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Isuzu X-Rider back in Black

November 8, 2019
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Isuzu Motors South Africa is encouraging its customers to “step out of the shadows” with the limited-edition D-Max X-Rider Black. MARISKA MORRIS test drives the double-cab bakkie in the windy Port Elizabeth (PE)

To promote the return of the limited-edition Isuzu D-Max X-Rider Black double-cab bakkie, Isuzu Motors South Africa hosted an urban adventure weekend to showcase the vehicle in its “natural environment”. It was an opportunity to highlight the versatility of the all-black design while reiterating the vehicle’s capabilities – starting with a gala dinner hosted at the Isuzu manufacturing plant in PE.

While a bakkie might seem like an unconventional choice of vehicle for a black-tie event, the complete black design of the X-Rider Black is meant for luxury. The stark black exterior complete with matt black accessories and blacked out 18-inch alloy wheels is well suited to high-end nightlife.

The interior also boasts a black colour scheme with red accents, from the red stitching on the black leather bucket seats and leather-trimmed steering wheel (complete with audio controls) to the X-Rider logo on the headrest and door trim. Even the eight-inch, touchscreen infotainment system – standard in each X-Rider – has a red colouring.

Along with the alloy wheels and black design, the X-Rider Black has several unique accessories that are standard with the bakkie, including a bold black front bumper guard, projector headlamps with LED daytime running lights, front fog lamps, all-terrain tyres, matt black roof rails, black side steps and sports bar.

While beautiful, the Isuzu D-Max X-Rider Black doesn’t compromise on power, as it proved on the second day of the urban adventure with a 100-km scenic drive along the coastline from the PE city centre through the Van Stadens Wild Flower Nature Reserve to Falcon Rock amid Uitenhage Farms.

Although it is not small, with its gross vehicle mass weighing in at three tonnes, I didn’t notice the size or weight of the vehicle. It was light, although sturdy. Much of this, I believe, is thanks to the hydraulic power-assisted steering and ample power provided by the turbo-charged 2,5-Ɩlitre 100 kW diesel engine.

While only available in manual, the X-Rider Black is a pleasure to drive. The powerful engine resulted in fewer gear changes as I drove through Sardinia Bay and on a windy route through the Van Staden’s Nature Reserve, while the 320-nm torque made for fast acceleration on the highway.

The X-Rider Black is available only in 4×2, but comes standard with hill-start assist and hill-descent control. Even on gravel road, the X-Rider Black was easy and comfortable to drive with high-ride suspension and shock absorbers. Although it is not meant for the greatest of outdoors, I believe this bakkie will be at home on any construction site, farm or mine.

While beautiful and designed for luxury, the Isuzu D-Max X-Rider Black is still built for hard work with a 1,48-m load box, which is fitted with a tonneau cover, a one-tonne payload capacity and 2,1-t tow bar.

The X-Rider Black is a no-frills bakkie – though the infotainment centre with Bluetooth capabilities and manual aircon are some great additional features. Its four-cylinder engine has a fuel consumption of 7,7 Ɩ per 100 km on a combined cycle.

The performance is what the market has come to expect from the X-Rider range. The only thing that sets the limited-edition X-Rider Black apart is its stark black styling.

Priced at R462 000 (including VAT), the X-Rider Black comes standard with Isuzu Complete Care, which includes a five-year, 120 000-km bumper-to-bumper warranty, roadside assist, anti-corrosion warranty and a five-year 90 000-km service plan.

Sure, the X-Rider doesn’t boast the most advanced technology, and perhaps an automatic option would be appealing, but it does offer a competent vehicle with beautiful design at an affordable price. In the words of Isuzu Motors South Africa: “Your budget may be mid-range, but the look of your ride can be decidedly top-class.”

The Isuzu D-Max X-Rider Black is ideal for a light commercial vehicle owner or bakkie enthusiast who would prefer a more high-end design and finish without forking out a small fortune, or compromising on performance. It is a great vehicle for the no-frills, but stylish vehicle owner – endorsed by SuperSport presenter Xola Sibabalwe Ntshinga.

I’m a bookaholic born and bred with too many novels on my already over-flowing bookshelves. When I’m not reading Lauren Beukes or binge watching New Girl, I’m writing … about everything. My interests and passions change almost daily as I learn about new things and causes. If I find it interesting, I will write about it. I don’t understand why anyone would spend money on a sports car when they can buy books. I’m more a dog person than a cat person, although I would love to own a bunny one day. I can never seem to tame my very curly hair. I will never say no to a movie date and I prefer my moijto shaken not stirred.

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