The disruption of 2020 hasn’t held Hino back from launching its new 300 Series into the Australian market.
According to Hino Australia, the 300 Series range represents almost 60 per cent of its sales volumes each year.
One particular model, which has already captured much attention, is the Wide Cab 721 — available in either 3,500mm or 3,800mm wheelbases accommodating nominal body lengths of 5.0m and 5.4m. The 721 Crew Cab version sits on a 4,400mm wheelbase.
The Hino 721 occupies a position in the market Hino hadn’t really catered for in previous models and opens up many opportunities in the 6.5 tonne Gross Vehicle Mass (GVM) class for tradespeople and purchasers such as local councils.
The 721 is available with a true automatic transmission matched to the most powerful and highest torque engine in its class.
The 721 is also available with a passenger car licence rating GVM of 4,495kg for applications not requiring the maximum payload capability, yet still with the same 3,500kg towing capacity as the 6.5 tonne version.
The Hino 721 features a five litre engine which develops an impressive 205hp (151kW) and 600Nm of torque which is the highest torque of any Japanese-built light-duty truck sold in Australia.
The engine meets Euro V emission standards by employing exhaust gas recirculation combined with a diesel particulate filter system.
The engine is matched to the six-speed double overdrive full automatic transmission that also provides the option of manual sequential shifting, with an activation button located on the selector lever for drivers who prefer to take control of the gears.
Standard Cab customers can also choose a Hino five-speed manual gearbox and, for Wide Cab customers, a Hino six-speed manual gearbox option is available.
Hino is currently the only Japanese truck manufacturer to offer the advantage of a full automatic transmission in the light-duty sector.
The automatic transmission has benefitted from improvements made to the design of the torque converter, including its lock-up function. The shift logic has been changed and results in improved drivability, transmission kick-down and hill climbing performance while still maintaining fuel efficiency.
Across the latest Hino 300 Series 4×2 range numerous safety features are incorporated such as driver and passenger SRS airbags, the energy-absorbing steering wheel, traction control, ABS braking with disc brakes on all wheels and Vehicle Stability Control.
What sets the new Hino 300 Series apart is the enhanced mantle of safety provided by the introduction of Hino SmartSafe suite of safety features which includes a Pre-Collision System (PCS) with Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB), Pedestrian Detection (PD) and Lane Departure Warning System (LDWS).
PCS can detect a vehicle in front using both radar and image sensors and if the PCS detects the possibility of a collision, it can warn the driver via both visual and audible alerts.
If the system continues to determine the possibility of a collision, it can autonomously apply the brakes to mitigate damage or even avoid the collision.
PCS also includes pedestrian detection and is essentially the same system which was introduced as standard equipment on the medium-duty Hino 500 Series models in early 2019.
Daytime running lamps along with the PCS radar in the bumper and an updated grille help to distinguish the new Hino 300 Series from its predecessor.
The 300 Series cab has been tested to the UN ECE R-29 cab strength certification and features narrow A-pillars which ensure an almost uninterrupted forward view.
Combined with the mirrors and the high definition infrared Reverse Camera, the new 300 Series offers near 360-degree vision for improved safety when manoeuvring the vehicle.
The driver’s seat in the Wide Cab models has torsion-bar suspension with adjustable damping and is mounted on inclined rails to make adjustments easy across a broad range to physically suit almost any driver and provide a high level of comfort with reduced fatigue.
The extensive seat adjustments are complemented by the tilt and telescopic movements of the steering wheel and column.
The Hino multimedia-unit on the truck’s dash features a 6.5-inch high definition touch screen and is the familiar standard fitment across the full Hino truck range.
The unit has AM/FM radio and DAB+ digital radio as well as USB input and Bluetooth music streaming capability plus mobile phone connectivity with voice dialing. The main screen is complemented by the 4.2 inch LCD multi-information display located in the instrument cluster, which provides the driver with a range of vehicle operational, maintenance and performance data.
The multi-information display is accessed using controls mounted on the steering wheel and allows the driver to scroll through the various menus.
The example of the 721 provided for testing is an example of the ‘Built to Go’ range which Hino has developed for the 300 Series and will be a good fit for the Tax office’s Instant Asset Write-Off provisions.