Canter reports for duty
The Fuso range is making inroads, reportsGRAHAMSMITH
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.