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Tuesday 17 July 2018

Isuzu Grafter Green – Test Drive Review


Isuzu Grafter Green TipperIsuzu Truck has taken it’s range of 3.5 tonne Grafter chassis cabs to Euro 6 with the introduction of a new 1.9-litre turbodiesel and a change of name. Grafter Green does not require AdBlue to function, thanks to Lean NOX-Trap technology, and offers much improved fuel consumption and lower CO2 emissions compared with the predecessor’s 3-litre engine.

Despite the significant drop in engine capacity, power and torque have increased slightly to 123hp and 320Nm respectively. It drives the real wheels (either single or twin) via a new six-speed manual gearbox and the clutch weight has been halved. Other major changes include independent double wishbone front suspension, improved rack and pinion power steering, a redesigned cab interior and a reduction in overall noise levels.

Isuzu Grafter Green TipperAvailable with a choice of two wheelbases, Grafter Green chassis cabs are lighter than their predecessors and consequently provide much improved body/payload potential. They have already been integrated into Isuzu Truck’s Driveaway pre-bodied programme, with both tipper and dropside variants available from launch.

Having spent some time with a short-wheelbase, twin rear wheel tipper, we are happy to report that the new engine is a real beauty. It’s smooth and refined, and who would have thought a small truck-based 3.5 tonne tipper would perform so well with a 1.9-litre diesel mounted under its forward-tilting cab?

And perform it does, thanks to peak torque coming in from 1,600rpm. It also benefits out on the open road from the six-speed gearbox while retaining impressive low speed manoeuvrability when fully loaded. The reduced clutch weight is a real boon, but as with the predecessor, the gearbox doesn’t like to be rushed.

Ride quality has improved, with the revised front suspension better able to control nose-diving under braking, but to perform at its best it needs to have a load on board to stabilise the rear end. Steering feel has improved substantially.

Isuzu Grafter Green TipperThanks to an alloy load bed and dropsides, along with the chassis cab being lighter than its predecessor, the Grafter Green SWB tipper provides a substantial 1,256kg of maximum payload. Tipper operation is courtesy of a wander lead control unit which lives in a holster to the rear of the driver’s seat. To aid loading all three sides of the body can be dropped down and if necessary the rear corner posts removed as well to turn it into a flatbed. The tailgate can easily be configured to be top-hinged for unloading.

Cab access is simple thanks to remote central locking, 90°opening doors and a convenient step. Once inside the driver sits high-up with a commanding view of the road ahead and large door mirrors provide excellent rearward vision. The steering column is rake and reach adjustable, and the driver gets a fully adjustable suspension seat.

What a difference a new engine makes. Grafter Green is much more refined, more fuel-efficient and has a higher payload than its predecessor. What’s not to like?

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