The cab interior and self-levelling air suspension seat were superb. The cab was also very quiet inside and spacious, a very good workplace with plenty of places to stow things.
The standard AM/FM radio had a very good sound and a scan button located on the dash close to the steering wheels to save fiddling with the dial while driving.
On the road, I found the new naturally aspirated 9.8-litre engine was quite a lot stronger than the one it replaced in the Hino GS221, but still well below American competitors. The loaded test truck took 19 seconds from a standing start to reach 40kmh, 39 to reach 60kmh and 75 to reach 80.
The old-fashioned Fuller RT6613 gearbox was very busy with the full load in the tipper. The little box shifted beautifully, but the 6613 would be a challenge for many of the young players currently driving that class of vehicle.
Steering and maneuverability were excellent around town but a bit light on the open road. The cabin was hard to lift I raised it to check maintenance access. Hino (and other manufacturers) have put sound shields around the engine to reduce noise. There were panels under and at the sides of the engine and even under the gearbox.
The side panels inhibited access to the engine and would probably end up being discarded after getting in the way several times. Manufacturers are going to have to learn to design sound and splash shields that are easily removable or that are attached to the cab rather than the chassis rail so they get out of the way when the cab is raised.
In summary, the Shrike is a good around-town truck that is quite pleasant to drive and well made. It is a big improvement over the old GS221 which it replaces but is still down on power compared with its Cummins powered American competitors.