America’s Army infantry soldiers have mostly been getting around on foot, but they’re about to get a radical upgrade in the form of the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2-based Infantry Squad Vehicle.
275 Horsepower, 420 Pound-Feet
The military generally runs on diesel fuel and the chemically similar JP-8 and F-24 fuels, so the ZR2’s 2.8-liter turbodiesel inline four-cylinder engine is modified to sense and adjust for these fuels automatically. Further improvements for ISV duty end up boosting output to 275 horsepower and 420 lb-ft of torque—89 more horses and 51 more lb-ft than stock. That’s almost all just tuning, largely made possible by tailoring it to suit the Army’s unique duty cycle and, um, more “lenient” emissions requirements. There is no NOx trap and hence no diesel emissions fluid, though no emissions controls are “defeated” per se and you won’t see ISVs “rolling coal.”
How Quick Is The ISV?
The Army won’t share its figures but they would be meaningless anyway because they test at max 8,200-pound GVWR (5,000 max for the truck, 3,200 pounds for the nine troops and their gear). Motortrend tested two diesel trucks with six-speed automatic transmissions and similar weight-to-power ratings (18.0 lb/hp), which both did the zero-to-60-mph run in 6.9 seconds and ran the quarter-mile in just over 15 seconds at around 90 mph, so that’s a safe guess for how the ISV would fare in an official MotorTrend test with just the driver onboard. That’s well better than the 9.7 seconds to 60 and 17.2 seconds at 78.4 mph we’ve recorded on a stock ZR2 diesel.
What Will The ISV Cost Taxpayers?
There are those who have merely taken the announced total contract award ($214 million) and divided by the initial 649 vehicles to come up with the golden-toilet-seat number $329,738. That’s utterly and completely wrong and misleading. All the Army would say on the record was that the “target average unit manufacturing cost” initially set for the program was $177,000, and we’re assured that GM came in “significantly under that.” You also need to know that the Army doesn’t purchase vehicles the way we do. It negotiates a price that incorporates lifetime service parts, user training, and a host of other unusual extras.