Since its introduction as an all new model in 2004 the Isuzu KB has been instrumental, together with its sub 1-ton sibling – the Corsa pick-up, in lifting General Motors to a strong number two in the light commercial vehicle market and elevating the Port Elizabeth manufacturer to an overall number three in the total […]

Since its introduction as an all new model in 2004 the Isuzu KB has been instrumental, together with its sub 1-ton sibling – the Corsa pick-up, in lifting General Motors to a strong number two in the light commercial vehicle market and elevating the Port Elizabeth manufacturer to an overall number three in the total vehicle market.

Building on this success General Motors South Africa has announced a significant upgrade to its popular Isuzu KB range of 1-ton pick-ups that brings with it the introduction of the latest diesel engine technology from Isuzu and a new larger capacity V6 petrol engine for its top-of-the-range LX specification petrol models. Also new is an Extended Cab model, a first for the Isuzu KB range in South Africa.

Highlights of the model revision:

  • The introduction of an Extended Cab configuration.
  • The introduction of Isuzu’s latest generation D-TEQ diesel engines.
  • A new 3.6 litre V6 engine replaces the 3.5 litre engine.
  • Revised styling.
  • ABS anti-lock brakes standard from LE specification up.
  • Cruise control for LX models, petrol and diesel.
  • “Shift-on-the-fly” selection of four-wheel drive now standard for all 4X4s.
  • A 5 year/90 000 kilometre Service Plan included in the price of all models.

“The light commercial vehicle sector has been a driving force through a phase of consolidation in the vehicle market through 2007,” says GMSA’s Vice President, Sales and Marketing. “The ongoing high level of interest in this sector supported by business and private buyers encouraged us to investigate new opportunities in the market to build on the success of the Isuzu KB in the market.

“Our research showed that an opportunity to grow our penetration in the 1-ton market presented itself with an increased level of interest in extended cab models. In a price sensitive market this type of vehicle offers a best-fit solution between single and double cab derivatives in certain applications.

“The extended cab format offers more secure interior utility space, and in the case of our Isuzu KB extended cab models, user friendly lockable load bins, balanced with a good sized load box. We envisage that the majority of buyers for this type of vehicle will come from the commercial sector where it finds favour with small and medium business operators, in mining and manufacturing operations, and in the maintenance and repair industry – especially in on-site heavy vehicle maintenance applications.”

The Isuzu KB Extended Cab is offered with a choice of three derivatives, all 4X2 models based on the ‘High Ride’ chassis configuration with torsion bar front suspension. The choice of models is the LE specification level with the new D-TEQ 250 2.5 litre common rail diesel engine, LX specification together with the D-TEQ 300 3.0 litre common rail diesel engine, and LX specification level together with the new 3.6 litre V6 petrol engine. All have 5-speed manual transmissions.

Together with the introduction of the new extended cab model to the Isuzu KB range comes the introduction of three new diesel and petrol engines packed with the latest technology.

As can be expected from a global leader in diesel engine technology, the new Isuzu D-TEQ engines offer a superb balance between performance and economy with their high-pressure common rail fuel injection systems (typically this type of system operates at a pressure of between 1.6 and 2.0 bar!) and advanced turbochargers with intercooling. Both offer reduced noise and vibration compared to earlier generation direct injection diesel engines. Emissions are also substantially reduced.

The 2.5 litre D-TEQ 250 engine produces 85 kW @ 3600 r/min with maximum torque of 280 Nm over a good working range of 1800 – 2200 r/min. This engine has a radiator mounted intercooler. The compression ratio is 18.3:1.

The 3.0 litre D-TEQ 300 engine produces 120 kW @ 3600 r/min with maximum torque of 360 Nm delivered over the range of 1800 – 2800 r/min when combined with the 5-speed manual transmission.

When combined with the automatic transmission option offered on some derivatives this engine is mapped to provide 333 Nm of torque over an much wider range of 1600 – 3200 r/min. This engine has a compression ratio of 17.5:1. Intake air is cooled by a hood mounted air-to-air intercooler.

GMSA continues to offer the 2.5L compensated diesel engine on the base specification diesel engine models. This engine produces 58 kW @ 3800 r/min with maximum torque of 170 Nm @ 1800 r/min.

Complementing the two new D-TEQ diesel engines is the new 3.6 litre V6 petrol engine with all aluminium construction for reduced weight. Features of this engine include advanced cylinder head design with twin overhead camshafts on each bank of cylinders and four-valves per cylinder. Throttle control is electronic and combined with multi-point electronic fuel injection for excellent response and optimised fuel efficiency. Adaptive spark control with coil-on-plug ignition further improves engine efficiency.

This engine produces 157 kW @ 5300 r/min with maximum torque of 313 Nm @ 3200 r/min. The compression ratio is 10.2:1.

The Isuzu 2.0 litre and 2.4 litre petrol engines with multi-point fuel injection remain unchanged. Power and torque for these engines is 88 kW @ 5400 r/min: 174 Nm @ 3200 r/min, and 94 kW @ 4800 r/min: 207 Nm @ 3200 r/min respectively.

A number of styling and specification changes have also been made across the Isuzu KB range at this time. These include new front bumper styling across the range; a new ‘lattice’ type radiator grille; new front end treatment with revised hood, fender and headlight styling; revisions to the outer side panels and tailgate of the loadbox on double cab models; restyled running boards on LX derivatives and a new rear step bumper on LE and LX models.

Interior changes include the addition of silver hard trim on LX models; new styling for the cloth and vinyl trim across the range; and the addition of fuel consumption and outside temperature meters on all LX models.

ABS anti-lock brakes are now standard on all LE specification models. SRS airbag protection is also standard for the driver and passenger on all LE specification and up models.

Cruise control is added to the LX specification for both petrol and diesel models. The convenience of ‘shift-on-the-fly’ 4X4 selection is also now available across the range of all 4X4 models.

A 5 year/90 000 kilometre Service Plan is included in the purchase price of all new Isuzu KBs. Service intervals of both petrol and diesel models is 15 000 kilometres or 12 months.

Gerald Ferreira

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Published : Wednesday November 7, 2007

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