My Road to STRAB: A tribute to Suzie

We’re always excited when May comes around. The prospect of heading to Mozambique for a weekend of sun, surf and music has to brighten anyone’s day. If not, there is no hope and you shouldn’t read further. Each year we head down to Ponta Malongane at the Southern tip of Mozambique to enjoy not only the sights that our splendid neighbouring country has to offer but to sit back, relax and listen to all the bands and artists performing at the STRAB festival.

Isuzu 01

This year, General Motors SA were kind enough to support us on our journey and they provided the 2014 Isuzu KB 300 for us to drive down there in. Originally I contacted GM and asked if I could review their Chevrolet Trailblazer but as soon as I first climbed into the cabin of the Isuzu, I lost my heart to the golden beast which GM had presented me with.

Not only does the Isuzu have one of the most comfortable seats I’ve experienced in a 4×4, it is spacious, elegant and ergonomic. As a boy, I grew up with several bakkies and we were usually mocked about our Isuzu’s but as soon as my hands touched that wheel and the engine started, all my childhood trauma faded away and that suspiciously naughty grin embedded itself on my face. The bakkie was affectionately named Suzie by GM’s Marketing Manager Mr Lunga N Ntsendwana, and the name stuck.

Isuzu 02

As I normally do, I rounded up some girls to go on the trip with me. I was full of confidence that Suzie would have enough space for myself and the three ladies. Luckily I was right… When we started packing the car in the early hours of the morning on the day of our departure, I nearly had a hernia when I saw the amount of baggage that had to go along. Luckily, because of my experience as a tour manager and the copious amount of space in Suzie’s loading bay, we could make it all fit ensuring that the cabin was freed up and comfortable.

Now the engine in the new KB 300 delivers 130kW/380Nm and that my friends is in my humble opinion, class leading power. If I’m not mistaken that’s about 10kW and 20Nm more than the previous incarnation. It’s about 9 hours to the border and amongst, road works, narrow bends, and a few hair raising moments, Suzie did not disappoint once. When you idle there is power, when you pull away, there is power and when some guy in his Toyota Hilux pulls up next to you and you put your foot down, there is a Toyota Hilux in your rear view mirror.

Isuzu 03

The sound system and the air conditioning unit are also notches above industry standard and we were jamming rock tunes all the way down to Moz. The fact you have an auxiliary input as well as USB functionality made sure that we could entertain ourselves from all our various devices. Having driven a few bakkies in my lifetime, I’ve learned that having power, speed and comfort are all good and well, but you need fuel efficiency. After having driven the bakkie for about a week in the city and then taking it on the open road, I have to say I was flabbergasted.

Unfortunately it is quite expensive filling a tank on any 4×4 but I averaged about 14km per litre in Suzie and that is because not only is the KB damn fuel efficient, I can also drive really, really well. When we got to Mozambique it was of course, time to get down and dirty and to test the actual 4×4 capability. I met a friend at the border and I decided to race him and his Toyota Fortuner to the shores of Ponta Malongane. Check out the video below to see how that was:

After a slight delay at the border, we set off and I have to say. It’s been years since I’ve had so much fun tackling the dunes. Once again, Suzie prevailed, and there was no instance or hint of Suzie getting into trouble in the sand. I really enjoyed the fact that switching from 2×4 to 4×4 was so easy. I’ve heard that the previous model struggled with the transition, but this was smoother than a jazz lick. The girls were a bit iffy with me after I put Suzie through her paces. I told them they should’ve worn sports bras.

Isuzu 04

We ended up at STRAB finally, unpacked and got into party mode. I didn’t event bring a tent. I used Suzie’s load bay as my place of refuge and simply laid out a matrass and bedding. The load bay was covered by a waterproof tarp and it turned out that to be one of the most comfortable places I’ve ever slept in. I might also have had a visitor or two… Who knows?

That’s my secret. I decided to not just enjoy the music this year. We took Suzie out to see the bars and sights outside Malongane and we also went diving and were lucky enough to land in between a school of Bottlenose Dolphins and we also spotted a Black Tip Reef Shark and a humongous sea turtle. The algamamation of experiences as well as the fact that we could travel to such a place in such a fantastic vehicle, means that the entire trip culminated in depression when I finally had to depart from Suzie.

All in all I have to say, I fell in love with this vehicle. I didn’t want to, but I did. From it’s comfort, to it’s power, to it’s absolutely brilliant dynamic driving range, it not only impressed. It amazed. It made me feel like a kid getting his first micro machine. I want to be corny and say it almost felt like the first time I fell in love as a kid. It’s safe to say, that Isuzu has made one of the best bakkies I have encountered in years. A car should make you feel like a kid again, and it did.

Isuzu 05

Thank you General Motors SA and Lunga. It was a blast and I hope we can have another adventure soon. Please go check out General Motors SA on Twitter via @GM and follow Lunga on Twitter via @LungzN and follow @isuzusa as well. Also follow @STRABJamneck and @StrabFestival as well as myself via @phoenixMuso.

Do you agree or disagree with my experience of this vehicle? Leave a comment and let me know. If you’ve enjoyed reading my story, feel free to share this article with your friends on Facebook and Twitter. Remember: Sharing is caring.

Watch this space for regular updates in the Music and Opinion category on Running Wolf’s Rant.

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Kobus Van Rooyen

Kobus Van Rooyen

Band Booking Agent, Tour Manager / Roadside Philosopher & Free Thinker.
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  • Cobus

    Try the 3.0 V6 Navara boet. 177kw & 550nm. 12.8km/l whilst towing a quad trailer with 2 can am Outlanders on it.