Ask any truck driver a simple question like, how much power do you need? In reply, you will get a variety of answers, but most will amount to a return question, how much power can you give me?
This discussion about how much power you actually need comes to mind when driving the Hino 300 Series 721, which is blessed with more power than is probably necessary, but it does make it great fun to drive.
PowerTorque took the 721 on a run up the Pacific Highway from Sydney to Brisbane as part of a review of the finally completed four lane highway between the two state capitals, as promised over 30 years ago by the New South Wales government.
This is not a typical journey which would be handled by a truck like to 721, but it was an opportunity to see just how well this well set up 6.5 tonnes GVM truck does perform over a longer period than that usually allowed for light duty truck test drives.
The result was a couple of days of extremely relaxed driving in a truck which felt comfortable on the road, comfortable at high speeds and exhibiting a high degree of safety awareness with its active and passive safety systems.
A quick look at the specifications sheet for this truck gives any driver a clue to exactly how this truck is going to perform. With 205hp (151 kW) on tap under the driver’s right foot and 600Nm of torque all driving through a six-speed automatic gearbox and you start to get the idea this truck is a bit of a goer.
However, on this test drive the truck was not tested on how it would go in the race against its opposition, but instead, it was about how having bags of power and torque in your back pocket means that driving in traffic and out on the open highway can be a very comfortable and easy task, when compared to trucks working at the limit of their horsepower and torque. This truck was loaded, but never felt like it was working hard.
Hino does seem to see horsepower and torque as a bit of a race, as it has consistently specified trucks in this segment with horsepower and torque levels above those of the fierce rivals in this market sector, Isuzu and Fuso.
Looking at the nearest equivalent in the Isuzu range, the NPR 65/45–190, rated at 6.5 tonnes GVM, comes in at 188hp (140 kW) at 2,600 rpm. When it comes to the torque rating it sits at 530 Nm (378 ft lb) at between 1,600 and 2,600 rpm. This rating for the Isuzu is achieved with a five litre engine with a similar displacement to the J05E-UJ engine fitted to the Hino 721.
There is no exact equivalent Fuso Canter to compare directly with the 721 from Hino, but the Canter 615, gets 110kW at 2840 to 3500rpm out of a three litre engine, which is quite an achievement, but doesn’t match the 721’s numbers. Even the 7.5 tonnes GVM Canter sees Fuso persevere with the three litre engine at a similar rating.
Looking at these figures demonstrates that the Hino designers have decided to push the envelope when it comes to power and torque in small trucks. As a result of this level of specification the Hino trucks do feel great from the drivers seat, there is always enough available to the drivers right foot when needed.