Tinashe Makichi Motoring
Growing demand for light commercial vehicles has spurred Isuzu to expand its offering in Sub-Saharan Africa to include the KB 4×4 crew cab X-Rider model. Introduced initially as a 700-unit limited edition, the X-Rider proved so popular with South African bakkie fans that it earned itself a permanent place in the comprehensive Isuzu line-up.
Now, all of Isuzu’s dealers in 14 left-hand motoring countries across the continent can offer this good-looking go-getter too, initially in the 4×4 double cab derivative only. Production for these left-hand drive markets will begin in September next year, with initial shipments commencing towards the end of the year. General manager, planning and programme management for Sub-Saharan Africa Dominic Rimmer said the X-Rider will also be exported to right-hand drive countries in and around South East Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique, Mauritius and Seychelles.
“The X-Rider is a unique model, home-grown by the local team to meet local customer demands. Africa’s terrain, our outdoors lifestyle and entrepreneurial spirit require a vehicle that will partner motorists reliably, cost effectively and with a certain level of driving enjoyment too.
“Already well-loved and trusted for its decades of toughness and reliability, the Isuzu brand introduced a new level of comfort and individual style when it introduced this workhorse last year. Creating new models that step up to match customers’ desires will ultimately grow the business for Isuzu.
“In our African markets, with a growing middle class, an increasing number of customers are moving into the leisure pick-up segment, for which the X-Rider offers the ideal combination of great styling and specifications,” said Rimmer. In South Africa, bakkie fans are spoilt for choice with 19 KB derivatives in Isuzu’s three body types. The attention-grabbing X-Rider is powered by the 100kW/320 Nm high-output version of Isuzu’s proven 2,5 litre common rail direct injection turbo diesel engine.
The 18 inch wheels are shod with 255/60 Grabber all-terrain tyres as well as the inclusion of a sports bar; running boards; projector headlamps with styled front bumper guard. Luxurious leather seats, stand-out red stitching and radio controls on the leather-trimmed steering wheel are just some of the interior style features that set X-Rider a cut above, combining added exclusivity with exceptional value for money.
In the recent past, every year Isuzu issued a special edition of their KB bakkie – in 2014 the Midnite Edition was made available (featuring blacked-out trim) and in 2015 the Serengeti, with yellow-orange flashes (recalling the Serengeti wilderness of Africa) went on sale. This year, they released the KB X-Rider.
The KB X-Rider newcomer can be readily be identified by a number of visual cues: stylish 6-spoke 2 tone black and diamond cut (high-sheen surface) 18-inch alloys with red centre cap lettering and shod with 255/60 R18 all-terrain tyres, black tubular side steps and black sports (roll) bar (both with X-Rider badging), black front bumper guard, uprated tow bar with a 2,1 ton braked-trailer capacity, LED daytime running lights, and the ISUZU grille lettering in red.