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Hooniverse Weekend Edition: DieselFumes; The Mitsubishi Fuso FG 4X4

Show of hands…. How many of you knew that this truck has been available in North America for more than a decade? They sell in relatively small numbers, and only in a few key locations. Introducing the 2010 Mitsubishi Fuso FG140 4X4.


Here at Hooniverse, the Mercedes-Benz Unimog is worshiped, and for good reason. Its ugly but utilitarian, with unmatched ability to go off road and to bring you back again. When combined with tractor implements, it can do almost any job that you would never think a truck can do. All of this ability has its price, and Unimogs (when they were available here in North America) were commanding well over $100,000. As you can see, the market is somewhat limited, and the Unimog is currently not offered in in North America because it could not meet the new emission standards, and to bring it into compliance would add cost, something that the “Mog” didn’t need.

Now I’m not comparing this truck to the “Mog” in terms of off road ability, but you can’t deny the inherent usefulness of the design. Mitsubishi Fuso introduced the FG 4X4 model in 1990, and it is still the only one available in the states. The 2010 model is equipped with a state-of-the-art 4.9L Dual Overhead Cam Turbocharged Diesel 4 Cylinder Engine, producing 155 HP (which doesn’t sound like a lot) with 347 lb. ft. of torque at a low 1600 RPM. The 4X4 model is only available with a 5 Speed Stick, though there was a time in which the Automatic was available.

What makes this truck so unique is the chassis. To make room for the solid drive axle up front, Mitsubishi Truck and Bus of Japan actually created a 2 piece frame rail system, in which the forward portion rises above the rest of the frame in an “S” configuration. This raised the entire cab of the truck almost a foot, compared to the 2WD versions. To facilitate cab entry, Fuso simply added another step placed before the front axle. The transfer case is a two speed affair, with an unusual location for the gear selector. If you take a look at the images, you will notice the lever placed to the left of the steering column.

So, what is it like to drive this thing? Well, after climbing into the spacious cab, it was like driving a bus, with absolutely no hood to obstruct the view. The turning radius is better than most cars, with intuitive controls, a comfortable seat, and acceptable ergonomics. Just don’t be in a hurry. It takes time to get those 155 ponies up to speed, and with a red line close to 3,000 RPM (don’t even bother going past 1,600 because all it does is make noise, with no more power) and with a particularly notchy shifting mechanism, it takes work when merging onto a freeway. Top speed is near 65, but that is not what this truck is all about. This particular model was built as a small mason dump truck, with a backpack between the cab and the body. The target audience for this truck is a landscaping contractor or a nursery. You can equip this truck with a plow and a sander (for northern climates) and you can get 4 seasons worth of work out of this versatile truck.

Sales of the FG hover around 250 per year, and they are not cheap. The price of the test vehicle is just a few dollars shy of $55,000. This includes the Dump Body, Back Pack, Trailer Package, and Bed Cover. The Fuso comes standard with A/C, Power Windows and Door Locks, Cruise Control, 3 person interior and more. This truck had the Heated Mirrors, AM FM CD player, and full length carpet mat installed.

So, what do you think? Is it just wierd enough to get the stamp of approval from you, or is it just a poor attempt to to a Japanese F-450? Comment Below.

  • Paul_y

    I kind of want this. I don't know what I'd do with it, but that's not really relevant.

  • ptschett

    So help me, I read "Back Pack" as "Track Pack" the first time.

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  • teklay yirdaw

    i need full specification and current price of 6*4 mitsubishi dump truck

  • Tree Man

    The reason I am looking at them over American pickup-based vehicles is their space efficiency. For the same overall length, and price, as an F450 with an 8' bed, you can get a truck with a 14' dump bed. The American pickup truck layout is very inefficient, and really only used here in America, where we refuse to abandon a tradition just because it is asinine. Why do you think all military trucks, all over the world, are cabover designs? As for horsepower, it's a work truck, not a sports car. 0-60 is not important.

  • backach

    I'VE OWN AN 99 Mitts. FG. Kicked the living rice out of it! No break downs. Can't believe the clucth is still org. That go's for the 90% of the vehicle. Even the breaks are org. Pro's: unbelievable 4×4!!, best plow truck PERIOD!, Visibility, maneuverability, fuel mileage, no need for mechanic, runs, runs and runs… Unique.. Cons: No power out of 2nd gear, bogs when you slap 3rd, You have to pound every gear to get going (empty!), G.V.W. rated like a pickup, rough rider!!! But still love the truck! Going to up grade to a new one.

  • davey

    I know what I would do with this, I would put it to work in my tree trimming business. I would tow a chipper and make the dump bed into a chip box. Excellent.

  • Twister

    I, too, love this truck. Mine is a 1990, set up as an RV. The 3.3 turbocharged diesel is slow on fairly steep hills (I find myself in 4th doing 40mph at 3k, flashers a-blinkin' on the highway). Has anybody tried a larger engine? Will a larger engine fit?

    Under some conditions, like at the bottom of some hills, 2nd gear can't hack it, and you can't use 1st because you'll lose momentum before you can get it into 2nd. Crawling up hills at 4mph might do off-road, but not in the city. Anybody switched to an automatic? Can that be done?

  • Kevin

    I have been driving one of these with a service body for remote radio/communications sites. We have found it to be the best access vehicle we could find. We run into other crews on sites and the Fuso has way more cargo area. We have a covered 13' box on the same foot print that a us made rig with an 8' box.
    It is a bit slow on the freeways but absolutely flies on the gravel. Pushing a few feet of snow isn't uncommon.
    This thing has not been stuck or broken down.

  • burt

    I have a landscape company and im done with the 6.0 fords. Was looking for honest opinions on the new FG 4×4. My trucks are constantly in the shop with emissions problems that lead to other problems. Ive seen other complaints on the nw FG with motor problems too. Can anyone give some input on them.