Getting straight to work
Manufacturers continue to expand their range of ready-to-work trucks. Astute dealers supplement the available factory units with additional cab-chassis-body combinations to suit a wide range of purposes and are available straight from the showroom floor.
The Hino 300 Series currently offers almost 70 models in total including eight hybrids, standard and wide cab variants, and the built-to-go SteelAce, TradeAce, WorkAce and Tipper range. Dealers such as City Hino in Sydney’s west, a part of the Suttons Group, are increasing the ready-to-work offerings including pantechs and refrigerated bodies fitted to various Hino 300 chassis.
The lower gross vehicle mass (GVM) mostly ‘car licence’ models are powered by a 4.0-litre engine equipped with Variable Nozzle Turbo (VNT) technology to meet Euro 5 emissions standards and provide good performance. The engines feature a cooled exhaust-gas recirculation (EGR) system combined with a Diesel Particulate System (DPR), which has an 800,000km service interval. The DPR has an automatic self-cleaning function which initiates when the filter is only at 30 per cent of overall capacity.
The Wide Cab six speed manual models have 121kW (162HP) of power at 2500rpm and 464Nm of torque at 1400rpm. The standard cab and wide cab automatics are rated at 110kW (147hp) and 420Nm.
The standard cab has the choice of a five-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission, while the wide cab auto also has a six-speed transmission available.
The shift levers are collapsible to facilitate slide-across access for the driver or passenger when in tight parking locations. The Hino Easy Start system is fitted to all manual models and operates in both forward and reverse gears by electronically maintaining braking force, even when the driver takes their foot off the brake pedal allowing the driver to easily move off from a stationary position without rollback on uphill grades.
Hino is currently the only Japanese truck manufacturer to offer a fully automatic torque convertor transmission in the light-duty truck market. Fifth and sixth gear in the auto are overdrive which assists fuel economy. On descents with the exhaust brake activated, the transmission initiates downshifts without over-revving the engine to provide optimum engine braking by way of utilising the engine’s compression as well as back-pressure on the exhaust brake valve.
The increase in online grocery shopping has spawned the need for small, refrigerated, delivery trucks and a good example is the Hino 616 narrow cab fitted with a two-pallet Thermaxx body and Thermo King refrigeration unit. Easy to drive and incredibly nimble thanks to a 9.6 metre turning circle, this short wheelbase setup is even capable of negotiating tight driveways and the three section rear door and single kerbside door provide excellent access to the refrigerated compartment. Larger bodies are also possible on the longer wheelbase models. The ride is smooth thanks to a double wishbone independent front suspension and disc brakes on all wheels ensure that stopping ability is first rate.
Vehicle stability control (VSC) is standard across the Hino 300 Series as is cruise control, which is operated via a wand that turns with the steering wheel rather than being directly mounted to the column as are the controls for lights, wipers and the exhaust brake. The VSC incorporates traction control and can be switched off from the dash to assist in control of the drive wheel traction when the vehicle is in muddy conditions.
Driver and passenger comfort are good, with plenty of legroom, effective air-conditioning with large outlets and electric windows. The automatic function on the driver’s window works as a one-touch to both raise and lower the glass so that the driver’s hand isn’t off the wheel for more than a moment. Safety features include airbags and seat belt warning lights and mirrors that have electric adjustment as well as heating.
In addition to the double DIN multimedia screen the dash has three more single DIN slots that can be used for equipment such as the controls and the temperature monitor for the refrigeration unit. The interior surfaces may be in a plain grey but they will be hard wearing and easy to clean including the vinyl floor covering. The steering wheel has both angle and telescopic adjustments and the driver’s seat has plenty of adjustment range. The wide cab models are fitted with a driver’s suspension seat with torsion-bar suspension and magnetic dampening with lumbar support improving driver comfort and also reducing fatigue. The seat runners have been positioned on an incline to cater for short and taller drivers by placing the seat in a better position relative to the pedals. This may be a ‘little truck’ but it can comfortably accommodate quite large operators. Getting in and out of the cab is easy thanks to very large door apertures and wide opening doors and large steps.
The demand for parcel deliveries also continues to evolve and the long wheelbase Wide Cab Hino shown here is a prime contender for this type of application. The Weldtruck body has steel lower sections on the inside walls for protection with multiple metal tie rails and wooden buffers extending to roof height to protect both freight and the body’s outer skin. Add a tailgate loader from DHollandia and this becomes a very flexible urban vehicle. There are dual fuel tanks located on the driver’s side of the chassis providing a combined 170 litres of capacity.
For operators requiring a little more power there are models available with a 5.1 litre engine rated at 139kW (189hp) with a manual transmission and 151kW (205hp) when backed by an automatic. The relative torque figures of 510Nm and 600Nm are available from 1,500rpm with maximum power for both versions being developed at 2,600rpm.
Most customers don’t appreciate having to wait for an extended period for delivery of their new vehicles. The extensive range of specification combinations available today can possibly be seen as somewhat daunting for uninitiated buyers, who will appreciate that Hino and its dealers are able to alleviate the stress of deciding on the specifications of the cab chassis and then negotiating the complexities of having the appropriate bodies fitted. Plenty of models including the specialty ones mentioned here can be available virtually instantly thanks to considered planning by the manufacturer and the dealers.
As the demand for small delivery vehicles continues to increase many of the customers for this type of light commercial vehicle are not ‘truck’ people. They will appreciate the seamless operation that closes the time gap from their decision to purchase to being handed the keys and getting on with their work.
The standard warranty for Hino 300 Series trucks is three years or 100,000 kms. The optional Hino Advantage System brings with it the availability of capped price servicing, service agreements, a five year extended warranty and Hino Roadside Assist.