Mitsubishi Fuso Canter 4x4 dual-range returns

29 May 2012
, CarsGuide

The Japanese brand recently introduced the latest generation Canter 4x4 and although the new model brought a wide range of improvements it was missing the low range gearing that gave the previous models remarkable off-road capability.

Mitsubishi Fuso has accepted feedback, much of it from Australia, and is currently well advanced developing a new Canter 4x4 with a dual range gear set that will allow the rig to take-on the toughest terrain. It is currently referred to as the ‘high-low gear’ version.

The company will also continue to sell the existing Canter 4x4 that does without low range because it is lighter, uses less fuel and easier on its engine (at highway speeds) as it has taller gearing, which allows for easier highway cruising. This is currently called the ‘high gear’ version. It will also be cheaper, although Mitsubishi Fuso is not about to say how much less it will cost.

Mitsubishi Fuso Australia says the new Canter 4x4 without low-range is doing well and has no problem running in mild off-road conditions. It is doing particularly well in mining applications, as the selectable 4x4 system is more than capable on slippery surfaces such as gravel and dirt.

The new model has also been well accepted by many companies who turn the Canter 4x4 into a versatile camper that is not limited to tarmac roads. While it could conquer some of the meanest terrain, hop rocks and wade through deep mud, the lower gearing of the previous dual-range Canter 4x4 meant that it was not at home cruising on the highway.

Its engine revved hard to maintain 95km/h, making it a mobile chicane for many other motorists and it was far from serene in the cabin. The 4x4 model that has just been introduced benefits from a smoother-revving engine and different gearing, which allows for a theoretical top speed of 129km/h. This in turn means that cruising at 100km/h is a far more serene experience.

Mitsubishi Fuso is expecting the new ‘high-low’ model will appeal to hardcore go-anywhere campers, utility companies that need to access extremely difficult locations and rural fire services. Both the ‘high gear‘ and ‘high-low gear’ models will be available with the standard cab as well as the crew cab version.

Apart from the gearing the trucks will be essentially the same. They have a gross vehicle mass of 6500kg (including the truck and its load), which gives it best it class payload. The trucks run a 3.0-litre four-cylinder diesel that generates 110kW between 2840 and 3500revs and 370Nm between 1350 and 2840revs. It runs a variable geometry turbocharger for a more even spread of torque.

While the European version runs Selective Catalytic Reduction and requires AdBlue exhaust treatment fluid, the Australia specification gets by without it. However, it does use a Diesel Particulate Filter, which catches a range of exhaust nasties and burns them off at super high temperatures. This is an active system, working away in the background as you drive, but may also require the truck to be stopped for a manual burn-off.

A five-speed manual gearbox is the only transmission option. While the regular Canter is available with the ground breaking Duonic dual clutch automated manual gearbox, which can automatically change gears far quicker and more intuitively than a regular automated manual transmission, it is not available with the 4x4 model.

This is partly due to the fact that an automated manual is not the best solution for an off-road vehicle carrying heavy loads as both the payload and off-road capability would be compromised. A torque convertor automatic, which would be the best solution, is not available. The Canter 4x4 comes with a front airbag for the driver and passenger and a standard suspended driver’s seat.