REVIEW | The 2020 Isuzu D-Max X-Rider Black is a stylish grafter

04 March 2020 - 13:17 By Bruce Fraser
The 2020 Isuzu D-Max double cab X-Rider Black.
The 2020 Isuzu D-Max double cab X-Rider Black.
Image: Supplied

When it comes to the evaluation of bakkies, my reviews in the past have often been less than favourable.

The road tests have mainly featured double-cabs and at times I have found myself bemoaning issues related to the lack of suitability when driven solely as an urban commute. And admittedly, this is where the majority of bakkies today are found.

Often big and brash, one quickly learns that your turn-circle is limited, manoeuvring in parking lots is severely compromised and often the ride itself leaves a lot to be desired.

With the recent opportunity to test drive the Isuzu D-Max X-Rider Black, I was determined to utilise the vehicle for its intended purpose and throw more than a few shopping bags into the cargo hold.

With a planned 900km trip to the sleepy little village of Southbroom on the far-reaches of the KwaZulu-Natal south coast planned, it was time to strap down some appliances like a fridge, washing machine and tumble dryer – along with all the other bits-and-pieces one gathers over time – and hit the road.

The interior of the Isuzu D-Max double cab X-Rider Black.
The interior of the Isuzu D-Max double cab X-Rider Black.
Image: Supplied

While many vehicles that compete in this segment tend to blend in to a blur of sameness, the X-Rider Black offers some unique and rather attractive features. First up, as you have probably guessed, it comes in a striking black hue. Nothing too unusual there, but subtle touches of red are added to items on the front bumper, roof rails and other parts of the vehicle.

Also adding to its visual presence are features such as black 18-inch wheels wrapped in impressive off-road tyres – just the thing to tackle the chronically-poor roads as I took a detour through the Eastern Cape.

At the end of the day there is nothing visually crass or over-the-top that one has come to expect in this segment – more a case of contrasting colours in an effective manner. This theme carries over to the interior where you can expect to find red stitching and decals. Subtle but sweet.

The 2020 Isuzu D-Max double cab X-Rider Black.
The 2020 Isuzu D-Max double cab X-Rider Black.
Image: Supplied

Heck, even caked in grime after tackling rather challenging driving conditions, the vehicle still manages to make a strong statement. The centre of any vehicle lies with the power-plant and the X-Rider Black is equipped with an extremely capable 2.5-litre, turbocharged four-cylinder diesel unit. Offering 100kW and 320Nm and linked up to a five-speed manual gearbox, I found the performance of the vehicle more than adequate.

As I alluded to, the vehicle was packed to the hilt, but select the right gear at the appropriate time and the ride is smooth and compliant. Praise-worthy indeed is that after a round-trip of close on 2000km the vehicle returned an extremely impressive fuel consumption figure of 6.9l/100km.

This again highlights that while the word ‘’diesel’’ might not be environmentally-friendly these days, it certainly remains relevant, particularly in markets such as ours. While the Isuzu nameplate will always be a left-field choice in a segment dominated by the likes of Ford, Toyota and Volkswagen, it does provide that feeling that you are driving something that is not mainstream.

And if that’s a feeling you like, then the X-Rider Black might just be the bakkie for you.

Pricing: Isuzu D-Max double cab X-Rider Black: R462 000


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