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Isuzu se KB al jare lank ‘n gunsteling

Sedert die 1970’s was daar nog net een bakkie wat deurentyd ‘n gedugte teenstander vir die Toyota Hilux was, naamlik die Isuzu KB.

Die aanvanklike model het egter nie die Isuzu-naam in Suid-Afrika gedra nie. Dit was ‘n Chevrolet bakkie met ‘n isuzu-kragbron. In Junie 1972 het die tydskrif Car aangekondig dat die Chevrolet LUV kort tevore in Suid-Afrika op die mark gekom het.  Daar was net een model beskikbaar, wat met ‘n bonokasenjin van 1,6 liter, wat uit die Isuzu Bellet gekom het, toegerus was  Die LUV het net ‘n paar detailveranderinge ondergaan totdat General Motors in 1978 besluit het om die Isuzu KB-naam te gebruik. Die reeks is ook uitgebrei met die toevoeging van ‘n enjinopsie wat ‘n rewoulsie in die bakkiemark tot gevolg sou hê. Die KB 20 het dieselfde enjin as die LUV gehad, maar die nuweling was toegerus met ‘n dieselenjin van twee liter, en dit het dadelik ‘n gunsteling onder die boeregemeenskap geword. Dit was nie ‘n verfynde enjin nie; ‘n mens moes die enjin aansit en smoor deur ‘n knop te trek en sy topsnelheid was so laag dat dit onmoontlik was om die snelheidsperk op die oop pad te oorskry, maar die KBD 20 het ‘n gesogte werkesel geword. Die pertol- en dieselmodelle was ook met lang asafstande beskikbaar. In 1980 is nog ‘n gewilde keuse by die reeks gevoeg. Die KB 40 en KBD 40 was die eerste eentonbakkies met vierwielaandrywing en veral die KB 40 is geesdriftig deur die motorpers ontvang. Benewens die toevoeging van die nuwe modelle was daar ‘n paar ander verskille tussen die LUV en die KB; die KB se buitespieëls was op die deure eerder as die modderskerms gemonteer, die KB het enkele- eerder as dubbele kopligte gekry en die instrumente was rond eerder as ovaalvormig.

In 1981 is die tweede generasie bekendgestel. Nadat die reeks aanvanklik uit dieselfde aantal modelle bestaan het, is nuwes gou bygevoeg. Die modelbenamings het ook na KB 21 en 41 verander, maar dié modelle het dieselfde enjins as hul voorgangers gehad. Die KB 22 en 42-modelle het egter ‘n enjin van 1,8 liter in die petrolmodelle en 2,2 liter in die dieselmodelle gehad. Aanvanklik was daar ‘n reeks bykomstighede beskikbaar, maar nadat ander vervaardigers die leiding geneem het en modelle bekendgestel het wat eerder op ontspanning as werk gemik was, is die LE-modelle by die reeks gevoeg. Hierdie modelle het wit sierwiele en strepe aan die bakwerk gehad en was dadelik gewild. Gedurende hierdie reeks se modellewe was daar gereeld detailveranderinge, en nóg nuwe enjins is bekendgestel. Die nuwe petrol- en dieselenjins se kapasiteite was onderskeidelik 2,3 en 2,5 liter.

In 1989 is die derde generasie bekendgestel, weer eens met dieselfde enjins as sy voorgangers. Op daardie stadium het Toyota reeds ‘n dubbelkajuit met vierwielaandrywing by die reeks gevoeg, en ander vervaardigers was aanvanklik traag om daarop te reageer. Mettertyd sou dinge egter verander.  Die 2,3 liter-enjin van die aanvanklike modelle van hierdie reeks is vervang met ‘n nuwe een van 2,6 liter, maar die 1,6 liter-enjin is behou. Daar was egter een enjinkeuse wat nuwe standaarde gestel het, net soos die oorspronklike KBD 20 in 1978 gedoen het. Die KB 280 DT was seker die eerste turboaangejaadge dieselbakkie in sy klas en het baie vinnig ‘n gunsteling geword. Nadat privaatondernemings dubbelkauit-ombouings op hierdie reeks uitgevoer het, het die destydse Delta-motorkorporasie, wat toe nog verantwoordelik was vir die vervaardiging en verspreiding van Isuzu-bakkies was, na die koperspubliek geluister en hul eie dubbelkajuit op die mark gebring. Benewens die LE-modelle was daar ook ‘n KB 250-dubbelkajuit met banksitplekke voor en agter en  vinielbekleedsel, maar met wit staalwiele om hom van die werkesel-modelle te onderskei. Nog ‘n gewilde enjin wat by die reeks gevoeg is, was die KB 200, met ‘n viersilinder-petrolenjin.  Tot dusver was daar net twee vlakke van afwerking, naamlik die basiese werkesel en die LE, maar die Fleetside, met die keuse tussen die twee kleiner petrolenjins en die 2,5 liter dieselenjin, is later by die reeks gevoeg. Die vernaamste verskille tussen dié modelle en die werkesels was dat die Fleetside wit staalwiele en straallaagbande gehad het. Hoewel hierdie generasie ‘n ernstige bedreiging vir die Toyota Hilux was, was dit tyd vir ‘n plaasvervanger.

Die volgende generasie het in 1997 op die mark gekom en dadelik die topverkoper op die Suid-Afrikaanse mark geword. Die 1,6 liter-enjin is aan die mark onttrek, maar verder was die enjinreeks dieselfde as voorheen. Daar was egter een toevoeging, naamlik ‘n V6-enjin van 3,2 liter. Daar was egter nog ‘n nuwe model wat groot belangstelling uitgelok het. Nissan het groot sukses behaal met die Sani, ‘n stasiewa wat op die Hardbody-bakkie gebaseer was. Isuzu se antwoord hierop was die Frontier, wat net met die turboaangejaagde diesel en die V6 beskikbaar was; dit was dié vervaardiger se eerste sportnutsvoertuig sedert die Trooper. Hierdie model was uiters gewild, maar toe die volgende generasie van die KB bekendgestel is, is hy nie vervang nie. In 2002 is die gewilde 2,8 liter-turbodieselenjin vervang deur een van drie liter, en ‘n nuwe spesifikasievlak, bekend as die LX, is by die reeks gevoeg.

In 2004 het die voorlaaste generasie tot dusver op die mark gekom. Die dieselenjins het onveranderd gebly, maar twee van die petrolenjins is vervang. Die viersilinderenjin sou voortaan ‘n kapasiteit van 2,4 liter hê, en die V6-enjin 3,5 liter. Die res van die reeks het min verander, maar nog ‘n nuwe toevoeging sou later volg. In die 1980’s het Datsun, natuurlik later Nissan, die King Cab bekendgestel. Die gedagte was dat daar ruimte binne die kajuit moes wees vir items wat dalk vatbaar vir diefstal of beskadiging sou wees en te klein vir die laai-area sou wees. Dit het lank geduur voordat hierdie idee regtig begin posvat het, maar toe die Mitsubishi Colt Clubcab skielik gewild geword het, het ander vervaardigers begin om hul eie weergawes van hierdie bakvorm te ontwikkel. Isuzu se weergawe het as die Extended Cab bekendgestaan, en was net met die LE- en LX-spesifikasievlakke beskikbaar. Nog ‘n gewilde opsie wat net op die 300 LX-dubbelkajuit beskikbaar was, was ‘n outomatiese ratkas.  Daarby is ‘n kragtiger 2,5 liter-dieselenjin, bekend as die D-Teq, by die reeks gevoeg. Hierdie enjin was standaardtoerusting vir die LE en opsioneel beskibaar vir die basiese- en Fleetside-modelle.

Die huidige generasie van die KB is in 2013 bekendgestel, en die enigste groot verandering was dat die V6-enjin aan die mark onttrek is. Die LX-modelle was besonder goed toegerus, met onder meer ‘n ritrekenaar, Bluetooth-verbinding, deure wat outomaties sluit as ‘n mens wegtrek en ‘n klankstelsel wat van die stuurwiel af beheer kon word. Daar was ook ‘n weergawe van die Fleetside met ABS-remme en lugsakke. Die ander groot verandering was dat die Extended Cab-modelle twee bykomende deure gekry het; dit was agter geskarnier en daar was geen B-pilaar nie. In 2015 het die reeks ‘n aantal veranderinge ondergaan; die belangrikste hiervan is dat die Fleetside voortaan in ‘n Extended Cab en ‘n dubbelkajuit beskikbaar sou wees; elk met ‘n 2,5 liter dieselenjin.

Tans is daar nog nie ‘n nuwe reeks Isuzu-bakkies beskikbaar nie, maar nuwe toevoegings en veranderings soos die nuwe X-Rider word van tyd-tot-tyd aangekondig om die Isuzu KB-reeks lewendig te hou.

 

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