Comfort while working hard
Taking Hino’s 616 Widecab Factory Tipper for a spin
SINCE its inception, the smaller end of the Japanese truck market has always been an overlooked facet of the trucking family, seen as little more than a means to an end, or a way to move small loads only short distances.
Hino has looked at its small truck range from another perspective.
Guiding the evolution of its long-established 300 Series, the Big H has done the work behind the scenes to create one of the most innovative small trucks on the market today.
First introduced early last decade, the Hino 300 Series was a way for the Toyota auto group to transfer their small truck market from coming through Toyota as a Dyna.
This was the chance for the truck division, Hino, to be able to sell the model through truck dealerships as opposed to car dealerships.
Handing the reins over to Hino has been a winner for the firm, with many industry firsts going to the 300 Series.
These include the accolades of being the first truck in the segment with four wheel disc brakes, airbags for both passenger and driver, and being the first light duty truck available on the market to feature vehicle stability control as standard.
Today we are looking at one particular truck in the 67-model strong line up – the Hino 616 Widecab Factory Tipper.
The ability to buy a ready-to-work truck can make such a difference for a business operator, as long as the parameters (factory body dimensions etc) suit what the prospective truck purchaser is looking for.
At first glance, the factory tipper looks like others on the market, but it has many touches that set it apart from its rivals.
With a body measuring 3.1m x 1.9m, this car-licensed truck has a GVM of 4495kg, with the option of uprating to a 5.5-tonne GVM.
For this review, the little tipper was loaded full of crushed brick for a true indication of how it runs while loaded.
Power in the 300 Series range comes from the tried and true N04C motor, with different variants used to power different GVM models in the range.
Jumping in the cab, the first thing any driver will notice is the driver’s seat suspension.
Anyone who has had to run a long distance in a small truck with a hard mounted seat will appreciate the dampening ability.
Even after clocking up more than 150km on the test run while loaded, there was no more fatigue or soreness than if the same distance had been travelled in a passenger vehicle.
All relevant controls fall easily to hand and the telescopic adjustable steering wheel was able to be set to a position that my 197cm height found comfortable.
The double DIN audio head unit was easy to use, with bluetooth connectivity and a GPS system which was user friendly, even for a techno-phobe like myself.
The GPS allows the driver to input the dimensions and weight of the truck, which ensures a truck won’t end up on a street that is weight restricted, and run the risk of getting into legal trouble.
While on the subject of legal trouble, the GPS is also quick to point out if you are travelling above the speed limit, and picks up on the change in speed limit at different times during the day around school zones.
The test truck featured a fully automatic transmission, generally known in light commercials for being more of a hindrance than a help in relation to performance.
Starting out in the industrial areas south of Sydney, the performance of the gearbox produced a high level of drivability, the fully loaded tipper body not holding the little truck back from brisk acceleration when required on stop-start driving.
The Aisin A860E trans comes fitted up with double overdrive, a ratio of 3.74 in first gear, up to a sixth gear of ratio of 0.634, allowing a wide range of ratios for the box to row itself through.
At speed on the freeway, the 300 Series was comfortable, with little wind noise even though 90km/h winds were hitting Sydney on the day of the test drive.
The rear vision mirrors are well built, with no vibration even at high wind speeds, and a good wide range of vision through the split main/spotter mirror in a single unit.
Hino put some thought into forward vision as well, with 65mm wide A pillars creating reduced blindspot areas.
On pulling up for the photo shoot at the Raygal Landscapes yard west of Sydney, fleet operator Johnny Galea was glad to share his view on the Hino factory tipper range.
His fleet is made up of a large number of Hino trucks.
“I’m happy with the Hino trucks, especially the tipper range,” Johnny told Big Rigs.
“They are bulletproof, but more importantly they can get the extra weight on.
“Half a tonne isn’t much on a tipper-and-dog set-up, but getting that sort of additional load on a smaller truck makes a difference in an industry like ours.”
The Hino 300 Factory Tipper is just one truck in a large line-up that Hino has available.
Well worth a look for anyone looking to purchase a truck off the shelf, without the wait that generally comes with buying a small Japanese truck.
The extras that Hino has tweaked into a sector of the market that is generally overlooked, makes for a truck which allows an owner to get back to business, in a level of comfort normally reserved for larger trucks.
■ RRP on Hino 616 Factory Auto Tipper: $64,010.
TEST DRIVE: We took the Hino 616 Widecab Factory Tipper for a spin to see how it handled.
The view from the inside.
The Hino hard at work.
Ready to jump in.