Isuzu’s New Techfest Baby

In Isuzu, New Models, February 20226 MinutesBy Carl KirkbeckMarch 1, 2022

Isuzu has launched its ‘safest truck range ever’ as the latest iteration of its light-duty N Series enters service in New Zealand. This is a little truck packed with some big tech.

In the latter half of 2021, Isuzu Trucks New Zealand lifted the covers off its new MY21 N Series. However, due to various ‘restrictions’, we had to wait until the end of the year before we could see it in the flesh, jump aboard and experience the improvements for ourselves.

Following trends in the more upmarket sector of the passenger vehicle market and the long-haul, heavy-duty segment of the truck market, the smallest, lightest range in Isuzu’s lineup now offers buyers a comprehensive suite of safety equipment ideally suited to its inner-city operating remit.

In addition, selected models in the updated range now feature an additional warranty cover that takes the total warranty period to five years/250,000km at no extra cost.

Grouped within the Isuzu Intelligent Safety Suite, those safety upgrades include both active and passive safety technology and come fitted to all 4×2 N Series models. The headline technology within the suite is the Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) package. Making up ADAS are electronic vehicle stability control (EVSC), advance emergency brake system (AEBS), distance warning system (DWS), lane departure warning system (LDWS), and hill start assist on some models.

Isuzu says these systems are designed to reduce the probability of an accident and help mitigate damage should one occur. The foundation is a dashboard-mounted Dual Optical Sensor Camera, which provides a wide coverage area and is designed to detect three-dimensional objects at the close range typical of urban environment operation.

The Dual Optical Sensor Camera has a wide, near-field view ahead specifically for operation in urban environments.

AEBS uses the camera hardware to detect and monitor distance and relative speeds to other vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians. Depending on their distance from the front of the truck, the forward-collision warning system can determine if a collision is likely and alert the driver to brake. If the driver does not react, the system can autonomously apply the brakes.

The system is designed to avoid a collision with a speed difference to 50kph and reduce the risk of a collision impact at higher speed differentials. It is unaffected by day or night operation.

Allied to the AEBS is the distance warning system, which helps to maintain a safe distance to the vehicle ahead. The driver can pre-set a desired minimum distance depending on the application or environment in which their vehicle is operating. Isuzu has taken cognisance of this as DWS activates only when the truck exceeds 30kph. Nobody wants constant buzzing, beeping and flashing when sitting in rush-hour traffic.

Speaking of which, traffic movement warning provides the driver with a subtle nudge when the vehicle ahead moves more than 5m away from the stopped truck. Handy.

Finally, ADAS includes the lane departure warning system. Sensors detect and monitor the vehicle’s trajectory in relation to the lane markings on roads or the road edge itself. Should the vehicle begin to wander out, an audible and visual alarm is provided. LDWS is activated when the road speed exceeds 60kph.

Out on the road, the Isuzu Intelligent Safety Suite proves its value.

The MY21 N Series also receives automatic headlights with LED low beams – which are a truly invaluable piece of kit for easing night-time driving. There is also a customisable speed limiter that the dealer can set between 70kph and 120kph.

Having the opportunity to drive one of the new models through the congested industrial streets of Mangere in Auckland, as well as a jaunt at highway speeds on the South Western arterial, immediately demonstrated the real-world benefit of the Isuzu Intelligent Safety Suite. Purposely placing the little Isuzu into what the system would deem a hazard evokes an instant response that has you refocusing your attention and taking remedial action.

The likes of a deliberate nudge of the steering wheel towards the fog line has the N Series responding with that audible alarm and visual indication in the dash cluster. There is no mistaking that you have upset the Isuzu’s equilibrium, and correction is required.

It was also nice to experience the updated cab interiors, which now sport a lighter-colour headliner, complemented by a darker dash and seat trim. Isuzu says the new upholstery also offers added fire resistance. Single and crew cabs are offered, and you can choose narrow and wide cab variants, but all cabs conform to ECE R29 standards of cab strength and integrity designed to help keep the cabin structure from deforming excessively and reduce occupant injury in an incident. Seatbelt pre-tensioners and dual airbags are fitted.