KB300 TDi LE
dates : 5th September 2004
9th September 2004
new range of KB pick-ups have instant appeal, thanks to a
rugged, Americanised look that goes with Isuzuís links to
parent company General Motors.
The new KB series is based on a model designed for the
Asian-Pacific market. But the South African version is built
at the GM plant in Port Elizabeth, and has many features
developed in South Africa for our particular conditions.
Our test vehicle is the LE-specification single-cab version,
suited for agricultural and heavy industrial work.
Itís the long-wheelbase version, and has a higher ride
height than previous 4X4 Isuzus.
The 300 TDi diesel version uses the new up-rated 96 kW
four-cylinder turbodiesel engine. This three-litre engine is
particularly strong on torque, as Hendrikís work-out at the
Protea Off Road Experience trail near Krugersdorp showed. The
engine develops 280 Newton Metres at 2 000 rpm.
But in low-ratio, it seems as if most of this torque is
available from idle speed. The Isuzu uses double wishbone
front suspension with torsion bars rather than coil springs.
At the rear it uses conventional leaf springs with a live
For really rugged work, a solid front axle is preferable, but
the Isuzuís wishbone suspension is well protected and offers
a better on-road ride.
Neat touches include the drain holes on the load bay, four
hinges for the tailgate, and a rugged roll bar.
The tow bar is very neat, being mounted as a chassis cross
member and tucked out of harmís way.
The bench seat lacks support, and most members of the Car
Torque team would have preferred individual bucket seats.
Engaging four-wheel-drive and low range is now done
electronically via a switch on the dashboard.
The rear axle lock is also switched electronically, but on the
LE versions, the front hubs still need to be locked manually.
This is a good solid system for off-road use, but itís
perhaps a bit too easy to forget to unlock the hubs when
regaining tar roads.
With the hubs locked the wheels need a degree of slippage on
dirt roads. On tar roads, locked front hubs place too much
strain on the transmission, as there is no slippage.
As Proteaís Jannie Rykhaard points out, a rear diff lock can
make an enormous difference when the going gets really tough.
Over the Protea 4X4 Experience axle-twisting section, the
Isuzu KB shows up remarkably well.
And through the water-trough, the relatively high-mounted air
intake in the right front wheel arch enables the Isuzu to cope
with waste-high water.
The latest Isuzu is an excellent four-wheel-drive contender.
At just over R 240 000, this workhorse version is going to win
lots of friends.
Car Torque is