Bedford finally replaced its aging Bedford KB model with the Vauxhall Brava in 1988, and this was renamed the Vauxhall Brava in 1990 with the demise of the Bedford brand. Unlike its predecessor, the Bedford / Vauxhall Brava was available in four-wheel drive, which opened it up more to the agricultural industry.
As with the Bedford KB, the Vauxhall Brava was a rebadged Isuzu KB and was manufactured by Isuzu in Thailand. It was Vauxhall’s first four-wheel drive vehicle and, unlike the previous pickup, there was a choice of bodystyles and much more powerful engines for strenuous applications. There was no replacement when GM withdrew the Vauxhall Brava from sale in 2002, although there is talk of Vauxhall re-entering the market in around 2019 (read more on the proposed Vauxhall pickup).
Engine and driveline
Initially, the Brava was available with the choice of either a 2.3-litre petrol (89hp/167Nm) or a 2.2-litre diesel (53hp/120Nm), and they were both coupled to a five-speed manual transmission. The 4×4 models came with an extra gear stick to engage four-wheel drive and low range.
The 2.3-litre petrol engine was dropped on the Vauxhall Brava in 1995 and the 2.2-litre diesel was replaced by a 2.5-litre diesel (76hp/160Nm) in 1991. In 1995, a turbo-diesel engine was offered, which produced up to 100hp and 226N.
On the road
The Vauxhall Brava was fitted with double-wishbones at the front and leaf-springs at rear, which was fitted with telescopic double acting shock absorbers and revised bushes to improve the unladen ride. The Brava also had an improved steering system, which made it more responsive and required less effort to turn.
Load area and practicality
The load area of the Vauxhall Brava measured 2,300mm long by 1,530mm wide (1,070mm between the wheelarches), although the load length was restricted to 1,510mm long on the double-cabs that were introduced in 1996. The Vauxhall Brava was fairly practical too, offering a 1,100kg payload and a towing capacity of up to 1.9 tonnes.
However, despite the ventilated front disc brakes, heavy duty suspension and powerful turbo-diesel engine, the maximum gross combination weight is just 3.5 tonnes. Given the 1.5 tonne kerbweight, this would leave very little room left for payload when towing the full capacity (see our towing guide).
If you want to discover more pickup trucks from the 70’s and 80’s, visit Classic Pickup Trucks.