Isuzu Commercial Truck of America Inc., distributor of America's low-cab-forward trucks, and Utilimaster Inc., a manufacturer of specialty chassis and vehicles, introduced a new commercial van at the American Truck Dealers 2010 Convention & Expo in Orlando, Fla.
The walk-in van - with a body designed by Utilimaster Corporation atop a rugged heavy-duty Isuzu NPR chassis and powered by Isuzu's legendary 3.0-liter diesel engine - will combine the functionality and design flexibility of a custom-built work truck with the styling and ergonomics of a cargo van.
Prototypes are scheduled to begin rolling off the line in the third quarter of this year, with full production scheduled for the second half of 2011.
"This new walk-in van will be the first vehicle to fully meet the needs of today's fleet and vocational markets," said Shaun Skinner, executive vice president and general manager of Isuzu Commercial Truck of America. "It will offer significantly more interior height and width than other commercial vans, and it will have multiple design options to maximize utility and driver productivity."
Added John Marshall, senior vice president of sales and marketing for Utilimaster, "We have worked extensively with key customers for more than 18 months to develop this product from the ground up and the response so far has been very encouraging. This next-generation van is expected to achieve best-in-class fuel economy along with important features to support commercial van customers, including a distinctly automotive aesthetic, which will set it apart in the marketplace."
Exterior Design and Construction
The dramatic profile of the new van demonstrates the importance Isuzu and Utilimaster designers placed on aerodynamics. The streamlined shape improves fuel efficiency while it reduces interior noise.
The body panels will also be designed for quick removal and replacement so that owners can quickly and easily make minor body repairs.
Two wheelbases - 134 and 151 inches - and three cargo area lengths - 10, 12 and 14 feet - will be offered. All models will feature a 34-inch-wide by 74-inch-high cab door opening for easy driver ingress and egress. The cab will offer a choice of either swing or sliding doors.
In back, multiple rear door designs will allow the cargo area to be customized to the operator's needs. Options will include 270-degree twin-swing doors, twin side-sliding doors, and roll-up doors.
Flexible, Functional Interior
Operators will find the new commercial van to be a functional mobile office. Even a driver over six feet in height can walk in and out of the cab in an upright position, and can stand up inside the cab area.
The cargo area can offer up to 700 cubic feet of storage. In addition, a choice of integrated vocational modules will give buyers the opportunity to turn the cargo area into a space virtually customized to their needs. And any module can be specified as a factory- or dealer-installed option, or ordered through the dealership and installed by the final customer.
Durable Engine and Frame
The foundation of the van's body-on-frame design will be a heavy-duty Isuzu NPR commercial truck chassis with a GVWR of 12,000 pounds. The frame, front and rear axles and brakes are all proven Isuzu N-Series components.
Powering the van will be Isuzu's 4JJ1-TC engine, a turbocharged and intercooled 3.0-liter dual overhead cam direct-injection four-cylinder diesel that will generate approximately 150 horsepower and 282 foot-pounds of torque. The 4JJ1-TC engine has a 10,000 mile change interval and carries a 310,000 mile B10 life rating. This means that 90% of the engines should reach 310,000 miles without requiring overhaul.
Mated to this powerful, durable, clean powerplant will be an Aisin six-speed automatic transmission with double overdrive and lock-up torque converter plus PTO function.