What is it?
This is Hino’s 616 automatic Wide Cab Trade Ace. With 67 different variations of the 300 Series this Trade Ace versions is ready for work straight off the showroom floor with a list of standard features that includes an alloy tray, ladder racks and bull bar.
How does it drive?
The Trade Ace has a GVM range of 4495-8500kg and a GCM range of 7300 -12000kg so it’s built tough - and it has to be.
The truck were driving has a 4495kg GVM so it can be driven on a regular car licence. It has front leaf spring suspension and an old-school solid live beam front axle which although incredibly strong and reliable, it doesn’t make for the most comfortable of rides on anything other than a smooth road. If you are on a rough road you will know about it, as bumps and dips in the road will have the standard driver’s suspension seat working overtime while the seat belt tugs on your shoulder quite hard at times.
The bouncy ride is better with a load on board but still has the same characteristics and can be uncomfortable.
The traditional torque converter six speed automatic is excellent; it’s intuitive, the gear shifts are smooth and direct and provides the perfect argument not to buy the manual transmission option.
There are no complaints with the engine too, as it has plenty of power, is smooth, reasonably quiet and makes a strong powertrain combination with the auto.
Steering in the Wide Cab is a recirculating ball type and not a more modern rack and pinion. That said it still has good feel with no kick back over bumps, and the big bonus is it has a great turning circle for such a large vehicle.
What’s the interior like?
It’s made from durable and hard wearing materials that appear able to withstand the punishment likely to be dished out.
The passenger’s seats are very flat with no support, while the driver’s seat is similar but has a suspension base, with four way adjustability, lumbar adjustment and an adjustable steering column that helps finding a comfortable driving position easy.
The centre passenger’s seat is only equipped with a lap seat belt which isn’t ideal especially by today’s standards. When the centre seat top is folded down it becomes a small table that is perfect for filling out paper work.
There’s three storage pockets in the dash and a shelf underneath that runs most of the length, and above there are two overhead storage bins which are of good size, although the glovebox is as small as the door pockets. Harking back to times gone by, there are actually ash trays in the door pockets and a cigarette lighter in the dash which is something not seen in most cars for the last fifteen odd years.
There is a grab handle on each A-pillar to assist getting in and out of the truck as well as a step. Speaking of which, the A pillars are nice and thin, and combined with the excellent large electrically adjustable side mirrors, vision around the truck is very good.
The truck has an exhaust brake which is easily activated if needed by a stalk on the side of the steering column as well as manual headlight height adjustment.
What’s the payload and towing capacity?
Our test vehicle has a remaining payload of 1755kg. Towing will depend on what you carry, but this particular vehicle has a 7300kg GCM.
What about load space dimensions and anchor points?
This wide cab variant has a tray that is 4500mm long and 2100mm wide with double-drop side and single rear removable gates. The tray has a tie down rail along the sides, a mesh head board and side steps on both sides for easier access to the tray.
How does it perform under load?
The 300 excels here, and our test weight is no challenge for the truck’s chassis which is capable of 8500kg GVM if that box is ticked when purchasing. With the weight onboard on a bumpy twisty country road at 80km/h, the stability control activates gently keeping the truck settled but without aggressively cutting power leaving the driver feeling confident and maintaining good momentum.
The engine does feel the weight, understandably, but is only strained when moving away from a standing start. Otherwise, once the truck is running at speed the engine comfortably eats hills as the automatic selects the right gear at the right time.
The ride up front is much better with a load but is still on the rough side on anything other than the smooth black stuff.
Any special features worth mentioning?
The Hino has dual airbags, ABS, stability and traction control as standard.
The automatic’s gear selector has a clever mechanism which allows it to be folded down when the vehicle is parked and switched off enabling the driver to easily slide across the cabin to exit the passengers door if need be.
The truck also has remote entry, rear view camera and cruise control all standard.
The ride up front can be punishing at times, the seats could be a little more supportive and comfortable for longer hauls and centre passenger only has lap belt.
How does the warranty and servicing costs rate?
The Hino comes standard with a three-year, unlimited km warranty or an upgrade to five years can be purchased.
The 300 series is serviced at 20,000km or six-monthly intervals (whichever occurs first), and every second service is a major one.
Capped price servicing is available at participating dealers, with a minor service costing $569 and a major one setting you back $1499, meaning it will cost a total of $6204 to maintain over the first three years or 120,000km. Air filters and coolant are not included in the capped price program.
What else should I consider?
Iveco, Isuzu and Fuso all have trucks in this range that are worthy of checking out.
This light truck segment may still be off the pace in the safety department when compared to passenger vehicles but Hino have safety features standard in this range that aren’t even available with some of their competitors.
That said, the truck’s ride up front is our biggest gripe, but other than that it is solid, safe and feels like it will take the toughest of punishment for decades without letting you down.
0-60km/h time: 7.6 seconds (unladen), 11.6 seconds (loaded)
0-80km/h time: 12.2 seconds (unladen), 17.7 seconds (loaded)
0-100km/h time: 18.3 seconds (unladen), 27.8 seconds (loaded)
Load testing weight: 1510kg
Safety rating: N/A
2018 Hino 616 Trade Ace Price and Specifications
On sale: Now
Engine: 4.0-litre four-cylinder turbo diesel
Transmission: Six-speed automatic, RWD
Fuel usage: We averaged 14.9L/100km