ISUZU needs no introductions in KZN - if you are a double-cab fan, then at some point you have driven an Isuzu.
The newest member of the Isuzu family - the X-Rider - was launched last year as a limited run and has rightfully earned itself a permanent slot in Isuzu’s line-up.
Driving through the Drakensberg region in the X-Rider brought back tons of memories of my school days with my dad as the Isuzu was his bakkie of choice.
My first impression – the Isuzu KB 250 double cab X-Rider is more than just a utility vehicle. Also with most residents of Underberg owning bakkies, this vehicle is a head-turner.
We were able to load everything from the house, including the kitchen sink and a family, and head off to the mountains for some fresh air and the winter breeze.
Once seated in the vehicle, it was difficult to believe I was in a double cab. These bakkies are not known for passenger comfort, however, the X-Rider ticked all the boxes in this regard.
As a driver, it is pretty simple – start the vehicle and go. It has all the basics a driver needs with everything at arm’s length. Fortunately, there are no computer screens, etc, to distract so it’s just you and the road.
As a passenger in the front seat, you definitely travel first class – especially with the leather interior - and there is ample leg room for a long journey.
In the back seat – two adults can sit comfortably, but it is an uncomfortable journey for a third person in the middle.
Once you hit the road, it is smooth sailing. The ride was not rough at all even when we hit the dirt roads leading to our guest cottage near Sani Pass. In other words, no road was too rough for the Isuzu X-Rider.
With a full load – including guests, luggage and other items in the bakkie bin – this vehicle was excellent on ascents and there was almost no need to drop gear at any point.
I have no complaints about the performance of this vehicle in the mountainous region of Drakensberg.
However, in the city, Durban and Pietermaritzburg, things could get a bit awkward in terms of parking. I am sure this is something all bakkie and SUV drivers experience.
I think municipalities need to think about creating bigger parking spaces as many families are opting for bigger vehicles. Manoeuvering through the city and parking is about the only complaint I have. I think park assist would have been a big plus in this “monster” vehicle as I struggled judging the fit of the back of the bakkie.
The ultimate test – husband versus wife - I found this vehicle easy to drive and enjoyed the height and comfort I would never expect from a bakkie (I grew up travelling in bakkies and I do not remember being comfortable). I had to get used to the clutch and gear changing, but it wasn’t difficult to adapt to. As a person who drove a double cab for the first time, it was not bad at all.
It was love at first sight when my husband laid eyes on the X-Rider. After taking photos at every possible angle, he was ready to sit in the Isuzu and experience its comforts. He loved every aspect of the vehicle and would have comfortably driven to Cape Town and back without a break.
Lastly, economy on this bakkie is excellent. At times, you have to guess the economy as it does not have a full computer display giving you this information – if it did have this option, I was not able to find it.
On average - city driving and long distances - the Isuzu X-Rider runs at 9L/100km and possibly lighter at times.
If you are looking for a comfortable bakkie to pack the family, pets and all items in the house into, the Isuzu X-Rider is for you, available at R388 400.