Significant Others

The recent Tokyo Mobility Show was an ideal platform for Isuzu to outline its intentions regarding the newest models destined for the Australian market.
Isuzu’s GIGA fuel cell truck in Tokyo at the Japan Mobility Show, 2023.

Isuzu Australia Limited (IAL) has laid out the product pathway for the staged releases of its all-new truck range across the light, medium and heavy-duty sectors.

While there’s much on offer, the release of the all-new, next generation Isuzu truck range is set, according to IAL Director and Chief Operating Officer, Andrew Harbison, to propel its market success for years to come.

“The release of the previous all-new Isuzu truck range was in 2008, and those models with their various upgrades and improvements over the period have sustained, and even allowed us to build, our market share in the 15 years since,” he says.

In addition to the new previously announced four cylinder F Series models, 2024 will usher in the arrival of the new light-duty N Series as well as the six-cylinder F Series, followed by heavy-duty FX Series model releases in 2025 and concluding with the FY twin-steer range in 2026.

Across the development of the next-generation Isuzu truck range, key drivers include carbon neutrality, driver comfort, safety, and connectivity.

The design approach is described with the acronym ‘I-MACS’ or Isuzu Modular Architecture and Component Standard which follows the idea of combining various modular components, parts, and devices on an as-needs basis, thereby catering to the diverse requirements of Isuzu Trucks customers in today’s market and also into the future with the possibility of more than 2,000 model variations.

Andrew Harbison.
Andrew Harbison speaking in Tokyo. Image: Arkajon.

The new N Series light truck range is set to build on its enduring market success with a host of new features and an expanded line-up including more car driver licenced and factory tipper models, increased GVM ratings, best-in-class safety and ADR80/04 emissions compliance while it will strengthen Isuzu’s “ute to truck” marketing.

“We also have some neat new model options including the tight-access master, the new NKR 6.5-tonne GVM narrow cab models, and a new high-power 4J engine variant in the 4JZ1 with both 150 and 175 horsepower ratings” says IAL Light-Duty Product Manager, Jeff Gibson.

“The all-new cab is comfortable, spacious, and very efficiently appointed, while our new nine-speed Isuzu dual-clutch automated transmission will provide seamless shifts for a super-smooth driving experience.”

The new transmission incorporates a torque convertor as the coupling between the engine and gearbox should further enhance the seamless application of power provided by the dual clutch technology and contribute significantly to fuel efficiency.

Upgraded safety is another feature including intersection autonomous emergency braking (IEB) and traffic sign recognition (TCR) for all models, and full-speed adaptive cruise control (FACC) for all two-pedal models.

The rollout of the all-new Isuzu truck range includes the N Series EV, which will see Australian customer trials scheduled for 2024.

“We also have several Japanese-spec N Series battery electric models due to arrive shortly in Australia,” says Jeff Gibson. “In-line with our strategy of targeting last mile and local council and government applications, the trucks will be car and light rigid licence models, rated at a 4.5-and 7.5-tonne GVM.”

The eNLR at 4.5-tonne GVM will feature a three-battery configuration with 60kWh capacity, while the eNPR is rated at 7.5-tonne GVM in a five-battery configuration with 100kWh capacity.

The electric driveline components are sourced from ZF. A feature of the Isuzu display in Tokyo was the world-first reveal of the e-Vision Cycle Concept, showcasing the potential for a fast-turnaround battery-swap system using robotics to perform the battery exchange process and alleviate charging time issues. Another major part of the future line up will be six-cylinder F Series models, with a 6.7-litre DB6A Euro-VI engine in FSR/D, FV and FTS models, all featuring fully automatic Allison transmissions.

“Our six-cylinder F Series model range with the new engine is a first-class product and an outcome of the alliance with Cummins, representing one of the first major product initiatives from Isuzu Motors’ strategic partnerships,” said IAL Medium and Heavy-Duty Product Manager and Chief Engineer, Simon Humphries.

“We have also upped the spec on heavy-duty FV models, with higher capacity steer axles, Meritor full-air disc brakes and an all-new chassis frame.”

The new four-cylinder F Series models cover the key 9,000 to 12,000 kg GVM sub-segment of the medium-duty market, a category where Isuzu has achieved over 50 per cent market share during the year-to-date.

Transmissions include the six-speed torque-converter automated manual (TC-AMT) and six-speed manual.

“The launch and release of an entirely new product line-up, from our driver’s licence N Series models all the way through to our FY heavy-duty trucks represents a significant undertaking, and so staging the various range releases in Australia made best sense,” says Andrew.

Isuzu uses the term “hospitality” in reference to its cabin features and inside the new F Series cab, drivers are greeted by an all-new interior, with new display, dash, lighting, storage and seating and steering componentry, with improved ergonomics contributing to reduced user fatigue.

In the F Series, essential operational information is provided to the driver via a large and sharp, enhanced full-colour TFT 7-inch multi-information display, located between the speedometer and tachometer.

Comfort out on the road is provided via the new ISRI NTS2 6860 driver’s seat, while improved user experience comes by way of a new steering wheel featuring control buttons for the AV unit, cruise, and the multi-information display.

The single unit headlamps incorporate a combination LED lamp assembly with Bi-LED high and low-beam, distinctive daytime running lamps (DRL), position lamps and indicators.

UD Quon GW 6x4 at the Tokyo Mobility Show.
UD Quon GW 6×4 at the Tokyo Mobility Show. Image: Prime Creative Media.

Attracting plenty of attention on the stand was the heavy-duty Giga Fuel Cell truck which has been developed in conjunction with Honda.

Since 2020, both Isuzu and Honda have strongly backed hydrogen fuel cell (FC) technology as the ideal solution for heavier loads over longer distances.

Production models are slated for 2027. Also on display in Tokyo and of particular interest to the Australian market, the UD Quon GW 6×4 is already on sale in Japan under the Isuzu EXY nomenclature and Isuzu says plans are “well advanced” for a common cab Isuzu/UD Heavy Duty line up featuring “strong specifications,” which indicated IAL’s preference to bring the truck to the Australian market with a 13-litre engine rather than being limited to the 11-litre which is also available.

The displayed truck is powered by a 13-litre engine rated at 530hp.

Other UD trucks displayed included the Level 4 Autonomous Quon tipper and the Euro V Quester which has been developed to suit “emerging” markets and now available with the ESCOT automated manual transmission but is unlikely to be seen here.

The revelations from Isuzu in relation to the company’s multiple future directions are a strong indication that the manufacturer has no intention of relinquishing its number one position in the markets in which it operates.

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