***Just reposting my road test of the Isuzu i-Van as posted in the car comparisons thread.***
EDIT: The I-Van has its own Facebook page! http://www.facebook.com/pages/Centro...333483?sk=wall
If you just need to haul bodies or stuff, ok na ito. Yung tipong mga hindi mo naman kilala o kamag-anak ang sakay mo. And hindi mo naman personal na sasakyan at ipapa-drive mo lang sa driver, pwede na din. Otherwise, I'd look at something else.
First off, Isuzu can boast all day about their 'legendary engines' but at the end of the day a 4JB1-TC engine is still a 91 horsepower pick up truck engine forced into a truck body and forced to carry all the weight. Acceleration is slow to say the least and you can barely crack 120kph. I'm not expecting a sports car but I wasn't expecting it to be so slow either. The engine is heavily taxed and on long trips, you will be rowing through the gears like a mad man to keep the engine within the power band.
And yes, there's that shifter. It's so notchy I thought I was rowing through a bowl of rocks. But I can live with it, not just very comfortably.
The ride is what you'd expect from having four rock hard leaf springs on all four corners - very bouncy. Bring your Bonamine for the rear passengers. Bumps that a Hiace or Urvan can easily take results in a crash boom bang concert in the i-Van. Isuzu recommends very soft tire pressure for the front to soften up the ride as well as using Bridgestone Dueler light truck tires on alloy rims instead of heavy duty truck tires on steel rims. I guess it helps, but you cannot hide the primitive underpinnings of the truck. As a cargo truck, it works well enough, but it seems ill fitted for people carrier duty.
And speaking of primitive, I wouldn't trust anything with 4 wheel drum brakes! At highway speeds, stopping distances are very long and there's no pedal feel to speak of. The pedal just reaches the floor and you pray that you don't hit the vehicle in front. It may work for city speeds but after repeated stops from highway speeds, the brakes have already faded (weakness of drum brakes since they are unable to dissipate heat fast enough like disc brakes) to the point of being dangerous. Isuzu NHR trucks can be had with disc brakes in other markets, why can't we have them, too? And yes, I can hear some Isuzu fanboys now arguing that even 10 wheelers and semi-trailers have drum brakes and can stop. Yes they can stop because the are using air brakes (doesn't boil over like hydraulic systems) and they have extremely huge drums with a large friction surface area. But still, more advanced trucks in other markets are already switching over to discs.
The truck handles nervously at speeds above 100kph. A combination of being slab sided and having a primitive suspension set up. Constant corrections are required to maintain a straight path.
And how is the rest of the vehicle? The conversion from cargo truck to van seems to be poorly executed. The vinyl trim feels cheap and there are a lot of glue marks and oversprays on the trim. The ceiling is interrupted by a bare metal bow and the front edge of the headliner is held up with nothing but the sunvisors! The rear a/c vents aren't even lined up squarely. The right rear swing door has scratches on its door jamb from grinding with the door opening. The rear door panel made up of fiberglass and feels very cheap. On the unit I tested, the screws are exposed and the door pocket has been cracked already (the unit had less than 1500kms on the odo). Also when the swing door is closed, I can see sunlight entering the lower edges. The lift up tailgate, considering how tall the truck is, doesn't even lift up high enough to clear my head when I'm loading stuff. The struts (a German brand) seem to be too short for the job.
Up front the Isuzu cabin is pleasant enough. A tilt and telescope steering wheel is a nice feature. As well as a standard tachometer. The Sony Xplod head unit has an aux-in port also and the a/c is very effective. The rear a/c control is also up front so rear passengers have no control over the system. And speaking of rear a/c, an unattractive mesh grill mars the rear quarter panel to accommodate the low mounted rear a/c evaporator.
In the engine compartment, you need to go under the vehicle to access and check the air cleaner (just like the Urvan) and because the coolant jug used to rest behind the truck cab, Isuzu simply deleted it. So I guess the radiator just dumps the coolant on the road as the system boils over? Which is kind of dumb on a modern vehicle.
"Proudly Built by Isuzu"
Why don't you just change the oil and oil filter at the same time?
Even Isuzu is not sure how much oil to put into their own engine. hehehe
Engine compartment with add-on Sanden A/C
Front wheel drum brakes. Bridgestone tires. Alloy wheels. They didn't even bother to change the lug nuts to something more matched to the alloys.