Production of new Isuzu bakkie under way

GMSA starts production of 6th generation Isuzu KB

Production of new Isuzu bakkie under way in PE
6th Generation Isuzu KB

General Motors South Africa (GMSA) has started production on the sixth-generation Isuzu KB (D-Max elsewhere) range of bakkies and double cabs at its Port Elizabeth plant for the imminent local launch use as well as for exports to sub-Saharan countries later this year.

The new KB will enter a fiercely competitive pickup market and will be up against rivals such as the Toyota Hilux, the very popular new Ford Ranger, Volkswagen Amarok and also the new Mazda BT-50.

Far more aggressive in overall appearance, the KB has also grown in overall dimensions. Its wheelbase is 45mm longer (3 095mm), resulting in a significantly larger cabin where especially rear passengers benefit from extra legroom. This was a regular complaint against the outgoing model.

In Thailand, the KB is currently offered with a 2.5-litre turbodiesel (87kW/280 Nm), 2.5-litre VGS turbodiesel (101kW/320Nm) and a revised version of the trusty 3.0-litre D-TEQ turbodiesel (132kW/380Nm). Five-speed manual transmissions are fitted to most models, but Isuzu has introduced a new 5-speed 'Rev-Tronic' automatic gearbox that offers a 'Sport' mode. All-wheel-drive versions get a new 'Terrain Command' system.

The 2013 KB uses Isuzu's new i-GRIP ladderframe chassis that is claimed to be 42% stronger than before. In terms of safety equipment, Thai models feature ESC (electronic stability control), TCS (traction control), ABS and emergency brake assist. Dual airbags are fitted to most models, while some of the higher-spec versions also feature side airbags. Thai models feature an integrated infotainment system with navigation and Bluetooth capability.

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