Safer, greener and packaged with Euro style

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For the first time for Hino, the 700 range and our FR 2632 test are now available with the proven AO9C engine with a power output of 320 hp / 235 kW.

Big Rigs received the keys to a Hino 700 Series FR 2632 for a 220 km test drive on the south side of Sydney.

The recent release of the all-new Hino 700 Series lineup allows the brand to treat the 700 Series model with broader levels of power, connectivity and professional telematics, while delivering enhanced ride comfort and functionality.

To evaluate the latest version of the Hino 700 series, Big Rigs threw in the keys to a Euro-6 compliant Hino 700 series FR 2632 6X2 model to be tested in real conditions.

For the first time for Hino, the 700 series range and our FR 2632 test are now available with the proven AO9C engine with a power output of 320 hp / 235 kW, which until now has been in the model range of the 500 series.

According to Hino, this engine equipment increases the versatility of the 700 Series range in the heavy-duty sector by offering a smaller displacement option to further improve choice and operating efficiency.

The 320-horsepower AO9 produced capable performance derived from the engine’s available 1275 nm torque.

Our test vehicle was equipped with a fully automatic six-speed Allison transmission, which is standard on all 700 Series models equipped with the A09.

Loaded at a gross weight of around 19 tonnes, the test route I chose would take me from Hino’s head office in Sydney to Caringbah, south along the Princes Highway through Waterfall and then onto the Picton Highway, then west to Hume Highway, before heading south to south. Highlands before returning to Caringbah via Hume Highway, M5 and King Georges Road, a total test distance of 220 km.

Immediately noticeable with the new 700 series is the ease of access to the cabin, the doors open fully to sit essentially on the same plane as the grille, this combined with the three-step stair entry aided by two conveniently positioned grab handles ensure safe and secure entry and exit.

Once on board, the ISRI NTS2 driver’s seat offers welcome comfort with a multitude of adjustment options to achieve the “Right” seating position. The tilt adjustment and telescoping steering wheel also made functionality easier in this area.

The new wrap-around dashboard layout, trimmed with a blend of carbon fiber and earthy tones, provides convenient visibility and ergonomics to the center dash area while the parking brake control lever mounted on the instrument panel gives off a distinctive European feel.

Adaptive cruise control settings and system diagnostics are easily accessible via the steering wheel control buttons while on the go.

The jewel in the new 700 Series crown is the Hino Connect system, offering integrated operational and business telematics provided by Melbourne-based automotive and consumer electronics specialist Directed Electronics..

The Hino Connect system and what it can offer commercial operators is worthy of a story in itself, so I’m not going to dive into it too much here, other than saying from the driver’s seat the unit 6.5-inch multimedia and 7.1-inch multi-information display (MID) is an integral part of system operation, providing real-time operating and service information, remote diagnostics and alerts warning directly to drivers.

The MID provides the driver with controllable information regarding fuel and AdBlue levels, as well as critical engine operating temperatures.

Adaptive cruise control settings and system diagnostics are also displayed, all easily accessible via the steering wheel control buttons while on the go.

The view from the driver’s seat is superb; a large windshield, minimalist A-pillars and a total of six large mirrors provide good all-round vision.

This unobstructed view is enhanced by a standard rear view camera and complemented by side-mounted cameras that provide video surveillance via the multimedia unit’s screen (which supports up to four cameras) when the turn signals are turned on. applied.

Leaving Hino’s headquarters during the Sydney afternoon rush hour immediately gave the feeling of ease needed for the Allison drivetrain to operate.

The side cameras provide video surveillance via the multimedia unit screen.

Stopping and starting was not a real chore as the transmission took care of all the thinking and shifting decisions, allowing me to get a feel for the cabin environment.

The automatic transmission’s gear changes were barely noticeable, the smooth but timely gear changes were mostly referenced only by the movement of the tachometer needle. The six-speed transmission offers two driving modes.

The default ECO mode which targets fuel economy and power mode. The power mode seemed most appropriate for the loaded truck negotiating heavy traffic, as the eco mode left me languishing a bit and sometimes missing traffic light phases.

With the traffic reduced and the traffic lights gone, the 700 series felt right at home on the open road, the ride and handling is undoubtedly influenced by the four-point air-suspension cabin that adds quality. of the Euro Truck standard.

At 100 km / h the NVH levels were quite respectable with only a small amount of wind noise evident, but since it seemed to be coming from behind me I suspect it could be coming from the tautliner’s upper body.

The 320-horsepower AO9 produced capable performance derived from the engine’s available 1275 nm torque. The torque line maintains a peak plateau of 1100 to 1600 before decreasing above that point.

Peak power is reached at just under 1,800 rpm. These numbers seemed to peak in an optimal operating range of 1400-1700 rpm, providing the best value for money, when it comes to performance.

One aspect that I found annoying was the MID regularly informing me that I was applying excessive acceleration.

The ease of access to the cab is immediately noticeable with the new 700 series.

The visual criticism was accompanied by a soft but passively boring chime. This electronic reprimand was a bit of a nuisance, being relayed even with moderate throttle while attempting to bring the vehicle up to speed with the current limit and traffic flow.

However, at the end of the test drive while scrolling through the menus, I found that this feature could fortunately be turned off, (wish I had found that sooner).

The AO9 engine was fitted with a “Jacobs” engine brake which provided admirable speed delay while minimizing service brake dependence and subsequent wear. A synchronization button is located on the instrument panel which, when activated, applies the engine brake with a simple press of the brake pedal.

I was not impressed during this test, by the way the engine brake communicated with the engine and transmission management system.

During the road test, if I went down a slight slope and the vehicle speed seemed to exceed the 100 km / h limit, applying the engine brake to wash a few km / h and remain compliant, would induce a downshift sending the tachometer up to at 2100 rpm, this gear shifting protocol would certainly have a negative effect on fuel efficiency.

With most companies now issuing driver warnings for speeding over 100 km / h, using engine braking to stay compliant is common and downshifting is not necessary in my mind at this speed. (Please note that when I returned the vehicle and raised this issue with Barry Noble, HMSA’s homologation and technical support manager, Noble said this could be reprogrammed at an Allison dealership not to downgrade. high speed.)

To return to the Hino dealership, I entered the address into the I-Go satellite navigation system which had been entered along with the weight, height and configuration of the truck to redirect me without any routing issues.

By the end of testing, which for those unfamiliar with the geography was quite strenuous, I had driven 220 km (if you include the Maccas race) returning a figure of 2.6 km / L of fuel at an average speed. of 63 km / h.


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