Mary has over 20 years experience as the editor of our Malaysian sister magazine, The Tyreman. Based in Kuala Lumpur, she writes articles for us on the Malaysian and other South East Asian markets.
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The new trucks, which would be available from the third quarter of 2019 at all the 43 authorised Isuzu truck outlets, are expected to increase the brand’s appeal, particularly in the light-duty segment where the Isuzu Elf models have been Malaysia’s top-selling truck range for the last nine consecutive years.
Globally acknowledged by truck operators for its ‘highly dependable’ performance with low running costs, the Isuzu Elf range is also one of the most versatile in the market with 11 variants of various tonnage and drivetrains to suit individual requirements.
Once the new 2019 line-up comes on stream, Isuzu Malaysia would offer 19 variants of the Elf covering 4-wheeler, 6-wheeler, 4x4 and Crew-Cab versions, giving it the widest range of light duty truck options in the market.
“With the wider selection of variants, truck operators could select the most appropriate Isuzu vehicle for their operations rather than to buy a truck that is not perfectly configured to their transportation needs,” said Koji Nakamura, CEO of Isuzu Malaysia, at the media launch.
Of particular interest to businesses that operate their vehicles in frequent stop-start and congested urban environments are the selected truck models fitted with ‘Smoother’, a 6-speed Automated Manual Transmission (AMT), as factory variants.
Offering the full benefits of an automatic transmission but with the reliability and low running cost akin to manual transmissions, ‘Smoother’ offers a significant advantage as the gears are directly coupled; thus it does not suffer from energy loss through hydraulic slippage.
Furthermore, Isuzu’s ‘Smoother’ selects the most appropriate gear for a given driving condition. This ensures that the engine revolutions remain within the optimal range, thus extending the life of the engine and drivetrain. There is also a secondary ECONO Mode that the driver could select to automatically change gears at low engine revolutions, providing even greater fuel savings.
Although the initial purchase price of the ‘Smoother’ models is higher, business owners could enjoy lower running costs as fluid coupling doesn’t cause wear and tear. It is also easier to employ drivers as the pool of drivers who could handle manual transmissions is shrinking. Drivers too would find the ‘Smoother’ models a boon and less of a fatigue, enabling them to better retain concentration throughout their workday.
With the proliferation of E-commerce, the new Isuzu Elf variants are said to offer the perfect solution to the rising demand for dependable and efficient deliveries. The engines for ‘Smoother’ models comply with Euro 3 emission standards, ensuring the Elf remains efficient and environmentally friendly.
Isuzu Malaysia is also introducing three new crew cab variants to its 2019 line-up. With a total of four models in that segment, those in the service industry would find more flexibility to transport their manpower and goods efficiently and safely.
Unlike some retro-fitted after-market crew cabs that are prone to ill-fitment, Isuzu’s crew cabs are designed at Isuzu’s R&D centre employing the latest technology. Built and outfitted completely in the Isuzu factory, Isuzu says they come with full compliance with the highest ECE safety standards and enjoy full warranty.
The Isuzu Forward range, an acclaimed favourite among long-haulers for its ‘exemplary’ low-running cost, ‘impressive’ manoeuvrability and highly-accommodating cabin, is improved with a beefier chassis and higher performance.
The FVR34 model comes with a GVW of 19 tonnes, up from the current 18-tonne capacity. This upgraded payload capacity not only allows owners to maximise each load to reduce their transportation costs, the manoeuvrability of the Forward range makes it ideal for intra-city hauling, eliminating the need to break bulk for urban pick-up and deliveries. The front axle capacity too is significantly increased to 7,500kg contributing to its superior carrying capacity.
As complement to the increased payload, the 6HK1-TC powerplant is tweaked to develop a very respectable 300PS of power with 986Nm of torque for the FVR300 model, giving it superior performance over all Malaysian road conditions, particularly hilly terrain.
To capitalise on the improved performance, the range is paired to a new Eaton transmission. Using nine forward speeds, including a ‘crawler’ gear for severe terrain, Isuzu says the new transmission ratios better match the engine’s improved performance characteristics, giving the FVR more flexible performance while engine revolutions remain more frequently in the optimal zone.
Isuzu Malaysia has chosen to retain the ever-popular FVR240 model for those who require the large cargo capacity but haul less weighty bulk such as foodstuff or furniture or perform duties as council vehicles.
To retain a high level of safety, the FVR34 range now comes standard with full air brakes and Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS). Braking performance is significantly improved while the ABS system greatly assists in maintaining braking stability particularly on slippery surfaces.
Further upgrades to the Forward line-up include a larger capacity alternator that could better meet the power demands of high-amperage equipment.
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