Not long ago the amount of technology fitted under a truck bonnet could’ve been categorized as basic and we say that with generosity. But in the latest years we’ve seen a surprising metamorphose among the light and medium duty commercial vehicles and every manufacturer struggles to raise the bar as much as it can to lower the fuel consumption and to improve the driver’s comfort.
Hino’s 500 Series isn’t among the most advanced trucks in the business, but is still a major improvement over the previous generations, especially in the transmission department were it comes with a wide range of manual and automated units.
The truck is also available with different wheelbase lengths and its GVM (gross vehicle mass) ratings range from 8.000kg to 26.000 kg.
Hino’s trucks were never able to attract a significant amount of head turnings, hence don’t expect to any eye catching design. The 500’s sheet metal is forged with a pretty rudimentary design which won’t do anything to mask the utilitarian nature of the truck.
The front features a cheap looking grille which bares the company’s logo in its center. Hino tried to add a bit of dynamism to its dull design with two triangular turn signals which flank the grille, but they’ve only managed to make things worse.
The bumper is also cheap locking and pretty rudimentary, but it has a strong build quality and looks able to resist with in case of small impacts occur. The bumper is also fitted with two elongated headlights which don’t do anything to improve the exterior design.
For easy access to the engine compartment, the cab tilts forward using an electro hydraulic mechanism with twin tilt cylinders.
Jump inside and you’ll find a pretty familiar design which is typical for Hino’s trucks. Needless to say that most of the plastics are part of the hard class as they were selected for their durability, but the fittings are pretty good and seem durable.
We also like that every control is within easy reach and the steering wheel offers a good grip despite its relatively dated design. You won’t complain about storage wither, as there are a bunch of well placed consoles and convenient cub holders.
The instrument cluster is easy to read and it’s fitted with big and clear gauges. To add some comfort to its utilitarian cabin Hino offers a bunch of convenient features such as cruise control, easy start, electric windows and air conditioning.
The flat seats aren’t a bit hard for our tastes and are devoid of any adequate side bolstering. At least they can be adjusted according to your wishes permitting you to find a less uncomfortable driving position.
From the driver’s seat, the view outside is commanding. As most trucks in this segment, the all-round visibility is top notch thanks to the big windshield and the generous door windows. The exterior mirrors are large and well-positioned for viewing the flanks while parking or driving through traffic. Thanks to its unibody construction, and a seat raised off the floor, there’s a nice footwell with generous legroom and acres of headroom.
Engines and transmissions
The truck of powered by a wide range of common rail diesel engines. But while the stronger engines are up to the task, the weaker ones could prove to be a bit sluggish when they need to deal with big payloads.
Hino 500 is powered by two families of engines namely the J Series and A09C Series. The J Series of engines offer four power ratings of 175hp, 205hp, 225hp and 255 hp while the A09C Series has two power ratings of 300 hp and 315 hp.
Both engines feature common-rail fuel injection, variable nozzle turbo charging and cooled EGR for enhanced drivability, engine response, reduced emissions and improved fuel economy.
The engines can be mated on a wide range of transmissions which include six speed direct and over drive units with power shift and Allison’s 3500 fully automatic. Moreover, there is also available Eaton’s synchromesh gearbox for certain models.
All manual Hino 500 4x2 variants are fitted with Easy Start, which prevents the truck from rolling backwards when starting off on inclines. Easy Start works by systematically releasing the brake as the clutch is engaged for take-off, and operates on forward and reverse gears.
Hino 500 Engines specifications
|J Series ||205@2400||608@1500|
|J Series ||225@2400||686 @1500|
|J Series ||255@2400||794@1500|
|A09C series ||300@2100||1079@1500|
|A09C series ||315@2100||1079@1500|
Ride and suspensions
The Hino 500’s suspensions feature semi-elliptic tapered leaf springs with shock absorbers and stabiliser at the front and semi-elliptic main and auxiliary leaf springs at the back. The ride could get a bit bumpy on the difficult terrains, but usually the steel suspensions can soak most of the bumps without affecting the driver’s comfort.
The steering is at par with its competitors and offers a proper response and sharp turnings. Though it’s a bit light and lacks any significant road feedback.
The Hino 500 range comes with standard ABS on all 4x2, 6x2 and 6x4 models. It’s worth to be mentioned that this is the first time when Hino has offered ABS as standard equipment on its medium-duty models.
The Hino 500 Series is ready to go head to head with the toughest jobs without backing down. However it has its small faults which are worth to be taken into consideration before buying one.
Judging by today’s standards its cabin is dated and is fitted with rudimentary seats. On the other hand there is a wide range o engines available, but the downside is that the weaker engines could feel a bit underpowered especially when the truck is fully loaded and has to deal with steep inclines.
The relatively low price is another advantage, while the costs of maintenance are among the smallest in the business. We also like the wide range of transmissions available which cope great with the utilitarian character of the truck and offer good fuel efficiency and a proper response.