Decades ago, there was a catchy marketing phrase used in relation to a Japanese car which, for the time, was rather pretentiously pitched at customers more inclined to consider European brands.
“When your heart says Europe…but your head says Japan” resonates as a very apt position for the Fuso Shogun, even more so now that it is available in a category-topping 510 horsepower specification.
However, it doesn’t all have to be about horsepower, as the Fuso Shogun is also able to be specified with an 8-litre engine with 360hp, an 11-litre with 400hp or 460hp outputs as well as the 13-litre rated at 510hp.
The Shogun 510 has been specifically developed for the Australian and New Zealand markets and its genesis was helped along due to some very concerted pushing by local management. The power output of this truck is identified by a discreet badge on the front panel plus, in case anybody misses that, the not so subtle graphics applied prior to the truck’s display at the Brisbane Truck Show announce to the world how many horses are under the cab.
The availability of a driveline based around Daimler’s OM471 13-litre engine in combination with the DT12 12-speed automated manual transmission has cemented the Fuso Shogun as a serious contender in the Australian Heavy Duty truck market. The engine’s maximum torque of 2,500Nm is available from as low as 1,100rpm with 84 per cent of the maximum torque still available at 1,700rpm.
At the other end of the torque curve 86 per cent of maximum torque is available at as low as 800rpm. The maximum 510 horsepower is developed at 1,600rpm and much of the engine’s performance and flat torque curve can be credited to its finely developed high pressure fuel system in combination with the asymmetric turbocharger.
The engine is Euro VI compliant and uses a Diesel Particulate Filter and AdBlue exhaust aftertreatment drawn from a 60-litre tank. Fresh from its debut at the 2023 Brisbane Truck Show, this Fuso 510 tipper brings with it the lightest tare weight of any 500-plus horsepower tipper currently on the Australian market.
Prime Mover has previously sampled the 510 Shogun in single and even B-double combinations. This, however, is the first time we’ve been behind the wheel in its rigid configuration.
Complete with the steel tipping body and 400 litres of fuel in the tank, the Shogun shows a tare weight of 11.24 tonnes on a local weighbridge.
This 4.3-metre wheelbase tipper has been ‘put together’ by the Daimler Trucks dealership located on Queensland’s Gold Coast, which also has arranged for a local bulk building material supplier to loan us an eleven-tonne load of sand to bring the gross weight up to just over 22.5 tonnes which may be well under the 26-tonne GVM yet can still provide a realistic load for the exercise of this test drive.
This Shogun has been fully set up for a tipping dog trailer operation, but as most people in the industry are aware, the current waiting time for a new trailer is almost as long as the line for new trucks. Thus, we can only speculate how well the 510’s 2,500Nm of torque is capable of handling up to the GCM of 63 tonnes.
Recalling experiences with the 510 hauling a B-double set at close to maximum GCM, it doesn’t require a lot of imagination at all as the tipper version handles the short, yet challenging hills around the Gold Coast Hinterland near the town of Canungra with ease, rarely shifting lower than ninth gear on the ascents despite not always being able to build good momentum at the base of the climbs, some of which are 14 per cent grades.
The roller coaster roads also provide a good demonstration of just how effective the three stage engine brake is. Operated by a wand on the steering column, which is pushed forward to initiate the operation of the brake, it has an impressive maximum retardation power of 411kW.
Although it will change down gears itself when descending the steeper hills, a nudge on the transmission selector will also cause the gearbox to drop down a gear or even two ratios to maximise the effect of the engine braking.
In sections of road where the Shogun’s torque isn’t fully needed, the Eco-Roll feature now common on most automated manuals makes its own contribution to fuel efficiency and reduces noise in the already quiet cabin even more as the driveline temporarily disconnects itself.
The transmission also has a “rock free” mode which, when activated, uses the accelerator to shuffle the drive between forward and reverse in an effort to get the truck back onto solid ground should it become bogged. This is a handy feature to have in a rigid tipper applications and limited slip diffs are also available as an option.
The suspension consists of taper leaf springs with double acting shocks at the front and Fuso’s trailing arm electronically controlled four bag air suspension at the rear, also with double acting shocks, which is certified as road friendly.
The combination delivers a smooth ride across a variety of surfaces and differing road cambers. The all-steel cab is suspended on air front and rear. In combination with the air suspended driver’s seat and the leather trimmed steering wheel, it provides a high standard of comfort.
This Shogun also has the “Premium” badge on the dash which explains the purpose of the faux carbon fibre interior trim which is such a refreshing change from the dolphin grey that Japanese trucks have used for decades.
The digital dash incorporates a trip computer with a multi-media unit off to the left which includes customisable satellite navigation to suit trucks.
Other cab features include climate control HVAC, central locking, electric windows and automatic rain sensing windscreen wipers, as well as halogen headlights that switch on automatically as well as auto dip to LED low beam when approaching vehicles are detected.
Another nifty feature is the key fob and stop/start button combination. The Fuso Shogun has, as standard equipment, an impressive suite of safety features including its Advanced Emergency Braking System which uses a combination of radar and camera to deliver an enhanced pedestrian sensing capability that will bring the truck to a complete stop if the driver doesn’t respond to the initial audible warning.
There aren’t many pedestrians on the test route, so we’ll remain confident that the system operates in the background and is able to do what is required of it should the circumstances arise.
Other safety systems on the acronym list include Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), Lane Departure Warning System , Electronic Stability Program (ESP) and the Hill Start System.
There is also a driver’s airbag and Fuso’s Active Attention Assist driver monitoring system which uses a facial recognition camera located on top of the dash in combination with data from systems such as lane departure warning to assess driver behaviour related to fatigue and low levels of concentration.
More power and torque with less tare weight is an equation that should endear the Fuso Shogun 510 to customers for a variety of applications. Its high level of safety features and driver-friendly operation significantly contribute to the Shogun 510’s business case.