Isuzu Truck Grafter Review & Buyers' Guide
£16,770 – £21,970
Available as: Chassis Cab, Dropside, Tipper, Engine options:3.0TD 150hp, Volume (m³): Not Applicable, Payload (kg): , 1,215 – 1,635
Grafter’s torquey engine is a gem, the narrow-bodied configuration makes it ideal for restricted width urban use and the in-house designed, factory-fitted Dropside and Tipper conversions are top-notch.
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First introduced to the UK in 1993 the N Series-based Grafter 3.5 tonne chassis cab range underwent a major overhaul in 2008 which introduced a cab with more interior space and an upgraded 3-litre common rail turbodiesel engine.
Revised in October 2009 to meet Euro 5 emission regulations, the four-cylinder diesel produces 150hp at 2,800rpm and develops peak torque of 375Nm between 1,600rpm and 2,800rpm. Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) and a Diesel Particulate Diffuser are used to reduce tailpipe emissions so there is no need for any additives like AdBlue.
Engine access couldn’t be better thanks to Grafter’s truck heritage; the whole cab tips forward. Service intervals are set at 10,000 miles.
Rear-wheel drive, Grafter comes with a five-speed manual gearbox and unusually it features a dog-leg first gear shift pattern. First is found in the bottom left position, opposite reverse. It’s nothing to worry about as drivers soon become accustomed to it and it does mean that the remaining most often used gears are in an H-pattern. The front suspension is independent and features coil springs and dampers with the rear taken care of by alloy/steel leaf springs and dampers. The rack and pinion steering is hydraulically power assisted and the brakes are ventilated discs at the front and drums at the rear.
Available as a chassis cab or a chassis double cab, Grafter has a choice of three wheelbases, single or twin rear wheels — the latter offers greater stability — and there’s even the option of a wide cab; basically the cab from the 7.5 tonne Forward.
As a chassis cab there are a host of bodies that can be fitted to cope with virtually any application; anything from a flatbed to a Luton, curtainsider or refrigerated. Isuzu, however, offers the two most popular conversions, dropside and tipper, as factory-fitted models. The former uses weight-reducing aluminium, the latter hard-wearing high tensile Swedish steel. Gross payload for the single rear wheel Dropside is 1,380kg and 1,215kg for the Tipper. All Grafters can tow a braked trailer grossing at 3,500kg.
The new cab offers much more space than its predecessor and although the driving position is more truck- than car-like with the steering wheel closer to the horizontal than the vertical, it is comfortable. The rake and reach adjustable helps with the fine-tuning.
There’s bags of head and shoulder room and the twin passenger seat provides ample room for two. Storage space isn’t exactly plentiful, but at least there are two deep bins provided above the windscreen.Standard specification is good with driver and passenger airbags, hence no glovebox, remote central locking, electric windows and a radio/CD player.All Grafters come with a three-year unlimited mileage mechanical warranty, which includes free roadside assistance.