Ready set go

The Fuso Canter range underwent some subtle improvements during 2017 that left the basic mechanical specifications mostly unchanged. One mechanical change that has been welcomed is for models equipped with the Duonic dual clutch automated manual transmission to now feature, as standard equipment, a hill holder function to assist drivers, particularly those more used to automatic cars.

Factory tippers in this category have been available for a long time, as have local and Japanese manufactured alloy drop side trays. Fuso has recognised the demand for light commercials that are available from the dealers’ lots in ready to work configurations by adding pantech and refrigerated bodies to its existing range.

The measurements of the pantech bodies are 4,319mm long x 2,205mm wide with an external height of 2,135mm. Buyers have the choice of reinforced fiberglass paneling with a smooth gloss finish or a lightweight honeycomb construction if maximising payload is a priority. Both types have 3mm thick steel checker-plate floors. An electric powered hydraulic tailgate loader is included in the package as is a reversing camera that connects to the 6.1 inch LCD touchscreen of the multimedia unit located on the dash which is supported by three years of complimentary map upgrades.

The 3.0-litre Fuso four-cylinder engine produces 110kW of power between 2840rpm and 3500rpm and 370Nm of torque from 1350rpm to 2840rpm. This effective and efficient engine now has an idle stop/start feature which will contribute to additional fuel savings when operating in urban situations. The stop/start system can be deactivated via a dash switch, which might be appreciated during hot weather when the refrigeration aspect of the air-conditioning is desired to be in constant operation.

Trucks such as these are popular in the vehicle hire market and need to be virtually bulletproof as they are often driven by drivers who have only ever experienced passenger vehicles and, despite only requiring their car licence, may be learning on the job when wrangling a loaded Canter weighing over four tonnes.

Consequently the Duonic dual clutch automated transmission is standard fare for these ready-to -work models. Fuso engineers have refined the operation of the six speed Duonic AMT and it provides appropriate gear selection with the super smooth shifts possible with a dual clutch design. The Duonic now has a hill hold function which works off a time delay when the accelerator is applied and allows whichever clutch is active to take up the strain and get the vehicle mobile without rolling back or over-revving. The default starting gear is second and the press of a button on the selector lever will engage first gear if the load or incline requires it.

Four wheel disc brakes have ABS and are integral to the Electronic Stability Control system as well as the Priority Braking function which directs more braking pressure to the appropriate wheels to not only reduce the chance of a lock up, but to increase the braking effectiveness of the wheels which are not at risk of locking.

Cruise control is also a standard feature which, makes the Canter even more like a car to drive. By locating the transmission selector lever mount on the dash Fuso have made cross cab access very easy.

Other than its factory tippers the Canter range has independent front suspension, given the factory tippers have a beam front axle which provides a surprising good ride whether loaded or not. The parabolic leaf suspension at the rear seems up to the task within the Canter’s weight range. The power rack and pinion steering controlled by the tilt and reach adjustable steering wheel is light to operate yet has good road feel at higher speeds.

The driver and outside passenger positions have the protection of pre-tensioner seat belts and airbags. The seating was subjected to an upgrade for the latest models with new hard-wearing vinyl side bolsters on the outer seats introduced to reduce fabric fraying due to driver ingress and egress or seatbelt abrasion. There is also some additional padding and lumbar supports which are appreciated on longer drives.

The pantech joins the Canter ready-for-work range that includes a drop side alloy tray, a refrigerated van and, of course, the factory tipper. Vehicle hire is an obvious market sector for the pantech, as is grocery deliveries and the refrigerated version is ideal for fresh produce, floral products and smallgoods. Potential buyers will be pleased that the body building and fitting process has been handled for them and that the Canter is fit for duty immediately after the sale.

Fast Fact
The Canter range features a five-year warranty (with varying km and hour limits) as well as a complimentary first scheduled service and safety check. Regular service intervals are a generous 30,000 km which further contributes to reducing the whole of life costs of owning a Canter.

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