Isuzu Motors has announced a significant update for the N-Series truck, known as the Elf in Japan. In fact, it was in 2007 when the Japanese vehicle maker introduced the outgoing sixth-generation model; now, the seventh generation has arrived and it came with major upgrades, including advanced safety features that are otherwise first seen in a Japanese light-duty truck. More importantly, an electric version has been introduced, which would be a first for Isuzu.
Design-wise, the changes are pretty obvious. The Elf adapts a similar grille found on its passenger truck cousin, the Isuzu D-Max, while the vertical headlights that mimic the brand's twin-bar logo are retained, albeit, heavily styled. There are also major updates in the cabin that focus on enhancing driver comfort and fatigue mitigation.
Gallery: New Isuzu Elf (Seventh Generation)
Isuzu has introduced various features to enhance the N-Series truck’s efficiency, including the newly-designed Isuzu Smooth Intelligent Transmission (ISIM). The ISIM is a 9-speed dual-clutch transmission (DCT) that's said to offer improved fuel economy when paired with the 4JZ1 diesel engine.
The ISIM's 9-speed gearbox is claimed to keep RPMs low for fuel efficiency and reduces noise to alleviate driving fatigue. Isuzu claims that the dual-clutch structure enables quick shift changes, reducing torque loss and shift shock during gear shifts.
Isuzu has also introduced advanced safety systems and driver assist features to the Elf truck, including improved stereo camera performance, a short-range millimeter-wave radar, and a driver status monitor. The truck features nine new safety assist features that are first in a Japanese light-duty truck, including the pre-collision braking system, blind-spot monitoring system, and a full-speed range adaptive cruise control.
Isuzu's first mass-produced Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV) joins the N-Series range. The company claims that the Elf BEV will accelerate the implementation of commercial BEVs globally. Up to five battery packs each with 20 kWh can fit the Elf EV, though the range wasn't mentioned in its release.
The updated Elf range will roll out in Japan this year, with the F-Series scheduled to come out in the summer. Pricing in Japan starts at 6,481,200 Japanese yen (including taxes) or around $47,200 at the current exchange rates.