Isuzu EXY 530 Giga

By: Dave Cox, Photography by: Dave Cox

Isuzu-Giga-005.jpg Isuzu-Giga-005.jpg
Isuzu-Giga-009.jpg Isuzu-Giga-009.jpg
Isuzu-Giga-010.jpg Isuzu-Giga-010.jpg
Isuzu-Giga-013.jpg Isuzu-Giga-013.jpg
Isuzu-Giga-019.jpg Isuzu-Giga-019.jpg
Isuzu-Giga-021.jpg Isuzu-Giga-021.jpg
Isuzu-Giga-022.jpg Isuzu-Giga-022.jpg
Isuzu-Giga-025.jpg Isuzu-Giga-025.jpg
Isuzu-Giga-026.jpg Isuzu-Giga-026.jpg
Magnetic-retarder-Isuzu-Gig.jpg Magnetic-retarder-Isuzu-Gig.jpg

We test the Isuzu EXY 530 Giga – a popular heavy commercial truck that continuously performs

Isuzu EXY 530 Giga
Isuzu EXY 530 Giga
  • Excellent visibility
  • Efficient and silent retardation
  • Roomy cab with plenty of storage
  • Strong drive-train combination
  • Smooth automated gearbox
  • Top of the range driver’s seat
  • Superior lighting for night driving

This truck has been out on the showroom floors for a couple of years and is still a popular model.

The EXY 530 Giga fits the Japan 02/04 Emission standard, which means it has the cooled EGR (Exhaust Gas Recirculation).

All the rudimentary fundamentals are all easily accessible, such as oil, water and other essential fluids.

The gearbox

The Isuzu MJX16AMT Automated transmission is programmed with default gears, which are 4th and 9th for a tractor unit and 4th and 6th for an eight-wheeler. This happens when the computer senses if there is a trailer plugged in or not. When a trailer is plugged into the truck there will be a current draw. The computer senses this and dials a lower gear to start off in as opposed to no trailer and starting in a slightly higher gear. If you don’t want to start in that gear a click on the selection lever will put it in the gear that the driver thinks appropriate.

This gearbox is not a lot different to other Automated gearboxes; it has "A" for Automated "M" for manual and "R" for reverse.

The cab

Up in the cab I immediately felt comfortable with the large amount of space and the ISRI 6860 high spec seat is easy to sit in.

The 530 has the high-roof cab and carpet on the floor with a six-stack C.D player as part of the standard spec.

There is locker storage just above your head, right across the width of the cab and just below that, more individual lockers.

The dash is plastic with wood grain surrounds and inserts.

In the centre beside the driver is the classic Isuzu document/storage locker and alongside this is a compartment called the hot/cold box.


The remote control in the cab gives the truck the ability to raise and lower the height for loading or hooking up to trailers. This has an auto return to factory height settings as soon as you exceed 20kph.

Cosmetically it has 22’’ Flat glass main mirrors, with built in convex spotters in the lower segment giving great uninterrupted viewing, both of which are heated and electric. When it comes to lighting up the night sky there are very impressive HID headlights (High Intensity Discharge). These only come out on the units that have airbag suspension because it is important to have the vehicle at the correct ride height all the time with such high powered lights.

How does it handle?

The Isuzu box is smooth, steady and effortless to drive. This is definitely a bonus in heavy traffic with numerous sets of lights, crazy motorists and stopping and starting at regular intervals.
I am instructed that the clutch pedal is not used for starting and stopping but only used in situations where you might have to reverse slowly and need accurate control of your vehicle speed, like when hooking up to a trailer. You can utilise the clutch almost as an inching brake.

While cruising along the southern motorway I try the power/economy switch so when the transmission is set in Auto mode it will change the engine rpm shift point. This is not very often used as the power mode seems to be sufficient most of the time and the driver can just drive and manage the gear changes at the appropriate times.

Retardation unit

This Giga has two-stage retardation, with exhaust braking on the first stage and a very impressive magnetic retarder on the second stage. This is mounted just in front of the front diff and is well placed to get good cooling and is also specced as a lightweight unit. One of the real bonuses is that not only is it very efficient and slows the vehicle extremely well, but it is also completely silent. So,when descending down a hill into a built up area where there is a by-law stating ‘No engine brakes’, the Isuzu Giga can happily have full retardation.

The ride is smooth at 90kph. The axles and the brakes are Isuzu, so when you match all this from stem to stern with Isuzu engine and transmission, it just makes for a very solid, well thought-out package.

The verdict

Overall performance and comfort are great and the automated gearbox makes driving this model a breeze.

Who the truck is suited to:

  • Heavy duty bulk tipping units
  • Line-haul units
  • Large Class 4 town delivery
  • Any 18-tonne-plus requirements
  • Any combination 44-tonne units


Engine 390kW (530ps) @ 1800rpm
Torque 1676lb/ft @ 1300rpm
Transmission MJX16-AMT 16-speed Automated.
Gears 16
Clutch 15.5" twin plate
Rear axle Isuzu RT210
Ratio 4.10:1
Rear suspension Isuzu 8 bag air
Brakes Drums 410mm diameter
Retardation Isuzu butterfly exhaust, GIGA-Tard NT65 Permanent Magnetic

Read in-depth truck reviews in the latest issue of Deals On Wheels magazine, on sale now.

See Isuzu trucks for sale here.

Compare the Isuzu EXY 530 to other models here.

Keep up to date in the industry by signing up to Deals on Wheels' free newsletter or liking us on Facebook