Mitsubishi has offered a Canter in some capacity since 1963, when they applied the badge to an existing range of T720 light-duty trucks. Prior to the early 1970s, the main market for the Canter was the Asia-Pacific, but the light-duty truck found success in Australia from the 1970s onward using the Mercedes-Benz Australia commercial network for distribution. Commercial vehicle customers came to appreciate the reliability and durability of the Mitsubishi Fuso Canter, as well as its excellent off-road applications.
The most recent generation of the regular Mitsubishi Fuso Canter comes in three weight ranges of 3.5, 6.5, and 7.5 tonnes, plus seven different chassis lengths. It also has single and double cab versions with sizes of three seats or seven seats, respectively, and several different cab widths as well. The double cab version features four doors, making it ideal for a work crew. The Canter also comes in seven different wheelbases, which allows for a variety of applications.
Since 2009, Mitsubishi has also been selling Canter hybrids of electric and diesel under the nameplate Canter Eco Hybrid. This model has successfully lowered emissions and saved on fuel costs for customers, but buyers were slower to adopt the Eco because of its high price point. It functions as an important addition to the Canter range, moving away from a niche market of environmentally conscious customers to a mass market. Mitsubishi Fuso also offers a 4x4 version of the Canter that is well-suited for off-road conditions.
There’s a huge range of Fuso Canters, from the 413 3.5 SWB up through a 918 8.2 XXLWB. In recent years, the Mitsubishi Fuso Canter has seen major changes to its engine and transmission. The 2012 3.5t Canter model’s 3L, 4-cylinder diesel engine has advanced features like variable geometry turbo and piezo injection, allowing it to generate 110kW of power and 370Nm of torque evenly and efficiently.
Also noteworthy is the much-hyped Duonic dual clutch automated manual gearbox, which changes gears more quickly and intuitively than a typical automated manual transmission, allowing for an impressive 12.5L/100km in average fuel consumption.
In the higher-end models of the regular Mitsubishi Fuso Canter, the 6.5t model’s 3L diesel engine has 107kW of power and torque of 370Nm under the bonnet, while the most powerful 75.t Canter features its own 3L diesel engine with power of 129kW and torque of 430Nm. Both are direct injection with intercooler, allowing them to meet Euro 5 and EEV emission standards.
The Canter Eco Hybrid has the same engine and dual clutch transmission, plus best in class fuel consumption of 7.8L/100km, roughly 30% better than the diesel-only Canter models. According to Mitsubishi Fuso, the Eco Hybrid’s fuel consumption was so good that it had already met the 2015 Japanese fuel economy standard when it was first introduced as a 2010 model in the Canter range.
Many of the Mitsubishi Fuso Canter models ride and feel like a typical car, but underneath they’re anything but. The 715 Canter has an efficient exhaust brake and all-wheel disc brakes, the Duonic dual clutch automated manual transmission system, a height and reach adjustable steering wheel, an AM/FM and CD stereo unit, four vent air con, and solid rubber floor mats.
Fortunately it has some optional kit like sat nav and Bluetooth streaming, which are handy for many tradesmen and professionals, but future models will have Bluetooth functionality as standard. There were several options for customisation on the Mitsubishi Canter, including cab size, cab width, wheelbase size, weight, chassis lengths, and manual or Duonic transmission types. Canters also have 30,000km service intervals as standard.
The Mitsubishi Fuso Canter found great success with its uniquely powerful and durable light trucks. Across its range, the Mitsubishi Fuso Canter could claim to be best in class in multiple areas, including highest gross vehicle mass of 6500kg for the regular Canter and a fuel consumption of just 7.8L/100km in the Canter Eco Hybrid. The Canter serves a unique niche in the marketplace by offering a light truck option that doesn’t require a commercial truck license.
Competition includes the Kia K2900, Toyota LandCruiser, and Hino 300. On the whole, the Mitsubishi Canter is an extremely impressive truck that rides well, handles well, and carries a load like nothing in its class.