The Japanese have proven to be extremely adept in the light-duty truck segment and the Hino 300 is no exception. Earlier models were famous for some pretty basic suspension, noisy, uncomfortable cabs and poor emissions standards, but they have always been robust, seemingly designed for duty cycles far in excess of their stated ratings. What singled the Hino out, though, was this durability coupled to simple, reliable design. Now the Japanese company has added a touch of sophistication but without losing those core values.
What’s all the fuss about?
The Hino 300 is engineered to be efficient as possible and boasts a Diesel Particulate Active Reduction (DPR) system. It is available with either the standard or wide cabs and the engine is a 4.0 litre diesel developing up to 155hp. The 2010 trucks are modern-looking, with a twin grille housing the Hino logo and angular-looking headlamp units giving the ‘face’ of the truck a purposeful look. A strong bumper features discreet built-in fog lamps. Aerodynamics have obviously been a major consideration and the curved windscreen and low ground clearance bode well for the fuel-consumption figures. The door windows lower towards the front, improving visibility to the sides.
These doors are big and open wide for easy access to the cab, where you will find a spacious working environment with plenty of head and leg room both for the driver and passenger. The cab design is not fancy and there are few frills. Instead you will find a simple and functional layout that does the job without any nonsense getting in the way. The seats are basic and firm but do provide good support over longer journeys. The steering column is adjustable for tilt and reach, so finding a comfortable driving position should be fairly easy. Instruments are similarly lacking any fancy gizmos and this results in a simple and easy to understand set-up. An Eco Light function in the tacho will light up when you are driving economically. Storage is good, with glove box, door bins, cup holders, overhead console and a dash storage box.
The four-litre engine can be tuned to deliver either 105hp or 155hp and offers 263 and 404 Nm of torque respectively. These units are tuned to deliver maximum power at relatively low rev ranges of 3,200rpm or 2,700rpm and the torque peaks at 2,000rpm or 1,800rpm. There is EGR as well as Hino’s own DPR system and the engine is efficient and quiet. It is also pleasingly smooth and meets Euro 5 emissions standards.
Suspension comes by way of semi-elliptic leaf springs with silencers, shockers and stabiliser at the front and a similar set-up at the rear. The ride is firm and improves when driven under load. The Hino 300 is an agile truck and will drive easily in city traffic. The brakes are boosted by ABS and electronic brake force distribution (EBD), which will alter the braking load between front and rear wheels depending on the load being carried. There are also SRS airbags.
The Hino 300 is a simple and reliable truck that should make a good affordable second-hand choice. Build quality is a strong point and the lack of gadgets should make servicing even easier. The engines are strong and the aerodynamic cabs are modern and attractive.