A new Canter FE130 model boosts gross vehicle weight rating and body/payload capacity by 700 pounds over the previous FE125 model, and a recalibrated Duonic transmission provides more performance, said executives of Mitsubishi Fuso Truck of America who introduced it at the NTEA Work Truck Show in Indianapolis on Wednesday.

The higher capacity is at the request of customers who liked the FE125’s lengthened wheelbase of 169.3 inches and the 20-foot box it allowed, a change made to 2014 models last year, said Todd Bloom, MFTA’s president and CEO. But some also asked for more weight capacity.

Engineers looked at the chassis and determined that no changes were needed to approve the higher GVW and payload. So they approved a higher rating and named it FE130, for its 13,200-pound rating.

“That 700 additional pounds,” Bloom said, “means two more zero-turn landscaper mowers or 700 pounds more mulch per trip. Or 33 additional cases of soda, 560 loaves of bread or 1,806 bananas. And that’s what the new Fuso Canter FE130 is all about. Helping businesses thrive by giving them a lower cost-of-ownership alternative for their truck transport needs.”

Bloom said that in spite of an improving economy, “businesses are still struggling today,” and greater productivity and fuel economy of their trucks gives them an efficiency edge.

Individual axle ratings for the FE130 — 5,360 pounds front and 9,880 pounds rear — add up to 2,040 pounds more than the new model’s GVW, but “that GVWR-to-axle-rating margin provides the loading flexibility for the FE130 that FUSO owners have come to rely on and expect,” said Leighton Good, MFTA manager of product and applications.

Recalibrating the Duonic dual-clutch automated mechanical transmission raises shift points to make the truck feel more peppy to drivers, he said.

“While the horsepower and torque rating of the engine haven’t changed, MFTBC engineers have been able to make refinements to the programming that manages the complex interactions among engine operating parameters, transmission shift points and emissions control system behavior,” Good explained.

“As a result, the new FE130 will outperform an equivalent FE125, not only in acceleration from a stop and while underway, but also in responsiveness at steady speeds and during deceleration. At the same time, the truck remains in full compliance with OBD II and EPA 10 emissions requirements.”

Meanwhile, to simplify daily checks, the company said it will soon relocate the engine oil dipstick to the driver side and position it to allow the oil to be checked without tilting the cab. The left-side dipstick location is intended to encourage Canter owners and operators to perform the regular pre-trip fluid checks it recommends as an integral part of a professional maintenance program.

Fluid checks have become more important as compact four-cylinder diesels work harder and more efficiently – which also means hotter – said Bloom. Accordingly, MFTA has lowered its recommended service intervals from 18,000 miles to 12,000, though that’s still the highest in the segment.

In another nod to human nature and improved serviceability, the company is changing the DEF tank cap color to bright blue to reduce the risk of something other than diesel emissions fluid being added to the DEF tank.

The new Canter FE130 is being built now in Japan, and it and and other Fuso 2015 models should be available at dealers by mid-April.