With 205hp (151 kW) on tap under the driver’s right foot and 600Nm of torque all driving through a six-speed automatic gearbox, you start to get the idea this truck is a bit of a goer.
PowerTorque took the new Hino 300 Series 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.
Alongside this high-level specifications in terms of engine power, Hino is also leading the way in terms of integrated safety systems being fitted as standard on a truck. The other brands are catching up, but Hino were first in the space in fitting a full suite of safety systems as standard.
We already had anti-lock braking system and vehicle stability control, but this has now been added to with the pre-collision system. This PCS has two aspects aspects to it, first is the autonomous emergency braking and second is the pedestrian detection capability.
On this particular test this driver was not game enough to actually try and test out the systems on the road but has done so in more controlled conditions in the past. Even on a tightly tightly regulated test track in Tokyo, the sensation of the truck’s braking system taking over and applying 100 per cent braking just before the truck is about to hit a stationary object really does set the heart pounding.
The pedestrian detection capability is another step forward in the autonomous emergency braking capability and it uses both the video data and the radar to evaluate the shape of an object in front of the truck and if it decides the object could be a human then it will, again, jam on the brakes. The video used by the PCS system is also used for the lane departure warning system which is also fitted as standard to this truck.
It was not that many years ago that any of these highly sophisticated electronic safety systems would have been an expensive option on a top of the range heavy duty prime mover. Now, the world has changed and what would once have been an expensive option is now one of the systems are being fitted into trucks on the Australian market, right across the range.
The situation is such that even new market entrants, trying to break into the Australian truck market are finding that it is necessary to offer this level of safety equipment in order to be able to get a foot in the door of many truck buyers.
The speed at which these kind of technological developments are emerging means that truck manufacturers like Hino have to be constantly preparing for what is likely to happen in only a few years time. One of the tools which Hino will be able to use into the future for these kind of technological changes is the entertainment/telematics system now fitted in the trucks. Because it uses the android platform to run any apps on the system, new functionality can be added by loading a new app developed for android.
At the end of what was a relatively uneventful trip along the Pacific Highway, this driver was left with the impression this truck is a bit of a goer, yes, and that this Hino 721 has been developed to give the brand a bit of extra kudos in the truck market. Simply putting a more powerful engine in the truck is not enough but coming up with a package which does the job so it drives so easily and in comfort does mean that Hino have got something going on here.