New Fuso re­ally fits the bill

Ja­pan’s truck gi­ant hopes its in­no­va­tions have a big im­pact

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Working Wheels - JAMES STAN­FORD james.stan­ford@cars­

A LEANER en­gine and a smart new au­to­mated gear­box are the stand-out fea­tures of the new Mit­subishi Fuso Can­ter range.

The Ja­panese truck maker will in­tro­duce its al­limpor­tant 2011 Can­ter in Aus­tralia next month. It fea­tures fresh tech­nol­ogy and the prom­ise of lower run­ning costs, thanks to a more efficient en­gine and trans­mis­sion, as well as in­creased driver com­fort.

Fuso will ex­pand its line-up from 17 to 38 mod­els in­clud­ing fac­tory-fit­ted tip­pers, crew cabs and a 3500kg gross ve­hi­cle mass ma­chine pitched as the next step up from a one-tonne ute for tradies.

The com­pany, which has long played on the width of its cabs us­ing the ‘‘not so squeezy’’ tag-line, has bought seven nar­row-cab mod­els into its line-up to give op­er­a­tors more choice, in­clud­ing a six-seater crew cab that can be driven on a car li­cence.

There are new in­te­ri­ors on all mod­els. Fuso has in­tro­duced driver and pas­sen­ger airbags as stan­dard equip­ment as well as a driver’s sus­pen­sion seat in all but nar­row-cab mod­els.

Mit­subishi Fuso tech­ni­cal man­ager Kevin John­ston says: ‘‘It has a lit­tle bit less torque but a flat torque curve so the driv­ing ex­pe­ri­ence will be very sim­i­lar.’’

The new en­gine is more ad­vanced and runs a vari­able ge­om­e­try tur­bocharger and piezo in­jec­tion which al­lows for bet­ter fuel con­trol and more efficient com­bus­tion. The smaller ca­pac­ity also brings weight sav­ings and Fuso says the Can­ter is roughly 200kg lighter than Ja­panese ri­vals, al­low­ing op­er­a­tors to carry more within weight lim­its.

A diesel par­tic­u­late fil­ter, which burns off soot at su­per-high tem­per­a­tures at reg­u­lar in­ter­vals, has been in­tro­duced to help meet new emis­sion stan­dards.

Trans­mis­sions are a fivespeed man­ual trans­mis­sion or a new au­to­mated box, a first for trucks. It is ef­fec­tively a six-speed man­ual gear­box with two au­to­mated clutches to han­dle the changes. This al­lows the pre-se­lec­tion of the next gear which means a far faster shift than the pre­vi­ous au­to­mated trans­mis­sion but it also has a man­ual over-ride mode.

Fuso says it is based on a reg­u­lar Fuso man­ual and can be ser­viced eas­ily as it doesn’t need to be sent to a third party. It will be a cheaper op­tion than an equiv­a­lent au­to­matic gear­box and will be avail­able on all mod­els ex­cept 4x4s.

The Can­ter has in­de­pen­dent front sus­pen­sion for mod­els up to 6000kg us­ing coil-over shock ab­sorbers, which gives the truck a more car-like feel than a rigid front end set-up.

Disc brakes are fit­ted front and rear and the dual caliper at the front works with the stan­dard anti-lock brake sys­tem with elec­tronic brake dis­tri­bu­tion.

Fuso doesn’t plan to in­tro­duce elec­tronic sta­bil­ity con­trol in the short term for Can­ter.

The in­te­rior up­grade in­cludes new-look plas­tics, fresh in­stru­ments and over­head com­part­ments to store doc­u­ments. The Amer­i­can arm of Fuso said its cus­tomers wanted a lock­able com­part­ment on the pas­sen­ger side of the dash­board to store a hand­gun and this has been in­cluded in all mod­els. There is also a new colour in­for­ma­tion screen to dis­play trip in­for­ma­tion in­clud­ing av­er­age fuel con­sump­tion, ser­vice in­ter­vals and even the state of the diesel par­tic­u­late fil­ter and when it might re­quire a man­ual burnoff.

Fuso says the new Can­ter has class-lead­ing ser­vice in­ter­vals of 30,000km.

Safety first: The­newFuso Can­ter range in­cludes airbags for the driver and pas­sen­ger

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