Isuzu has been building trucks since 1920 when the Japanese manufacturer formed a joint venture with the Wolseley car company of the UK to produce passenger vehicles as well as a 1.5 tonne truck.
This year marks Isuzu’s 50th anniversary in Australia and the 36th year it has held the number one position for unit sales in the Australian market.
This latest F Series medium duty offering demonstrates Isuzu’s continuous focus on innovation with the dual goals of logistics optimisation and the progressive implementation of a future carbon neutral strategy which meets the needs and expectations of a wide range of customers.
Isuzu has commissioned extensive research into the local road transport industry and has used the market knowledge gained from that to capitalise upon what has been a substantial shift in buyer behaviours and the resultant volume trends.
A key outcome has been the expansion of the ready to work (RTW) range aimed at a segment of the market which benefits from a higher level of standardisation in order to maximise the overall efficiency of the trucks’ manufacture process and ongoing operation.
The complexity of, particularly, the electronics-based safety systems on modern trucks can make modifications an expensive and time consuming proposition, so pursuing bespoke and complicated transport solutions involving procedures such as changing wheel bases or adding an additional axle are now pretty much off the agenda.
A prime example of this factory ‘packaging’ is the Isuzu F Series Freight Pack range which spreads across five models, three power ratings all with two pedal operation, and is available in 10, 12 or 14 pallet variants, all with their one pallet width side gate design.
As proof of the resulting benefits for both manufacturer and customer, Isuzu says the volume has tripled the 14 pallet FVL 6×2 model.
Following on from the launch of the Light Duty N series in November 2021, the extensive suite of safety features which make up Isuzu’s Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS) has been seamlessly incorporated into the Medium Duty F Series range in a combination of advanced safety technology and comprehensive aftersales support, which happens to complete the package.
Isuzu’s offering of complete ownership packages help make owning and operating the trucks as easy as driving them.
To wit, a number of major changes have taken place across warranties and after sales support, key factors in lowering the total cost of ownership. Isuzu clearly has a lot of confidence in the quality of its trucks and their ready to work bodies by offering an industry leading warranty program of up to six years on many models.
The roadside assistance package extends beyond mechanical issues and even covers the flat tyres and locked-in keys functions normally associated with the services provided passenger car automobile clubs.
When considered across the entire F Series range, the warranty provisions may seem a little complicated, but in the final analysis the details applicable to each model are exceptionally generous including tailored support for harsh applications such as agitators, garbage compactors and 4×4 trucks used off highway.
Customers will appreciate the comfort and ease of use of this new F Series. The dash is dominated by the new large format touch screen of the next generation MyIsuzu Co-pilot 10.1-inch AV screen which is angled slightly towards the driver and proves intuitive to use.
It factors in the convenience of smartphone mirroring integration for both Apple iOS and Android handheld devices.
Featuring a full HD screen plus 32 GB of onboard storage and AM/FM/DAB+ radio functions, the unit also has the ability to access internet radio applications via smartphone connection.
There are two USB ports with USB3.0 for system connection and charging, and a smartphone storage pocket with optional wireless charging function available.
WiFi connectivity and on-screen owner’s manuals for both the truck and the AV system reduce the complexity for even the most novice operator.
The F Series rigid models are available in four- or six-cylinder engines with outputs ranging from 210PS (154kW) to 300PS (221kW). There are also numerous options for transmissions including six and nine speed manuals, Allison automatics and Isuzu’s innovative and effective six-speed torque convertor-driven automated manual transmission.
The engines meet the current Euro V emission standards with the use of Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) and a Diesel Oxidation Catalyst (DOC). The use of the DOC provides greater simplicity for body builders as well as operators, while the EGR not only reduces emissions, but also delivers improved driveability and enhanced engine braking.
The absence of a diesel particulate filter and AdBlue system keeps operation and maintenance simple, without the additional costs of using AdBlue fluid. We are given the opportunity to participate in an extensive drive program featuring a number of different models and although the weather is dismal with leaden skies and frequent heavy rain bursts, the various Isuzu trucks are easy to spot with their LED position marker lights.
As the day begins to darken the LED low beams combined with halogen high beams provide an excellent intensity and spread in lighting up the road ahead, even through the swirling rain.
Our drive takes us southwest of Melbourne, past Geelong, and on to the Portarlington and Torquay areas providing a wide variety of roads including some unsealed sections.
The only three pedal truck along on this drive program is the FSR140 260 factory tipper which features a manual six-speed transmission which, along with its clutch, is light and precise to operate.
The models equipped with the Knorr-Bremse Electronic Braking Systems (EBS) provide an additional level of driver confidence with the brake pedal having the same consistent level of feel regardless of load or road conditions. The twin-steer Isuzu FY is available in 8×4 and a 10×4 configuration with a lift up lazy axle.
The FY has been designed to suit the Australian agitator market and incorporates a broad selection of models, transmissions, wheelbases, axles, and air or mechanical suspensions to allow the tailoring to suit specific applications such as agitator, bin-lift, concrete pumper, and crane trucks.
The agitator model participating in this drive program features the Isuzu Live Drive PTO to operate the barrel, with a digital control system featuring a kerb and channel function.
The agitator and its associated equipment is mounted using an Isuzu approved body outrigger system which not only saves weight but produces a much more stable and safer truck.
With a GVM of 30,000kgs this “agi” is powered by the 9.8-litre 350PS/1422Nm engine and the Allison 4430 six speed automatic is complemented by the industry standard Hendrickson HAS461 rear suspension. Included for our driving pleasure is the FVZ 240 300 6×4 alloy tipper with has a GVM of 24 tonnes and a handy GCM of 36 tonnes should a trailer be attached.
The 7.8-litre 300PS/981NM engine drives through an Allison 3500 six speed full automatic to Meritor rear axles mounted on Isuzu’s own six rod leaf spring suspension. This specification is all about traction and articulation combined with safety to suit construction and mining applications.
Loaded with technology, especially the Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS), in combination with proven driveline and suspension components, the latest Isuzu F Series is likely to continue as the front runner in the Australian Medium Duty sector.