Daimler’s Fuso range has been extended in South Africa with the launch of the FJ 16-230 – a truck that is suited for medium to heavy duty applications. Ryan de Smidt reports
Produced at Daimler’s Commercial Vehicles plant in Chennai, India, the Fuso FJ is aimed at bolstering the brand’s growth offensive in Southern Africa.
Speaking at the launch of the model, Naeem Hassan, head of Fuso Trucks Southern Africa, said though the FJ had been manufactured to handle tough operating conditions, it was ergonomically sound, fuel-efficient and could be custom-tailored to meet a variety of market needs.
“As with all commercial vehicles produced at the Chennai plant, the Fuso FJ has undergone rigorous testing and has been assessed under the most strenuous driving conditions to ensure maximum reliability,” he said.
The vehicle is powered by a 6,3-litre turbocharged diesel engine that delivers 170kW and 810Nm. Transmission is via a six-speed manual gearbox. At the launch – which took place at Zwartkops Raceway near Pretoria – members of the media were able to experience for themselves the model’s capabilities.
I found the FJ to be easy to drive – and comfortable, too, given its utilitarian function. The padded driver’s seat is three-way adjustable while the steering column tilts and telescopes. Power steering is light and accurate, making the vehicle easy to manoeuvre around the track’s many corners.
Driver assistance programmes include a green band indicator in the intelligent instrument cluster which recommends the correct gear and vehicle speed to maximise fuel economy. Other important vehicle information is legibly displayed while a trip computer indicates distance travelled, average speed and fuel consumption.
Brakes appear exemplary, stopping the truck quickly and securely in mock emergency tests conducted on the racetrack and on a skidpan.
The FJ carries a recommended retail price of R630 000 ex VAT for the short wheel base model, a long wheelbase version adding another R10 000 to the bill.