Isuzu N Series shows off extra power, torque

By: Steve Skinner

You can feel the extra power and torque in some of the new N series Isuzu light duty trucks.

Isuzu N Series shows off extra power, torque
Little goer: this NPR 65-190 tray-top boasts 190hp for just 6.5 tonnes GVM


It’s not that long ago that big trucks had the power and torque ratings of today’s small trucks.

Just ask Phil Taylor, one of the most influential people in the Australian trucking industry.

Taylor is chief operating officer for Isuzu Australia, by far the biggest supplier of trucks in this country, and the market leader for the past 26 years.

He’s also into his fifth term as president of the Truck Industry Council, which represents truck and engine suppliers in Australia.

Taylor cut his teeth in the Australian truck game selling Fords in the early 1980s.

Back then the flagship of the Ford fleet and a highway hero was the famous Louisville, immortalised in the video clip for Slim Dusty’s classic but tragic Lights on the Hill song.

Smaller Louisville trucks were also popular in vocational roles, and it’s these models which show just how far trucks have come in power and torque.

Taylor remembers selling Loueys with V8 Caterpillar engines rating as low as 175hp (129kW).

When he moved to Isuzu in the early 1990s, 175hp was still well and truly in the medium duty truck range.

But now Isuzu has come out with some new N series light duty trucks boasting 190hp (140kW), pulling as little as 6.5 tonnes all-up.

Along with the introduction of electronic stability control across most of this baby Isuzu range – an important safety feature – the boost in power is clearly a significant step forward.

And Isuzu says it doesn’t come at the expense of fuel economy.

TradeTrucks was recently hosted by Isuzu along with other truck journalists to test drive a selection of new N series trucks on the urban roads, highways and byways between Westar Truck Centre at Derrimut in western Melbourne and Ballarat Isuzu.

The increased power was quickly evident in the NPR 65-190, which like all the review trucks was loaded to 80 per cent of its maximum weight.

The little manual gearbox tray-top was quick off the mark and once up to 100 km/h you had to hold it back. Unfortunately there was no cruise control in this manual version, but Isuzu says that is coming.

We got so far ahead of the rest of the fleet that we had to slow down to 80 km/h going up a long hill on the Western Freeway near Bacchus Marsh, but it pulled well in top gear even at that low speed, courtesy of the more than 500Nm of torque.

Even the lower power models performed fine up the hills as long as you hit the "power" mode button on the automated manual transmission versions, which keeps them in the lower gear longer.

The only downside with the tray-top was the rough ride at first, on the rough secondary road coming into Bacchus Marsh.

But this was the only truck I experienced that in, despite driving a couple of others across fairly rough bitumen as well. At least the tray-top had the mechanical suspension seat common to many of these models, which helped smooth out the bumps.


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