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Isuzu unveils tech and safety enhancements in new range

Big Rigs was invited along to Isuzu HQ in Melbourne for an early look at the Japanese giant’s new F-Series offerings for 2022.

For a brand that is still to add a linehaul prime mover to its arsenal here, you have to hand it to CEO Takeo Shindo and his team at Isuzu Australia HQ in Truganina, Melbourne.

The heavy-duty sales in the first quarter of 2022 are second only to perennial category leader Kenworth, with total volume across Isuzu’s light, medium, and heavy-duty offerings up a whopping 20 per cent year-to-date in 2022.

“These are truly remarkable times for the industry,” said Andrew Harbison, Isuzu’s director and chief operating officer, at the recent media launch of the top-selling Japanese brand’s 2022
F-Series models.

So, what’s in store for fans of the market-leading medium and heavy-duty ready-to-work and vocational ranges in 2022?

The popular FYJ 300-350 Agitator.

Following hot on the heels of sweeping safety updates to the popular light-duty N Series last year, Isuzu continues its long-term goal of providing safer, smarter trucks to the Australian market involved in heavier, more punishing applications.

Advanced safety features are introduced in 4×2 models powered by the high-tech and efficient four-cylinder N-4HK1 engine, including Advanced Emergency Braking (AEB), Forward Collision Warning (FCW), Distance Warning System (DWS) and Lane Departure Warning (LDW).

Additionally, these models and the larger FTR and FV models, receive Electronic Stability Control (ESC), while Electronic Braking System is introduced to the four-cylinder FSR and FTR and FV models.

Improved night-time operation is provided through new LED headlamps for all FRR/D, FSR/D, FTR and FV models, while the entire range receives a safety boost with the introduction of cab-tilt warning.

In the cab, the four-cylinder 4×2 models also have a new instrument panel with 4.2-inch colour multi-info display and steering wheel controls.

The unit’s operating intelligence is gathered via a millimetre-wave radar and camera, monitoring and analysing the environment in front of the truck.

Isuzu’s chief engineer, product strategy, Simon Humphries, runs the media through the upgrades in the 2022 F-Series range.

“Our technology approach has been adopted to cater for the types of applications and locations that these trucks operate in,” said Isuzu’s chief engineer, product strategy, Simon Humphries.

“The combination radar and camera is well suited to both urban and regional usage, while the upgrade to full-air brakes in the FSR models provides improved braking response and faster acting electronic stability control.

Further highlights of the 2022 release include an upgraded GCM of 21,000kg for FSR, FTR and FTS models with the 6HK1 260PS engine.

“In planning this model release, we’ve looked at how our customers are using their medium-duty trucks and we’ve targeted our updates at the key market requirements,” said national sales manager Les Spaltman.

“We’ve introduced active safety with ADAS to the volume 12 to 14 tonne GVM segment and in doing so, we’ve got features that match the operating environment,” he continued

“In the heavier end of our offering, again the introduction of electronic stability control and electronic braking system brings the features that operators of these models, namely fleets, are looking for.”

And in a boon for owners, Isuzu’s highly regarded aftermarket support is further bolstered with warranty upgrades across the range, featuring a 6-year standard warranty with much higher distance and engine hour limits than previous models, as well as a 6-year roadside assist package.

Spaltman believes the time is right for the release of the new generation, particularly with the spike in infrastructure spending, and is excited to see what impact the new generation of F-Series trucks will have in the market.

The MyIsuzu Co-Pilot was developed with partners Blaupunkt Asia Pacific with a design and user interface that is exclusive to Isuzu.

AV ups the ante

This year, Isuzu introduces a brand-new Audio Visual and Multimedia Unit in all new 4×2, 6×2, 6×4 and 4×4 models in its medium-duty and heavy-duty F, FV, FX and FY Series ranges.

The MyIsuzu Co-Pilot, a 10.1-inch touch-screen unit, was developed with partners Blaupunkt Asia Pacific with a design and user interface that is exclusive to Isuzu, said Isuzu’s chief engineer, product strategy, Simon Humphries.

“We’ve also introduced a new navigation system from HERE Navigation with smart updates for maps, live traffic with a mobile phone wifi connection and the requisite truck specific data and routing.

“Drivers will appreciate the array of features from this major in-cab upgrade—this really is the latest in automotive AV technology.

“The inclusion as standard of a new, digital low-light capable reversing camera furthers the smarts and safety of these models.”

Other key features of Isuzu’s updated AV Unit include; enhanced satellite navigation with on-demand updates and live map update capability; 32 GB onboard storage for music and video.

There are also two USB ports and smartphone storage pocket, and wireless phone charging capability provided as standard in FV, FX and FY models.

Night lights get extra bite

Humphries also outlined how Isuzu has increased the performance and efficiency of the headlights on all models, except 4x4s, with new LED headlamps that feature LED position (parking) lamps and LED main beam lamps. 

“The high beam is still a halogen globe, however, when combined with the LED main beam, coverage is still superior,” he said.

“The spread and intensity of the lights is a huge improvement on the previous halogen-only lamps, whether in low or high beam settings, plus they use less power overall.

“Lower alternator draw ultimately means lower fuel consumption and every little bit counts.”

In common with the FV models, FX and FY ranges are also upgraded with the new headlamp assembly, with low beam and position LED lamps, and halogen high beam and fog lamps.

“The technology used in these new lights provides performance that is superior to the most premium HID globes, and these aren’t even available for Isuzu models in Australia,” said Humphries.

“This and other inclusions such as the fast USB charger and CAN connector for fleet management systems add to the improved driver and operational amenity of these models.”

Isuzu has done extensive trailer modelling to ensure EBS compatibility with a large range of medium-duty combinations.

Customised trailer fittings

For Jeff Gibson, Isuzu Australia’s engineering support manager, one of the most exciting stories to tell at the media launch was around the trailer modelling done by Isuzu with its medium-duty range to ensure compatibility with EBS systems. 

A dealer or modifier can now buy a special EBS trailer kit to marry up with local trailers.  

With so many trailer applications available in the Isuzu medium-duty range, Gibson said this is a game-changer for Australia and the increased safety spin-offs that will result.

His job is to now educate the extensive bodybuilder and dealer network about the many upsides to replacing the traditional pneumatic system with an electronic upgrade.

“It’s a pure electronic signal to a computer and the computer decides how much air you need to apply to the brakes to decelerate the vehicle,” said Gibson.

“With this system, it will learn the deceleration rate of the vehicle, so as you apply the brakes, it will measure, and it will adjust the brake pressure. So, you’re going to run really smooth, with a consistent brake pedal feel, no matter how much load is on the vehicle.”

Warranty boost

National service manager, Brett Stewart, also detailed a major upgrade to both new vehicle warranties and the extension of Isuzu’s Roadside Assist package for the F Series.

Most models are upped to 6-years warranty with much higher distance limits than previous models, tied in with 6-years of the 24/7 roadside assist service.

At the smaller end of the scale, 4×2 trucks in Isuzu’s medium-duty FRR/FRD, FSR/FSD and FTR range—which cover trucks from 8000 kg GVM up to the 15,000 kg GVM mark—see a previous warranty of 3 years/150,000 km (or 2500 engine hours) upgraded to a superior package, including:

• 6 years standard factory warranty on cab chassis* / 300,000 km with no engine hour limit

• 6 years of Isuzu 24/7 Roadside Assist

• 3 years (unlimited km) on truck bodies in the Ready-to-Work range

• 3 years (unlimited km) on genuine Isuzu parts and accessories

FV cab chassis models which land in the 16,500 kg GVM to 26,000 kg GVM bracket were previously supported by 3 years/200,000 km (or 3000 engine hours) warranty. 

This has been upgraded in all new 2022 FV models, now featuring:

• 6 years standard factory warranty on cab chassis/500,000km with 8000 engine hour limit

• 6 years of Isuzu 24/7 Roadside Assist

• 3 years (unlimited km) on truck bodies in the Ready-to-Work range

• 3 years (unlimited km) on genuine Isuzu parts and accessories

Stewart said that those involved in heavier applications such as construction, mining or earthmoving will be similarly impressed with a new warranty package also applying to Isuzu’s FX and FY range, which takes operators up to a GVM of 35,000 kg. 

“These tough-as-nuts trucks are designed to keep you safely on the job, day-in and day-out, and are backed with an aftercare package that will stand up to hard usage.” 2022 models now offer:

• 6 years standard factory warranty on cab chassis /600,000 km with generous 10,000 engine hour limit

• 6 years of Isuzu 24/7 Roadside Assist

• 3 years (unlimited km) on genuine Isuzu parts and accessories

“To give customers greater peace of mind, we’ve removed the engine hours stipulation on all new 4×4 MY22 models and those specified for concrete agitating or rubbish compaction and upgraded the kilometre limit across our entire medium- and heavy-duty range,” Stewart continued.

Two of the line-up in the new range on display at Isuzu HQ in Melbourne.
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