New 6th Generation Isuzu KB – A Big Bakkie From The Bakkie Specialists
The all-new 6th Generation Isuzu KB has arrived in Africa to build on Isuzu’s iconic heritage of innovation, toughness, durability, reliability and functionality. With bold new styling, higher levels of comfort and safety together with more powerful engines the new KB offers an exciting package for the serious bakkie owner and operator.
Reliability and durability are of paramount importance in the world of the light commercial vehicle. To this end the new Isuzu KB has undergone a rigorous test and development programme equivalent to four million kilometres of driving in conditions ranging from extreme desert heat to the freezing conditions of the North Pole. A significant portion of this test and development programme was conducted in Southern Africa by General Motors in preparation for local production of the new Isuzu KB in Port Elizabeth.
The larger size of the new KB, together with its smooth and well-proportioned styling, is immediately noticeable. The wedge shaped profile imparts a muscular and sporty expression while at the same time providing a distinct aerodynamic advantage.
In dimensions the new KB is 260mm longer – that’s more than 5% – than the previous model. It’s also 60mm wider (up 3%) and 60mm taller (up 3,5%). This translates into an increase in interior space as well as a more space efficient load box.
The exterior styling of the new KB benefits from extensive computer analysis of the air-flow around the vehicle supported by full-scale wind tunnel testing to prove out the theory in practice. Some of this testing was done in the wind tunnel of the Japan Railway Institute, the facility normally used to test the famed “Bullet Train”. The result is a vehicle with the lowest coefficient of drag (Cd) in its class with a full 5% improvement over the previous model.
A key area of aerodynamic focus was the airflow over the roof and load-box of the vehicle, a known critical area. On the new KB this critical airflow has been smoothed to flow cleanly over the tailgate with reduced drag. This has a positive impact on fuel economy and performance while reducing noise levels in the cab.
An element of this improved aerodynamic performance is the placement of the ‘A’ pillar a full 100mm further forward and at an increased angle. This has the added benefit of providing for an improved driver and front passenger seating position.
Side steps with a non-slip upper surface are fitted as standard on the LX specification level for easier entry and exit from the vehicle. These have a secondary function in that they assist in inhibiting stone damage to lower body paintwork when travelling on gravel roads or off-road.
A noticeable feature on all 4WD and High Ride models is the adoption of integrated steel wheel arch flares in place of the plastic overfenders used on the previous model. Also noticeable are the larger wheel openings that add to the overall bold appearance of the new Isuzu KB.
The design of the vehicle’s roof, sides and door structure is completely new. A new flatter design for the sides of the vehicle without the door openings intruding into the roof line prevents an area of low pressure developing over the window glass for a tighter seal at highway speeds and reduced noise in the cab.
This strong aero presence is carried through to the frontal view with its striking new interpretation of the well-known Isuzu KB logo and grille design. On the high-end LX specification models a chrome grille and bonnet garnish are standard equipment with a body colour grille fitted to the LE specification level. Base and Fleetside models have a black grille. The smooth flowing lines of the headlamp clusters provide a seamless transition from the front of the vehicle though to the side.
The styling and construction of the front facia and bumper serve to enhance the aesthetics of the vehicle but also have a less apparent functional role to play. These components are manufactured using impact absorbing materials that not only serve to absorb low speed collision energy but are also specifically designed to provide a level of protection in the event of a pedestrian impact.
In the first instance this area of the vehicle will absorb a significant amount of energy limiting the scale of injury to the pedestrian as a first line of defence. This design of the front end is also designed to lift the pedestrian over the top of the bonnet where a second level of protection is available rather than downwards and under the vehicle.
The intercooler on the 3.0 D-TEQ turbocharged models has been moved forward away from a high mounted position to remove any projections on the top of the bonnet that might cause harm in a pedestrian accident. The bonnet itself is designed to provide a cushioning effect and absorb energy. This is aided by the fact that the distance from the bonnet to the top of the engine has been increased to provide space for the bonnet to collapse into.
The windscreen wipers are now semi-concealed to further reduce the chance of injury in a pedestrian impact.
Projector style headlamps, not normally seen on a pick-up, are standard on all LX models. The Fresnel blister on the projector headlamp protector reflects the light from the park lights at an angle of 80 degrees for improved visibility of the KB in low light for other road users.
Another functional improvement is the implementation of deeper rain-water channels in the ‘A’ pillars. These assist in effectively channelling water off the front windscreen and directing it over the roof. This inhibits the flow of water over the side glass of the vehicle for improved side vision in adverse weather conditions.
The rear of the new Isuzu KB is defined by bold new lamp clusters which provide bright and clear rear-end lighting. The light clusters flow through to the sides of the load box for side-on visibility. On high-end LX models the rear combination light clusters are LED units. These offer brighter illumination, especially beneficial in daylight conditions, and an extended life.
The restyled bumper rounds off the rear view of the new KB. On the top specification LX variants this incorporates a wide, non-slip upper surface and is with chrome highlights. Park Distance Control is incorporated in the rear bumper on LX models and is offered as an option on LE specification models.
The all-new Isuzu KB Extended Cab models offer the functionality of increased interior load carrying ability – important when higher value but smaller loads need to be conveyed securely. Excellent access to the extended cab area behind the seats is by way of rearward opening Flex Doors that can be opened from either inside or outside the vehicle. The Flex doors are fitted with an interlock that prevents them from being opened unless the front door is opened first – an important security feature
The new KB Extended Cab has a strengthened ‘B’ pillar and features “3-bolt hinges for additional resilience in the event of a side impact. Interior space is increased over the previous model with the seat back to rear trim panel measurement increased from 425mm to 440mm
The interior of the new Isuzu KB has been developed around a balance between form and function with three main criteria; comfort, ease of use, and flexibility.
A reduction in noise, vibration and harshness levels (NVH) experienced in the cab makes the ride experienced in the new KB comparable to that of a passenger vehicle.
New levels of engine bay sound insulation work in combination with advanced engine, cab, mounts and the aerodynamic styling to ensure that the new Isuzu KB is one of the quietest vehicles in its class in terms of interior noise levels.
Interior space across the range of body styles has been increased with more room available under the dash and an increase of 10mm in shoulder room courtesy of the increase in overall width of the vehicle.
The Extended Cab provides excellent functionality with an increase in space derived from a wider and longer cabin space complimented by the functionality of the flex type doors.
Double Cab models offer more space for rear seat occupants. The wider and longer cab provides for an increase of 495mm between the rear door opening and the rear seat occupant’s hip-point for easier entry and exit.
An increase in rear head room has been achieved through the increased height of the vehicle and a revised angle for the rear seat backrest adds further comfort, especially over long journeys. The space for rear seat passengers is 25mm longer than the previous model and is now amongst the largest and roomiest cabin spaces in its class.
Rear foot room is often a problem on double cab vehicles. Isuzu has addressed this by incorporating a large diameter chamfer on the base of the front seat to provide more room, particularly when entering or exiting the vehicle. The front seat runners have also been positioned further apart to increase foot room under the front seat.
The styling of the doors on all three body styles has been optimised for size, shape, and opening angle to make getting in or out of the vehicle a breeze, especially for rear passengers on Double Cab models where ease of access is considered best in class.
Ease of use
All controls are positioned logically and intuitively and are easy to reach and operate.
The dashboard and centre console is sporty in appearance and functional in design. All switches and controls are logically positioned so they fall easily and naturally to hand to provide for excellent ergonomics.
Heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning controls are all large diameter rotary type controls placed within easy reach of the driver. Similarly all cabin vents are placed within easy reach but without compromise to their functionality that ensures fast heating or cooling of the cab interior. All vents offer selective opening or closing to cater for individual occupant control.
The push-button type Four Wheel Drive control of the previous model is replaced with a simple to use single Terrain Command Dial located centrally on the console between the driver and passenger seats on 4X4 models. All LE and LX models, as well as the 4X4 Fleetside models, have a driver activated differential lock as standard equipment, operated by an easily accessed push-button switch. This feature is offered as a production option on the remaining model line-up. The new Electronic Differential lock system allows engagement at vehicle speeds below 60km/h, and automatically disengages when the vehicle speed exceeds 80km/h.
The steering wheel is a three spoke design with a soft grip cover and a tilt adjustable steering column. On high specification LX variants a leather covered steering wheel with satellite audio controls is standard.
Many of the interior features of the new Isuzu KB offer multiple options for how the occupants might choose to use them. Multiple storage compartments add convenient, safe, and secure stowage for smaller items.
As many as 10 different positions are provided for drinks storage in cup or bottle as well as numerous receptacles for oddments of various sizes. These storage solutions feature in the upper centre console, lower console, under steering wheel area, door pockets and seat back pockets (Double Cabs). Double Cab models also have provision for drinks holders at the rear of the centre console.
On Double Cab models the rear seat has a 60/40 split. The seat can be folded up to allow loading directly on the floor of the vehicle, or folded down to provide a flat load surface. Additional storage compartments are provided in the floor area under the rear seats.
All Extended Cab models are fitted with a lockable and removable utility box which can be used for either storage or as a cooler box.
New longer and wider pick-up body
The pick-up body, as with every element of this exciting new 6th generation Isuzu KB has been optimised for space efficiency and loadability. As with the cab, full advantage has been taken of the larger footprint and larger overall dimension to increase the size of the load area.
On Single Cab models the internal length of the load body is increased by 35mm to 2305mm. The width is up by 40mm to 1570mm while the height is reduced by 10mm. The Extended Cab has the same internal length as the previous model at 1795mm but is 70mm wider at 1530mm. Load box height is 15mm less on this model with a depth of 465mm. While load box length has not increased, internal space has been substantially increased.
On the Double Cab variants the increase in load box size is more dramatic. Measured at floor level the load box on the new KB is 135mm longer (1550mm) and 105mm longer at the top (1485mm. Internal width is up by 70mm to 1530mm and as with Extended Cab, load box height is down by 15mm.
On all models the tailgate opening is now wider to facilitate easier loading. The design and construction of the new load box makes it stronger than ever. A change to the radius between the inner side wall and the load floor makes for easier loading and optimal usage of the available floor area. Tie down hooks are provided on the interior of the load box.
As with the previous generation Isuzu KB the new KB range is powered by a selection of latest generation diesel and petrol engines. Featured in the range is an all-new 2,4 litre petrol 16V DOHC engine available on the Isuzu KB Base, Fleetside, and LE models. This multi point fuel injected engine produces maximum power of 112 kW with 233 Nm of torque. Fuel consumption for the combined cycle has been measured at 10,4 l/100km with CO2 emissions of 245 gm/km (4X2 models).
Next up in the engine range is the 2,5 litre low pressure turbo diesel engine available on the Base and Fleetside specifications. This engine provides 58 kW of power with 170 Nm of torque. The low pressure turbo configuration assists in producing lots of useable torque at low engine speed for excellent operating efficiency. This is an ideal choice for workhorse type operations and is carried over from the previous model.
The latest generation 2.5 litre D-TEQ engine is available on Base, Fleetside, and LE specification levels and produces 85 kW of power with maximum torque of 280 Nm available from a low 1800 r/min. This engine offers excellent power, torque and operating economy derived from its advanced high-pressure, common rail fuel injection system and intercooled turbocharger. Fuel consumption for the combined cycle is 7,7 l/100 km with C02 emissions of 203 gm/km. This engine is carried over from the previous model.
The top engine in the new Isuzu KB range is the advanced 3,0 litre D-TEQ engine that is offered on LX specification models. This engine benefits from an upgrade for the latest KB and now has maximum power of 130 kW – up by 10 kW – with 380 Nm of torque. The uprated Variable geometry Turbo Charger, reduced internal friction together with optimised fuel injection and a new large front mounted intercooler provide for the increased overall performance and improved fuel economy. The benefit is less gear changes, easier hill climbing and easier off-road driveability.
This is an ideal towing solution. Fuel consumption measured over the combined cycle is 7,8 l/100km for 4X2 models and 7,9 l/100km for the 4×4 variants – as measured by GMSA engineers. C02 emissions are 204 gm/km with low sulphur diesel specified.
The position of the intercooler in the front of the engine on the 2,5 litre and 3,0 litre D-TEQ engines provides for improved turbo efficiency and has a secondary function of providing an element of pedestrian safety by increasing the distance between the engine and the bonnet.
On both of the D-TEQ engines the oil filter has been re-located to the top of the engine at the front to make access for servicing easier. The oil filter is surrounded by a drip-tray to prevent oil spillage over the engine during filter changes.
All three of the diesel engines fitted to the new Isuzu KB are designed around the need for reduced service costs and overall costs of operation.
The top specification Isuzu KB LX models are available with an all-new 5-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission mated to the 3,0 litre D-TEQ diesel engine. Features include driver operated sequential shift for increased driving pleasure (as an alternative to full automatic shift) and a torque converter lock-up clutch.
Rather than offer the 6th generation Isuzu KB as simply an evolution of the previous model, Isuzu opted for a clean sheet design approach incorporating and maximising its vast experience accumulated in over three decades of building and designing bakkies.
The latest Isuzu KB incorporates a chassis that is optimised for load carrying, ride and handling, comfort, towing capacity – with best in class performance in this area, off-road performance and occupant safety.
The new Isuzu KB chassis is both longer and wider than the previous generation model in overall dimensions and has a longer wheelbase, up by 45mm on the previous model. Track on both the 4X2 and 4X4 models in increased by 50mm. Both of these increased dimensions improve ride and handling, overall vehicle stability and comfort.
The chassis has added strength derived from an increase in chassis rail section from 89 X 138,9 mm to 90 X 173,6mm. In addition cross member to chassis braces have been added at the second and fourth cross members for improved rigidity and safety. The chassis incorporates crumple zones at the front for impact absorption in the event of a frontal collision impact.
The independent front suspension has a double wishbone layout with a coil-spring over damper configuration on all models. This provides for passenger car like comfort levels combined with excellent road holding. On 4X4 and High Ride models longer coil springs help soak up rough road conditions for improved comfort and load protection.
The rear suspension an all models remains as a leaf spring layout but with a number of improvements incorporated. On the Base model the spring design is longer and flatter for an improved ride and handling characteristic. The leaf springs are still located under the rear axle which provides for a low cargo floor to ground measurement that is important on these workhorse type vehicles.
The high ride (including 4X4 models) feature an all-new design of leaf spring that is 1360mm long and configured to compliment the front suspension characteristic. On these models the leaf spring location has been moved to above the rear axle for improved ground clearance and off-road operation. Ground clearance for 3.0 LX models is now 220mm whilst that of the Fleetside and Base models is 225mm and 202mm respectively.
The 6th Generation Isuzu KB has been designed with towing in mind, not just towing in general but class leading towing capacity.
All models have the facility to have a towbar with 2,1 ton capacity, installed as an dealer fitted accessory. All Isuzu KB 300 LX models can be fitted with a heavy duty towbar designed to integrate into the rear bumper to minimise the impact on vehicle departure angle permitting a class leading towing capacity of 3,5 tons (noting that at this capacity, the trailer requires service brakes).
Over time the Isuzu KB has established an enviable reputation for off-road performance. With the new 6th generation model comes not just an all round improvement in on-road comfort, stability and ride and handling, but also an improvement in off-road capability due to the increased suspension articulation.
Contributing factors are the new wider and longer chassis design with increased wheelbase and track as well as a lower centre of gravity. The new suspension geometry front and rear also makes a meaningful contribution to the total off-road package. An improved seating position places the driver more than ever in a commanding position to exert effective control over the vehicle in the most demanding of driving conditions.
All the High Ride and 4X4 models have an approach angle of 30 degrees and a departure angle of 22,7 degrees with a rear step bumper. The break-over angle for these models is 22,4 degrees.
On this latest generation Isuzu KB the driver is able to select from a number of 4X4 driving modes using the Terrain Command Dial. The 2 wheel drive to 4 wheel drive high ratio change can be implemented on the fly at speeds of up to 100km/h. The vehicle, as with all 4X4 vehicles, must be stopped to change to the extreme condition 4L (low-range) mode. This selection is also initiated via the Terrain Command Dial.
All LE and LX models, as well as the 4X4 Fleetside models, have a driver activated differential lock as standard equipment, operated by an easily accessed push-button switch. This feature is offered as a production option on the remaining model line-up. The new Electronic Differential lock system allows engagement at vehicle speeds below 60km/h, and automatically disengages when the vehicle speed exceeds 80km/h.
The new Isuzu KB incorporates a number of passive and active safety features to, in the first instance assist in avoiding a collision (active solutions), and in the second instance to protect the occupants if a collision is unavoidable (passive solutions).
At the core of the Isuzu KB safety solutions is the basic chassis design that has an improved Static Stability Factor courtesy of the new chassis with its longer wheelbase and wider track. The overall design has achieved a relatively low centre of mass with major components mounted lower in the chassis without any negative impact on ground clearance. This is a vitally important safety factor in off-road driving conditions.
The new KB’s cab is constructed from high tensile steel for outstanding strength and rigidity and imparts the protection of an effective passenger safety cell. The Extended cab model has a reinforced ‘B’ pillar with three bolt door hinges for added strength and side impact protection.
All models benefit from an increase in the distance from the front of the chassis to the ‘A’ pillars and front bulkhead. This increases the overall impact absorption capability of the chassis in a front on collision.
On all models from the LE specification level up ABS brakes with Electronic Brake Force Distribution are standard. Advanced design front and rear light clusters assist in improving driver visibility and the visibility of the Isuzu KB to other road users.
All D-TEQ and petrol (excluding base) models are fitted with two frontal airbags for the driver and front seat passenger. These work together with seatbelt pre-tensioners and force limiters. The top-of-the-range LX Double Cab is fitted with six airbags, two in the front, two seat side, and two curtain side. Isofix child seat anchors are featured on the rear seats of double cab models.
Where speed sensing automatic door locking is featured the doors will automatically unlock in the event of an airbag deployment.
Aside from occupant protection, Isuzu has placed a high priority on improving pedestrian safety levels. The front bumper is manufactured from polypropylene material and is designed to lessen pedestrian injuries in the event of an impact by firstly absorbing a lot of the impact energy and then lifting the pedestrian up over the bonnet rather than forcing the body down under the vehicle.
Polycarbonate headlamp covers have a higher resistance to shattering on impact and less of a tendency to cause severe lacerations generally associated with glass covers.
The bonnet design of the new Isuzu KB has been evolved around the need for a higher level of pedestrian protection. The design of the bonnet frame is designed to absorb impact energy in a pedestrian accident. The bonnet is designed to crumple in a pedestrian accident and absorb energy. To aid this the engine of the new KB is mounted further back to allow the impact absorbing features of the bonnet and under bonnet fixtures to do their job effectively.
The new 6th Generation Isuzu KB presents itself as a stylish, efficient, latest technology vehicle solution for the commercial or recreational user.
All About the New Isuzu KB South Africa
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