8 Aug
Fuso Canter

If you need an ‘extreme’ off-road machine to carry you going through dungeon, fire and sword then the go-anywhere Unimog and severe-duty Zetros will see-off the very toughest terrain. But what if your all-wheel-drive needs are rather more modest? What if your 4×4 truck will spend as much time driving on the highway as it does up to its axles in mud? Can such a ‘Jack-of-all-Trades’ truck exist? It’s called the new Fuso Canter 4×4—and From the Driver’s Seat has driven it. Based on the highly-successful Fuso light-truck range, the 6.5-tonne 6C18 Canter 4×4 comes with a choice of either a three-man day-cab or seven-man crew-cab atop the very latest 175hp 3.0-litre turbo-diesel, certified to Euro-5 and EEV emission standard, with a five-speed box behind it. Depending on your choice of wheelbase and cab payload is up 3,880 kg. The 4×4 Canter comes with a ‘selectable 4×4’ drive-train—I.e. you can easily engage full, off-road, all-wheel-drive at the flick of a switch on the dashboard. And by being able to disengage drive to the front axle (thanks to free-wheeling front hubs) there’s no fuel economy penalty when you return to normal highway driving. That makes the Canter ideal for construction companies and emergency services that need to ‘take to the hills’, while for municipal authorities, it’s the perfect winter service vehicle.
Our 4×4 Canter driving experience was at Mercedes-Benz impressive (and challenging!) off-road test-track in Ötigheim, Germany where we’ve previously experienced the unstoppable Unimog and Zetros. Our off-road route was a tortuous circuit over loosely-surfaced steep hills and humps, through muddy water holes and narrow forest tracks. Climbing into the 4×4’s cab you immediately notice how much higher mounted it is compared to a regular Canter—however, an extra bottom step makes climbing in and out easy, while the extra ground clearance (up to 320mm depending on the chassis) keeps it well clear of trouble. With its slim two-metre wide comfort cab and 13.6m turning circle the Canter 4×4 is easily at home in tight green lanes and tracks. Even on the most rutted sections its steering was well-damped and the suspension provides good isolation from road shock.
The 3.0-litre engine delivers lots of torque, especially low-down the rev range where you need it on a 4×4. The five-speed manual box is also very slick—so if you need to change gear in a hurry, especially when hill climbing, it’s not a problem. When approaching steep humps you quickly appreciate the 6C18’s impressive 35° approach angle. The protected drum brakes ensure there’s plenty of stopping power too. The standard exhaust brake is particularly useful on steep descents. The 4×4 Canter’s cabin is practical yet comfortable with good storage space. Both the driver’s and co-driver’s seats feature integral head restraints while the driver’s seat has an adjustable lumbar support and arm rest as standard—just the job for off-road work! Due to clever positioning of the engine and dashboard, the person sitting in the centre of the two-man bench seat has the same leg room as the outer passenger seat.
When it comes to getting the job done the 6C18 Canter certainly delivers the goods—on or off-road!

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