Hino launched their new-generation 500 Series Wide-Cab into Australia last year and the offering has proven so far to be very popular.
The Japanese truck brand is on the up with sales turbocharged by the new 500 Series variant that outpaced the industry average across 2017 and again through the first three months of 2018.
I spent a week getting to know the Hino 500 Series Wide-Cab GH 1832, an offering that boasts a GCM of up to 38 tonnes.
The vehicle I was driving (as seen in the photos) had a 12-pallet curtain-side body fitted and was loaded with 6 tonnes of sand.
That means a combined weight here of about 22 tonnes.
The GH 1832 comes with a 320hp (235kW)/1,275Nm straight-six turbo-diesel engine mated to a six-speed Allison automatic transmission.
Special Additions to the Test Truck
This vehicle also had a few things that are being trialed for the Australian market and may, or may not, become available here in the future.
These extras included a WABCO rear wheel set with the lazy axle being the forward wheels, not the traditional rear wheel set-up that we’re used to.
A common issue for drivers when negotiating things like steep gutters when leaving a delivery point, if you lift the forward wheels the rear wheels, by definition, will always be grounded and can’t be left stranded in mid-air by the retracted wheels on the rear lazy axle.
It’s a good concept and one I’m sure we will see offered here (stay tuned for confirmation).
Another system that this truck had was a reverse sensor and automated reverse braking.
Designed to help drivers as they negotiate loading docks and when parking, the WABCO system features two rear sensors and a display module mounted on the dashboard (shown in the photo).
When in reverse and moving towards a stationary object the sensors will automatically engage the brakes to avoid a collision.
Finally, the Hino trialed also had a lane departure warning system.
Programmed to kick-in only when you’re traveling above 80km/h, I found the system worked really well.
I was concerned it might be a little over-sensitive, that wasn’t the case though as you had enough threshold to ensure that the buzzers (one on the left and one on the right of the cab) weren’t constantly going off.
All up, three very good additions that I think would make for handy aids to assist drivers with their daily driving duties and we will keep you updated in regards to their availability in Australia.
Out on the Roads
During my time in the Hino I clocked up around 700 kilometres, including a number of hours negotiating around Sydney’s suburban roads and I found the truck very easy to drive.
The transmission defaults back to an economy mode whenever the ignition is switched off, perhaps this mode would be alright without a load on board, in this configuration though you really need to utilize the ‘power’ mode for the easiest driving.
The engine never feels strained with the Allison box providing a lower ratio with just a bit more right foot input.
I was really impressed with the exhaust brake and how the transmission worked in conjunction with it.
Lift your foot off the accelerator and the truck starts to slow as the transmission automatically shifts you down to lower ratios.
While my highway drive test of the Hino included a long descent with a ‘Truck and Bus Must Use Low Gear’ section.
I simply selected 2nd gear, lifted off the accelerator and let the exhaust brake and transmission do their thing.
The truck held a very manageable 40km/h down the steepest sections with just the odd minor braking input required on tight bends.
The steering in the new Hino truck is well-weighted, perhaps for my taste though it could have taken up just a little quicker off centre.
As a predominantly city-focused truck you want to be able to just make small inputs, for example when negotiating tight road lane widths, and I thought here there was perhaps just a little too much play.
Visibility from the driver’s seat is excellent with large mirrors showing you all the angles you need.
You can also see your rear wheels in the main RHS mirror, even with this large body attached, and this helps when negotiating tight spots.
A top of windscreen mounted mirror for cab-forward visibility would help with better judging the distance between the front of the truck and forward obstacles.
Oh, and don’t forget the Hino is fitted as standard with stability control (check it out in action here).
Inside the Hino 500 Series Cab
The aforementioned highway drive took me about seven hours and I found the Hino to be comfortable and easy to drive over the longer distances.
Seating three, the Hino 500 Series Wide-Cab has a bunk that is suitable for rest breaks, if you’re planning on sleeping in it regularly though you would need to invest in a more serious mattress (as is always the case with day-cab trucks).
The driver’s seat is from ISRI and offers plenty of support and adjustment, coupled with the tilt and reach adjustment of the steering column, you can get into just the right position.
It’s also great to see that the Hino is fitted with Digital Radio!
The infotainment screen is a great addition, however I feel some of the onscreen controls are a little small and fiddly and this can be distracting when making changes on the go.
Steering wheel controls for at least radio volume would be a good addition too.
The speedometer and tachometer in the Hino are large and easy to read on the go, while there are two driver info screens.
One screen shows air pressure, fuel, AdBlue and temperature readings, the second screen has a page system that you scroll through displaying things like average speed, running hours etc.
A couple of centre-located switches (mirror heaters/interior lights) would benefit from being illuminated when the headlights are on – as it is you’re feeling around for the switches in the dark.
I really like the overhead storage boxes, a nice addition.
Hino is on a winner here with what is a very easy and dare I say even enjoyable truck to drive, especially in the city/suburbs.
Capable on the highway too, the 320hp engine and Allison transmission combo is a winner with plenty of grunt on tap and a gearbox that better than ably assists the engine.
I really like the additions that this truck had as well, especially the clever lazy-axle set-up and the reverse sensor system.
In all, I expect the Hino 500 Series Wide-Cab to be a popular choice in the medium-duty truck market in Australia for years to come.