On the test run PowerTorque took the Fuso Shogun 510 in and around the back roads of the Gold Coast and up on to the top of Tamborine Mountain, on difficult winding roads to see how the truck goes in a typical environment for this kind of truck.
This is where the excellent steering and visibility comes into its own and the 510hp available is evident in climbing steep grades with a full load on board. The truck never missed a beat and it was a relaxed drive along routes which can be problematic, with plenty of other traffic not used to lots of trucks on suburban roads.
The other elements of the tipper task which this truck needs to be able to handle include slow manoeuvring around sites. this is something this AMT can handle with a slow manoeuvring mode available and it also has the ability to rock the truck out of sticky situations on difficult surfaces.
One of the regular fun tasks when driving a new model is working out what all the buttons on the dashboard do and trying to navigate around an unfamiliar set of information screens in order to drill down to what there is to see under the various options available.
Needless to say, playing around on two separate screens is not a good idea while climbing up a winding grade on the way to Tamborine Mountain. However, there were opportunities to investigate the opportunities on some the straighter wider roads.
Although working off the same basic set-up used by Daimler in the Mercedes Benz, this is a much simpler system to move around in. There are a few simple menus to access cameras, media etc, but the routes around these are relatively straightforward. Here is the Japanese pragmatism and practicality coming through, yet again.
That practical approach to the designing of a truck comes though with most Japanese brands of truck. It is probably illustrated most clearly in trucks like the Shogun, mainly because a lot of the aspects of the truck are also available in a Mercedes Benz Actros but integrated in a completely different way.
Fuso didn’t need to change the cabin design much for this model. It is has some smoother lines, but is the same basic shape. The cabin interior is also little changed, there was no need to amend it, as it fits with the Japanese truck design philosophy of plenty of storage, and there’s no need for the driver to get out of the seat and move around in the cab. Designers simply had to allow for the AMT control and the information screens to be integrated.
Those automated system are all there but there is no Star Trek style presentation of information, or complex menus with more information than a humble tipper and dog driver might need. It is all presented in a matter-of-fact manner, befitting of the tasks this truck will be handling.
At the end of the day this truck is simply a tool, a can opener, designed to get the job done safely and efficiently. The truck also offers ease-of-use and comfort for the driver and a certain practical functionality, which appeals to the driver community.
From the point of view of this driver, it was also a relaxing drive, on steep grades, both up and down, the truck was fully in-control. There was enough power and torque, alongside swift shifting from the AMT to make the ascent a relaxing one. There was also plenty of retardation up the driver’s sleeve to bring the truck down a steep winding grade smoothly and with a bit more retardation available in the back pocket if needed. It wasn’t, and it was also possible to change up a gear going down the descent, when it demonstrated just what it could do.