Let’s start with Isuzu Trucks for the sole reason that they were the first out the 2010 starting block with the introduction of the new F-Series range in March. The launch was held at Gerotek where ride and drive was the order of the day.
It was a grandiose affair which started with a panel discussion debating the rationale behind the launch of the new range, then moved to a civilized ride and drive test session on the circular track followed by a not so civilized but oh so lekker ‘˜voet in die hoek’ gymkhana using the new Isuzu FSR 800 in tipper guise as the speed-mobile.
It just didn’t seem right to roar around a gymkhana course with foot flat in this fine piece of machinery. After all, today’s driving trend is all about driving for fuel economy and this was nowhere near about that. However, caution was thrown to the wind and it was foot flat as I knocked over cone after cone. May no professional driver ever emulate the driving techniques on that day , but it was fun.
The activities ended with a demonstration of the capabilities of the new Isuzu FTS 750 4×4 which showed itself up as a highly impressive power-house taking on steep gradients first up, then down, then up again in reverse gear.
The grandness of the launch of the all-new Isuzu F-Series heavy truck range was understandable for it was, in effect, a celebration of the completion of Isuzu Truck SA’s model line-up with the most modern Japanese trucks available in Southern Africa, all engineered with electronically-managed, fuel-efficient, common rail diesel engines. With the sole exception of the F-Series 4×4 model, ABS braking systems were now in as standard to enhance safety.
Granted, the new FX range was not officially included but a taste of what was to come was given via the presence of the FXZ 26-360 alongside the display line-up of a selection of the new 13 model line-up.
A model for every GVM
The pivot around which the new F-Series range was spun was the fact that with the N-Series and the new F-Series range, Isuzu Trucks is now able to provide a truck model for every GVM (Gross vehicle Mass).
As the press statement says: “Gross vehicle mass (GVM) is the recognised basis for vehicle selection and capital investment for any transport task.’ GVM represents a truck’s total operational mass that includes payload, cargo body, driver and crew, chassis and cab and any other extras.
Looking around Gerotek on the day, it seemed there were F-Series models all over the place and no wonder since the range comprised of a 13-model line-up compared to the previous 9-model F-Series range.
With these models in place, Isuzu F-Series now offers GVM’s stepped from 10 000kg to 11 000kg, 13 500kg, 15 000kg, 16 000kg, 22 500kg, 24 000kg and 26 000kg. It was punted as the most formidable freight carrier line-up available to South African operators.
Specialist F-Series models in the range include full-time 4×4 and 6×2 freight carriers, a 6×4 refuse compactor and truck tractors. For trailer operations, Isuzu F-Series came in with the FVR 900 model with a Gross Combination Mass (GCM) that tops 32 000kg. And of course, the Isuzu Gigamax tops the GCM chart , 70t GCM with 460hp.
Of particular significance was the inclusion of a crew-cab model , the Isuzu FSR 750 which is a 13 500kg gross vehicle mass (GVM) truck offering fully-homologated seating for a driver and six passengers. Power in the new range comes from a family of Isuzu 5.2 and 7.8-litre engines, covering power ratings from 210 to 300hp , all of which match Euro2 requirements as per SA legislation introduced on January 1, 2010.
Let’s now leapfrog six months down the line to September when, because of a massive traffic snarl up on the highway, we rush in late to the Theatre on the Track in Kyalami just in time to catch the end of Isuzu Truck Chief Operating Officer, Craig Uren’s introduction to the new FX Series being launched.
Remember there was one of the models , the FXZ 26-360 , on display back in March above. Well, this is now the official launch of the five new Isuzu FX models positioned as the heavy-duty end of the F-Series range.
Isuzu FX models form an important niche-market link between F-Series models and Isuzu Gigamax at the extra-heavy end. Standard Isuzu F-Series models are equipped with maximum engine power rating of 206kW (280hp) @ 2400rpm and 882Nm @ 1450rpm.
On the FX range, power is delivered from one model-type Isuzu common-rail turbo-intercooled engine providing 265kW (360hp) @
2 000rpm and 1 422Nm @1 400rpm – this represents 61% more torque for any task than the standard F-Series.
The entire FX-Series is equipped with a full-air, ABS braking system. This is assisted by a standard engine exhaust brake on every model plus an electromagnetic retarder on the GXR 40-360.
With the launch of the FX Series, the entire Isuzu F-Series model line-up now consists of more than 18 models with gross vehicle masses (GVM) from 10 000kg to 28 000kg and gross combination masses (GCM) from 16 000kg up to 45 000kg.
There is indeed now an Isuzu F-Series GVM and a GCM for every task and application , formidable indeed and a great offering to the South African trucking industry.