Com­fort while work­ing hard

Tak­ing Hino’s 616 Wide­cab Fac­tory Tip­per for a spin

Big Rigs - - TEST DRIVE -

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.

PHOTOS: CON­TRIB­UTED

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.

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