Fleet News

Buyers guide: Sector by sector – light trucks

This sort of truck is particularly popular with builders and builders’ merchants, as both tipper and dropside. They are also supplied as box vans, fridges and, particularly with double cabs, as car carriers for the emergency recovery companies.

Of course if you choose to simply buy your truck as a chassis cab, you can put anything on the back that you like, within reason.

Heavier models will probably have twin rear wheels, one of the reasons that builders like them, and all are rear wheel driven. Despite the 3.5-tonne gross weights of smaller models, you really shouldn’t think of these vehicles as vans – they are built like small trucks and drive like small trucks. If it’s a tough workhorse you are looking for, look no further.

Isuzu Grafter

ISUZU, like Mitsubishi, benefits from the fact that its light 3.5 tonne trucks are sold alongside much bigger products, in dealerships that really understand the needs of the commercial vehicle user.

Isuzu offers a range of light trucks, from the 3.5-tonne NKR, to the 5- and 6-tonne NPR and the 7.5-tonne GVW NQR.

All can be had with a range of chassis lengths and specifications to meet individual customer and body builder requirements.

If all of that sounds a bit complicated and all you want is a 3.5-tonne tipper, the firm also offers the Grafter.

Based on the NKR, the Grafter comes ready to drive away, with a choice of tipper or dropside bodies rolling on twin or single rear tyres respectively.

Power comes from Isuzu’s 3.0-litre turbodiesel which kicks out 130bhp, making trucks like Toyota’s Dyna look a little underpowered. However, with a steel tipping body and heavy duty chassis, the Grafter will need that power advantage to keep up on the road.

In truth the Isuzu is built to work, and work hard.

Isuzu Grafter Tipper/Dropside
Power: 130bhp @ 3,400rpm
Torque: 206lb-ft @ 1,700rpm
Load volume: N/A
Gross vehicle weight: 3,500kg
Payload: 1,180-1,400kg (incl body)
Price: £11,995-£15,085 + VAT

Isuzu NPR 5/6-tonne
Power: 130bhp @ 3,400rpm
Torque: 206lb-ft @ 1,700rpm
Load volume: N/A
Gross vehicle weight: 5,020kg/6,200kg
Payload: 2,860kg/3,540kg (incl body)
Price: £15,245-£20,250 + VAT (chassis cab price)

Isuzu NQR 7.5-tonne
Power: 130bhp @ 3,400rpm
Torque: 206lb-ft @ 1,700rpm
Load volume: N/A
Gross vehicle weight: 7,500kg
Payload: 4,815kg (incl body)
Price: £18,995-£21,750 + VAT (chassis cab price)

Mitsubishi Fuso Canter

MITSUBISHI Fuso’s Canter, which is sold through the Mercedes-Benz truck network in the UK, is currently undergoing a major overhaul. Previewed at this year’s Commercial Vehicle Show, the new Canter is available as a 3.5-tonne gross weight 3C13, the 6.5-tonne 6C14 and the 7.5-tonne 7C14. All three models can be had with single or crew-cabs and there are no fewer than four wheelbases for the 3C13, two for the 6C14 and five for the 7.5-tonner. New engines feature across the range, with the smaller truck getting a boost to 125bhp and the two larger models pumping out 143bhp. A dash-mounted gearshift means that you really can get three burly workmen on board, yet still change gear without getting too friendly. We will probably be driving the new Canter by the time you read this, so can’t give any definitive opinions at present, but the changes certainly seem to have been aimed at the driver and the operator, reducing fatigue in the cab and cost in the office. Mitsubishi promises lower running costs and easier maintenance. Service intervals are now at 14,000 miles for lubrication and 28,000 miles for a major maintenance check.

Mitsubishi Fuso Canter

Canter 3C13
Power: 125bhp @ 3,200rpm
Torque: 216lb-ft @ 1,800rpm
Load volume: N/A
Gross vehicle weight: 3,500kg
Payload: 1,265-1,525kg (body and payload allowance)
Price: £14,600-£16,900 + VAT

Canter 6C14
Power: 143bhp @ 2,700rpm
Torque: 304lb-ft @ 1,600rpm
Load volume: N/A
Gross vehicle weight: 6,500kg
Payload: 3,705-3,935kg (body and payload allowance)
Price: £18,250-£20,550 + VAT

Canter 7C14
Power: 143bhp @ 2,700rpm
Torque: 304lb-ft @ 1,600rpm
Load volume: N/A
Gross vehicle weight: 7,500kg
Payload: 4,580-4,890kg (body and payload allowance)
Price: £19,250-£21,550 + VAT

Nissan Cabstar

NISSAN’S Cabstar was updated for the 2004 model year, dropping the E from its name and getting new engines, a new gearbox and revised front suspension. ABS brakes are now standard on medium and long wheelbase models and there is new trim inside to improve the driving experience.

The Spanish-built Cabstar comes with a choice of three wheelbases and two gross weights, confusingly set at 3.4-tonnes and 3.5-tonnes. The lower weight truck gets a 105bhp version of Nissan’s 3.0-litre turbodiesel, while an intercooler boosts the power in the heavier models to 125bhp.

Both engines drive through a new five-speed gearbox which is a great improvement on its predecessor.

You get a good choice of cabs, including fixed single and fixed crew-cabs, as well as a tilting single-cab which makes it much easier to get to the engine for regular maintenance. In fact Nissan claims that maintenance times can be cut by up to 35% with the tilting cab.

Useful, when you consider that service intervals are set at 12,000 miles. Cabstar can be ordered as a dropside, a tipper or simply as a chassis on which to fit your own body. You can even opt for a gearbox driven power take-off on the Cabstar, with an electronic module that fixes engine revs at three preset levels to drive ancillary equipment.

Cabstar 34.10 SWB
Power: 105bhp @ 3,600rpm
Torque: 184lb-ft @ 2,000rpm
Load volume: N/A
Gross vehicle weight: 3,400kg
Payload: 1,380kg-1,492kg (for tipper and dropside) 1,845kg for chassis cab
Price: £12,772-£14,572 + VAT

Cabstar 35.13 MWB single cab
Power: 125bhp @ 3,600rpm
Torque: 200lb-ft @ 2,000rpm
Load volume: N/A
Gross vehicle weight: 3,500kg
Payload: 1,290kg-1,493kg for tipper and dropside, 1,875kg for chassis cab
Price: £15,772-£17,722 + VAT

Cabstar 35.13 MWB double cab
Power: 125bhp @ 3,600rpm
Torque: 200lb-ft @ 2,000rpm
Load volume: N/A
Gross vehicle weight: 3,500kg
Payload: 1,440kg for dropside, 1,735kg for chassis cab
Price: £16,772 + VAT

Cabstar 35.13 LWB single cab
Power: 125bhp @ 3,600rpm
Torque: 200lb-ft @ 2,000rpm
Load volume: N/A
Gross vehicle weight: 3,500kg
Payload: 1,4,19kg for dropside, 1,855kg for chassis cab
Price: £16,082-£16,832 + VAT

Cabstar 35.13 LWB double cab
Power: 125bhp @ 3,600rpm
Torque: 200lb-ft @ 2,000rpm
Load volume: N/A
Gross vehicle weight: 3,500kg
Payload: 1,165kg-1,395kg for dropside and tipper, 1,715kg for chassis cab
Price: £17,132-£19,132 + VAT

Toyota Dyna

THE Dyna has been Toyota’s entrant in the 3-3.5 tonne forward control market for some years, although the latest versions only made it into right- hand drive at the end of 2003.

Both the 3.0-tonne GVW 300 model and the 3.5-tonne 350 are built under licence at the Caetano factory in Portugal.

As with all of these light trucks, you can get three people in the cab if you have to and both the driver and outside passenger get three-point seatbelts, with a lap belt for the centre passenger.

A driver’s airbag is standard, along with ABS braking, both of which are optional on some of the other 3.5-tonners.

The 300 comes with a 2.3-metre wheelbase and single rear tyres, while the 350 gets a choice of 2,545mm and 3,350mm medium and long wheelbases and double rear tyres to handle extra load.

Factory-fit bodies include a Scattolini aluminium dropside body for the 300 and a choice of dropside, box and tipper bodies for the 350. The larger truck can also be equipped with a single car transporter body.

From March this year the 350 has been available with a three-way tipping body on the medium wheelbase.

Expect to pay a visit to the dealer every 10,000 miles for an oil change, with major service work at 20,000- mile intervals.

Toyota Dyna Dyna 300 SWB
Power: 88bhp @ 3,800rpm
Torque: 141lb-ft @ 1,200-3,000rpm
Load volume: Dependent on body
Gross vehicle weight: 3,000kg
Payload: 1,265-1,500kg (incl body)
Price: £12,495-£13,560 + VAT

Toyota Dyna
Dyna 350 MWB/LWB
Power: 102bhp @ 3,800rpm
Torque: 192lb-ft at 1,400-2,600rpm
Load volume: Dependent on body
Gross vehicle weight: 3,500kg
Payload: 1,265-1,500kg (incl body)
Price: £15,495-£21,080 + VAT

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