Isuzu KB Review: KB300 Extended Cab - Bigger than a Single Cab
09 July 2013 - Shawn Jooste
A bakkie is a bakkie is a bakkie. Right? Or maybe not. I’ve driven quite a few bakkies over the last year or so, starting with the Amarok, and it’s amazing how different each one can be.
I recently spent a week with the Isuzu KB300 Extended cab, which isn’t a single cab, and also isn’t a double cab, it’s somewhere in between. Also not to be confused with a Club cab, which has an extra row of smaller seats in the back. Without the back seats it’s not as practical as a double cab, but it’s more practical than a single cab. The extra space behind the front seats is a boon for any tradesman who would like the extra security offered by locking your tools away inside your car.
The 3.0-litre 4-cylinder engine produces a solid 130kW, but it’s the 380Nm of torque that makes it really good. The engine tuning and gear ratios make the KB300 good to drive on the road too. It’s not going to set any blistering speed records, and in fact Isuzu don’t even provide 0-100km/h times.
Easy gear changes remove the feeling that you’re driving a farm work horse, and adds a more refined feeling to the overall drive.
The elevated seating position really makes you feel like you’re towering over other cars on the road, which sometimes can be useful.
Despite the size of the car, and a fairly large engine, the Isuzu manages to be quite economical, keeping a steady 8 L/100kms on the clock.
We didn’t have the 4x4 variant, but the claimed figures between the 4x4 and the 2x4 are only 0.1 L/100kms, which isn’t bad for a 4 wheel drive car.
On the open road the fuel economy didn’t drop too drastically, a 6th gear might have helped, but stuck in 5th gear at speed on the highway the revs are kept up somewhat.
On the inside there was an acceptable helping of tech. The air-conditioning system was a funky central round affair that had the temperature in large numbers on a round dial, which confusingly didn’t change the temperature when turned, but rather adjusted the fan speed of the air-con. The temperature dial was to the left.
USB and AUX ports, accompanied by a CD player that can play MP3’s can be found in the dash, and controls for all these gizmos can be found on the steering wheel.
The trip computer was quite upmarket for a bakkie, but a pleasant up market addition none the less.
The suspension wasn’t too bad, considering the car I was driving. I’ve certainly driven worse bakkies, and while it’s not quite a luxury sedan it’s quite a fun ride, with the typical bounciness you’d expect from such an elevated vehicle.
The loading bay in the back is fabulously big, while still providing some room in the cabin behind the front seats. It’s not big enough to get seats into, but it is useful packing space.
The doors open like suicide doors (one to the left, and one to the right, making access to the area behind the seats easy. Behind the driver’s seat was a cooler-box type container that’s quite firmly bolted into the chassis, and comes with a lock and key to store valuables in, in the absence of a boot, which I thought was quite a clever touch and a very useful place to lock valuables away in.
Bakkies are a tricky thing to advise people on, simply because they get used for such a vast array of purposes. It ranges from a hard working, off-road capable work horse with a single cab, to a double cab, useless on the gravel, urban show-off bakkie.
The Isuzu Extended seems to sit somewhere in between. It’s not entirely useful as a family vehicle due to the lack of seats in the back, and it’s probably a bit up market for a farm work horse, but there is a market in the middle, for people who don’t have kids, and don’t need back seats, but enjoy an active lifestyle and need the extra bit of space.
Together with a powerful diesel engine, and rugged good looks the Isuzu KB300 Extended cab is a really nice bakkie to drive, providing great performance but keeping the economy in line.
See our fine range of bakkies for sale here.
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