Isuzu X Rider 300

It may be ready to be replaced, but there’s still plenty life in this old fave

Ever since this version of Isuzu’s popular bakkie was first introduced as the KB six or eight 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 new 3 litre Double Cab X-Rider auto get-up. Ours being in postbox red makes even more of an impression. Add the black treatment to the grill complete with a red Isuzu badge, a black bumper and 18-inch wheel options. There’s a choice of black rims and diamond cut too.


The first 3-litre X-Rider also comes exclusively with the new 6-speed automatic and it’s 4×2 only. It’s a sort of 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. It also went through that name change to D-Max in its lifetime, to keep it common with international markets.

300 X-Rider also gets matt black accessories and a lockable tailgate with rear view camera and a three and a half-tonne tow bar. The familiar harder-wearing D-Max cabin adds red stitching to its black leather pews and multifunction steering wheel, piano black trim. And bold 8-inch touchscreen infotainment. That brings Bluetooth for audio streaming and handsfree calling.

The big X-Rider 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. 


Packing Isuzu’s venerable 130kW 380Nm 3 litre 16-valve turbodiesel powering the rear axle, X-Rider managed zero to 100km/h in 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 more powerful smaller-bore rivals. 

This bakkie does have a smooth and resilient ride on all road surfaces though. And overall handling and road manners are good too, even if a bit hard. Perhaps due to its bigger wheels and tyres. As much as being among the older bakkies on the market. It 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. It’s all yours for just R602K. Pretty handy considering some of those rival DC prices these days. 

This venerable Isuzu was never going to stop the presses or write any wild headlines. The big-bore X-Rider is more 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 good price too… – Michele Lupini

Testing: Giordano Lupini, images: Philip Makhonde

ROAD TESTED: Isuzu D-Max 300 DC X-Rider
Engine: 130kW 380Nm 3-litre turbodiesel I4      
Drive: 6-speed automatic RWD
0-60km/h:            4.37 sec
0-100km/h:           10.53 sec    
0-120km/h            15.23 sec                  
400m:                17.4 sec @ 126km/h           
80-120km/h:          8.78 sec         
Payload:             1025kg
Towing capacity:     3500 Kg              
Fuel:                7.5 l/100km     
CO2:                 198 g/km
Warranty/Service:    5y 120K/5y 90Kkm 
LIST PRICE:          R602K     
RATED:               7      
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