The bakkie you can’t buy
WHEN Isuzu issued the limited edition X-Track, buyers almost immediately snapped up all available units in August, except for the media test unit
Wheels got to drive this week. Assessing a vehicle that is no longer for sale raises interesting questions. Does the X-Track have the makings of a collectable car — even a classic?
Or can it perhaps point to all the Hilux and Ranger buyers being wrong about South Africa’s third most popular bakkie?
I decided to answer the latter question, loading the bakkie and assessing the ride over 1 000 km.
The X-Track is based on the 250 HO Hi-Rider 4x2, so no mud or any of our usual axle-bending inclines, but the aggressive-looking 255/60 all-terrain tyres on 18” diamond-cut alloy rims can — and did — take on all the rutted dirt roads past the toll gates.
The X-Rider was sold in the extended and double cab body styles; we had the latter and even the heavier cab bounces a fair bit over the ruts when empty. This ride is on par with a Hilux or Ranger. Loaded with a scooter, it settled down to the smooth ride Isuzu made its name with.
Inside, leather seats embroidered with the X-Track logo on the front head-rests, a leathertrimmed steering wheel, red stitching and remote keyless entry and piano black inserts — also with a bold red “X” motif — add a luxury feel to the bakkie. Bluetooth pairs simply by telling the phone to look for Isuzu and pressing accept and the GM system seamlessly pairs music and Google Maps’ voice.
A tow bar for a 2,1-ton braked trailer on the back is really useful. Remember the law requires the towing vehicle to be as heavy or heavier in gross vehicle mass than the trailer, which means you cannot load more than 2,1 tons — a very realistic weight to my mind.
This compares to three tons for the Nissan Navara, a weight that few normal vehicle brakes are designed to stop.
All X-Track derivatives are powered by the new 100 kW/320 Nm version of Isuzu’s 2,5-litre turbo diesel, and we got well over 11 km/l doing sensible speeds over long roads even with our scooter adding drag on the back.
Selling for R366 380, the X-Track certainly was good value, and my only niggle at this price is the lack of a difflock. For with its bold red logos over a black front bumper guard and LED daytime running lights, this bakkie is a looker, but it needs to prevent wheel slip to take on really extreme tracks.
Maybe that can be the next limited edition, Isuzu South Africa? Now that will be a collectible bakkie, much like the Toyota Land Cruiser that sold for R2,5 million at Pebble Beach last month.
The Isuzu X-Track turned into an instant classic when it went on sale in July.