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OFF-ROAD TEST

Isuzu KB 300 D-TEQ LX 4×2 Auto





8 February 2017


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The CrossFit Champion
The Isuzu KB is a tough customer. It works hard… and looks good while doing it.

rich-froning

TOUGH GUY
Rich Froning
Claim to fame: Rich Froning has been dominating the CrossFit scene since 2010. He won the CrossFit games from 2011 to 2014, earning the title of ‘Fittest Man on Earth’.
Great quote: “I may never be the strongest. I may not be the fastest. But I work the hardest.”

He’s only been on the global CrossFit scene since 2010, but Rich Froning has already become a legend in his own time. He is 5 foot 9 inches and weighs 90kg, yet he deadlifts 260kg and squats 215kg. And of course, CrossFit isn’t just about lifting weights. It’s about functionality – the ability to simultaneously be strong, fast and agile.

What makes Rich Froning such a phenomenon? Is he just genetically faster and stronger than most other people? He doesn’t think so. Froning believes that he just works harder than other people. His approach to training isn’t scientific. He doesn’t have a specific diet and he doesn’t make use of data-driven coaching. Instead, he listens to his body… and works hard. Like really, really hard. He works out a couple of times a day and doesn’t really like to take days off.

So with this in mind, let us turn our attention to the Isuzu KB and in particular, to the Isuzu KB 300 D-TEQ LX 4×2 Auto that accompanied us on this trip.

Yes, you did in fact read that correctly. Due to a logistical error, a 4×2 Isuzu was sent to this Kalahari Tough Test, which upped the overall difficulty of the exercise quite substantially.

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Even in 4×4 guise, the KB is not the strongest or fastest in its class. Its three-litre diesel engine delivers 130kW of power and 380Nm of torque, which is good, but not class-leading. So how could it compete in this Kalahari test, where vehicles would be expected to complete some serious 4×4 tracks? Well, by working harder than the rest.

The KB amazed us all with what it accomplished. It worked hard, and in doing so, got much further than anyone could have reasonably expected. It fared particularly well on rock. While it didn’t have 4×4 or low-range gearing, it did have a rear diff lock. It also had pretty good ground clearance of 220mm, which allowed it to crawl over rocks and even use a bit more momentum when needed. Lastly, it boasted traction control, which could kick in when things got a tad slippery.

When it came to sand, though, the KB didn’t perform quite so well. There are limits, after all, to what a 4×2 can do. With only two wheels capable of putting power down, the bakkie couldn’t exactly race up dunes. We’re confident, though, that had the 4×4 come along for the ride, it would have been able to deal with the sand, and tackle every 4×4 obstacle on offer.

This 4×2 bakkie left us thoroughly impressed. It certainly held the KB name high. Isuzu’s double cab has a reputation for being both a capable lifestyle vehicle and a muscular workhorse – a vehicle that can get any job done. The latest version, both in 4×2 and 4×4 specification, follows in this proud tradition. It’s still a hard-working workhorse with a payload of 1 123kg and a towing capacity of 3 500kg, but it is now also one of the best- equipped vehicles in its class. The latest KB offers keyless entry, a stop/start button, climate control, reverse camera, Bluetooth audio, Wi-Fi connectivity, steering-wheel controls and a touchscreen infotainment system with navigation.

It also has an amazing assortment of safety systems, including electronic stability control, brake assist, brake-force distribution and, of course, ABS. There are no less than six airbags in the cabin.

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The KB has always been a vehicle that appealed to people looking for a vehicle that’s willing to work hard – one that’s rough and tough enough to take a daily flogging without complaint. Now, though, the bakkie has broadened its appeal. It’s still a workhorse, sure, but it now looks better than ever, and it’s got the sort of kit that makes it a real lifestyle option. The latest KB is working hard and looking good while doing it.

Isuzu KB 300 D-TEQ LX 4×2 Auto
Engine: Three-litre turbodiesel
Power: 130kW
Torque: 380Nm
Transmission: Five-speed Auto
4WD System: None
Traction Aids: Rear diff lock
Ground Clearance: 220mm
Price: R501 200

Illustration: Tauriq Loofer
Photos: Jannie Herbst and Deon van der Walt