UTE ALTERNATIVE: Fuso has a range of products, from refrigerated to the tray truck, that was played around with on this test drive.
UTE ALTERNATIVE: Fuso has a range of products, from refrigerated to the tray truck, that was played around with on this test drive.

Get on with the job in new Fuso Canter

IN THE market for a light-duty truck? Want to drive it out of the showroom straight to the job site? Then the Fuso Canter Built Ready range may just fit the bill.

Fuso has a range of products, from refrigerated to the tray truck I played around with on this test drive. It is worth hopping onto their website and looking at all their offerings before going to your own after-market body builder.

My drive was the 515 model with tray. The tray is locally built specifically for Fuso and as such is covered by the company's warranty.

Not being a tradie, I had a little trouble getting excited over a hunk of aluminium. But this tray is going to hold about four times the volume that you'd fit into your Ranger or Colorado.

With a GVM of 4.5 tonnes it is also going to carry a fair bit more weight. With a GCM of eight tonnes you can also haul around your mega-tradie-tool-chest- trailer if desired, all on a normal licence.

There is (non-adaptive) cruise control and a decent safety pack on the Canters, with Active Emergency Braking, Lane Departure Warning and Electronic Stability Control.

With a GVM of 4.5 tons it is also going to carry a fair bit more weight.
With a GVM of 4.5 tons it is also going to carry a fair bit more weight.

We're told that Canter is the only one in the light-duty class to have AEB (a system that uses radar). The idea is to limit, mitigate or avoid a crash altogether.

In a situation where a car stops in front, the truck will do the braking for you automatically. We're starting to see this in a lot more passenger vehicles but not all utes have it, so a big thumbs up to the Canter.

The system is standard across the 2x4 range.

The Lane Departure Warning system can be switched off if desired. Anyone who's travelled Military Rd on Sydney's Northern Beaches - where they made three lanes out of two by simply repainting the road markings and anything bigger than an (original) Mini-Minor will cross over lanes - knows what I mean.

As stated, this particular truck had an alloy tray with step rails (with grips) on both sides and the rear. There are good, grippy handrails as well. It has a number of tie-down points and has been well thought out and beautifully built.

This Wide Cab 515 Canter had the Duonic dual-clutch, six-speed automated manual. The benefit of the dual clutch is the speed of the gear changes. In the old days of a single-clutch automated transmission you could read a book during the changes but in this it's bang, bang, bang.

This Wide Cab 515 Canter had the Duonic dual-clutch, six-speed automated manual.
This Wide Cab 515 Canter had the Duonic dual-clutch, six-speed automated manual.

It is also the first introduction of the new screen on the dash. The display size is bigger and the clarity is leaps ahead of the old model. The reversing camera that uses the system is like going from standard to high definition.

There are plenty of air vents - two each for driver and passenger. Cup holders pop out of the dash and look nice and solid - certainly holding my 600ml Coke without a problem.

Motive power is a three-litre, four-cylinder diesel, which is common across the range, although with differing power ratings. With a couple of hundred kilos on board, just to weigh the back down slightly, the 515 handled with aplomb

Driving around, the truck is smooth and quiet, with conversation at normal levels. Vision was good from the mirrors.

In automatic the shifts are quick and smooth. I played around with changing manually but really, why would you bother, as you're running over the top of the torque curve and burning fuel for no good reason.

The gearbox is intuitive in that a dab on the brakes notifies the gearbox to drop back a gear or two as the case may be down an incline, saving brake wear.

Rental companies are particularly keen on this truck with the Duonic shift as there is no burning the clutch out by weekend warriors. The other electronic aids on the model mean they are being returned without dents.

There is also a City Cab available, which is a marvel for a tradie having to back up a driveway to drop a load.

Price wise, you can pick up one of these for no more than your mid-priced Ranger. It depends on whether you want to look like all the other tradies or just want to get on with the job at hand - and cart the gear to the job site in one or two trips, rather than four to eight.

Because it's a truck - to state the bleeding obvious - the engine is designed to take the weight, as are the axles, body, etc.

So if you want to get on with the job and do it doubly quick, get into one of these. With the time and money you save, you'll probably be able to put the family into a nice Benz four-wheel drive at weekends.

Big Rigs

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