News & Media

2017 Isuzu NLR 45-150 Servicepack: Review
October 12, 2017

A member of Isuzu’s ‘Ready to Work’ offering, the Servicepack delivers a compelling alternative to standard diesel utilities thanks to its balance of payload and accessibility.

Finding the perfect balance of benefits offered on the two ends of the commercial vehicle weight spectrum is a never-ending task of tweaking, as minor adjustments in any area can have flow-on effects everywhere else. The challenge to find the ideal balance for the light-duty end has seen Isuzu develop an entire ‘Ready to Work’ range with various spec-sheets for a range of applications.

The NLR Servicepack body is built to be essentially a toolbox on wheels. The fully powder-coated steel body incorporates seven lockable storage compartments of various configurations and sizes, plus a central storage area with rear accessibility. Each of the compartments is illuminated by internal LED lighting controlled from a rocker switch sensibly located in the centre of the dash, so it can be accessed from either side through an open door without having to actually climb into the cab.

Operating the central locking of the cab also locks the compartments, providing excellent security for valuable tools or spare parts, and the double gates at the rear can be locked in the open position if a longer load needs to be carried. Its steel chequerplate floor is fitted with six ‘rated’ tie down points and rear access also includes quite rugged non-slip metal steps and bright yellow grab handles for safe alighting.

Based on an Isuzu NLR 45-150 cab chassis, the Servicepack has a Gross Vehicle Mass (GVM) of 4,500kg and a Gross Combination Mass (GCM) of 7,000kg, which includes its braked towing capacity of up to 2,500kg, giving it a payload of around 1,500kg.

The three-litre turbocharged intercooled four-cylinder engine produces 110kW (148hp) of power at 2,800rpm and 375Nm of torque at 1,600 to 2,800rpm. Emissions are handled by a straightforward system that consists of cooled Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) and a Diesel Particulate Diffuser (DPD). All Isuzu N Series trucks for the Australian market are equipped with an auxiliary remote fuel filter and water trap that contributes to the hassle-free operation of the DPD.

Driveable with a car licence, the Servicepack is available with a five-speed all synchromesh manual transmission as standard, with the optional torque converter-equipped six-speed automated manual transmission (AMT) almost too good to ignore. The car-like driveability, shift quality and launch, combined with the fuel economy benefits of a well-driven manual are where the Servicepack’s driveability shine, and the use of the full torque convertor effectively adds 50 per cent to the engine’s torque, which is a great benefit when starting off loaded on an incline.

A transmission kick down function comes into effect when the accelerator is depressed beyond a spring-loaded detent, which causes the transmission to downshift for swifter exits from roundabouts or when a bit more urging is required on hills. The addition of the detent system allows the transmission to be left in ‘Eco’ mode to maximise fuel efficiency, as pushing the pedal to the floor overrides the Eco mode’s shift parameters and means that vehicle momentum can be enhanced without having to manually select a lower gear.

The shift lever in the TC-AMT models features a ‘P’ position for parking, which engages a locking pawl with a substantial gear wheel located inside the rear of the transmission and Isuzu claims that it is capable of holding a fully loaded truck on a ‘reasonable’ incline. The transmission selects second for start off, and first can be selected by depressing a button located on the shift lever if the load or incline combination requires it.

As with the rest of the 4×2 N Series, the Servicepack now has Electronic Stability Control (ESC) as standard in addition to other complementary safety systems including anti-lock braking, electronic brake force distribution, anti-slip regulator/traction control and a two second hill start hold function on manual transmission trucks. The driver and outside passenger are protected by airbags and pretensioner load limiting seatbelts. The seats provide good support and the cabin has full interior trim, a padded roof lining and a hardwearing vinyl floor covering.

The NLR Servicepack feels like a bigger truck, a perception aided by the large windscreen and the large doors that open to 90 degrees. Despite that big truck image, the Servicepack has a remarkable 8.9m turning circle that beats any crew cab ute in the ‘U’ turn stakes. The vehicle’s height and length permit access to just about any carpark and most suburban garages, and the large mirrors can be easily folded in when negotiating places with narrow access. The mirrors also have a clever ability to be quickly extended beyond their standard position to deliver better rear vision when towing. The towbar also serves as the integrated step for access to the rear cargo section and also provides protection for the reversing camera.

The Servicepack fills a real gap in the market for a balanced vehicle with truck engineering and payload capacity that still had the accessibility of a traditional ute. It makes a compelling case for a fleet service vehicle as well as most trades with its unrivalled combination of commercial capabilities with car-like drive and comfort.

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