Operational restrictions brought about by COVID have meant that it is almost six months since the mid-2021 release of the all-new Hino 700 before we have the opportunity to drive it.
And it has been worth the wait. Key new models in Hino’s heavy-duty range include 4×2 and 6×2 rigid trucks suitable for distribution applications and new 6×4 and 8×4 models, which will cater for customers at the heavier end of the distribution and vocational application spectrum.
We have come to expect a Toyota standard of finish on Hino trucks, but the new 700 Series takes it to the next level.
Even on this pre-production example the standard is worthy of Toyota’s premium brand Lexus. The new 700 Series breaks fresh ground for Hino in terms of safety and application suitability as well as the very important driver experience.
With much in common with the latest Hino 500 models the functional and contemporary interior of the cab is trimmed with a balance of carbon fibre, silver and ‘earthy’ tones.
The new wraparound dash creates a cockpit-like environment for the driver who performs their job from the comfort of the latest generation ISRI 6860 NTS2 driver’s seat which has air lumbar supports and a myriad of adjustments.
The redesign of the cab allows for additional adjustability in rearward seat travel which combined with the tilt and telescopic steering wheel, can provide the ideal driving position for drivers of various shapes and sizes.
The ride is further smoothed due to the cab being remotely mounted on four-point air suspension, resulting in less vibration, road noise and driver fatigue. Cab temperature is now controlled by automatic climate control, while the bunk is ADR42 sleeper compliant, and has interior light controls which can also be operated from the rest area.
The dash layout features all-new instrumentation with large, high contrast speedometer and tachometer, and a central 7-inch LCD Multi-Information Display, which shows information such as the Hino SmartSafe settings, driving economy, gear selection and vehicle maintenance data.
Other upgrades include easier and safer ingress and egress via the generously sized door openings, the illuminated staircase design steps and the conveniently placed full length cab grab handles that make three points of contact available at all times.
The vehicle provided for this assessment is an SS 2848 6×4 rigid towing a three-axle dog trailer which, along with the truck’s tipping body, has been manufactured from steel by Chris’s Body Builders.
Loaded to a gross weight of 38.5 tonnes the combination is well below its maximum GVM, yet allows for a realistic workout that will cover metropolitan, highway and rural roads.
The potentially punishing climb back up Mount Ousley is handled easily by the Hino with the transmission not needing to drop below ninth gear.
This new Hino 700 Series boasts the most comprehensive safety package ever offered in a Hino truck including Driver Monitor (DM) which has been added to the Hino SmartSafe package.
Driver Monitor features driver assistance technologies which take an active focus on protecting the lives of drivers, passengers and other road users.
The system constantly monitors the driver’s attention towards the road using key metrics such as driving posture, face orientation, and eyelid status via a camera unobtrusively integrated into the A-pillar.
The system provides a visual and audible alert if it detects drowsiness or a lack of attention from the driver.
The overall Hino SmartSafe package also includes a Pre-Collision System (PCS) with Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB), Pedestrian Detection (PD), Lane Departure Warning System (LDWS), Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), Reverse Camera and a suite of other standard safety features including a driver’s airbag.
The Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) maintains the speed set by the driver while continuously scanning the road in front of the truck.
If a slower vehicle is detected in front, the ACC can reduce the engine acceleration and even engage the auxiliary braking, adapting the truck’s speed to that of the vehicle in front.
The E13C-BK 13-litre engine delivers a peak power of 480hp (353kW) and 2157Nm of torque, which is now available across a wider range between 1,000 and 1,500rpm, delivering the opportunity for improved drivability and fuel efficiency.
A 450hp rating is also an option.
The Euro 6 exhaust emissions compliance is met using a combination of the Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) system, cooled Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) and a reliable Hino Diesel Particulate Active Reduction Filter (DPR).
The engine is matched to the latest generation of the ZF TraXon 16-speed Automated Manual Transmission (AMT), making Hino’s heavy duty offering exclusively available as a two pedal configuration with the 9-litre versions coupled with a six-speed Allison full automatic.
The transmission is controlled with dial gear selector for Drive, Neutral and Reverse, and features a slow mode in forward and reverse for improved manoeuvrability control.
The dash-mounted dial selector is complemented by a sequential type shift lever on the steering column which allows the driver to easily switch the transmission mode between automatic and manual, and also manually select gears without having to take their hands off the steering wheel.
For us, the novelty of manual shifting quickly wears off and allowing the electronics to make the decisions provides for a smoother journey and better fuel economy.
The Hino Easy Start system is a hill holder which assists with smooth take-offs after stopping on a slope. All 700 Series models now feature an Electronic Brake System (EBS) and have moved from an S-cam brake system to the Hino Taper Roller brake system, which reduces tare weight, decreases compressed air requirements, provides a smoother more consistent brake feel and uses less moving parts, resulting in reduced maintenance requirements and lower operating costs.
The Hino 700 Series is the only Japanese heavy-duty truck with a genuine Jacobs Engine Brake which improves driveability and operational efficiency and all 13-litre models receive additional auxiliary braking from the ZF Intarder, which is integrated into the rear of the transmission and can be controlled by a wand lever on the steering column.
The synchronised braking capabilities of the Hino 700 are impressive with evidence such as setting the speed at 39 km/h at the top of Mount Ousley and having the truck hold itself steady for the entire descent with minimal input from the driver.
The 3.9:1 rear axles ride on a significantly redesigned six rod mechanical suspension. Noticeable here is the improved articulation, lower tare weight and improvement in payload capabilities compared to previous models.
At the test weight the ride is exceptionally smooth. On the outside the Hino 700 has a distinctive new bold new look which includes a new enlarged chrome grille and automatic LED headlamps complemented by daytime running lamps set in the bumper.
Polished Alcoa alloy wheels are standard equipment and lower the tare weight considerably compared to steel wheels.
Our test circuit covers 250 kilometres and according to the Hino’s calculator we are able to return a very creditable 1.9 km/lt fuel efficiency despite tackling long pulls such as Mount Ousley.
With a wider range of axle configurations, an increased number of engine power ratings and now an exclusively two-pedal transmission line-up, the all-new Hino 700 Series models will suit more customer applications and operating requirements.
It seems that virtually every new model of a Japanese truck comprehensively improves upon its predecessors and competitors.
The all-new Hino 700 is no different and is arguably a contender to take the baton as the best heavy duty Japanese truck on the current market.