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This is the most extensive redesign we've undertaken in nearly ten years, observed Robert McDowell, executive vice president and COO of Mitsubishi Fuso Truck of America Inc. (MFTA). His remark was an understatement. The company recently unveiled eight new truck models from Class 3 through Class 7, including standard chassis designs; a low-profile model; a seven-passenger crew cab; a four-wheel-drive

This is the most extensive redesign we've undertaken in nearly ten years,” observed Robert McDowell, executive vice president and COO of Mitsubishi Fuso Truck of America Inc. (MFTA).

His remark was an understatement. The company recently unveiled eight new truck models from Class 3 through Class 7, including standard chassis designs; a low-profile model; a seven-passenger crew cab; a four-wheel-drive medium-duty cabover and an air suspension option.

According to McDowell, the Class 3-5 redesigns were not evolutionary in nature either, but approached “with a clean sheet of paper,” resulting in a total redesign of the FE models and significant enhancements/additions to the FG, FK and FM series.

All of the new models, for instance, feature an adjustable steering wheel that tilts and telescopes, power windows and daytime running lights (except on the crew cab), easy-to-read instrumentation and blue/gray cloth seats as standard (except for the FE145 crew cab), according to Robert J. Aquaro, vice president of product assurance at MFTA. Cab doors also include a crush bar, intended to help increase frontal impact protection.

Inside the roomier FE and FG cabs, drivers can also expect to find a clear floor area, thanks to the relocation of the transmission shifter to the dash, moving the parking brake to a between-the-seats location and mounting the FG's transfer case range-selector level to the left of the steering wheel at dashboard height. A new offset hinge design for cab doors is intended to allow full-entry access without creating a traffic-blocking wider door swing.

On the exterior, look for compact halogen headlamps, higher windshields, optional split-door mirrors and more sculpted fender styling.

FE MODELS

There are four new FE models: a Class 3 FE120 rated at 12,000 lb. GVWR, Class 4 FE145 rated at 14,500 lb. GVWR, Class 4 FE145 Crew Cab also rated at 14,500 lb. and a Class 5 FE180 rated at 17,995 lb. GVWR. All the new FE models (as well as the FG four-wheel-drive unit) feature the new 4-cyl., turbocharged, inter-cooled 4M50 299-cubic-in. (4.9L) diesel engine, a dual overhead-cam design with a dual-balance shaft.

Two transmission options are available for the Class 3: a Mitsubishi 5-sp. manual transmission (resulting in a power output of 147 hp. at 2700 rpm and 347 lb.-ft.of torque at 1600 rpm) and a new Aisin electronic 6-sp. automatic overdrive transmission (boosting the power output to 175 HP. at 2700 rpm and delivering 391 lb.-ft.of torque at 1600 rpm). The Aisin is standard on the FE145 Crew Cab and available for all FE models, while a Mitsubishi 6-sp. manual transmission is standard on the FE180, producing 175 hp. at 2700 rpm.

For 2005, the FE180 Class 5 frame width has been incorporated into the FE120 and 145 models (except for the crew cab) so that each of these trucks also has a standard 33.1-in. straight ladder frame width, intended to make it easier to fit truck bodies and mount additional equipment to the frame.

The four-door Crew Cab version of the FE145 is designed to accommodate a crew of seven, with space for the driver and two passengers up front plus a full, four-person bench seat in back. It has a 164.2-in. wheelbase to handle 14-ft. to 16-ft. bodies.

Extra storage compartments are available for the cab area and an enclosed storage area big enough to hold gear and even coolers can be added under the rear seat. “Big Gulp” fans will also appreciate the new console-mounted cup holder, designed to handle 32-oz. sized beverage containers.

LOW-PROFILE FK 200

The new low-profile FK200 model has a frame height of under 36 in. (unladen) thanks to a new multi-tapered-leaf-spring front suspension, laminated leaf-spring rear suspension and new premium 225/70R19.5 tires front and rear. It is a Class 6 vehicle, rated at 20, 935 lb. GVWR with the standard 6-sp. Mitsubishi manual transmission or at 19,850 lb. GVWR with the optional Allison1000 five-sp. electronic overdrive automatic. Paired with either transmission, the new 6-cyl. 6M60, 460-cu.-in. (7.5L) turbocharged diesel engine is designed to deliver 243 hp. and 514 lb.-ft. of torque at 1400 rpm.

The exterior sports compact halogen headlamps and more aggressive fender styling plus a “snorkel design” air intake to help reduce noise inside the cab. Four wheelbase lengths are available: 168.1 in., 179.9 in., 191.7 in. and 205.1 to accommodate 16-ft. to 22-ft. bodies. An AM/FM radio with CD player can be added to the cab.

TWO NEW FM MODELS

A Class 6 and Class 7 are part of Mitsubishi Fuso's new FM lineup and also feature the new 6M60 diesel engine. The Class 6 FM 260 is rated at 25,995 lb. GVWR with the standard Mitsubishi 6-sp. manual transmission or the optional Allison 5-sp. automatic. The Class 7 FM330 is rated at 32,900 lb. GVWR driven through the standard Mitsubishi 6-sp. manual transmission or the optional Allison1000 six-sp. automatic. An Eaton 9-sp. manual transmission is also available for the FM330. Pairing the 6M60 engine with the Eaton boosts the horsepower from 243 to 274 and the torque to 593 lb.-ft .at 1400 rpm.

Automatically adjustable full air service brakes with ABS are standard on the FM 330, while air/hydraulic drum service brakes with ABS are standard on the FM260.

Five wheelbase lengths are available for both FM models, from 144.9 in. to a maximum of 239.4 in. to handle bodies from 12 to 26 ft. long on the FM260, and 12 to 28 ft. long on the FM330. Air suspension is also available for the FM260 218.5 and 239.4-in. wheelbase options.

4WD FG

Like the new FE models, the four-wheel-drive, Class 4 FG cabover, rated at 14,050 lb. GVWR, has a completely restyled cab exterior and shares many of the FE's interior refinements as well. It is powered by the new 4M50 299-cu.-in. (4.9L), 4-cyl., 147 hp. engine. FG drivers, however, can also select between two-wheel drive and four-wheel drive from within the cab (when the front wheel hubs are locked) thanks to the combination of a 2-sp. transfer case, front locking hubs and the standard Mitsubishi five-sp. manual transmission.

The tight-turning FG can be ordered in two wheelbase lengths, 112.6 in. and 136.2 in. Spec the shorter wheelbase and the turning diameter is a trim 37.7 ft., according to Mitsubishi Fuso.

Drum-type service brakes with vacuum servo assist and ABS are standard at all four wheels and a driver-activated, vacuum-actuated exhaust brake is designed to help retard speed on downhill grades. The parking brake is a drum/driveline, internal-expanding shoe-type brake.

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