In general, Japanese trucks are known for their long life and pocket-friendly pricing. Japan’s proximity to us (and her vibrant aftermarket economy) makes it a logical place to shop for trucks. Mechanics are familiar with these trucks and parts are easy to source. That’s why the road is full of them. This makes your decision easy when you’re picking between a Japanese truck and a brand from another nationality. But what if your choice involves two competing brands, both from Japan? In such cases, other elements come into play.
You might think about the trucking experience that each company has. Hino built its first truck in 1917, while Mitsubishi didn’t enter the game until 1984. However, Mitsubishi now has a subsidiary – Mitsubishi Fuso – that deals exclusively with buses and trucks. They have zoned in their attention and expertise on developing heavy vehicles to the max, so you’re likely to get better truck specs in a Mitsubishi.
A tale of two trucks
Many modern trucks have manual, diesel transmission, even though they have many technological features that make the drive more manage-able. For example, pneumatics make is easier to shift and engage gears, while replace-able truck parts like clutch servos can extend the life span of your transmission system, especially your clutch pedal and clutch plates. Many truckers prefer the manual model, because it gives you better manoeuvring and control. On the other hand, if you’d like something automatic go for Hino.
Hino Ranger is the only Hino truck in the automatic range. Its engine runs on 5 cylinders, offering horsepower options of 220, 240, and 260, though being an automatic vehicle, the levels engage themselves with little to no input from the driver. Like many automatic cars, the truck’s AI engages the right horsepower for road conditions, minimising emissions and enhancing fuel efficiency while heightening power and torque.
The Hino Ranger is a high-tech machine equipped with fuel mapping upgrades. Its turbo chargers have variable nozzles (VNT) to enhance economic usage of fuel. You can buy a fully automatic fuel ranger, or you can get a hybrid, though manual options are in existence as well. Many see it as the ‘smartest’ car in the Japanese truck range. It has enhanced stability and automatic braking for sharp curves, deep corners, and unplanned skids.
The Mitsubishi Fuso has fewer cylinders (only four) and lower horsepower (117 ton 175). It’s a six-speed truck and its transmission uses a duonic dual-clutch system. It’s general a quieter truck though, with its low-noise and low-vibration features. It works well off-road, but trucks sometimes have to lose time in regular traffic. At such times, your Mitsubishi Fuso can run in eco mode. This mode makes it easier to up-shift even in crowded city conditions.
Silence is golden
While the Mitsubishi Fuso is generally quiet on the roads, it can get really loud when it needs to. When the driver over-speeds, the truck issues loud audio and visual alerts. It addition to optical speed warnings, Mitsubishi Fuso trucks have a Mobileye safety system that protects drivers from driving head-on into other vehicles. And while Hino wins the battle for fuel efficiency, Mitsubishi Fuso has unusually luxurious cabins with a high-grade HVAC system.
Your selection may be driven by more practical concerns. Some owners and fleet managers are not content to import their trucks. They want on-ground access, with a physical space they can walk into when they have complaints or concerns. Both Hino and Fuso have showrooms within Australia. Hino is based in Carinbagh while Fuso’s is in Huntingwood. As for parts, drivers can visit the manufacturer or seek affordable aftermarket truck parts.
Does car politics influence your purchasing decision? If it does, it might help to know Hino is a Toyota brand, so it’s still fully Japanese while nearly 90% of Mitsubishi Fuso is owned by Daimler, the German company that makes Mercedes. Fuso Australia brands itself as having ‘the soul of a sumo’ and offers roadside assistance, flexible financing, and on-site servicing.
Hino offers these too, plus a 3-year warranty on truck parts and access to Hino Insight and Hino Traq, big data telematics systems that link trucks to the care centre 24 hours a day. The system continuously gathers data and diagnostics that are used to improve performance and extend the longevity of your truck and its parts.