Mitsubishi Canter 35 Review from UK and Ireland

1998 Mitsubishi Canter 35 2.8 diesel, NON turbo

Year of manufacture1998
First year of ownership2002
Most recent year of ownership2003
Engine and transmission 2.8 diesel, NON turbo Manual
Performance marks 4 / 10
Reliability marks 9 / 10
Comfort marks 8 / 10
Dealer Service marks 3 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 6 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
6.0 / 10
Distance when acquired80000 miles
Most recent distance85000 miles
Previous carBedford CF

Summary:

Tough, easy to maintain, but slow and let down by some poor European components

Faults:

Viscous fan seems to stay locked in full speed unless the vehicle is going totally flat out.

Rear lights (European made) are appalling and need constant attention due to the casings being poorly designed, the bulbs go often, or fall out.

Silencer looks like it's not going to last much longer.

At the MOT test they advised that one of the kingpins had play in it. I was surprised considering the age of the vehicle.

General Comments:

Mixed feelings about this vehicle. First the Good Points:

Truck has great looks. Good ergonomics, good dashboard, lots of storage in cab, indicator stalk is on the correct side, RH on RH drive (rare these days).

Exhaust brake works well and is a welcome feature, along with the electric windows. (because the passenger one is too far away to reach from the driver's side otherwise).

Switches and lights good. Brakes excellent.

Road-holding and reluctance to roll on tight corners is excellent.

Steering is light and precise. Column has 2 adjustments. Adjustble seatbelt pivot height.

Ride is excellent on smooth roads, with virtually no road noise.

Heating and ventilation is fantastic.

Access for maintenance is excellent with the tilting cab.

It has been reliable.

Now the BAD points.

Gear change is bad and synchros are bad. Double declutching is safest.

Suspension is bad. Springs have no travel. 2 inches and it's on the bump stops. Very bad on bumpy roads, especially unladen.

Wipers work well, but clonk loudly on top speed, sounds like a linkage under the dash.

Performance is abysmal. Fuel economy is very poor. 15 mpg if driven hard, 23 if driven absolutely like you were in an economy competition.

Engine sounds harsh, especially from outside the vehicle.

Propshaft chatters at low revs.

Tempted to find some kind of petrol engine to replace it with to get better power, economy, and quietness. I wish they had offered this truck with a petrol engine.

Air intake is noisy if a window is open, as it is behind the cab on the driver's side.

Gearshift is different to normal, first is down, second is up etc, you get used to it, but you always have to think about it. Bad idea if you are a rental company that rents these out, as the shift is not intuitive and could result in damaged boxes.

This vehicle is classed as 3500KG gross vehicle weight, it is very heavy unladen, so even with aluminium short bed on it, it will only carry 1200 Kg.

The umbrella handbrake is a bad design on a vehicle that would otherwise be easy to cross from one side to the other in the cab. Handbrake not efficient either.

The wheels are 16 inch, this makes the chassis higher than something like a Transit, or Sprinter. Not a problem for some bodies, but bad for loading with ramps.

Chassis rails spaced very close together, making body design harder. I found it especially hard to mount a body that had previously been on a Bedford CF.

Mirrors stick out too far and are not aerodynamic. Look clumsy.

Overall gearing of truck is too low. It runs out of revs.

5th gear is not much higher ratio than 4th gear.

The rear brakes lock up easily when unladen.

Clutch has long travel and only completely clears when the pedal is fully down. Even a rubber mat on the floor will cause the clutch to drag.

Rear window is needlessly small. Why is it not wider? Difficult for reversing.

If washer bottle over half full, fluid dribbles from jets onto screen on LH corners. Mildly annoying. Bottle should have been mounted lower.

Drivers seat has suspension, but even on the softest setting and a 15 stone driver, does not compress, so not really doing its job.

One gets the impression that the truck is disjointed in its design, and not refined before being marketed. Generally build quality is good, most of the components seem to be Japanese thankfully, but the truck is assembled in Portugal, something I didn't realise until buying one. I went for Mitsubishi brand BECAUSE they are Japanese, diluting the quality with poorly made troublesome european components (rear lights for example) is a very bad idea. If I wanted something plasticy and troublesome, I would have bought a European brand in the first place.

Summary:

Comforable fairly quiet and pleasant to drive apart from the bad gearchange, harsh sluggish engine, bad choice of suspension values, undergeared axle, and the poor economy.

Due to the rugged mechanical design, I am tempted to keep the vehicle, as I can imagine it needing no repairs for years.

Perhaps the newer, turbocharged versions are better.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 22nd January, 2003

9th Feb 2006, 10:38

We are now on our SIXTH clutch, I believe there is a design fault with this vehicle and can no longer afford to use it as intended.

19th Aug 2006, 07:04

I was very pleased with my 03 Canter (bar fuel economy and harsh ride) UNTIL... the unpredictable handbrake caused the truck to roll back and crush me! There was a safety recall on the 03 model in 04 for a handbrake modification due to it not holding. Has anyone else had any handbrake problems since the mod? A broken pelvis and ribs is best avoided by leaving it in gear with a brick under the wheels if on a hill!

Average review marks: 6.0 / 10, based on 1 review