There’s life in the old horse yet
Ever since this version of Isuzu’s popular bakkie was first introduced as the KB six or seven years ago, we've called it the working man’s bakkie.
Indeed it's still among the better looking bakkies on the market — especially in this X-Rider Black get-up that returns one final time on 250 models, pretty much as a goodbye to the pickup that's not just seen Isuzu becoming a local manufacturer in its own right as it took over the GM plant down in PE, but it also recently went through a name change to D-Max in its lifetime, to keep it in line with international markets.
Delivering a smooth and resilient ride on all road surfaces, overall handling and road manners are good although this one felt a tad hard, perhaps due to its bigger wheels and tyres, as much as it has to do with this one being among the older bakkies on the market. It too will be replaced soon, but hold on a second — there are a few good reasons to consider this run-out model, not least of all from a price to spec point of view.
Finished in Black Meet Kettle (quite a name for a colour), X-Rider Black also gets blacked out wheels and matt black accessories, while that familiar hard-wearing D-Max cabin adds red stitched black leather trim to the seats and multifunction steering wheel, piano black trim and 8-inch touchscreen infotainment brings Bluetooth for audio streaming and handsfree calling.
Packing Isuzu's venerable 100kW 320Nm 2.5 litre 16-valve turbodiesel powering the rear axle through a 5-speed manual gearbox, X-Rider Black managed zero to 100km/h in just under 11.93 seconds in our tests, while pulling from 80 to 120km/h in just over ten seconds. No great shakes versus some of its significantly more powerful and even smaller-bore rivals. But then a base spec Navara costs R50 000 more, add sixty grand for a base-spec Triton and the cheapest Amarok goes for R90K more, while rental spec Rangers and Hiluxes in this area all cost a bit more too.
X-Rider Black also boasts a reasonable active and passive safety spec from Electronic Force BAS ABS braking, Electronic Stability Control with Traction Control, driver and passenger airbags and Side-Impact Protection Bars.
So no, this bakkie was never going to stop any presses or write any incredible headlines — X-Rider Black is more a run-out special series of a reliable and trusty double cab that continues to deliver on its core strength of honesty of purpose. It still knows it’s just a bakkie and that’s a plus, never mind that this particular mid-ranger packs an extraordinary amount of spec at a bloody good price… - Michele Lupini
Images - Giordano Lupini
ROAD TESTED: Isuzu D-Max 250 DC X-Rider Black
Engine: 100kW 330Nm 2.5-litre turbodiesel I4
Drive: 5-speed manual RWD
0-60km/h: 4.77 sec
0-100km/h: 11.93 sec
400m: 18.1 sec @ 119km/h
80-120km/h: 10.38 sec
Towing capacity: 2000 Kg
Fuel: 7.7 l/100km
CO2: 203 g/km
Warranty/Service: 5y 120K/5y 90Kkm
LIST PRICE: R457K