Isuzu Commercial Truck of America said it will start production of an all-new Class 6 medium-duty F-Series truck with a segment-first four-cylinder diesel engine.
The new truck – the 2018 Isuzu FTR – is designed to navigate dense, urban environments and will be built at a new 85,000-square-foot Spartan Motors facility in Charlotte, Mich., starting in May, Isuzu said at the start of the 2017 Work Truck Show in Indianapolis Tuesday.
Isuzu said it will begin to take orders of the truck next month, which will have a starting retail price of $82,180.
“The all-new FTR is truly a game-changer,” said Shaun Skinner, president of Isuzu Commercial Truck of America.
He said the truck’s combination of low-cab-forward design and Class 6 weight rating will offer greater maneuverability and cargo capacity than a conventional truck in its segment.
“Its four-cylinder diesel engine is environmentally friendly and gives the truck outstanding fuel efficiency,” Skinner said.
Isuzu is taking a chance offering a smaller engine in a truck class that usually starts at six-cylinder power plants.
While Daimler’s Freightliner division has eyed the greater use of four-cylinder engines in trucks, most manufacturers queried by Trucks.com said the plan to stick to bigger engines for Class 6 and larger trucks.
Navistar said it doesn’t have plans to offer four-cylinder engines. Likewise, Cummins Engine, one of the world’s largest diesel engine manufacturers, “does not envision a convincing rationale for introducing a four-cylinder engine to the medium-duty and vocation truck market in North America in the near future,” Kevan Browne, a company spokesman, told Trucks.com last year.
The FTR will be powered by the Isuzu 4HK1-TC 5.2-liter turbocharged four-cylinder diesel engine—a first in the segment.
“We believe that more and more competitors in this class will be turning to four-cylinder engines, because they are cleaner and more efficient,” Skinner said. “Our 4HK engine goes beyond environmental friendliness and economy—it’s also durable and powerful.”
Isuzu said the engine now carries a B-10 durability rating of 375,000 miles—meaning that 90 percent of engines should reach that mileage before requiring an overhaul. That represents an increase of 65,000 miles from the engine’s previous 310,000-mile B-10 rating.
The new truck’s low-cab-forward configuration gives it more cargo space within a given overall length than comparable conventional Class 6 trucks, Skinner said. It will come in eight wheelbase lengths, ranging from 152 to 248 inches, and will accommodate bodies from 14 feet to 30 feet, allowing for a wide variety of body applications.
The FTR’s low-cab-forward design makes it easier to drive in traffic, he said.
“With inner 50-degree wheel cut, this truck has an incredibly tight turning radius,” Skinner said. “This saves drivers time as they navigate crowded city streets where the FTR is expected to be in greatest demand.”