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Prime Mover Magazine

The new-look Hino 300 Series

The new-look Hino 300 Series

Small and versatile tippers delivered straight off the showroom floor are the latest buzz in the transport equipment market. Responding to the trend, Hino has refined its 300 Series factory tipper to make it even more practical.

With the factory tipper segment on the rise in an otherwise stagnant truck market, Hino has updated its successful 300 Series range to ensure it will remain at eye level with the rising European and ever-so proactive Japanese competition.

Prime Mover is putting the 616 IFS to the test, the most compact of Hino’s seven-model factory tipper range, which covers GVMs from 4,495 to 12,000kg. Our test vehicle is rated at 4,495kg so it can be used by holders of a standard car licence.

The factory steel body measures some three metres in length and has a width of 1.75m, adding up to a capacity of 1.9m3. As a result, it is able squeeze into tight places such as driveways and backyards, which could be a real advantage in the gardening and tradie sector it is targeting.

It is also equipped with a new, self-contained tarp that operates similar to a roll-up curtain, with a spring-loaded spool fitted to the top of the headboard. Once extended, the tarp is retained by a pair of clips at the rear of the body and a couple of nylon ropes are supplied to pull it down close to the load. It may be rudimentary and can seem a bit like a workout on a gym machine to operate, but it does the job well and is a big improvement over frayed blue plastic tarps – not to mention it will keep the authorities happy.

Standard width cab models such as our test vehicle come fitted with a five-speed manual gearbox. A torque convertor and five-speed auto are optional, and the wide cab variants receive a six-speed manual. There are only 300km on the clock at the beginning of our test so the shift action is still a bit tight, but that can be expected to loosen up quite quickly.

The engine on our test model is a four-litre turbocharged EGR diesel that produces 110kW at 2,500rpm. A catalytic convertor and a Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF) manage the emissions and an electronic bar graph on the dash displays the DPF’s current condition and when the it is performing a self-cleansing “burn”.

Hino’s version of hill start aid is called Easy Start and is standard on manual models such as the one we’re taking for a spin. But beware: Whatever amount of brake pedal pressure applied by the driver is retained to hold the brakes on until the clutch takes up – so it is important to exert more than just a light touch to prevent rollbacks.

The all-wheel disc braking system incorporates ABS and Vehicle Stability Control, which is an impressive feature on what could be considered an entry-level truck. Traction Control is also fitted and can be switched off if the driver considers allowing some wheel spin an advantage in negotiating muddy ground.

The standard width cab also gets an independent front suspension and rack and pinion power steering, which greatly contributes to the car-like driving experience. The wide-cab versions are fitted with a more truck-like beam axle, leaf springs and steering box. The kerb-to-kerb turning circle is a tight 9.6m (11m wall-to-wall).

But, how does the tray on the back perform? A long handle mounted on the extreme right hand side of the dash engages the power take off and hydraulic pump and also controls lifting and lowering functions of the tipping body. The engine-powered hydraulics have a distinct advantage over electro-hydraulic units and deliver faster operation – again a plus for the Hino.
The tray itself has a very high tip angle of around 60°, so even the stickiest of clay spoil can be readily unloaded.

On the inside, the driver’s seat has its runners set on an incline, so shorter drivers’ feet are closer to the pedals when the seat is moved forward. The wide cab models get a suspended seat with four-way adjustment.

The cab interior has a good level of equipment – including Hino’s quite sophisticated audio system, which includes digital and AM/FM radio and CD functions, easy-to-pair Bluetooth and satellite navigation, plus a reversing camera with rear-mounted microphone that adds to safety and convenience. Two extra cameras can be installed and configured to individual or split screen display.

All up, the Hino is more than ready to face the competition or even steal some market share from them. Smart details like a collapsible gearshift lever make up for the small shortcomings that are expected with an entry level truck and place the Hino firmly in the upper bracket of its segment – especially because of its compact size.

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