Giti Tyres Big Test


July 2022 - GITI Tyres Big Test - Southern Comfort

      HINO 700 FS2848 6x4   Story Brian Cowan Photos Gerald Shacklock

Hino calls its new 700 Series flagship‘the safest Hino ever’.

That’s a claim you can’t argue against, given the amount of work that has gone into the model, but we reckon it’s overly modest to compare the newcomer against its brand predecessors only. The roster of advanced kit it carries means it can now be considered alongside the acknowledged leaders in the safety stakes.

Okay, the company mightn’t yet be close to trotting out a full autonomous truck, but in terms of accessible, up-to-the-minute safety gear the 700 sports a full hand.

Top billing goes to the driver monitor, based on a camera set in the driver’s-side A-pillar that constantly checks body posture, face direction and eyelids for evidence of driver drowsiness or inattention to the road ahead, upon which it sounds an alert. 

Then there’s what Hino calls PCS (Pre-Collision System), first seen three years ago with the upgraded 500 Series and followed in 2020 with the 300. A forward-facing camera on the dash top and a millimetre-band radar set behind the grille is constantly monitoring the possibility of impact with other vehicles or pedestrians in front of the truck, based on relative speeds and closing distances.

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This month we’ve travelled to a part of the country where I love driving trucks. I believe South Otago and Southland have some of the best roads in New Zealand and it’s funny to learn the regular driver of our test truck, Alan Bland, doesn’t share my enthusiasm. But that’s because he hasn’t driven Northland roads all that much.

We are in Gore to catch up with Alan and Eastern Concrete’s new Hino 700. It’s not an entirely new Hino model but it has benefitted from a leap forward in technology and a huge interior redesign.

It’s another new truck launched in recent times with not very much in the way of fanfare, so this is my first experience with the new 700. Our test is from Gore to Dunedin and back, so Alan takes the unit north to Dunedin and I take over at Lake Waihola on the return leg.

The climb up into the 700 cab is no trouble with a wide opening door and three cascading steps with well-placed grab handles on each side of the door. Once up in the cab the driver is greeted by an ISRI seat with 7-way adjustment. It’s one of the best seats in the industry, accompanied by a full range tilt and reach adjustable steering wheel which makes it easy to get comfortable. 

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