Isuzu X-Rider d/cab 4x4: Workhorse in leather jacket

ISUZU is constantly revamping its popular KB range giving bakkie enthusiasts a more varied range to choose from.

One of the most recent updates is that the popular X-Rider double cab is now also available in 4x4 guise in the form of the KB 250 D-teq X-Rider 4x4.

This follows about a year after Isuzu launched the X-Rider double cab in two-wheel drive as a permanent fixture in its line-up. This was due to its popularity after an initial limited edition launch in 2016.

If I had to sum up the X-Rider version of the Isuzu in one sentence it would be “a real workhorse dressed for town in a leather jacket”.

The Isuzu KB 250 makes no attempt at pretending to be more than what it is – a bakkie at heart. Many bakkies these days are jazzed up with cameras and navigation aids to give the workhorse a car-like feel.

The Isuzu sounds like a bakkie, drives like a bakkie and performs like a bakkie. The X-Rider aesthetics, however, give it a more upmarket feel inside to fit its bold good exterior looks.

So what is the X (Rider) factor? Blacked out B-pillars as well as black finishes (instead of the usual chrome) to the grille, bumper, side steps and sports bar, 18-inch diamond-cut alloy wheels with the X-Rider logo are what set it apart from the other Isuzu KB’s. The test vehicle was the red version – a colour which really went well with the black trim.

But it is not just the exterior that carries the new look. Inside the theme continues with X-Rider branding.

The black leather seats sport red stitching, while the steering wheel and gear shift knob are covered with black leather.

The dashboard is pretty much standard fare for a KB. The layout and equipment, such as the radio, is basic (no touchscreen), but functional enough to offer Bluetooth and steering wheel audio controls.

Other standard features include projector headlights, manual air conditioning, remote keyless entry and electric windows.

One of the features I, however, missed was park assist sensors. With double cab bakkies becoming more like town cars these days, park assist should almost be a standard feature on these.

Among the safety features are ABS, EBD, BA, and ESC with traction control, hill start assist (no rolling back on inclines) and airbags for the driver and front seat passenger.

The KB has the typical bakkie-gearbox feel. That’s not to say that it’s difficult to drive, or clumsy and noisy.

The powerful 2.5-litre diesel-engine is keen and once it gets going, it feels quite unstoppable. One quickly adjusts to the harder changing of the five-speed gearbox; as well as to the fact that its engine is so powerful that at times it’s easier to pull away in second gear rather than first. While initially it is a bit noisy, the noise levels decrease when taking the open road and cruising in fifth. Average fuel consumption achieved was 9.9 litres/100km during the test drive which was only on the urban commute.

The cabin is spacious with comfortable seats in both the front and rear, plenty of legroom and stowage spaces.

In a nutshell

Name: Isuzu KB 250 X-Rider 4x2 Double Cab

Price: R463 200

Engine: 2.5-litre, four-cylinder turbo-diesel

Transmission: five-speed manual

Power: 100kW

Torque: 320Nm

Towing capacity: 2 100kg (braked), 750 (unbraked)

Wading depth: 600 mm

Seats: 5 persons

Safety: ABS, EBD, BA, Hill Start Assist, Hill Descent Control, front fog lamps, two airbags.

Fuel consumption: 9.7l/100km (urban) 6,6l/100km (extra-urban), 7.9l/100km (combined)

Warranty: five-year/120 000km

Service Plan: five-year/ 90 000km, service every 15 000km