By Kap Maceda Aguila

THE industry-wide influx of Euro4-compliant diesel engines continues as Isuzu recently announced the arrival of its all-new RZ4E Blue Power power plant. A known expert in the design and assembly of diesel engines with more than 27 million units produced over 80 years, the Japan-headquartered company leads “various commercial vehicle categories in 29 countries worldwide, including the Philippines,” according to a news release from Isuzu Philippines Corp. (IPC).

A result of four years of development and testing, the RZ4E has a total swept volume of 1.898 liters, and produces up to 148 hp (at 3,600 rpm) and 350 Nm (1,800-2,600 rpm) of torque. In a speech at the launch event of the RZ4E, IPC President Hajime Koso described the engine as a “world-changing innovation” which “provides optimal performance [but] with less noise and vibration.” He added that “the new engine carries with it excellent fuel economy, which has been proven in [IPC’s] recent product testing.”

The IPC study supervised and verified by the Automobile Association Philippines “following Department of Energy testing parameters and standards” revealed that a RZ4E-powered Isuzu Mu-X LS-A proved more fuel-efficient compared to an Isuzu Mu-X with a 2.5-liter engine. The former’s manual-transmission version recorded 37.7 kilometers per liter (kpl), better by 14.32% over the 2.5-liter’s 32.6-kpl figure. Comparing automatic-transmission variants, the Mu-X RZ4E LS-A A/T registered 35.8 kpl, 48.36% higher than the 24.13 kpl recorded by the 2.5-liter car. Mr. Koso underscored that the main virtues of the new engine are more power and torque, heightened fuel economy, lighter weight and eco-friendliness.

These values are made possible by a slew of new technological innovations such as “a well-design combustion system… new fracture split design connecting rod and DLC fuel injector needles — which are all put together to decrease engine friction.” IPC continued in a statement that “aside from the combustion system, the RZ4E also has a new water-cooled Variable Geometry Turbocharger… that ensures the engine has excellent throttle response even at low rpm. The turbocharger’s turbine is made from high temperature-resistant material, while the central body is water cooled for durability.”

In an exclusive interview with BusinessWorld, IPC sales division head Joseph T. Bautista explained that the company will still offer the premium 3.0-liter variant of the Mu-X alongside the models with the new engine. He added that, for two consecutive years, the Philippines has been leading the world in deliveries of the Mu-X. “We have beaten markets like Thailand and Australia, and last year, we sold around 13,000 units. With the addition of the RZ4E, we’re looking at increasing our lead even further.”

Mr. Bautista averred that the Mu-X “is a perfect vehicle for Filipinos,” boasting a great suspension system, fuel efficiency, and “features that Filipinos like” because IPC “studied the market really well.”

Set for public unveiling at the Manila International Auto Show (scheduled on April 5-8 at the World Trade Center in Pasay City), the RZ4E-powered Mu-X variants will feature five exterior color options: Havana Brown, Cosmic Black, Obsidian Gray, Titanium Silver, and Silky Pearl White. Prices are set at P1.395 million for the 4×2 LS M/T; P1.570 million for the 4×2 LS-A M/T; and P1.595 million for the 4×2 LS-A A/T. An additional P10,000 will be charged on LS-A variants in Silky Pearl White paint.