TRUCK AT WORK: Isuzu KB puts on its working face

BY CHARL BOSCH - JULY 24, 2014

Since its inception 41 years ago, the Isuzu KB has become one of the most loved bakkies on our roads partly thanks to its reliability, durability and characteristic diesel noise that will leave you in no doubt as to its identity.

Having driven the new sixth generation KB in double cab LX guise a few months ago, I came away rather impressed at how easily it fused leisure and workability together. But what happens when the demand for work outweighs leisure? Enter the KB 250 Fleetside, Isuzu’s idea of a no nonsense back-to-basics work truck.

The Fleetside is aimed at the one ton workhorse segment and as such it does without the usual luxuries of pricier KB models and only comes as a single cab. Although some might bemoan the lack of alloy wheels and colour-coded trim, prospective buyers will instead appreciate the high rise body and the fact that the Fleetside is all about function and not style.

Inside, don’t expect to find soft touch surfaces or much in the way of toys. The dashboard mainly exists of hard plastics which felt chunky, exhibited no rattles and capable of dealing the punishments workhorses normally have to endure. Standard features include air conditioning, power steering, four cupholders, a split glovebox and rubberised load bay.

My biggest surprise though was the engine. The 2.5 L diesel engine features a low blow turbocharger which only makes 58 kW and 170 N·m of torque and sends power to the rear-wheels via a five-speed manual box.

I really thought that the amount of twist available would not be sufficient enough and that the engine had not loosened up much seeing as this particular model had only done 1700 km. Yet with the aircon on and in third gear, it laughed in the face of a steep incline near my home and provided sufficient power when I needed it.

Payload is rated at 1060kg and ride quality proved to be good for this segment even on a slightly rutted gravel road at under 60 km/h.

I must confess that I really enjoyed my time spent with Isuzu’s workhorse, not just because I am a huge bakkie fan, but at the surprise factor provided by that engine. As a package then, the Isuzu KB 250 Fleetside is really hard to ignore.

For a test drive, contract Williams Hunt Uitenhage on 041 922 7823 or visit 100 Caledon Street in Uitenhage.