Manitou MI25D forklift review

By: Matt Wood, Photography by: Matt Wood

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Technical journalist Matt Wood recently got his hands on a MI25D forklift at the Manitou headquarters in Sydney and took it for a spin.

Manitou MI25D forklift review
Manitou's MI25D rough-terrain forklift.

French materials handling company Manitou has solid history of providing rough terrain forklifts for the Australian market. Manitou has found many friends in the agricultural and construction sectors as well as heavy industry where difficult terrain and tight access are an issue.

However, outside of Australia, Manitou is also known for a whole range of materials handling equipment ranging from battery electric pallet handling equipment and traditional counterbalance forklifts.

In response, Sydney based Manitou Australia have recently launched the Manitou MI range of LPG and diesel powered counterbalance forklifts covering working capacities from 1.8 ton 3.5 ton.

The Manitou company was founded in the mid-1950’s and the first tractor based rough terrain forklift emerged in 1957, this was based on reversing a tractor’s controls and steering wheel as well as affixing a forklift mast to the hydraulic linkages and tow hitch at the what used to be the rear of the tractor.

The ‘backwards tractor’ style of rough terrain forklift is still a popular configuration for the company. By 1980 the company was also manufacturing tele-handlers which proved to be a huge hit for Manitou.

By launching the MI range, the company is seeking to capitalise on the rugged and dependable reputation of their rough terrain machines to entice interest in their newly launched industrial range of forklifts.

Manitou’s Australian distribution business relies on a large dealer network, which the company sees as a distinct advantage, with many long-time Manitou dealers located across regional areas Australia wide.

I recently had a closer look at the diesel powered MI25D at the company’s Sydney headquarters. The Chinese manufactured industrial range of MI trucks share the Manitou family look, and while quite basic, proved surprisingly ergonomic to operate.

Underneath the driver’s seat lies a 3.3 litre Yanmar diesel, while for LPG/petrol applications a 2.5 litre Nissan engine is also available. The torquey diesel engine proved quite punchy with a load on the forklift tines.  But from the operators chair visibility was excellent and all controls were easily accessible.

The MI range doesn’t represent a great technological leap forward for Manitou but rather it serves to supplement a rough terrain model range that already has a strong following in regional and rural areas.


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