Isuzu, the marketshare leader in low-cab-forward vocational trucks, is seeking to consolidate its hold on that title with the launch of its 2008 N-Series truck line. The new models are available at Isuzu dealerships now and meet all pertinent 2007 U.S. and California diesel emissions standards. The new lineup consists of four models: the NPR, NPR-HD, NQR (in regular and crew-cab versions) and the diesel-powered NRR. These trucks span Classes 3 through 5, with gross vehicle weight ratings ranging from 12,000 to 19,500 pounds.
Smoother ride, more interior comfort
Most of the 2008 model enhancements concentrate on increasing driver and passenger comfort. This goal is manifested by a new cab mounting that delivers a smoother, more comfortable ride for occupants. This new cab mounting system is enhanced by a tapered leaf front suspension and multi-leaf rear suspension that contribute to smooth ride characteristics while retaining the ability to handle heavy cargo loads.
The cab is larger than those on previous N-Series trucks and features enhanced side-to-side and front-to-back room. Tilt and telescoping steering wheels are standard as well.
A new dashboard comes complete with a full array of easy-to-read gauges and warning lights. A 5-inch opening accommodates add-on equipment such as radios, GPS systems, rearview cameras or similar gear.
Landscapers are in and out of their trucks all day. To facilitate cab entry and exiting procedures, Isuzu engineers developed new swing-out doors that open a full 85 degrees and added a self-cleaning entry step. Low-cut side windows have increased lateral visibility.
Just as important as comfort, Isuzu has engineered the new cabs to last longer, even in tough environments. Greater corrosion resistance for all cab structures has been added thanks to galvanized steel panels, electro deposit paint primer and high-quality enamel topcoat paint.
More powerful gasoline and diesel engine options
Isuzu took advantage of the redesign required to meet federal 2007 diesel emissions regulations to boost the horsepower and performance of its 5.2-liter diesel engine. The overhead cam, turbocharged and intercooled engine’s horsepower rating has been boosted from 190 horsepower to 205 horsepower at 2,400 rpm. Engine torque has been increased, as well, to 441 pound-feet of torque at 1,850 rpm (up from 387 pound-feet of torque on pre-2007 engines). An engine B10 rating of 310,000 miles means Isuzu engineers calculate that 90 percent of these engines should reach this mileage before suffering a major component failure. The engine can be mated to a new, Aisin A465 heavy-duty, six-speed, double-overdrive transmission, or a six-speed manual gearbox with synchronized forward gears.
Isuzu hasn’t forgotten you if you prefer gasoline engines in your low-cab-forward trucks. GM’s Vortec 6-liter V-8 engine is available in NPR and NPR HD models. This engine delivers 325 horsepower and 360 pound-feet of torque and is mated to GM’s Hydra-Matic 4L80 four-speed automatic transmission.
Longer wheelbase and crew cab options
Of course landscapers have other low-cab-forward options with Isuzu trucks, including some specialized N-Series versions, as well as F- and H-Series refinements.
If a long wheelbase truck is your preference, the 2008 NQR and NRR models are available in long wheelbase versions. NQR 22-foot trucks are now available with a 200-inch wheelbase – 24 inches longer than previous models. NRR 22- and 24-foot models can be spec’d with a 212-inch wheelbase. An NPR gasoline engine crew cab truck is also available, and Isuzu is specifically targeting landscaping contractors with it. It will be available later this year.
Isuzu F-Series and H-Series trucks are designated 2007i models by the company and have received Allison transmission upgrades this year featuring a close-ratio design, a park pawl and a maximum gross vehicle weight rating of 26,000 pounds.