The Fuso Fighter might not be cutting-edge, but it is a truck that has plenty going for it.
The Fuso team invited us to Canberra last week to sample some of their products, there was a particular focus on their new Canter ‘Ready Built’ range, I will cover those offerings in a seperate article.
On the test fleet available on the day were two Fuso Fighters – both also a part of the Ready Built range of trucks.
As the photos show, both trucks were fitted with a tautliner body – one a 10-pallet set-up, the other accommodating 14-pallets.
The smaller capacity truck was a Fuso Fighter 1024 4×2 fitted with the standard six-speed manual transmission and 240hp/745Nm (at 1,400rpm) 7.5 litre six-cylinder engine.
The larger truck was a Fighter 2427 6×2 fitted with an Allison six-speed auto and 270hp/784Nm (from 1,100rpm) version of the same engine.
On the Inside
Staring in the larger truck, my initial impressions included the noticeably low deck (Fuso telling us your cargo on the back of the Fighter will sit just 967mm off the ground with rear airbag suspension inflated).
Access into the Fighter Wide Cab offering is very easy – there are two steps into the cab, the first step is just 375mm above ground, then you’re at 680mm and onto the cab floor at 1110mm.
I felt the two step system was a noticeable advantage over the Isuzu F-Series that I road tested recently that had only the one step at 560mm and cab floor at 1000mm (albeit that was a smaller/narrow cab offering).
These sorts of measurements are certainly something to keep in mind when shopping for a truck – particularly if you’re looking at applications that require drivers to access and alight from the cab many times a day.
This generation of the Fuso Fighter is starting to get towards the end of its life, and that can be felt somewhat on the inside.
Still, what a great design!
Everything is neat, ordered and all your main controls are well within your reach.
Not only is it full colour (unlike the others), it gives you a host of different info including fuel consumption, range etc.
The visibility from the driver’s seat is exceptional with thin A pillars and large mirrors.
To me the mirrors felt as though they were mounted back slightly from the front face of the truck, this seems to work well though.
Unfortunately, no electric adjustment on the lower convex mirrors on this offering.
But visibility is certainly enhanced with the see-through passenger door – a quick glance here when changing lanes lets you know if there’s a car in your blindspot. Why don’t more trucks have this?
Driver comfort is aided by tilt and telescopic steering wheel adjustment, along with an ISRI seat (with colour/pattern matched fabric).
There’s no left hand side arm rest though and that brings down comfort a bit for any longer trips in the Fuso.
A positive though is the huge roof light and the little hidey holes/spaces around the console and dashboard, along with a top-quality infotainment system.
Unlike most other offerings with an Allison transmission, in the Fuso you actually get a ‘T’ bar selector, rather than the traditional buttons.
Is it better? I’m not really fussed either way.
There’s only one roof-mounted storage pod (driver’s side) and no real glove box on the passenger side.
An airbag can only be found in the driver’s steering wheel in the Fuso.
I had a drive of both trucks and was surprised at just how easy they are to drive. You know when you get in a vehicle and feel at ease with it? That’s how I felt in these trucks.
I though the cab was noticeably quiet, and ride was impressive too.
The 14-pallet truck was packing a load of around 20-tonnes and while 270hp is probably the minimum amount of power you’d want for a 23-tonne truck, I thought it accounted for itself quite well.
The Allison transmission is smooth and responsive and works nicely in conjunction with the single-stage exhaust brake.
Perhaps the highlight of both was the steering. If you follow my truck and bus reviews you’ll know I don’t like a lot of free-play off centre and the Fuso product was spot on in this department.
Stepping down to the smaller truck, again, an easy vehicle to maneuver, and the clutch is nice and light.
The air-assisted gear shift is pleasant-enough too, a little practice is needed though to perfectly match the revs to the shift.
Still, why you’d opt for a manual over the auto is beyond me – it doesn’t do, or allow you to do, anything better, or more efficient than the auto.
Like my recent drive in the Fuso Canter 4×4, I hope to be able to spend a longer period behind the wheel of a Fuso Fighter in coming months to really get a complete feel for the truck.
From what I sampled though I was impressed.
Yes, this truck is lacking a lot of the driver assist and safety systems that are now starting to flow through to this section of the market.
Even things like a passenger airbag and stability control are absent. We’re sure a new-generation Fuso Fighter, said to be on the horizon, won’t be left behind in this regard.
In the meantime, if you’re after a no-frills, nicely-built, comfortable, easy to use/drive and very honest offering – Fuso Fighter is worth consideration.