The heaviest vehicle built by Hino is the 700 Series. The truck is around for some years now, but the newest version of Hino’s heavy duty model is starting to get closer and closer to its European rivals which currently set the standards in the cab-over engine segment.
The exterior design is still pretty basic, without having the potential to make any eyebrows rise in admiration, but what is going under the sheet-metal is what really counts, so most of the upgrades are starting to be observed only after you’ll fire the engine.
The Hino 700 is offered with a choice of different wheel base lengths that range from 4005 mm- 4575 mm and comes with GVMs (Gross Vehicle Mass) of up to 28.300 kg.
Hino is still working to find a proper design language for its trucks and the actual models lack that magical spark that catches the eye.
The 700 Series looks pretty similar with the smaller 500 Series. The most significant difference over its smaller sibling is the massive grille which features three horizontal stripes which receive a chromed treatment for top of the line versions. The huge grille was necessary to be able to keep the bigger engines cooled, but it also gives the truck a more imposing stance and underlines its heavy duty character.
The big triangular turning signals are carried over from the 500 Series and they look a bit out of place in combination with the robust design of the cabin.
Another proof of the rugged nature of the Hino 700 Series is the solid bumper which looks built to last and is fitted with two big headlights.
For those familiar with Hino’s trucks, the 700 Series cabin looks pretty much the same with what you’ll usually get from the Japanese manufacturer. But while the fittings and plastics are almost the same with the smaller trucks built by the company, the overall design is slightly more modern and looks more upscale than you’d expect.
The ergonomy is also pretty good, with plenty of storage and we also like the wraparound design of the dashboard, as it offers easy access to most of the controls and switches. The instrument cluster isn’t something to rave about, but its huge gauges have a clean design and are easy to read even during night.
The truck is also fitted with a useful cruise control which can be easy used by means of a stalk mounted on the steering column. To increase comfort, the steering wheel can be adjusted for both reach and rake allowing you to find a good driving position.
You’ll also like the captain seats which are at par with competition. Hino’s ISRI air suspension driver’s seat automatically adjusts to the driver’s weight providing optimum comfort. Moreover, the seat is also adjustable for slide, recline, height, swab angle and head restraint position.
Thanks to the high driving position and the generously sized windshield, the road visibility is far from being a problem. As with all external rear view mirrors these days, there is a blind spot area to consider, but the separation gap between the main and wide angled lenses helps keep this factor to a minimum.
At the back, the truck is fitted with a sleeping bunk, which even if it’s not the most comfortable unit in the segment, it offers an adequate level of comfort.
The high roof version can be equipped with a second bunk. For maximum practicality, the step which helps you climb up to the second bunk is fitted with a host of useful storage boxes. Additional storage can be found overhead and into the dash.
Engines and performance
The Hino 700 Series is offered with a choice of three engines which develop 430, 445 and 480 hp. The engines are bolted to an 18 speed automated manual Eaton transmission providing crawler and double over-drive ratios.
At high speeds the gearbox merges well with the heavy duty nature of the truck and can alternate gears perfectly to maximize the engine’s performance and to keep the fuel consumption to a low level. On the other hand, at small speeds of up to 30 kmph the transmission disappoints and will act a bit harsh without any smooth shifts.
To lower the emissions and to increase the fuel efficiency, Hino combined its engines with an EGR (Exhaust Gas Recirculation) system. Other key features of the 700 Series include Hino’s tough differentials with interaxle and rear axle cross lock.
Regardless of what engine output you’ll choose, the truck never feels underpowered and can deal pretty well with up hills sections too.
Compared to the previous generations of Hino’s trucks, the retarding capacity is finally starting to make its job effectively and the engine brake is capable enough to keep this big rig in check when the situation is required. The retarder can be controlled by means of a steering column stalk which offers four level of retardation. The clutch brake is sensibly located on the gear lever, so that it’s out of harm’s way but readily accessible when needed.
Hino 700 Series Engines specifications
Ride and suspensions
The Hino 700 comes with a choice of Hendrickson two-bag air suspension or steel leaf spring suspension at the rear. Compared to the previous generation the span of the rear leaf springs has been slightly increased allowing a decrease from four to three blades.
Moreover, to improve the stability, the conventional one-piece torque rod acting on the rear axle has been changed to a V-type with a laminated rubber support mount.
Thanks to all these changes, the truck’s ride is pretty forgivable hence you won’t be affected too much by road bumps or other vibrations.
The steering is also pretty good and has a light but engaging feel, being very close to what you’ll find at the European trucks.
The Japanese trucks are starting to recover the lost terrain and with every passing year they manage to get better and better. With the latest generation of the 700 Series it’s clear that Hino is on the good road and its numerous upgrades improved the truck’s performances and bring it closer to the European models.
The cabin is still pretty Japanese, but it has a good ergonomy and plenty of space to make you feel comfortable even for a long run. The engines are far from being world beating, but they are efficient and have enough power to deal with big payloads without backing down.
We also like the steering which is much improved compared to the previous versions. Lastly, Hino’s reliability is also satisfactory and the 700 Series it’s slightly cheaper to maintain compared to its German rivals.