It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that traffic in the Philippines takes a heavy toll on man and machine. Anyone who has had the misfortune of toiling in gridlock with a manual gearbox should know. With trucks having heavier clutches than passenger cars, one could only imagine how hard drivers have to work to keep their vehicles crawling smoothly.
While the challenge of driving trucks cannot be really taken away, Isuzu Philippines has something special that will make that task just a bit less taxing.
The automaker has just introduced the N-Series Smoother (yes, that really is the name). “Smoother” refers to the truck’s new trick up its sleeve, the automated manual transmission (AMT). This is very different from a traditional automatic transmission which uses a fluid coupling (like a torque converter). The AMT still has a traditional clutch, but it is operated automatically instead of by the driver.
The obvious benefit of the AMT is the absence of a clutch pedal, which lowers the driver’s workload. In addition, Isuzu claims that having a computer-controlled transmission will lower maintenance and fuel costs, and allow less-experienced personnel to operate the N-Series. Finally, having six speeds means the vehicle can sustain high cruising speeds at lower revs.
One of the clever features of the N-Series Smoother is the option of changing gears manually or automatically, depending on the driver’s preference. It even has an economy mode, which is programmed to shift earlier for better fuel consumption. There is also a cab-tilt warning on the dashboard so that operators will no longer have to visually check the cab locks before setting off.
Only one version of the N-Series is equipped with the AMT, the NLR85. It is equipped with a 3.0-liter 4JJ1 turbodiesel with 122hp and 354Nm. The cab-and-chassis vehicle retails for P1,600,000. For more information on the prices of optional extras like air-conditioning and rear bodies or accessories, you may visit any Isuzu dealership nationwide.