Test Drive

Hino 700-series FS 2848: A good all-rounder for tech-savvy owners

Safer-cleaner-connected is the marketing catchphrase for Hino’s all new 700-series.

Big Rigs set about testing these claims by taking a 700-series FS 2848 truck and dog trailer combination loaded with sandstone for a spin from Hino’s Sydney headquarters down to the Illawarra region south of Sydney via the arduous Mt. Ousley.

Safer: It would be hard to argue with that claim. Pre-collision systems (PCS) including Active Emergency Braking (AEB), Pedestrian Detection (PD), and Safety Eye, driver monitoring system, combine with Lane Departure warning System (LDWS), Vehicle Stability control (VSC) and Electronic Braking Systems (EBS) to offer class leading safety.

Cleaner: With Euro-6 compliance, the all new 700-series is Hino’s cleanest heavy- duty offering yet.

Connected: Hino Connect system is fitted standard to all new 700-series models, offering advanced business management telematics to include, remote, real-time performance data and fault diagnosis, driver performance and fatigue monitoring via the driver monitor mounted within the A-pillar.

The test truck was loaded to a gross weight of 38.5-tonnes to evaluate the performance of the 13-litre, 480hp, E13C engine married to a ZF TraXon, 16-speed AMT.

Entering the cab is a secure procedure with the door opening widely to reveal a three-step staircase aided by sensibly positioned grab handles. At this point, dropping into the ISRI drivers seat sets you up for a comfortable drive. The tilt and telescopic steering column provide further personalisation of the driving position.

To get things moving, it’s simply a matter of using the rotary dial selector located to the left of the steering column to engage the required gear and the whole show is in motion. A mode button also located in the centre dash area, is selectable with three transmission mode options, STD, ECO or Power.

The cab is well laid out with all commonly used functions and buttons falling easily to hand.

Complementing these options is a manual control paddle located on the underside of the steering column, allowing full manual control of the gear selections.

The cab is well laid out with all commonly used functions and buttons falling easily to hand, either on the steering wheel or within the wrap around centre dash area.

A small day-bed is available and there is a small seat, available for a second passenger, albeit a small one.

Forward vision is excellent through the large windscreen and unobstructive narrow A-pillars. Aiding this vision are the sizeable wing mirrors offering full electric adjustment for both sides as well as heating. The mirror positioned on the front left side of the windscreen offers an elevated frontal view to obstacles directly in front of the truck.

Ride quality is quite good, although the shorter wheel base for this combination in comparison to the FR rigid I recently tested, did add a little more pitching.

However, the four-point air bag cab suspension yields a ride quality more akin to a Euro truck.

As expected, in ECO mode the transmission reacted too lazily for the weight on board, so I promptly switched to std or power mode for the majority of the test drive. With that done the engine/transmission marriage was pleasantly harmonious, sensibly matching ratios with the optimal engine rev range to see the 480hp engine perform its duties without complaint.

When prompted to do so the engine would freely rev out to 2000rpm to get things motivated before upshifting. This saw the lion’s share of the work being performed at around 14-1700rpm, which seemed to be the ‘sweet spot’.

The test truck boasted a 13-litre, 480hp, E13C engine married to a ZF TraXon, 16-speed AMT.

For the long steep descent down Mt. Ousley, I pushed the button on the end of the transmission paddle to engage manual mode and then selected 10th gear. I would not alter this gear selection for the whole of the descent, nor did I need to apply the foot/service brake at any time.

I’ll go as far as to say that you cannot beat the ZF transmission and Intarder package in this truck when it comes to negotiating steep descents at heavy weights. The speed retardation irrespective of engine RPM provides a seemingly infinite control of vehicle speed without the need for overrevving or service brake reliance.

In order to maintain the 40km/h descent speed limit, I used the 4-position lever to control the trucks descent. The first position is engine brake only (Jake brake) with the three subsequent potions activating the Intarder.

I found it necessary to only utilise the first three positions, toggling between position two and three to control overrun. For the entire run down the hill, the engine was spinning between 1700-1900rpm, with the exception of when I gained on a slower truck doing around 30km/h at which point I maintained 10th gear and simply selected the third Intarder position which held a 30km/h speed at a lower 1500rpm engine speed.

Operating costs in terms of brake wear should be drastically reduced thanks to the Intarder system, it is possible (with pre-emptive driving techniques) to bring the vehicle nearly a complete stop from 60km/h without using the service brakes.

Pleasantly, unlike some other brands, the Intarder disengages with the application of the throttle, allowing engagement and disengagement without taking your hands off the steering wheel.

After going down the coast a bit further before turning around, the return run up Mt. Ousley offered a chance to put the 480hp engine to a considerable test.

Big Rigs took the new Hino for a spin from Sydney down to the Illawarra region south of Sydney via the arduous Mt. Ousley.

Once again, at the bottom of the hill to selected manual mode and proceeded to downshift in line with the incline until the engine and transmission found its optimal operating zone. This seemed to be around 10th gear for the steepest pinches, where the slowest speed recorded was 30km/h then toggling between 10th and 11th gear for the most part during the ascent.

I downshifted at around 1400 rpm which resulted in the tacho jumping back up to around 1700, which seemed to be where it was most willing to work. At 38.5 tonnes the 700-series passed a few loaded B-doubles on the way up without fuss.

The 700-series 2848 is quite the capable performer, the 480hp is adequate for the application tested and would do the same for single trailer applications. While the FS 2848 has a GCM of 63,000kg, I don’t see the sub-500hp rating enticing too many B-double buyers to this model.

If there was one thing that I didn’t like, it was the fact that the maximum speed the cruise control could be set at was 94km/h.

The speedo in the dash reads low at 100km/h, you must accelerate to 106 (on the speedo) to actually be doing 100km/m. If the cruise control is then set at the 106km/h mark referenced by the speedo, it then drops back to 100km/h (on the speedo) 94km/h actual. In highway applications, for me this would be annoying.

In conclusion, the new Hino 700-series is a well proportioned all-rounder and has a lot to offer tech-savvy owners with an eye on operating costs and a conscience for driver safety.

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