Isuzu to resume gas cabover production, unveils EcoMax truck


 Isuzu Commercial Truck of America, Inc. has announced that production for its gas-powered N-Series trucks will resume early in the second quarter of 2011 and will be offered as a 2012 model year. Isuzu and General Motors have reached an agreement for the supply of the GM gas engine and transmission used for Isuzu’s gas-powered NPR, NPR HD and gas Crew Cab models.

While the models and most specifications of the Isuzu gas truck remain unchanged from the previous offerings, there will be several new features, including a six-speed automatic transmission that will be standard on the 2012 model year. All gas N-series models are standard build with the 6.0L V-8 engine with 325 horsepower and 360 lb.-ft. of torque.

Previously the Isuzu gas-powered N-Series was assembled by GM in Janesville, WI until the plant ceased operations in 2009. An announcement will be released in the next 30-60 days identifying the company and the location that Isuzu has chosen to partner with for the assembly of the future 2012 gas N-Series model.



In other news, Isuzu also introduced its new 12,000-lbs GVWR NPR ECO-MAX low cab forward truck, offering up to 20% improved fuel economy and increased payload capacity compared to previous NPR models.

The new 2011 model year truck is powered by Isuzu’s next-generation 4JJ1-TC diesel engine, which has operated globally in Isuzu’s N-Series models for the last five years. The 4J engine family dates back to 1984 and is the highest volume engine produced by Isuzu. This is the first time the engine will be utilized in the U.S. market.

The turbocharged, 4-cylinder, 3-liter engine delivers 150 horsepower and 282 lbs.-ft torque. The 4J engine is 2010 EPA and CARB OBD compliant. It offers a B10 engine life rating of 310,000 miles, which means 90 percent of the engines should reach this mileage before needing an overhaul. The engine is mated to an Aisin heavy-duty, six-speed automatic transmission with double overdrive and lockup PTO function.

“The NPR ECO-MAX is the result of Isuzu’s commitment to help our environment by significantly reducing emissions and fuel usage,” said Shaun Skinner, Executive Vice President and General Manager of Isuzu Commercial Truck of America, Inc. “This truck is a product of our SEE design philosophy, which stands for Safety, Economy and Environment. This model has been specifically created to reduce the cost of ownership while meeting the world’s most stringent emissions requirements. We accomplished this without sacrificing performance, durability, or operating costs. Due to its broad torque curve, power density and 6-speed transmission, the NPR ECO-MAX has shown better hill climbing ability than the model it replaces. It’s also up to

170 lbs. lighter, so it offers increased payload capacity. We expect this unit to deliver enhanced productivity, minimum downtime and the lowest operating cost in the Class 3 truck segment.”

The cab of the NPR ECO-MAX is the same size as the previous NPR and offers 3-across seating. The cab tilts for easier servicing of the engine and transmission.

Wheelbase choices of 110 inches, 134 inches and 151 inches accommodate bodies up to 16 feet in length.

In addition to the NPR ECO-MAX, Isuzu is also pleased to introduce the 2011 model year NPR-HD (14,500 lbs GVWR), NQR (17,950 lbs GVWR) and NRR (19,500 lbs GVWR) models. These higher GVWR N-series models will be powered by a heavily revised version of the 5.2L 4HK1-TC engine first introduced in the 2005 model year. For 2011, the 4HK features increased power output (from 205 to 210 hp with an automatic transmission, and from 175 to 190hp with manual transmission) and up to 8% better fuel economy. Like the 4JJ1-TC engine powering the new NPR ECO-MAX, this revised 4HK1 engine is both EPA 2010 and CARB HD-OBD emissions compliant.

“Isuzu’s 2011 N-Series will be the only low cab forward trucks available for sale this year that meet the EPA’s 2010 emissions requirement with not only one engine but two engines,” Skinner added. “Isuzu is proud to introduce a product that meets the world’s most stringent emissions standards while reducing our customer’s cost of ownership through significantly improved vehicle fuel economy”.

To help reduce operating costs further, Isuzu’s exclusive Data Recording Module can provide a Vehicle Health Report showing the condition of the engine, transmission, emission system and brakes, plus fuel economy and driver operating habits. A new Multi-Information Display on the dashboard shows the driver real-time engine and truck operational performance data at a glance.

Isuzu’s 2011 model N-series product line uses selective catalytic reduction (SCR) to achieve the 2010 EPA emission standards. SCR is an after-treatment technology that involves injecting Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF) (a water-based solution containing urea) into the hot exhaust stream of an engine. This Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF), working with a catalyst in the exhaust after-treatment system, breaks down harmful oxides of nitrogen (NOx) into harmless nitrogen and water vapor.

Isuzu’s N-series trucks feature large panoramic windows that provide exceptional visibility for driver safety. The low cab forward design affords unsurpassed maneuverability. For the 2011 model year, wheel cut angles have been increased to 50 degrees, to provide a curb-to-curb turning circle diameter as little as 31.5 feet.

To extend durability, the cab has rust and corrosion protection provided by galvanized steel panels, electro-deposit paint primer and enamel paint topcoat. Unitary construction and strong reinforcements add to cab durability and safety.

Isuzu opened 2011 model year N-Series ordering on Monday, March 1, 2010. Isuzu’s N-diesel models are available from the factory in a variety of exterior cab colors: Arc White (standard), Wheatland Yellow, Woodland Green, Cardinal Red, Dark Blue and Ebony Black II.