Fuso adds improvements to Canter FG 4WD truck

By: Steve Skinner


Fuso has reintroduced the important low range mode to its latest four-wheel-drive Canter FG.

Fuso adds improvements to Canter FG 4WD truck
The new Fuso Canter 4WD comes with a number of improvements, including the reintroduction of low range gear.

 

There are some significant improvements to the new model Fuso baby four-wheel-drive truck, the Canter FG – none of them more important than the reinstatement of low range.

The low range cog at the back of the gearbox gives 100 per cent reduction, meaning that first gear is a crawler.

And it's this low mode which should make the Canter extremely competitive again in the Australian off-road market.

Fuso in Japan stopped offering the low range version to Australia over the past couple of years because of relatively low demand for such extreme climbing ability elsewhere around the globe.

"Some time ago Japan looked at the major markets for 4x4 and found that in a lot of places they are used for snow and ice or for traction purposes, and they found that not everyone was using the low gear set, so they removed the low gear range because they felt that it was rarely used," Fuso Australia product planning engineer Kevin Johnston says.

"Of course in Australia they were wrong.

"You can say that people don’t use the low gear so often in Australia but when you need it, you absolutely need it."

The brief absence of low range meant Fuso in Australia didn't even tender for what has been the main role of the 4WD FG Canter for more than two decades – as a go-anywhere rural fire truck.

So fierce competitor the Isuzu NPS has had this large fire market all to itself for the past couple of years

There are stacks of Canter bush fire trucks in service in Australia, and as far as we know they have a reputation as a tough and reliable little unit.

The reintroduction of low range isn’t the only new plus in the latest model 4WD.

Split rim wheels and tube tyres have been replaced with what is regarded as the safer option when it comes to changing flats – standard six-stud disc wheels, and tubeless tyres.

Another move forward is the introduction of a mechanical suspension seat as standard, in both single and crew cab versions.

Last but not least for any operator wanting to maximise payload, the new model FG has a gross vehicle mass of 6.5 tonnes, as opposed to 6 tonnes previously.

The three-litre engine pushes out an adequate 150hp (110kW) and 370Nm of torque.

ATN found the Canter a good little unit to drive both on the freeway and off-road, without testing it to anywhere near its full capabilities.

Approach and departure angles are amazing and the low range is fantastic: you can crawl down an extremely steep slope in first or reverse gear without touching the brakes; and crawl up a steep pinch without touching the accelerator.

However we have a quibble with the low range button on the dash, which we reckon could leave a driver hopping into the Canter for the first time unable to work out whether they are actually in low range or not.

And while you have to expect a lot of bouncing around when you have no weight on the back, even with the new mechanical seat on the softest adjustment setting there still seemed to be almost no give.

The cushioning on the rigid passenger side seems pretty good though.

You can read the full review on the new 4WD Fuso Canter in the March issue of ATN.

 

You can also follow our updates by joining our LinkedIn group or liking us on Facebook