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The KB is a South African stalwart under increasing pressure from a refreshed Ford Ranger and the forthcoming all-new Toyota Hilux.
In the passenger car market a facelift usually coincides with a noticeable styling upgrade.
While the bakkie underpinnings obviously lead to some firmness around town which may become tiring, it does better when cruising. The KB has always been an impressive vehicle in the rough and this latest version doesn’t break with tradition. As mentioned before, you may have to press the throttle pedal in a bit deeper than you may initially expect, but the performance will be sufficient for most.
The steering wheel itself is only adjustable for height, but a comfortable driving position is still easy to find, mostly because the driver’s seat is also height adjustable.
While this upgrade doesn’t appear to be a significant one, especially seeing as the Ranger looks quite dramatically different and the new Hilux is, well, all-new, the KB250D-Teq is now a more balanced offering that will appeal strongly to those buyers who are not interested or impressed with the fashionable fripperies of the newcomers. When you drive the Isuzu KB, you get the impression that it has been designed and engineered to be more of a workhorse than a lifestyle vehicle unlike its competitors.
With the ultimate goal of spending his life writing about cars, Hannes studied journalism at the University of Stellenbosch. The venerable Chevrolet Captiva has received some updates, both inside and out, which brings it up to date with current trends and market needs.
The petrol engine is a 2.4-litre four-cylinder unit with 123kW and 230Nm, and you have a choice between a six-speed automatic or six-speed manual gearbox. Despite some issues with the performance of the petrol-powered models, the Chevrolet Captiva is a surprisingly practical and nice to drive family vehicle. The 2016 Chevrolet Captiva benefits from the Chevrolet Complete Care Programme which covers regular servicing, and road side emergencies. But when it comes to the latest KB, the changes are more focused on specification and, importantly, the engine.
On the road the power increase is quite noticeable, but the engine is still less free-revving than the Ford’s. It has a good 224mm ground clearance, 600mm wading depth, and there’s plenty of underbody protection in the form of guards for the front skid plate, sump, transfer case and fuel tank. It is also worth mentioning that if feels incredibly solid in the rough and tumble of difficult terrain.

It has to be said as well that Isuzu is well-known for prioritising reliability, so what you don’t perhaps have in outright shove is made up for in peace-of-mind. That said, it does have most of the features you’d want from a modern double-cab bakkie. The manual air-conditioning system worked well during our hot-weather test session near Worcester in the Western Cape. The KB feels like a very solid vehicle with an impressive spread of talents and no obvious flaws.
The KB is solid and comes with basic features, but given how tough its competition is, it has an uphill battle ahead of it. A brief stint as a sports editor for Paarl Post followed, before he joined CAR magazine in 2001. There have been a few updates over the years, including the introduction of new engines and the addition of an all-wheel drive model. The market has shown that petrol-powered and front-wheel drive models lead the way in terms of sales, and Chevrolet has responded accordingly.
The diesel motor on offer has 135kW and 400Nm, but you’re stuck with a six-speed automatic transmission.
The headline of the interior upgrade is the introduction of the second generation of General Motors’ infotainment system, MyLink. While the six-speed manual transmission is effortless in operation, the lack of torque is a bit of an issue. It’s one of the very few vehicles that comes with 7-seats and with the third row of seats tucked away, it boasts a huge boot.
Warranty and Roadside Assistance is covered for 5 years or 120 000 km, with a 5 years or unlimited kilometer anti-corrosion warranty.
It boasts a two-speed transfer case, accessible via a rotary switch on the transmission tunnel. Even so, leather is a worthwhile option considering the likely punishing use these vehicles will have to endure. He eventually became the (youngest-ever) editor of CAR in 2011, a position he occupied for two years. This intuitive setup is easy to use and for the first time, Apple CarPlay is available with Android Auto following on shortly.

At sea level and with two occupants, an overtaking manoeuvre required planning and gearing down twice in the manual (or mashing your foot to the floor in the auto) to get the best out of the engine. As part of the Chevrolet Complete Care Programme, the Captiva comes standard with a 3 years or 60 000 kilometre service plan.
The upgrade has also brought the inclusion of cruise control, which is a nice addition especially if you plan on doing long road trips. It’s not uncomfortable, though, and with a load on the back should be an easy going family vehicle.
Considering its off-road prowess, the KB must also be commended for a solid performance on the road. Interestingly, while rear Isofix child seat mounts are fitted, there are only two airbags (compared with the Ford’s six).
The variable real time damping works well on the tarmac, but it comes a little undone when you take it onto bumpy gravel tracks.
This vehicle however is a seven-seater and we’d be concerned that a fully-laden Chevrolet Captiva at Gauteng altitude will be lethargic to the point that overtaking will be near impossible.
Also, when you consider how much a top-spec diesel Chevrolet Captiva costs in comparison to its rivals, it starts to look like seriously good value for money.
In a very short space of time then, the Isuzu KB will go from being one of the newest on the market, to one of the oldest.
For this reason and from the first drive impressions at this point, we’d look to the 400Nm-armed Chevrolet Captiva diesel.
It seems like the manufacturing plant in Port Elizabeth is producing some excellent quality if this test unit is anything to go by. It’s not just Chevrolet that battles with torque-less motors though as its rivals are also boasting similar outputs.

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