X marks the spot
Unveiled at MEGATRANS2018 in Melbourne, Isuzu’s most recent addition to its ‘ready-to-work’ range is the Servicepack X. This next evolution unit follows on from the success of the original N Series Servicepack, which was launched in Brisbane in 2015 and continues to generate good sales numbers.
xhibited alongside the Australian-developed Isuzu electric trucks at MEGATRANS2018, the Servicepack X is so named due to its resemblance to an X-wing fighter from science-fiction movies when the gull wing storage area doors are open.
The innovative body has been locally designed and engineered in partnership with Service Bodies Australia and that company’s experience in manufacturing such equipment shows in the quality and practicality of what is basically a giant motorised tool box and a grown up version of the service bodies more commonly seen on fleet utes. The body is constructed of durable steel and uses good quality components for such items as the hinges and handles.
Based on the Isuzu NLR 45-150 cab chassis platform, the Servicepack X’s 4,500kg Gross Vehicle Mass rating means that the holder of a passenger vehicle licence can legally operate the truck and the implementation of the lightweight body design translates to a payload capacity of around 1,500kgs, which is enough for plenty of tools plus some drums of fluids such as lubricants. The low overall height means that it can access multi-storey parking lots as well as squeeze neatly into a typical suburban garage.
The compact size and tight turning circle assists in getting the Isuzu as close as possible to the work location, whether that be a building site or attending a roadside breakdown.
Security for valuable tools and spare parts is vital and all of the doors of the Servicepack X are locked automatically in parallel with the cab’s central locking system. There is a choice of a single gull wing door on each side or dual split doors. Gas struts assist with the lifting of the upper door sections and, drop down door sections on each side, provide easy waist-height access. Internal shelving is adjustable and removable and the main storage areas provide adequate space for larger pieces of equipment such as compressors or welders.
A step and carrying platform at the rear provide safe access and additional load capacity. Ladder or pipe racks add to the flexibility of loads that are able to be carried as do the smaller lockers located down low, behind rear axle.
The engine, an Isuzu 3.0 litre diesel, develops 110 kW (150hp) at 2,800rpm and a maximum torque of 375Nm across the 1,600-2,800rpm range. So at 2,800 rpm the engine is delivering maximum torque at the same point as maximum horsepower and it doesn’t seem to drop off significantly at higher revs.
When equipped with Isuzu’s six speed Automated Manual Transmission torque can be increased by up to 50 per cent by the torque convertor which is a great benefit when starting off loaded on an incline. The AMT option provides car-like shift quality and start-off launch combined with the fuel economy benefits of a well-driven manual. The kick down function comes into effect when the accelerator is depressed beyond a spring loaded detent which causes the transmission to downshift if the driver considers it necessary.
The kick down operation allows the transmission to be left in ‘Eco’ mode to maximise fuel efficiency as pushing the pedal to the floor over rides the Eco mode’s shift parameters and means that vehicle momentum can be enhanced without having to manually select a lower gear. The transmission returns automatically to its most fuel efficient mode once the pedal pressure is eased and transmission upshifts to the next gear.
The shift lever has a parking position. It engages a locking pawl, which secures a large gear wheel located inside the rear of the transmission and Isuzu claim that it is capable of holding a fully loaded truck on a ‘reasonable’ incline without the handbrake. To save fuel the transmission selects second gear for start off by default but first gear can be selected by depressing a button located on the shift lever if the load or incline combination requires it.
The front suspension on the NLR is an independent coil and wishbone arrangement that provides quite a comfortable ride. At the rear the main leaf springs have helper springs that come into play with a heavier load aboard. The Isuzu’s anti-lock braking system is state of the art with discs all round, Electronic Brake Force Distribution and traction control as well as Electronic Stability Control.
Isuzu are smart using the same doors and mirrors on the N series as on their bigger models which helps with costs and also translates to excellent rear vision via the big mirrors which can be augmented by the optional reversing camera. Other ‘big truck’ features include a 24 volt electrical system.
In offering this style of package as an alternative to the large variety of utes on the market, Isuzu has moved into an entirely new category for a truck manufacturer. Four wheel drive variants are also on the drawing board which will expand the appeal even further.