X-Rider Dou­ble Cab R366 380

PHOTO: QUICKPIC

PHOTO: QUICKPIC

The gov­ern­ment is keen to give a 14% dis­count to VAT-reg­is­tered busi­nesses farm­ers on the new ex­tra-cab Isuzu; the very pleas­ant new car smell comes free.

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