Scania has their new-generation truck range landing in Australia and after attending the Australian launch of the new offerings last month, last week I got a drive.
Scania’s Australian team had a wide selection of different variants available to test drive at a special launch event held last week in Victoria.
On hand were some of Scania’s loyal customers and members of the road transport media.
I say “it” because although there is a huge selection of different models and configurations available, all share most of the same underpinnings, and have essentially the same cab layout and controls.
On the drive day I sampled an array of different trucks, just about everything from a 360hp 8×2 rigid (unloaded) to a 620hp AB/Triple with a GVM of 82 tonnes.
Some of the best bits of the new Scania trucks include the remarkably low engine speed for maximum torque, we’re talking as low as 1,000rpm!
Improved fuel economy – trialing customers reporting savings of us much as 10% over comparative versions of the outgoing generation.
I performed a hill start in the AB/Triple on a 5% gradient (using a crawler gear) and was impressed by both the ease in which it tackled the assignment and the smoothness of the power delivery.
Featuring new engine mount technology, as well a redesign of the cab mountings, the big Scania just moved off without fuss and chugged happily up the hill.
While just as importantly, when coming down the same 5% incline, the new Scania trucks were ably assisted by the five stage retarder (controls on the right stalk) and the new layshaft brake that very effectively uses air pressure to give you maximum force.
The new-generation Scania trucks also seems to benefit from the shifting forward of the front axle with good steering control and excellent steering feel in the easy to drive mix.
Scania has also added a whole array of new tech into their new trucks, including Adaptive Cruise Control.
I sampled this tech with the help of a lead car that was altering its speed from 40km/h to 80km/h and can report the system worked flawlessly, and very smoothly.
There’s also programmable drive modes (up to three) and Scania customers can choose which modes are available in their vehicles (for example they may want ‘Performance Mode’ or ‘Eco Mode’ disabled).
Perhaps though what I was most impressed with was how well the Scania, even the AB/Triple and B-Double on test, would roll on when you removed your foot from the accelerator.
You would expect a truck running 50 or more tonnes to very quickly start losing speed as soon as you lift off, the Scania though just rolled on and on – really remarkable.
Inside the Scania Cab
Its a cliche, but yes, the new Scania has a feel inside that is much more luxury European car than traditional workhorse.
- Fantastic seats
- Great dashboard layout
- Brilliant colour driver info screen
- Well thought out storage spots
- Fantastic visibility
A welcome addition is fully-electric and heated mirrors – and I’m not talking just the main mirrors…all of the mirrors can be adjusted at the push of a button from the control panel on the driver’s door.
This would be such a handy feature for trucks that have a rotation of different drivers hopping aboard.
While those different drivers can also get comfortable with a huge amount of seat and steering wheel adjustment available – the wheel is tilt and telescopic.
The highlight though, in my opinion, is the steering wheel itself and, more specifically, the steering wheel mounted controls.
You can control almost every major function of the truck, including drive mode select, crawler gears etc., with ease.
New-Gen Scania Trucks, Key Facts:
- Available in axle configurations ranging from 4×2 to 10×4
- Power outputs – 280hp to 730hp
- Available in up to 400 colours
- Three cab sizes available
- Three cab roof heights available
- Can be fitted with up to four cameras (displayed on infotainment screen)
- Manual gearshift still available (on some transmissions)
- Standard fitment of curtain airbags
- Standard driver and passenger airbags
- Optional electric air-conditioner
- Up to 1000mm wide bunk
While a special mention should also be made for the design of cab access steps.
Differing from most other trucks where you feel your way down the steps, the Scania has steps that are wider as they get lower to the ground and this enables you to see the edge of the next step as you come down.
Scania has been working on this new-generation truck range for nearly a decade and you can see this when sampling it for yourself.
Quiet, more efficient, easy to drive and boasting features like those side curtain airbags, these might not be the cheapest trucks on the market, but I reckon they’re up there with the very best.