As you may have heard by now, Isuzu South Africa dropped the “KB” nomenclature, choosing to opt for the “D-Max” badge used everywhere else in the world.
It basically the same bakkie as before, but with a few added niceties. There’s a new infotainment system, as well as a few material updates, but for the most part it’s the same bakkie as before.
Engines are also carried over, but buyers can now choose between a new six-speed manual or six-speed automatic.
The big news to us was the new partnership between Isuzu and 4×4 Megaworld. In essence, you can now select from a range of approved accessories from the Megaworld catalogue, which will be fitted to your Isuzu before taking delivery. It’s all covered under warranty, and, best of all, can be financed with the vehicle purchase. So, there’s no need to fork over R100k plus for overlanding accessories after the fact. You simply include it in the finance deal.
Obviously, we made a beeline for the one model with all the accessories. It had around R150 000 worth of extras, including a replacement bumper, RSi canopy and an Old Man Emu suspension overhaul. We found the latter extremely interesting, but more on that later.
These optional extras were fitted to a 250 X-Rider 4×4. Including all the extras, it retails for around the same price as a top-of-the-line D-Max 300 diesel. This basically means there is now a D-Max for every kind of buyer out there. Isuzu now offers workhorses, luxury leisure double cabs and overlanding vehicles straight from the dealer floor.
Our first day was spent behind the wheel of top-spec diesel automatic and if you were a fan of the previous car, you’ll love this one as well. The new six-speed automatic goes about its business in an orderly fashion, which is what you want from a gearbox.
The drive in the standard D-Max also gave us a decent benchmark in terms of ride quality. The KB was always a capable machine over rough surfaces and it’s more of the same with the new car.
The next day we hopped in behind the 250 with all the kit. The power difference between the two engines was noticeable immediately, as was the difference in ride quality.
The standard car never struggled in this department, but the fitment of an Old Man Emu setup elevates it to another level entirely. If we could choose just one option, this is the one we’d have. It hardly notices bumps and on the open road it gives you more confidence through high speed corners.
While we were at it, we checked the rest of the equipment as well. After around three hours of gravel driving, we checked the canopy for dust. Not a single speck of that fine Kruger Park dust found its way into that canopy. Very well done, RSi.
The rest of the kit could only be tested over a longer period, so we’re looking forward to spending more time with a D-Max kitted from the dealer floor.
We’ll keep you posted.