Return of the Sumo: Canter evolves alongside Fuso’s renewed focus

By: Cobey Bartels

Driver's experience the focus of upgrades, as Super Low pleases

Fuso Canter _ATN Image _1a 

Fuso invited Australia’s truck media to road test the updated Canter range, as well as announcing key changes to the brand based around improved after-sales support and improved parts and servicing offering.

Changes to the popular light-duty Canter range are predominantly cosmetic, centered around improving driver experience following customer feedback.

Among the changes are an updated interior trim, this time black and grey rather than blue, a silver top grille louvre, improved seat padding and more durable bolstering, LED interior lighting, and additional in-cab storage.

The Canter still uses the peppy 3-litre four-cylinder turbo diesel engine, in both 110kW and 129kW guise, which delivers drive through either a five-speed manual or six-speed twin-clutch Duonic AMT.

A crowd pleaser within the updated Canter range at the launch was the Super Low 515 City Cab model, boasting an impressive 2.01m unladen height.

Fuso Canter _ATN Image _2

Fuso’s Super Low is aimed at an urban market, allowing safe movement under 2.1m height restrictions for use in car parks and difficult-to-access urban delivery points.

Mind you, the petite 515 Super Low City Cab still has a GVM of 4500kg and GCM of 8000kg as well as the same 3-litre engine powering the rest of the Canter range.

The upgraded range comes amidst Fuso’s overhaul of its servicing and parts scheme, which has seen them recently announce a complimentary first service, five-year warranty and big cuts to the price of OEM parts.

"The changes introduced for Canter are in direct response to customer feedback and continue the evolution of our most popular model," Fuso senior manager, product management and engineering Romesh Rodrigo says.

"We are very pleased to introduce a range of product and operational changes that we know will be appreciated by our customers."

Fuso Canter _ATN Image _3

Servicing, Warranty & Parts

The introduction of a five-year warranty on all new Fuso truck and Rosa bus models was a clear sign of the manufacturer’s commitment.

Some models used for severe applications are subject to shorter warranty periods but, for the most part, Fuso offers a class-leading warranty program.

A bonus for customers is a complimentary first scheduled service and, with the new Canter range, 30,000km service intervals further sweeten the deal.

Fuso Truck and Bus director Justin Whitford, says the class-leading warranty is all about backing the products and giving customers peace of mind.

Fuso Canter _ATN Image _4

"This initiative, along with our recent introduction of a complimentary first scheduled service, makes owning a Fuso more attractive than ever," Whitford adds.

In-line with an improved warranty program, Fuso has reduced the price of key parts by an average of more than 30 per cent, offering reductions on 10,000 items.

"The significant changes made to our parts price structure will yield our customers even more savings and further reduce whole of life ownership costs," Whitford says.

"The parts price cuts have been applied to more than 10,000 items including the most common consumable parts our customers need. 

"These are substantial savings that make the business case for choosing a Fuso truck or bus even stronger."

Fuso Canter _ATN Image _5

How it drives

The first thing you notice in the new Canter is the comfort of the seats, which makes this truck a pleasant place to spend a day, and the padding improvements carry over to the passenger seating as well.

The zippy 3-litre engine is happy to lug along on flat terrain and makes plenty of torque down low, but when needed it’ll get up and go.

The engine seems to enjoy revving, in both the 110kw and 129kw options, preferring to sit higher up in the RPM range.

As a result of its lively nature the little 3-litre got the Canter up to speed swiftly and had no issues with Victoria’s hilly country terrain, fully-loaded of course.

Fuso Canter _ATN Image _6

The six-speed Duonic AMT operates quickly thanks to the dual clutch setup and now features hill hold functionality and cruise control across the range.

The Duonic is sensationally good at keeping the truck in its power band, and with an extra gear over the manual five-speed ‘box, it makes better use of the engine’s power.

In saying that, the five-speed manual gearbox has appropriately spaced ratios and has no issues across a variety of conditions and terrain, however it did require more work to keep the little engine in its happy range.

The engine brake is also surprisingly good for an engine of this size and capacity, however to get the most of it on steep descents, you need to manually downshift the AMT.

Fuso Canter _ATN Image _7a

Visibility is what you'd expect out of a modern light duty truck - similar to that of a car and suited to heavy urban use.

The overall package offered by Fuso in the updated Canter is supremely well-rounded, making it a hard truck to say no to.

The improved Canter is now available through Fuso’s national network of 37 sales dealerships.

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