The Daihatsu Hijet shared the same design and underpinnings with the old generation Piaggio Porter . Unlike the Piaggio which was sold pretty poor, the Daihatsu received more attention from the buyers and it was sold in better numbers.
The vehicle is available in both panel van and chassis cab versions and despite its compact dimensions, it has a very flexible and versatile character which make ideal for a wide range of light commercial applications.
The vehicle’s payload capacity is ranging from 560 kg to 1120 kg and comes with two wheelbase lengths measuring 1810 mm and 2180 mm. The Daihatsu Hijet is powered by a 1.3 liter petrol engine which develops 64 hp and 100 nm of torque.
The Daihatsu Hijet has a pretty rudimentary design which won’t win you any beauty awards. Judging by the exterior style, it’s clear that Daihatsu’s engineers have compromised the design over functionality, as the micro LCV looks pretty strange.
While the style may not be too attractive, the compact dimensions of the Hijet make it ideal for the city traffic and it can squeeze through congested traffic situation effortless.
The overall appearance of the Hijet is pretty bulky. The big windscreen follows the same raked angle as the bonnet thus enhancing the boxy look of the vehicle.
The thin grille looked pretty rudimentary and didn’t have any striking design element to make it stand out from the crowd.
The utilitarian nature of the truck is underlined by the imposing bumper, but it looks a bit oversized for out tastes. The Hijet sits on tiny 12 inch rims which look odd and out of proportions given the tall height of the car.
To be as flexible as possible the vehicle is equipped with sliding rear doors and a roof hinged tailgated which offers even an easier access to the load area.
Access inside is made pretty easy. Unlike other mini LCV which feel cramped inside, the Daihatsu Hijet offers plenty of space and can accommodate two people without problems. Needles to say that the cabin looks identical to the old generation of the Piaggio Porter and you’ll also find the same build quality and plastics.
Though, this isn’t a bad thing, as the Porter made us a very good impression. Apart from the good build quality, the design is also pretty ergonomic as it makes maximum use of the space available.
Given the size of this vehicle, the seats are also pretty comfortable and even if they won’t make you feel as god as the ones of a bigger van, you won’t have any major complain about them. They also come with a few adjustments which will help you get cozy behind the small steering wheel. Though, after a few hours of driving you’ll start to feel tired and wish to take a short break to stretch your back.
Due to the fact that you sit forward on the front wheels and the windscreen is very close to your face, you could feel a bit exposed. On the other hand, you’ll need only a few minutes to get used to this unconventional position. The steering wheel is also a bit too in your face, but apart from this small impediment, there is nothing else to worry about.
There aren’t many features available, but you do get a radio, speedometer, fuel gauge and heater. However, we’ve expected to find at least a trip meter or cigarette lighter/12v socket.
The Daihatsu Hijet comes without a bulkhead, so you’ll have to arrange the cargo with maximum attention, to be sure that it won’t lurch forward into the occupants’ area in case of a heavy brake.
Engines and transmissions
Under the hood, the Daihatsu Hijet is fitted with a 1.3 liter petrol engine. Thanks to the relatively small weight of the vehicle, the 65 hp churned out by the engine will offer a pretty lively performance, but it gets rather noisy over 90 kmph and the things will get even louder if the speed continues to go up. The maximum speed is rated at 130 kmph, but you will need to really push the engine if you want to achieve this performance.
The vehicle could feel a bit underpowered when it needs to deal with heavier payloads, as the 140 NM of torque isn’t enough to keep the performances at a high level. On the other hand, you won’t have any problem if you’ll carry lighter weights.
The engine is combined with a five speed manual gearbox which is a bit rubbish, but is able to keep in check the engine’s power pretty good and copes well with the “budget” character of the Hijet offering an average fuel consumption of 8.3 liters/100km.
Daihatsu Hijet Engines Specifications
|Engine capacity – cc||hp@rpm||Nm@rpm||Fuel Consumption – l/100 km|
Ride and handling
The Daihatsu Hijet is pretty easy to drive around town, as thanks to its small dimensions it will deal with any traffic situation with ease and can be parked in places that seem impossible to reach by a conventional LCV.
The vehicle has also a surprisingly good handling with a limited body roll and good road manners.
During overtaking maneuvers at high speeds, the Hijet feels slightly pushed into the side, or it gets sucked to the centre lane, and you’ll have to learn how to compensate this effect.
The steering however could’ve been better, as is a bit heavy at low speed. The good part is that it will start to get better as you increase the speed.
The Daihatsu Hijet is a capable working horse. It features a satisfactory build quality and a spacious cab which despite its spartan configuration it offers a satisfactory comfort for short driving sessions. The Hijet’s engines are also pretty nimble and cope great with the city traffic. Another thing worth to me mentioned is the handling which is among the best in the segment. On the other hand, the vehicle’s safety leaves much to be desired as in case of a frontal impact you are “protected” only by a thin sheet metal.