The introduction of an Allison automatic transmission is taking the Hyundai Mighty to the next level, with the truck now able to compete toe-to-toe with its strong Japanese competition.
The light duty truck market in Australia is completely dominated by the big three Japanese truck makers, Isuzu, Hino and Fuso. These three brands set a very high standard to which any serious contender in this market sector must aspire and, to a certain extent, exceed.
This is the task that Hyundai trucks has decided to take on. Examples of the light duty trucks from South Korea have been around for some time, but numbers and market penetration have been limited. Hyundai declared its intentions to become a more important voice in the truck industry when it introduced the heavy duty Xcient last year. This was not the action of a fly-by-night truck importer, but instead, a brand making a serious attempt at credibility.
Now, Hyundai have overcome one of the problems which was holding the brand back from selling large numbers in the Australian light duty market, namely, the lack of an automatic transmission with credibility. By introducing an option for the Hyundai Mighty to be fitted with an Allison automatic transmission, the market should become much more open to suggestions from the Hyundai brand.
The Hyundai Mighty does come in four separate models. There is the EX4 with a GVM of 4.5 tonnes, the EX6 with a GVM of 6.5 tonnes, the EX8 with a GVM 7.8 tonnes and the EX9 with a GVM of 8.5 tonnes. This selection of models fit into the four main categories of the light duty segment, without offering a complete range across all of the options at this size and weight.
The Mighty range is powered by the 3.9 L Hyundai engine which comes in two power options. One is the 140 hp(103 kW) engine with maximum power available at 2700 rpm, and the other is available at 170 hp (127 kW) with maximum power at 2500 rpm. Maximum torque of 392Nm (289 ft lb) is available at 1400 rpm on the lower power rating, whereas it is available at 608 Nm (448 ft lb) on the higher horsepower engine.
When it comes to transmissions, there is a five speed synchromesh manual gearbox at the lower hp rating and a six speed synchromesh box at the higher power. The important factor behind this test drive, however, is the use of the 1000 Series Allison automatic transmission in these trucks. When an Allison auto is fitted the engine will always be the more powerful of the two options.
Previous experience with these Hyundai trucks has shown that the basic design, driveline and finish of the Hyundai product is a match for its competitors in the market. This test, which was conducted in and around the suburbs of Brisbane was essentially to assess how well the installation of a fully automatic Allison has been done, and how much it improves the performance of this truck.
Trucks in the light duty segment 15 years ago only ever offered a basic manual gearbox. But times have changed, and the fact that trucks are generally working in metro areas in very busy traffic, combined with a lowered skill level of drivers, has led to the growing preference for a fully automatic transmission in this sector.