The Japanese win a competitive edge, writes James Stanford
JAPANESE truck brand Hino has given its Australian line-up a major overhaul by introducing an automatic heavy-duty model and launching Euro 5 light-duty trucks.
Toyota’s truck division has finally released an automatic version of its 700 Series heavy-duty truck.
Until now, the big daddy of the Hino range was available only with a manual transmission, though its rivals offered the option of self-shifting transmissions.
Hino Australia president Steve Lotter says: ‘‘Our performance has been limited by the lack of an automated manual transmission.’’
Now the 700 Series SS 2848 standard and high-roof models are available with an optional 16-speed AS-Tronic automated manual transmission.
The automated shifter is sourced from German transmission expert ZF and is already used by Iveco, MAN, Freightliner, Kenworth and International. ZF has so far sold more than 300,000 of them.
The ZF transmission is a two-pedal system. Some transmissions have a clutch pedal drivers use for take-off and when pulling up, but the ZF transmission is fully automated. Drivers can leave the transmission in automatic or change gears manually.
The ZF AS-Tronic is also available with a retarding system called ZF Intarder, which Hino says is usually available as an option but is standard on the 700 Series.
It slows the engine through the transmission, offering the driver five stages of retardation.
The availability of the automated transmission for the 700 Series coincides with a model upgrade, including a new-look interior and the addition of an ISRI 6860 driver’s seat. The 700 Series also now comes with an integrated front under-run protection bumper.
Hino has also launched its Euro 5-rated 300 Series range of light-duty trucks. It uses the diesel particulate active reduction system (DPR) as well as the exhaust gas recirculation system.
The DPR works by collecting soot particulates and burning them off at high temperatures, which is said to reduce particulate emissions by a whopping 95 per cent.
In most situations, the DPR system operates by itself, with the only difference being a slightly higher engine speed, but in some conditions the system demands the driver stop and do a manual burn, taking 15-20 minutes.
Hino is confident the Hino system will not suffer such problems.
All 300 Series models run the 4.0-litre intercooled common rail diesel engine and no changes have been made to the power and torque figures. That means a power output of 100-110kW and a torque peak of 358-397Nm, depending on the model.
Transmissions include a fivespeed manual and a six-speed manual and six-speed automatic.
Better options: (above) the Euro 5-compliant Hino 300 and (left) the heavy-duty 700 Series with (inset) the optional automatic.