2018 Isuzu NLS 45-150 Tipper Review

2018 Isuzu N-Series Tipper Road Test, Review

isuzu n-series tipper

The list of potential purchasers for this Isuzu N-Series tipper is very wide and includes landscapers, councils, nurseries and builders.

Fitted with the tipper body as standard, the Isuzu NLS 45-150 Tipper is one of the many different vehicles available in the Isuzu Ready To Work range and can be driven on just a regular car license.

Under the cab is Isuzu’s 3.0 litre Euro 5 compliant turbo-diesel four-cylinder engine and the tipper variant is available only with a five-speed manual transmission.

Isuzu nls 45-150On Road Performance

I had a tonne of sand in the back of my test vehicle and I thought the engine, producing 110kW (147.5hp) @2,800rpm and 375Nm (from 1,600rpm) accounted for it with ease.

The baby Isuzu gets off the line quite well and will easily sit on 100km/h or just over on the open road.

It’s a shame though that an auto transmission/automated manual isn’t available here – yes, the manual gearbox allows you to get the most out of the engine, but it isn’t the most user friendly ‘box’ I’ve come across.

A staple in Isuzu N-Series trucks for years, the transmission requires a fair bit of effort to get into first gear, including the somewhat awkward over to the left and downward shift movement.

Finding second and third can also be an exercise in matching the revs to the shift to ensure a smooth change.

In this section of the market, where you could have potential drivers expecting a more car-like feel, this could be a turn off for some.

It also makes the truck much more ‘truck-like’ than perhaps the rest of the package.

For example, the steering is nice and light, it actually rides along really well, and the cab is surprisingly quiet.

A 10.1 metre turning-circle makes this Isuzu a very maneuverable little thing and with all-wheel drive (but no low-range gearing) you can rest assured it will get into and out of some pretty tricky spots.

The exhaust brake does an adequate job of slowing the tipper without the need to use the brake pedal, but for me I would prefer it was just a little more enthusiastic/forceful.

The Tipper

A pat on the back for Isuzu, Australia’s best-selling truck brand can put much of their success down to the fact that they lead the market in having trucks ready to roll for potential customers.

While some competitors are happy to deliver a good truck to you, they can’t or don’t have factory-built bodies ready to go and that can be a turn-off for some potential clients.

This can be an issue especially for fleet operators who don’t want to have to go to the trouble of going through the process of having a body built/fitted after purchase.

The Isuzu-supplied tipper body on the NLS 45-150 can be tipped up to an impressive 55 degrees and comes with an auto-release two-way tailgate, shovel rack, non-slip steps etc.

And Isuzu tell us the tipper will reach full tilt in just 20 seconds, the same amount of time can be expected for the lowering back down.

Inside the Cab

As mentioned, Isuzu has given the NLS 45-150 a very quiet cab that is generally quite comfortable too.

The driver, not surprisingly, gets the best of it with a comfortable and supportive seat.

The centre seat and passenger seat are comfortable enough for short stints to and from jobs, a lack of legroom though would prevent particularly long stints from being done with great comfort.

Full marks to the Isuzu designers for the handy roof-mounted storage areas and the really generously sized cab roof light.

The visibility from the driver’s seat is very good thanks to the massive windscreen and side windows.

Big mirrors, simple controls, and easy to read gauges also help make this a really easy vehicle to pilot around.

There’s decent creature comforts too, including digital radio, Bluetooth and a DVD player, though sat-nav is an optional extra.

What’s missing? You could make a case for steering wheel mounted audio controls, that would be a nice addition.

Speaking of the steering wheel, in my opinion, I would like a wheel that is a little more grippy and not quite so hard to the touch.

While getting into the Isuzu cab is easy with decent-sized side steps and well-located grab handles.

The Summary

Isuzu is the market leader in small trucks and after sampling the NLS 45-150 Tipper I’m again not surprised by this fact.

The build-quality, solid feel, good dynamics and ease at which it does its job would make this a handy tool for potential operators.

Isuzu markets the N-Series as ‘the truck for everyone’, however I think some people would struggle with the manual transmission, especially those who may be coming out of ‘tradie’ utes and the like.

It’s a shame the little tipper isn’t available with Isuzu’s Automated Manual Transmission.

Facts and Figures: 2018 Isuzu NLS 45-150 Tipper

  • Engine: Isuzu 4JJ1-TCS 3.0 litre turbo-diesel (Euro 5) producing 110kW/375Nm
  • Transmission: Five-speed manual (syncromesh on gears 1-5)
  • GVM: 4,500kg
  • GCM: 6,000kg (off-road), 7,000kg (on-road)
  • Warranty: 3yrs/100,000km
  • Origin: Japan
About Joel Helmes 1676 Articles
Joel is the founder and CEO of Heavy Vehicles. With more than 20 years experience in the media, including more than 10 years heading up the car publication - Behind the Wheel, Joel is passionate about bringing a fresh perspective to the Australian road transport industry. Prior to his media career Joel worked for a number of years as a bus, truck and delivery driver.

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