Mitsubishi Fuso Automatic

By: Steve Vermeulen, Photography by: Steve Vermeulen


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Mitsubishi has introduced automatic Canter Fusos with “Campervan” specific models to make getting away with your motorhome a whole lot easier

Mitsubishi Fuso Automatic
Mitsubishi Fuso Automatic
  • Enough grunt to maintain open road speeds more often
  • Six speed auto great through twisty roads
  • Transmission is responsive and smooth
  • Increased power and torque from engine

With the popularity of the Mitsubishi Fuso truck chassis in our motorhome manufacturing industry, the newly introduced automatic in the Canter line-up is a welcome addition.

As well as easier driving, it also increases engine capacity and offers substantial power and torque benefits over the predecessor.

Christchurch’s UCC Motorhomes is one of the largest producers of motorhomes here and has been the first to utilise the new automatic base for a build.

Between UCC’s entry level Lyndon and range-topping Benmore offerings, there’s plenty of underfloor storage; and 130-watt solar panels, 180-litre freshwater tanks, electric steps and external showers are all possibilities.

Performance

The old Canter 3.9-litre diesel has given way for a new-generation 4.9-litre, four-valve per cylinder engine that, when coupled to the new six-speed automatic, also gains 20kW to now pump out 130kW @ 2700rpm. More importantly, there is 530Nm of torque available from just 1600 rpm.

In laymen terms, that affords the auto stronger low down grunt essential for lugging a motorhome around with minimal interference to other road users up hills.

A manual option remains, with the new 4.9-litre engine. But output isn’t as potent, still developing little more than the outgoing engine with 110kW @ 2700rpm / 471Nm @ 1600rpm.

Getting up to a suitable cruising speed takes no time at all, clever rationing of the automatic’s drive ratios provide quick response from the lights and the strong acceleration only begins to lose enthusiasm at around 80-90kmh, where gearing is appropriated toward fuel efficiency.

Bearing in mind this is a relatively heavy duty piece of kit, the shift quality is excellent. It would be unreasonable to expect shifts as seamless as smaller passenger vehicle derived autos, common in European light commercials, but the Mitsubishi Fuso product shifts quickly and keeps the engine’s turbo from lagging, so there’s no lurching as the transmission finds the next gear and forward momentum is interrupted less than with a manual box.

Engine braking isn’t as easy as with a manual, though newly-appointed four-wheel disc brakes with ABS add piece of mind. Obviously, no locking of wheels, but also no immediate signs of fade either.

Camper van-specific design

Because the Fuso’s such a regular within motorhome fraternities, the Canter is offered with "Campervan" specific models. That’s important to note, as the bog standard Canter for the transport industry may not feature the same 130kW powertrain or disc brakes. You also may miss out on important safety features. The Camper specific models feature airbags for both driver and passenger, and they also incorporate dual seatbelt pretensioners for improved restraint in the event of an accident.

You can dress up the austere cabin with optional wood grain inserts and more upmarket seat upholstery and carpet sets.

Talking of spending wisely, you’ll need to factor in a sizable premium for the automatic, around $10k depending on where you shop, but if you’re a manual motorhome owner think about it, how many times did you change gear this summer? Motorhomes are a lifestyle purchase after all, making that lifestyle less complicated can only be a good thing. You’ll also see return on that investment come resale too, so it’s worth the extra if you ask me.

Read in-depth RV reviews in the latest issue of Motorhomes, Caravans & Destinations magazine, on sale now.

Specifications

Price UCC Motorhome versions start at $157,000
Engine 4.9-litre intercooled turbo diesel
Transmission 6-speed automatic
Power 130kW @ 2700rpm
Torque 530Nm @ 1600rpm
Wheelbase 3850mm
Brakes Four wheel disc brakes, ABS
GVM 4500kg or 7500kg

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