Isuzu Trucks recently announced a significant upgrade to their trucks competing in the medium commercial segment. The Isuzu N-Series NMR 250 will now exclusively be fitted with Isuzu Trucks’ unique Automatic Manual Transmission (AMT) in both its Freighter and Crew Cab derivatives.
This marks the first time that NMR 250 trucks (with a payload of 2,5 tonnes) have been equipped with AMT. Previously AMT has been available in Isuzu trucks with payload capacities ranging from three to eight tonnes only.
The improved driver comfort and reduced cost of ownership offered by the AMT will be particularly appreciated by tradesmen and small business owners given the stop-start nature common to urban applications.
Whereas automatic gearboxes normally rely on torque converters and planetary gears, the AMT operates in most aspects like a manual gearbox. Shifting of gears is managed electronically, with the ability for a driver to select gears manually if desired. Not having to operate a clutch , power is instead transferred through a fluid coupling , allows drivers to safely focus on road conditions, while also eliminating the need for costly clutch replacements.
More Payload, Smoother Trucking
Isuzu Truck South Africa’s National Sales Manager, Anton du Plessis comments by adding AMT down into the 2,5 tonne segment, we can now offer smaller operators , who have traditionally been buying bakkies or light commercial vehicles that load just over 1,5 tonnes , a 2,5 tonner that drives effortlessly with AMT,’ he explains. “Opportunity with this new model should allow us to create new markets that satisfy Customers’ needs across both light commercial and medium commercial vehicle segment in market.
From a technical perspective, one product change resulting from the introduction of AMT into the NMR 250 is that the outgoing models’ five-speed manual gearbox has now been upgraded to the AMT’s six-speed synchromesh gearbox.
The two new AMT-equipped Isuzu NMR 250 trucks remain identical to their previous manual counterparts’ other specifications. Power is still derived from the same 2 999cc Common Rail diesel engine, turbocharged and intercooled, and physical dimensions are unchanged.
Over an average lifecycle of approximately 300 000km an AMT transmission reduces costs by as much as R60 000 purely by saving three clutch replacements, says Tiny Daya, Product and Application Manager for Isuzu Trucks SA
The vehicle is exceptionally fuel efficient, which reduces the model’s all-important Cost Per Kilometre for operators. Fuel and maintenance costs are further reduced by AMT’s built-in engine protection: “The vehicle will stay in its current gear until the engine revolutions are in a safe range to change down,’ explains Daya.
A further plus is the Isuzu Trucks 2-year/unlimited kilometre warranty, especially favourable when compared to other light commercial vehicles with fixed-mileage warranties.
Says Du Plessis reveals, “We are seeing the demand on other models with AMT increasing at such a rate that we will soon end up selling more AMT-equipped derivatives than those with manual transmissions.’