The NPR ECO-MAX offers a highly fuel-efficient diesel engine in a 12,000-lb. GVW truck. 
 -  Photo: Isuzu Commercial Truck of America

The NPR ECO-MAX offers a highly fuel-efficient diesel engine in a 12,000-lb. GVW truck.

Photo: Isuzu Commercial Truck of America

The N-Series from Isuzu Commercial Truck of America (ICTA) was named Work Truck magazine’s 2013 Medium-Duty Truck of the Year at the 2012 NTEA The Work Truck Show, held March 6-8 in Indianapolis.

Twelve vehicles were included in an online ballot and voted on by professional fleet managers, who were asked to consider which medium-duty truck model best fit their fleet requirements in regard to application effectiveness, durability, quality, servicing, maintenance, and lifecycle costs, and more.

“All of us at Isuzu are proud to learn that fleet managers and the readers of Work Truck magazine have voted our Isuzu N-Series to be the 2013 Medium-Duty Truck of the Year!” said Brian Tabel, director of marketing for ICTA.

Gasoline or Diesel Options

The N-Series has those needs for fleets looking for a diesel-powered truck.

“Isuzu is proud to offer the medium-duty market the most diverse line of trucks in the business. We have our 4J 150 hp diesel engine in our NPR ECO-MAX to offer customers a highly fuel-efficient diesel engine in our 12,000-lb. GVW truck. We also have our 4H 215 hp diesel engine in our 14,500- to 19,500-lb. GVW for those customers that need the high GVW and higher horsepower,” Tabel noted. “Plus, we are the only manufacturer to offer the low-cab forward truck with a 297 hp V-8 gasoline engine.”

Four diesel-powered models are available (NPR ECO-MAX, NPR-HD, NQR, and NRR). The NPR-HD and NQR both provide Regular Cab and Crew Cab models, while the NRR is only available as a Regular Cab.

The diesel models feature two diesel engine options (a 150 hp 3.0L and 215 hp 5.2L) mated to an Aisin 6-speed automatic transmission with double-overdrive and a lock-up converter. Standard Cab (12,000- to 18,000-lbs. GVWR) or Crew Cab (19,500- to 25,500-lbs. GVWR) options are vocationally ready for upfits.

According to the automaker, Isuzu offers the only gasoline-powered LCF trucks in America. The gasoline-powered models include the NPR and NPR-HD. They are powered by a Vortec 6.0L V-8 engine that produces 297 hp and 372 lb.-ft. of torque.

Like the diesel models, the powerplant also comes mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission with double overdrive and lock-up torque converter for enhanced fuel economy and performance. Choose from a full range of models, including the 12,000-lb. GVWR NPR and the 14,500-lb. GVWR NPR-HD.

The NPR and NPR-HD are available in Standard and Crew Cab configurations with wheelbases stretching from 109 to 176 inches. Isuzu’s Crew Cab, with seating for seven, provides space for a full work crew.

Standard features enhancing productivity include power windows and door locks, tilt/telescopic steering wheel, driver-friendly instrumentation and generous interior space for three-across seating, overhead storage, and additional storage in the Standard Cab behind the driver and passenger seats.

“We also offer the customers of our gasoline truck the option to convert the engine over to compressed natural gas (CNG) or propane autogas (LPG),” Tabel said.

Utilimaster, Inc., offers CNG and LPG alternative-fuel conversions and other modifications for Isuzu trucks to dealers and customers at a modification facility located on the Spartan Motors, Inc., campus in Charlotte, Mich. IMPCO Technologies, Inc., offers CNG alternative-fuel conversions at the IMPCO modification facility in Union City, Ind.

A three-year powertrain limited warranty with unlimited mileage is also standard.

The Medium-Duty Truck of the Year award was presented to Hisao Sasaki, president & COO of ICTA (right) by Lauren Fletcher, managing editor of Work Truck magazine at the 2013 Work Truck Show held in March 2013 in Indianapolis. 
 -  Photo: Work Truck

The Medium-Duty Truck of the Year award was presented to Hisao Sasaki, president & COO of ICTA (right) by Lauren Fletcher, managing editor of Work Truck magazine at the 2013 Work Truck Show held in March 2013 in Indianapolis.

Photo: Work Truck

Isuzu Ship-Thru Available

When placing orders for new trucks, Isuzu dealers can select a ship-thru option to indicate that they have arranged to have the trucks modified at one of two independent modification centers near the trucks’ Charlotte, Mich., assembly plant. Following the modification, the selected center will return the trucks to ICTA, which will then transport them to the dealers that ordered the units.

This process will eliminate unnecessary dealer-incurred transportation expenses and shorten the time necessary to obtain alternative-fuel conversions and certain other types of modifications.

“This ship-thru option simplifies the movement of a completed truck from the Charlotte port to a near-plant modification center and finally back into the Isuzu logistics flow,” said Shaun Skinner, executive vice president and general manager of ICTA. “This can provide substantial cost savings for our dealers that require truck modifications not offered by Isuzu.”

N-Series Emissions Compliance

All 2013 models meet EPA 2010 and California Air Resources Board HD-OBD emissions standards and are clean-idle certified. Isuzu N-Series trucks are also the first in their class to offer selective catalytic reduction (SCR) technology with diesel exhaust fluid (DEF), according to the company.

Here’s how SCR works:

  • The engine’s stainless-steel exhaust system routes to a diesel particulate filter (DPF) and SCR system unit.
  • DEF is injected into the exhaust stream between the filter and the SCR catalyst.
  • The heat of the exhaust turns the fluid into ammonia gas, water vapor, and carbon dioxide.
  • Inside the catalyst, ammonia gas transforms the exhaust’s oxides of nitrogen (NOx) into harmless nitrogen gas.

Together with an enhanced exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) system and variable-geometry turbocharger, SCR technology allows Isuzu N-Series trucks to meet the mandated emissions standards.

This revised exhaust system also monitors the DPF’s particulate status and the level of DEF required for the SCR system to operate, and reports the results to the driver through the multi-information display.

Under normal highway operating conditions, the DPF will regenerate itself automatically to remove particulate matter from the exhaust. But, under slow-speed, stop-and-go or long-idle conditions, the system may require and will allow the driver to manually initiate a DPF regeneration cycle manually.

The trucks feature a 7.4-gallon DEF tank, equipped with a heating element to ensure reliable operation in cold-climate conditions. DEF consumption is only 1 percent of fuel used, so the DEF tank should be refilled every 20-25 times the fuel tank is refilled.

Isuzu also offers the FleetValue Parts Program, a parts product line designed to provide greater value than what is currently available in the parts aftermarket. FleetValue parts are available for most 1987 to current year Isuzu-built trucks.

The parts line focuses on maintenance parts for Isuzu-built commercial trucks.

FleetValue parts are high quality, provide excellent value at a competitive price, and are available only at Isuzu truck dealers, according to the automaker. 

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 teams content strategy and focuses on growth, education, and motivation.

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