LIGHT TRUCK OF THE YEAR

New Zealand LCV - - CONTENTS - – Mike Stock, Edi­tor

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.

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