The gasoline-powered N-Series truck is powered by a Vortec 6.0L small block V-8 engine mated to...

The gasoline-powered N-Series truck is powered by a Vortec 6.0L small block V-8 engine mated to a new, 6-speed transmission.

Photo: Isuzu Commercial Truck of America

Isuzu Commercial Truck of America, Inc., (ICTA) reintroduced its gasoline-powered N-Series trucks and launched the all-new Reach Commercial Van. The gas truck is built at Spartan Motors, Inc., facility in Charlotte, Michigan, and the Reach is assembled by Utilimaster in Wakarusa, Ind.

This marks the first time in two years that gasoline-powered N-Series trucks have been offered by Isuzu. Previously, N-Series gasoline trucks had been assembled by General Motors at its plant in Janesville, Wisconsin. However, that facility ceased operations in 2009.

Gassing Up N-Series Trucks

The new 2012 N-Gas models - which complement the diesel-powered Isuzu N-Series trucks already available - are powered by the Vortec 6.0L small-block V-8 engine that produces 297 hp at 4,300 rpm and generates 372 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,000 rpm. The powerplant is mated to a new 6-speed automatic transmission with double overdrive and lock-up torque converter for enhanced fuel economy and performance. Previous N-Series gasoline models offered only a 4-speed automatic.

A full range of gasoline-powered models is available:

  • NPR (12,000-lb. GVWR) Single Cab in wheelbases of 109, 132.5, 150, and 176 inches.
  • Crew Cab in wheelbases of 150 and 176 inches.
  • NPR-HD (14,500-lb. GVWR) Single Cab in wheelbases on 109, 132.5, 150, and 176 inches.
  • Crew Cab in wheelbases of 150 and 176 inches. 

"With the introduction of these new models, our dealers once again offer the broadest range of low cab-forward solutions in the industry," said Shaun Skinner, executive vice president and general manager of Isuzu Commercial Truck of America. "We are especially pleased that Spartan - one of the industry's most respected manufacturers of high-quality specialty chassis and vehicles - is assembling our N-Series gas trucks. Its expertise and quality workmanship will be an enormous benefit to us, to our dealers, and to the end-users of our vehicles."

The gasoline-powered trucks are now available at Isuzu dealerships nationwide.

Launching All-New REACH Van

ICTA and Utilimaster, Inc., unveiled the REACH commercial van at The Work Truck Show 2011 in Indianapolis.

The commercial van - with a body designed by Utilimaster Corporation atop an Isuzu NPR ECO-MAX chassis and powered by Isuzu's 3.0L diesel engine - will achieve 35-percent better fuel economy than a traditional commercial van application while offering the functionality of a custom-built work truck along with the styling and ergonomics of a cargo van, the companies stated.

"The REACH was designed to be a complete unit with the chassis and the body together as one. By designing the vehicle as one you can achieve the best possible fuel economy and higher payload capacity," said Brian Tabel, retail marketing manager for ICTA.

The all-new Isuzu Reach commercial van features an Isuzu NPR ECO-MAX chassis and a body designed...

The all-new Isuzu Reach commercial van features an Isuzu NPR ECO-MAX chassis and a body designed by Utilimaster Corp. It will be offered in two different wheelbases and body lengths.

Photo: Isuzu Commercial Truck of America

The REACH will be offered in a 151 inch wheelbase and two body lengths - 12 and 14 feet. The cargo area can offer 450, 540, or 630 cubic feet of storage, depending on wheelbase and body length selected.

The Reach's stripped chassis' engine has been relocated to minimize engine protrusion into the cab, facilitating driver movement in and out of the front seat for improved productivity, according to Isuzu. Likewise, the driver seat position and numerous component locations have been revised to accommodate the walk-in van body. Otherwise, the van's setup is like the 12,000-lb. GVWR Isuzu NPR ECO-MAX chassis.

Powering the REACH is Isuzu's biodiesel-fuel (B-10) compatible 4JJ1-TC 3.0L turbocharged engine, capable of generating 150 hp, this engine is mated to an Aisin medium-duty 6-speed automatic transmission with double overdrive, and lock-up torque converter.

In independent testing, this powertrain achieved 35-percent better mileage than traditional commercial vans, according to the companies. The engine offers B-10 durability ratings of 310,000 miles, meaning that 90 percent will reach that mileage before requiring an overhaul, the companies stated.

Additionally, lightweight composite body materials save 600 lbs. of weight per vehicle, further reducing fuel consumption and increasing available payload. A composite construction typically lasts longer than traditional steel body panels, which are subject to corrosion.

The body-on-frame design allows for easy repair, and lower body panels were designed for quick removal and easy replacement. Safety features include integrated entry hand rails, available backup camera system, "high visibility" steps with slip-resistant carbide tread, and a 13-inch wider aisle width, compared to a cargo van.

Similar to Isuzu's N-Series trucks, the REACH's 4JJ1-TC engine employs selective catalytic reduction (SCR) technology, which injects diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) into the hot exhaust stream to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions by over 85 percent. As a result, the Reach is EPA 2010 compliant and CARB OBD II compliant.

Driver safety and productivity are enhanced by such features as:

  • Available sliding front door (swing-out doors are also available) that requires 15 seconds less to operate than a conventional door. 
  • Wide aisles.
  • Sufficient interior height to give even drivers over six-feet tall the ability to enter and exit the cab, and access and use the cargo area, in an upright position.
  • Available integrated back-up camera.
  • Available keyless, auto-opening bulkhead door.
  • Easy-to-access maintenance equipment.

Features that maximize the utility and practicality of the Reach's body include flat, vertical side walls; available sliding cab doors; and multiple rear-door options. In addition, a choice of integrated vocational modules will give buyers the opportunity to turn the cargo area into a space customized to their needs.

To achieve maximum durability of the Reach's body, engineers have employed impact-resistant urethane rear and lower exterior panels; rear spring bumper and energy-absorbing side bumpers; and one-piece molded roof to eliminate leaks. All body panels have been designed for quick removal and replacement so that, if repairs are necessary, technicians can quickly restore the vehicle to its original condition.

The industries and vocations the Reach is expected to appeal to include:

  • Package delivery fleets.
  • Contractors.
  • Moving and storage companies.
  • Home healthcare providers.
  • Locksmiths.
  • Lease/rental agencies.
  • Appliance repair and delivery firms.
  • Airports.
  • Rent-to-own outlets.
  • Food distributors.
About the author
Lauren Fletcher

Lauren Fletcher

Executive Editor - Fleet, Trucking & Transportation

Lauren Fletcher is Executive Editor for the Fleet, Trucking & Transportation Group. She has covered the truck fleet industry since 2006. Her bright personality helps lead the team's content strategy and focuses on growth, education, and motivation.

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