Hino has finally launched its much anticipated 300 Series 4×4, a model that will give the Toyota aligned truck maker an extra weapon in its fight with Japanese counterparts Isuzu and Fuso.

It won’t be a high volume model but the 300 Series 817 will provide Hino a much needed competitor in the light duty 4×4 truck market.

The 817 model number roughly indicates eight tonnes GVM and 170hp. The actual GVM is 7.5 tonnes and the output is ion fact 165hp.

The new Hino 300 Series 817 4×4 will be available in single =and crew cab configurations, both powered by the 165hp (121kW), 464Nm, four-litre diesel engine mated to a six-speed manual overdrive transmission and a dual-range 4×4 transfer case.

The Hino N04C engine is Euro 5 ADR 80/03 emission compliant and utilises a Diesel Particulate active Reduction filter (DPR), which has proven its reliability in Australian applications over the past 10 years.

The Hino DPR is said to capture 95 percent of exhaust particulates and is designed to be automatically self-cleaning (regenerating) without the need for driver intervention.

The Hino transfer case comes from the larger GT 4×4 model and, with low range gearing of 2.2:1, the Hino 300 series 4×4 has the widest spread of ratios and the lowest crawl speed in its class. Overall reduction in low-low is 65:1.

A bonus of using the GT’s air-shift transfer case is an on-board electric air compressor that can be upgraded to act as a tyre inflator and to power air tools.

Free-wheeling hubs are standard and are manually locked. Once the hubs are engaged 4×4 can be selected on the move by the driver, via a button on the dashboard.

Standard equipment includes Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) – a first for a Japanese-built truck in this category – four-wheel disc brakes, driver and passenger SRS airbags and a reversing camera.

Working in conjunction with the brake and engine control systems, VSC helps prevent the truck from rolling over after entering a corner too fast by monitoring the steering angle, wheel rotation speed, yaw rate and lateral G forces. VSC can take the appropriate action: reducing engine power and/or applying individual brakes with the intent of keeping the vehicle upright.

VSC is also able to enhance vehicle stability on loose or slippery surfaces by reducing engine power and applying the brakes to individual wheels.

The new Hino 4×4 uses a novel chassis layout that features a straight-rail ladder frame, with a supplementary frame bolted underneath it from around the mid point all the way to the rear. The rear suspension bolts to this lower frame.

This unique layout provides straight upper rails, for ease of mounting bodywork and accessories; a high-set forward chassis to accommodate a drive axle underneath it and rear suspension hangers that don’t need to be complex and heavy dropped types.

As a result, the 817 has the highest tare weight in its class, but the upside should be great inherent strength. It gives away around 300kg to the Isuzu NPS 4×4 and that may be critical in such vocations as fire-fighting, where every litre counts.

Although there’s no plan for a factory-built, single-tyred version to tackle the burgeoning 4WD motorhome market the prototype had inbuilt front hub spacers, to widen front axle track to better match the wheel track of the rear duals.

Although Hino has pulled up short of providing a wide-single-tyre package, wide-singles will be available as a dealer-fit option, probably using All Terrain Warrior wheels.

Likewise, there’s no rear axle differential lock in the specification, but an Eaton No Spin self-locker is also a dealer-fit option.

The extensive Australian testing that the Hino 4×4 has undergone underpins its ‘Made 4 Australia, Made 4 Work’ positioning.

Developed specifically for the Australian market, the 817 4×4 has undergone extensive testing in some of the country’s most rugged operating conditions. Selected Hino customers have been evaluating prototype trucks on and off-road in some of the harshest Australian bush-tracks, trails and roads since 2014.

“In addition to developing the truck on test tracks in Japan, three prototype 300 Series 4×4 vehicles have also undergone years of real-life infield testing,” said Daniel Petrovski, the manager of product strategy for Hino Motor Sales Australia.

“The test vehicles have operated flawlessly across various types of terrain from the deserts of Australia’s interior to the rain forests of Queensland’s Cape York.

“Given the success of the Hino 500 Series FT and GT 4×4 models and the record breaking results we have seen by Hino at the Dakar Rally, the new 300 series 4×4 models come with a champion 4×4 pedigree.

“With this and the extensive Australian field testing, we are extremely confident that it will be a popular choice for our customers,” concluded Mr Petrovski.

The Hino 300 Series 4×4 comes with a three-year/100,000km warranty.

We’ll have a test vehicle for a week’s evaluation in the very near future. Watch this space.