Truck Makers Need to Keep up With the Times

truck makers need to keep up with the times

What we expect from a heavy duty truck is changing fast, and truck makers need to keep up with the times. Hino has come up with a model which is precisely tailored to this decade’s Australian heavy market preferences.

Traditionally, the Japanese truck makers have been well behind both the North American and European truck makers in the heavy duty market. However, over the past ten years the Japanese truck makers have made inroads into different sectors of the heavy duty market. The specifications on offer have moved slowly but steadily towards those on offer from elsewhere.

Now, Hino have come up with an all new 700 Series range, which has extended the overall range and now includes all of the state-of-the-art electronic sophistication you can throw a stick at. Apart from a full safety suite, there is now a new engine available, at nine litres, and a much improved transmission, a genuine 8×4, plus a refresh of the overall look and feel of the 700 Series.

truck makers need to keep up with the times

PowerTorque took two examples of the new Hino models out on the road to get some perspective on the new models and to test their mettle took the nine litre around Brisbane and up the Toowoomba Range, then tested the 13-litre hauling a fully loaded semi up the gruelling climb of Cunningham’s Gap. 

The Hino 8×4

It has been a long time coming, but the Australian truck market now has a Hino 8×4 with a load sharing suspension, which will enable the model to maximise mass potential on our roads. This was PowerTorque’s first time in a twin steer Hino and a chance to see how well this model will perform in Aussie conditions.

The Hino organisation has a long tradition of building right hand drive 8×4 models, not only for Japan, but also for the truck market in the UK and Ireland, which has a requirement for 8×4 tippers capable of handling rough quarry conditions and a 32 tonne GVM, with an axle maximum capacity of 8.55 tonnes. 

The truck on test was the FY3036 8×4, with the Hino A09C-VN engine rated at 360hp (265kW) with 1569Nm (1157 ft lb) of torque on tap. This engine drives through the Allison 4440 auto six-speed transmission. The grunt from the engine, alongside the capabilities of the torque converter in the Allison makes this truck a solid performer.

A solid performer is exactly how this truck felt getting out on the road. The combination of enough power and torque with such a responsive truck delivers for the driver. Of course, smooth ratio changes are a given and having enough under the right foot at the right time is also a given with an engine of this power and torque.

The relationship between the engine and the transmission is excellent with both knowing and anticipating what the other is doing, this is a finely tuned relationship and the smooth communication makes life easy for the driver. 

truck makers need to keep up with the times

The hooklift truck is running at over 1700rpm at 100 km/h, as one would expect, short diffs on a vocational truck. When getting into the climb up the grade on the old Toowoomba range the speed drops away quickly, as it does with any loaded truck. The Allison keeps the torque pouring on to maintain speed in what is a steep climb. 

Using cruise control set at 100km/h from the foot of the grade, the Hino, and the Allison transmission, don’t miss a beat and pull on up and over the crest at a very respectable speed creeping back up to over 40km/h after capitalising on any reduction in the grade.

This truck is fitted with a hooklift and loaded close to maximum GVM and runs well, the driver is relaxed and does not have to work hard to keep the momentum going. 

There are now two engine braking options, available via a dashboard switch. One lets the driver pull the steering column stalk backwards and increase engine braking manually and the other switch position enables the driver to access all of the braking options via the foot pedal. 

In this second option, if the driver simply press the brake gently, the exhaust brake actives, press more strongly and the inbuilt retarder will activate, if fitted, and then if you need more braking, a further push activates the service brake. This is the kind of braking control we have only seen in European trucks before. 

Toggling between the two modes can be a trial-and -error process and the driver can choose whatever mode they prefer. I tended to prefer the non-sync mode by the end of the drive, but it’s simply a personal preference.

truck makers need to keep up with the times

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