Isuzu’s 2008 low-cab-forward truck models are available at dealerships now and consist 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.
A fresh, new front-end appearance for the N-Series is immediately noticeable, although 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 mounting system features 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. At the same time, the cabs have been engineered to last longer, even in tough environments. Galvanized steel panels, electro-deposit paint primer and high-quality enamel topcoat paint all combine to add greater corrosion resistance for all cab structures.
The cab is larger than on previous N-Series trucks, featuring enhanced side-to-side and front-to-back room. This additional space translates into more seat travel as well as increased headroom and room for shoulders and legs. The new dashboard comes complete with a full array of easy-to-read gauges and warning lights. A 5-inch opening can accommodate add-on equipment such as radios, GPS systems, rearview cameras or similar gear. An easy-to-remove panel at the front of the cab gives unfettered access to the windshield wiper motor, electrical cab connections and air intake filters.
Air conditioning is standard on all gasoline N-Series trucks, and available as an option on diesel-equipped models. Tilt and telescoping steering wheels also come standard. To facilitate cab entry and exiting procedures, Isuzu engineers developed new swing-out doors that open 85 degrees and added a self-cleaning entry step for additional safety. A new seatbelt is easier to use than those on previous Isuzu cabover trucks and low-cut side windows have increased lateral visibility.
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 increased 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 F- and H-Series models for ’08
Of course Isuzu offers other low-cab-forward options for its low-cab-forward lineup, including some specialized N-Series versions, as well as refinements to its larger and more powerful F- and H-Series models.
If a smaller, 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 the previously longest Isuzu wheelbase model truck. NRR 22- and 24-foot models can be spec’d with a 212-inch wheelbase. An NPR gasoline engine powered crew cab truck is also available, and Isuzu is specifically targeting contractors with it. The crew cab NPR model will be available later this year.
Isuzu F-Series and H-Series trucks will be designated 2007i models by the company and received Allison transmission upgrades this year. The available Allison 2200 transmission now features a close-ratio design and is rated for a maximum gross vehicle weight rating of 26,000 pounds.