With the release of the new 300 Series Light duty truck, there is also an improvement in performance for the new Hino trucks, with a new model being introduced for those looking for even more oomph. Hino claims to offer Australia’s most powerful Japanese-built light duty truck range and this claim has been further advanced with the introduction of the new 721 model.
The 721 is fitted with the 5-litre J05E-UJ engine with 205hp (151kW) on tap with 600Nm (442 ft lb) of torque. This power unit is matched to the six-speed double overdrive automatic transmission, with a towing capacity of 3.5 tonnes.
The range also includes the current 4-litre N04C engine which puts out 150hp (110kW) of power, with torque rated at 420Nm (310 ft lb), also available coupled with the automatic transmission. This is the engine choice in the 616 models, which come in standard, wide and crew cab variants. These models can also be specified at a car license GVM of 4.5 tonnes or a light rigid licensed 5.5-tonne GVM. If the 616 model is specified with the manual option, also a six-speed double overdrive box, the power rating available is higher at 165hp (121kW) with 464Nm (342 ft lb) of torque on tap.
There are also four models available as a hybrid. Hino is still the only truck supplier of this technology in Australia and the company is set on persisting with it. The four models are the 616 standard and wide cabs, the 716 wide cab and the 916, which has a GVM of 8.5 tonnes, taking it into medium duty truck territory.
Technical changes to the hybrid system have seen the engine go to Euro6 emission levels by using improved fuel injection, EGR, a DPF and SCR. The battery in the new truck is around 25kg lighter than the last generation. Hino does not expect to increase the numbers sold, which currently run at around 50 per year.
On the new hybrid, the common-rail injected engine produces 150hp and 470Nm of torque, which is delivered, in combination with the electric motor, from as low as 1000rpm.
“When maximum torque is available at such low rpm, fuel use is minimised,” says Daniel. “The revised automated transmission is now a six-speed instead of the five-speed in the previous model and is coupled directly to the electric motor.
“The additional gear and the wider ratio spread enable the engine to spend longer in its most efficient rpm, resulting in maximum driving efficiencies. The hybrid system continuously seeks to supplement the diesel power delivery with electric power into the driveline. It is constantly switching between diesel engine drive only; a combination of both electric motor and diesel engine drive; and can also use electric drive only in certain situations.”
Inside the cabin the driver now has access to the multimedia unit introduced by Hino in the 500 Series launch last year. This includes a 6.5 inch touch screen which gives the driver access to the high level of functionality available.
The system can be connected to four cameras, as well as a full suite of radio, music streaming and phone connectivity. The system runs on the Android platform and many apps are currently available. More should come on stream in the future, which can run or monitor various functions in the truck or for the driver. These include items like connections to tyre pressure monitoring systems. Further options can be expected to appear in the next couple of years.
Overall, most of the changes to the 300 Series introduced this time around by Hino are little more than an update. However, it is the introduction of a comprehensive suite of cutting-edge safety systems which tells us this is more than just a facelift. It is a statement of intent from the Japanese truck maker.
These changes also make this new model launch a likely precursor to many truck launches we may expect in the future. It is likely that the number of changes in the hard metal of a truck will become less important, while a major step forward may simply be upgrading electronic hardware, or software. Or even improved integration and co-operation between existing systems.