The International ProStar is starting to make its presence felt in Australia and it was great to get a second look, this time taking a sleeper-cab version for a test-drive.
I was mostly very impressed with the truck, especially the X15 Cummins engine producing 600hp and 2779Nm (2,050lb.ft.) and the 18-speed Eaton automated manual transmission.
Featuring the same power ratings as the tipper, both re-rated up from the ProStar’s standard 550hp/2508 Nm (1,850 lb.ft.) outputs, this prime mover is ready to plow its trade lugging single trailers and B-doubles up and down Australia’s highways.
I was interested in the creature comforts and layout of the sleeper-cab, seeing how the U.S. built truck stacks up as a long distance hauler.
Interestingly, the sleeper is locally designed specifically for 34 pallet B-double applications, it’s also made in Australia and installed here too.
My test drive included both metro Sydney and then a long stretch down the M5 motorway and onto the Hume Highway.
Firstly, running without the trailers/load is an interesting exercise…the prime mover turning heads as we steamed up the long inclines to the South-West of Sydney in 18th gear and at 100km/h!
The cabin, as experienced in the tipper, is really well insulated, especially by way of the thick rubber floor mat, and this helps keep things nice and quiet inside.
While a second look at the ProStar has again impressed me with the visibility from the driver’s seat, again you can’t help but feel that this is the best of both worlds – a bonneted truck that feels a lot like a cab-over.
The sleeper-cab had one really big advantage over the day-cab truck – a proper infotainment system with sat-nav, Bluetooth, DVD player and digital radio.
International tell us the same infotainment system is also available in the other cab variations when not running integrated tipper controls (due to additional switch pack being needed).
The driver’s seat is comfortable and there’s plenty of steering wheel adjustment to help you get in just the right spot.
When it comes time to pull over and take a rest the headroom when standing between the front seats is impressive, and then access onto the mattress is easy enough.
Access is also aided by the swinging transmission selector arm.
Once lying down on the mattress you can see there’s ample space for drivers well over six foot tall (the mattress is 2250mm long).
While the width of the mattress (700mm) should easily accommodate even the heftiest of bodies.
The block-out curtains are easy to operate and allow you to close off the view from the outside, either from the windscreen (i.e the entire cab), or just from the bunk area.
Some of the creature comforts in that bunk area include a fan and reading light, while there are 12V power outlets near the head of the bunk and in the roof (a likely mounting point for a TV no doubt).
Ventilation is aided by louver vents on each side.
Around the cab there are a number of storage spots, perhaps the most usable being the upper open/netted areas.
And the International ProStar sleeper-cab also has two really good-sized storage boxes accessed from the external doors and also from the inside by lifting the bunk.
Away from the accommodations I thought I would just mention a couple of other positives and negatives that you might want to consider with the ‘Inter’.
Firstly, as was the case with the day-cab – the reflection from the chrome external wing mirror covers drove me a bit crazy.
As I mentioned in the day-cab review you don’t want any unnecessary distractions when driving a large truck and this constant movement across the shiny reflection of everything you were passing, or being passed by, is one thing I would quickly address if this was my vehicle (again, perhaps some matte black paint on non-reflective tape would be in order).
This is OK when you’re really familiar with the rig…in the meantime though you’re probably going to be a bit distracted trying to remember which button is which.
The ProStar comes with central locking, including a remote key fob, however it would be a nice addition if the blinkers flashed (like most other vehicles) to confirm the operation when you either hit lock or unlock.
Again, I’m not a huge fan of the bank of chrome-surround gauges – yes, it is good to have all the relevant info presented in front of you…but surely a larger/more functional driver info display would be more attractive/easier on the eyes (sorry traditionalists).
On a more positive note, full marks to International for the handy and bright light above the steering wheel, and the roof light above the bunk is also impressively effective.
And I also have to give the designers a tick of approval for the light test function built in to every International ProStar.
No longer do you need two people to check the operation of a trucks lights…you just hit the button and the vehicle cycles through all the different light functions allowing you to jump out of the cab and check everything is doing what it should.
And full points too for the positioning and functionality of the work lights located on the back of the cab and ready for your next night-time trailer hook-up/unhook.
There’s a lot to like about this truck and with the solid backing of the Iveco dealer network I couldn’t think of any good reason why you wouldn’t add one, or many, to your fleet.
The sleeper-cab version is roomy and practical enough to make a few days on the road a comfortable enough proposition.
Overall, a well-designed and likable truck that strikes a nice balance between traditional U.S. sourced trucks and the increasingly popular Europeans.