Tip, tip hooray

Ro­bust and thrifty truck can be driven on a car li­cence

Herald Sun - Motoring - - WORKING WHEELS -

THERE’S a limit to how much flog­ging a tough-cus­tomer one­tonne ute can take. When you have to tote a few tonnes of rock or sand, you need to move up to some­thing more se­ri­ous.

The Hino 300 Series tip­per we took for a stint of land­scape gar­den­ing stood up to a task that would have bro­ken a one ton­ner. It can be driven on a car li­cence, which is a bonus.

Over two days we trans­ported a full load of or­na­men­tal stones for the gar­den, about 2000kg, plus a load of wood­chip and a pal­let of pavers, with the first two loads dumped into the 3.2mm thick steel tray by front end loader and the last low­ered in with a fork­lift af­ter drop­ping the sides.

The rock set­tled the Hino down on its sus­pen­sion and it rode bet­ter as a re­sult.

Of­fload­ing the stones and chip was easy, the large latches on the tail­gate mak­ing it easy to move out of the way. Pull the tip­ping lever to the right of the steer­ing wheel and away she goes to 60 de­grees quick as a flash.

Tradies and raw ma­te­rial sup­pli­ers put this size tip­per (1.9 cu­bic me­tres) to all man­ner of uses and as a work tool it is ro­bust, re­li­able and eco­nom­i­cal to run.

Our truck was the stan­dard cab 616 IFS, base model with a GVM of 4495kg — just un­der the car li­cence cut off. It’s also avail­able in wide body cab. Tow­ing ca­pac­ity is up to 3500kg.

Hino makes 300s up to 8500kg GVM, a much larger truck in every dimension.

The test model’s tip­per tray had a dealer fit­ted load cover in shade cloth that rolls out from a spool at the front.

In trucks of this size, the level of so­phis­ti­ca­tion is now quite high. The Hino’s coil spring front sus­pen­sion makes progress much more com­fort­able, un­laden or fully loaded, while the multi-leaf rear springs ab­sorb the ton­nage.

Disc brakes front and rear are abet­ted by sta­bil­ity con­trol and ABS, while the fit­ment of a handy ex­haust brake as­sists on the safety equa­tion. The easys­tart sys­tem means no wait­ing first thing in the morn­ing and the 24V electrics work from two 12V bat­ter­ies mounted in series.

The lad­der chas­sis is in large sec­tion chan­nel rails. All main­te­nance points are eas­ily ac­ces­si­ble with the cab tilted for­ward.

As a cab-over, the 300 has lim­i­ta­tions in pas­sen­ger com­fort but Hino adds such pas­sen­ger car fea­tures as mul­ti­pur­pose in­fo­tain­ment screen with Blue­tooth and dig­i­tal ra­dio. How­ever, the wheel is still flat mounted and the seat ad­just­ment is limited.

Keep­ing the driver in­formed are nu­mer­ous warn­ing lights, buzzers and me­ters.

Pow­er­ing the dual rear wheels is a 4.0-litre four­cylin­der turbo diesel (110kW/420Nm). A diesel par­tic­u­late fil­ter lim­its ex­haust emis­sions to Euro 5 levels.

In the test model, the fivespeed man­ual trans­mis­sion had a su­per-low first and a rel­a­tively high top cog — for gen­eral driv­ing, sec­ond gear take­offs are the go. The gear­box gate, per­versely, had re­verse where first usu­ally is.

Top is use­ful on the high­way with the Hino 300 eas­ily sus­tain­ing 110km/h loaded, with down changes re­quired on long up­hills.

The op­tional six-speed auto would be eas­ier to drive and more fru­gal.

Hino’s tight turn­ing cir­cle is a par­tic­u­lar benefi, mak­ing dif­fi­cult site ac­cess eas­ier.

The cab is rel­a­tively com­fort­able with hard wear­ing ma­te­ri­als, an easy to use lay­out and, a deft touch, heated ex­te­rior mir­rors. We av­er­aged 12.0L/100km.

VER­DICT

It’s a Hino so that stands for “bul­let proof” dur­ing its work­ing life and it’s backed by an ex­ten­sive dealer net­work. The small cab might not be ev­ery­one’s ideal but when push comes to shove down at the quarry, this small tip­per truck comes into its own.

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