Often in the automotive industry you find that the products are only built to a certain standard, the new Hino 300 Series 4×4 however looks to have been engineered to go well beyond that point.
This is a seriously capable and well put together offering that should prove a hit across an array of possible applications/operators.
Engine and Driveline
The new addition to the Hino range in Australia comes powered exclusively by a 165hp (121kW)/464Nm four-cylinder turbo-diesel engine.
It’s manual only, a six-speed unit, while the transfer case is the same unit that you would find in larger medium-duty and heavy-duty Hino trucks.
As you would know, in the bigger trucks the transfer case is pneumatically controlled and that is the same case here in the 300 Series.
To provide the air pressure to the transfer case Hino fitted a small air compressor that works only for this function.
As is the case with all other Hino 300 Series trucks the brakes are a standard car-like hydraulic system, but in this application you get disc brakes all round.
The new Hino offering retains essentially the same leaf-spring/shock absorber suspension set-up as the standard 4×2 truck (six leaves), however the body sits around 150mm higher than the standard truck.
Yes, the chassis rails are straight/flat all the way through the Hino, the extra height at the rear is achieved by way of a box section/chassis that sits under the chassis rails (as seen in the photos).
The body lift helps the Hino achieve 205mm of ground clearance, an approach angle of 34 degrees, departure angle of 30 degrees and ramp-over angle of 159 degrees.
The end result is a vehicle that really does feel like it can go anywhere.
I took the Hino 300 Series on a fire trail on the NSW South Coast and encountered some fairly serious muddy/flooded ruts and the truck, even in just 2WD/high-range, pulled through easily and without fuss.
In fact, aside from negotiating steep inclines/declines you’re unlikely to even really need to worry about the all-wheel drive functionality with the ground clearance, axle articulation, low-down torque (464Nm @ 1,400rpm) and chunky tyres providing more than enough assistance to get this truck where you need it.
Perhaps the only thing that could stop you in your tracks would be the more than 2.5 metre cab height – my advice is to have a chain saw on hand to get rid of any low hanging branches as you go.
On the Road
As I mentioned, we took the Hino from Sydney down the M1 motorway and through Albion Park and the Princes Highway, returning via Kangaroo Valley and the M5.
The Hino, not surprisingly, has a firm ride and hitting road imperfections at speed is certainly felt with a jolt, while the chunky tyres are a bit noisy on the asphalt at high speed too.
Overall though, and with plenty of torque, the Hino is an easy vehicle to drive (unloaded) with normally just the one gear change back to 5th being enough to get you up inclines.
Speaking of the gearbox, I liked how 4th gear was a straight push forward from the resting position – when driving this truck around you’re mostly in 3rd or 4th so this makes it pretty easy to be in the right ratio.
Getting the selector over to 1st gear though is a bit of a workout for your arm.
If you’ve driven a cab-over light-duty truck before you’ll be at home in the Hino…you’re just sitting up a lot higher.
The Hino 300 Series 4×4 is available in single-cab and double-cab configurations, as the photos show I had the higher capacity version.
There’s seating for seven in the double-cab, and Hino didn’t cut corners and installed separate heating and air-conditioning outlets/controls for rear-seat passengers.
The dashboard is standard Hino 300 Series, albeit with 4×4 controls, and that is certainly no bad thing with easy to read gauges and simple controls.
Visibility from the driver’s seat is very good too and the mirrors are well-sized and electronically adjusted.
A reverse camera comes as standard and is a great addition, while the Hino can also be fitted with two other cameras in whichever location you choose (depending on your application).
The truck also features Bluetooth, Digital Radio and a DVD player.
The driver’s seat is worth a mention too. The seat features a suspension system, however I didn’t think it had enough travel or firmness to really be effective i.e. as soon as you hit a bump your bottom and the seat hits the floor.
The Hino 300 Series 4×4 comes standard with driver and front (outer) passenger airbags, stability control, the aforementioned four-wheel disc brakes, ABS and traction control.
What a great piece of equipment this truck is. Hino has put the hard years in and have developed a vehicle that is immensely capable off-road.
I have no doubts that the new 300 Series would match any of its rivals in getting to remote areas and returning in one piece.
The truck is also well-equipped and easy to drive in traffic and on the highway too and should definitely be considered by operators for applications such as rural fire service, forestry and mining.
Oh, and it would also make a pretty handy base for a go anywhere camper!
Facts and Figures: Hino 300 Series 4×4
- Engine: 4.0 litre turbo-diesel producing 165hp (121kW) @ 2,500rpm/464Nm @ 1,400rpm
- Transmission: Six-speed synchromesh single overdrive
- Transfer case: Electro/pneumatic with high/low ranges
- Fuel Tanks: Total capacity = 170 litres
- Batteries: 2 x 12v