LIGHT TRUCK OF THE YEAR
We crown Fuso’s user-friendly, good to drive Canter as LCV Magazine’s first-ever Light Truck of the Year.
FUSO’S HIGHLY-ACCOMPLISHED CANTER is LCV Magazine’s Light-duty Truck of the Year.
Our team of expert testers awarded the crown to the Canter after back-to-back assessment of the four contenders, the Canter, the Hino 300, the Hyundai Mighty EX6, and the Isuzu N-series.
The fifth truck in the NZ light-duty market, the newly-launched Euro 5 Foton Aumark was not tested.
Foton New Zealand said the truck was still being fine-tuned for the local market and felt it would be premature to put it forward for assessment.
Canter operators report that drivers rate the light-duty Fuso highly for its performance, refinement, handling and ease of use.
Experienced truck tester, Truck & Driver and LCV Magazine publisher, Trevor Woolston echoed that view when he drove it.
It was that user-friendliness – along with solid construction and good levels of creature comforts – that tipped the balance in favour of the Fuso.
All of the four trucks were good to drive and generally well-equipped, and any of them will do the job well.
But the Canter just had that little edge. We assessed light-duty trucks that could be driven on a car licence, and user-friendliness is a key consideration when a truck is driven by people who might only operate it for a short period of time each day.
The five-speed manual Canter impressed immediately, with an excellent clutch/gearbox relationship and a gearbox that shifted slickly and smoothly.
It was likened to driving a car gearbox, and was completely foible-free.
The Canter backed that up with a pleasant cabin ambience, effective air-conditioning, good attention to detail in control placement, and high comfort levels.
That attention to detail flows through into the positioning of the exterior mirrors which are well-placed for safer and easier manoeuvring in tight city alleyways and loading bays.
The Canter’s 3.0-litre turbodiesel motor delivers excellent performance. It’s a lively unit with plenty of get-up-and-go in both city running and on the open road.
The steering is nicely-weighted and accurate and the ride, though lumpier than you’d find in most vans, for instance, is more than acceptable.
The cab has good storage space, and noise levels – both mechanical and roadgenerated – are well suppressed.
There were a couple of things that weren’t so impressive, like the heaviness of the cab when being tilted forward to do daily engine oil and other maintenance checks.
But overall, the Canter proved to be a well-sorted design that is a pleasure to drive and ride in.
That’s why it is LCV Magazine’s first-ever Light-duty Truck of the Year.
User-friendliness was a key decider in Canter’s LCV Lightduty Truck of the Year victory.
Above left: Factory-built Tippers are an important part of the Canter range. This is a 616. Above right: Canter 616 cab/chassis pictured at the 2017 Fieldays.