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Hino Muscles Up - Automatically

Hino’s top-of-the-range 700 series has been hanging out for a complete refit for several years now. In the well-known style of the Toyota-owned company, the steady sales of the ‘old’ model have meant Hino engineers haven’t been agitated about getting the new version here sooner. Unlike the dealers, who HAVE been agitated about not having an agitator-spec 8x4 with load-sharing suspension to compete with Isuzu’s 8x4 run-away concrete truck success story.

So it’s a little bitter-sweet for the people at WA Hino, who are delighted with the new 700 but still hanging out for the shorter wheelbase 8x4.

I had a run this week in the first 360hp 8x4 to arrive in WA – 30-tonne GVM and 42.5-tonne GCM. The specs are aimed clearly at the tipper, water tanker, service truck and hook-lift applications. It’s on a 5925mm wheelbase and the new Euro VI 9.0-litre engine powers through an Allison 4440 6-speed full automatic transmission. That box is a big one for 360hp, but Hino’s Daniel Petrovski told me that Allison had recommended Hino fits the 4000 instead of the 3000 series on anything over 350hp. So the heavy-duty spec it is. Also, it includes the deep reduction 4.7:1 first gear to get a fully loaded 700 off the line and into the traffic quick-smart.

The other 8x4 model in the Hino line-up at the moment is the 13-litre 480hp 2157Nm version, which has a ZF TraXon 16-speed AMT transmission with ZF’s boat-anchor imitating Intarder as standard. It’s rated at 32-tonnes GVM and 63-tonnes GCM.

However, neither of the 8x4s have the electronic stability control that virtually all major fleets are now demanding before they’ll even consider a quote. It’s on the 6x4s and 6x2s, but according to Mr Petrovski hasn’t been validated for the twin-steers yet. That’s forecast for production early next year and will be here in mid-2022, along with few other treats he wouldn’t tell me about.

Speaking of boat-anchors, the 360hp I drove felt like it had a retarder on board, but it’s just the standard Jake-brake. Unlike most pretend auxiliary brakes on Japanese trucks, this one is a doozy, and teamed with the exhaust brake delivers a powerful pull back when engaged. It’s also linked to the early movement of the footbrake for maximum utilisation.

My short initial drive was more a familiarisation of the new cab than anything else. For years the 700 cab has been at the pinnacle of blandness. Finally, the engineers have got serious and designed a working dashboard that puts everything at the driver’s fingertips, with clear and comprehensive data for managing fuel efficiency and logistics tasks. Seating is upgraded and although the vision remains good rather than outstanding, the overall feel of the truck now matches its best competition.

Reliability may have been the word that its biggest competitor pinched for its advertising, but Hino has it in spades among operators who know they can rely on the brand for a hard-working, reliable truck with easy maintenance schedules, a healthy warranty and excellent parts back-up.

More to come when I get hold of a 6x4 with a trailer or two behind it.

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