Isuzu KB vs Toyota Hilux vs Tata Xenon

Car magazine ran a comparative road test in September 2011 to compare the various competitors in the 'bakkie' market in South Africa with each other.


  • The models being tested were:
  • GWM Steed 5
  • Isuzu KB
  • Mitsubishi Triton
  • Tata Xenon
  • Toyota Hilux
  • VW Amarok


We all know that the Toyota Hilux is probably the king of the road in South Africa when it comes to 4x4 utility vehicles – you see them everywhere, from Sandton tannies spraying on fake mud to make them seem more rugged to Oom Piet transporting loads on real muddy farm roads (OK, only joking about the Sandton tannies…)


But we are particularly interested in how the Xenon stacks up against the Isuzu KB – lesser contenders in the market but still contenders none the less! Surprisingly enough, the Hilux actually sits at the bottom of the heap when it comes to payload, with a payload of only 815 KG. The Isuzu KB can handle up to 900 KG while the Xenon can lug up to about 1000 Kg – a higher payload than their more expensive competitors.


In the axle-articulation challenge, the Isuzu KB came out tops of all 6 the competitors, with Tata Xenon did have a rear wheel lift in the obstacle. Tata Xenon also had a slight problem with traversing a slope, but managed to get on fairly well in heavy sand. The Isuzu KB and the Toyota Hilux also did well in the sand obstacle.


The Hilux was king when it came to stopping power, with the Isuzu KB following about 5 meters after the mark and the Tata Xenon coming in about 8 meters past what the Hilux managed to achieve.


The Toyota Hilux really came out tops with regards to off-roading, but the bakkies were also compared with regards to everyday driving and comfort.
The Isuzu KB reportedly shows its age in the cabin, with older formats styling and not much lumbar support for drivers and passengers. The drive overall with regards to firmness on the road and steering does seem smooth enough though. The Xenon acquitted itself quite well on the road, being considered to be relatively firm and comfortable on rough roads. The lack of airbags in the model of Tata Xenon being tested did detract from the safety features although newer models of Tata Xenon will soon have airbags available.


The test results are clear – the Toyota Hilux does remain the king of the road in South Africa, although not really breaking new ground but refining a tried and trusted recipe.


The Isuzu KB is like a dependable old work horse – you know what you are getting since Isuzu, much like Hilux, is reluctant to fiddle with a formula that they know works and therefore has not made much progression.


Of course the main selling point for the Tata Xenon in comparison with the Isuzu KB as well as the Toyota Hilux, is its price point.


Where else can you get a 3L 4x4 Double Cab at just over R200 000 except at a Tata dealer?


The Isuzu KB Diesel 4x4 retails for about R371 000 and the Toyota Hilux 3.0 Diesel Double Cab 4x4 Raider has a recommended retail price of R431 000