Can­ter re­ports for duty

The Fuso range is mak­ing in­roads, re­port­sGRAHAMSMITH

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Front Page -

GIVEN the al­most to­tal dom­i­na­tion of the Isuzu N-Se­ries in the light-duty truck mar­ket, it’s easy to over­look ri­vals such as the Fuso Can­ter. It’s qui­etly get­ting on with the job with a grow­ing range of mod­els to cover most small­truck needs.

Fuso has just added a 4x4 model to its Can­ter range, in­clud­ing one with an au­to­matic trans­mis­sion and an­other pow­ered by a diesel/ elec­tric hy­brid sys­tem. Both the au­to­matic model and hy­brid tip­per con­cept truck are ex­pected at the Bris­bane truck show in May.

The Can­ter range is com­pre­hen­sive and Big Wheels re­cently tried a cou­ple of mod­els.

One was an FE 4x2 tip­per, which comes fac­tory-fit­ted with a steel tip­ping body. Com­ing from the fac­tory, it’s fully cov­ered by a fac­tory war­ranty, so there’s no need to worry about a sec­ond war­ranty with the body builder.

The Can­ter FE 3.0 4x2 tip­per is nom­i­nally rated at 6.0-tonne GVM and 10.0-tonne GCM, but can be op­tion­ally down­rated to 4.5-tonne GVM and 8.0-tonne GCM if needed by an op­er­a­tor so it can be driven on a car li­cence.

The tip­per body is sturdy with a drop-down tail­gate and a ca­pac­ity of two cu­bic me­tres.

On the road the 4.9-litre four-cylin­der turbo diesel has plenty of punch with good pick-up, ac­cel­er­a­tion and flex­i­bil­ity.

The ADR 80/02-com­pli­ant en­gine puts out 110kW at 2700 revs and 471Nm at 1600 revs — that’s 7 per cent more power and 29 per cent more torque than the pre­vi­ous model.

It’s backed by a five-speed man­ual gear­box. It doesn’t have syn­chro on first, which isn’t a ma­jor con­cern, but it would be bet­ter with it.

The ride is comfortable and the power steer­ing is light. Brak­ing is by anti-skid drums and there’s an ex­haust brake for ex­tra safety.

An airbag is of­fered, but it’s an op­tion.

At the other end of the Can­ter scale is the FE 4.5 4x2 long wheel­base rigid, which has a mul­ti­tude of po­ten­tial uses, from a cur­tain­sider, to a flat-bed, even a car car­rier.

Fuso is of­fer­ing the FE 4.5 in a choice of 3870mm and 4470mm wheel­bases, each with a GVM of 8.2 tonnes and a GCM of 10.9 tonnes, but also with the op­tion of down­rat­ing it to 8.0-tonne GVM.

The truck driven by Big Wheels was the longer wheel­base op­tion, mak­ing it the big­gest Can­ter of them all. As with all Can­ters it has the well-equipped and roomy wide cab with ac­com­mo­da­tion for three.

Un­der the cab beats the heart of a 4.9-litre four-cylin­der com­mon rail turbo diesel pump­ing out 130kW at 2700 revs and 530Nm at 1600 revs when work­ing at its best.

Back­ing it up was a Fuso six-speed gear­box that shifted smoothly and with lit­tle ef­fort.

Loaded down with con­crete blocks weigh­ing three tonnes, the ex­tra long Can­ter pulled well through the gears and demon­strated ad­mirable flex­i­bil­ity on a short drive course west of Syd­ney.

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