MY LAST experience with Freightliner's mega-grilled Argosy had a couple of issues that tainted the drive somewhat.
Firstly it was down on power, and struggled to match previous drives in DD15 trucks, namely a couple of Coronados.
Secondly, the Eaton Ultrashift Plus gave me some grief at a roadworks stop by refusing point blank to engage a gear.
Turns out both problems were adjustments that needed doing either at the factory or on pre-delivery.
So I was keen to have another run in the truck to get the combination in a more realistic perspective.
On this occasion I got my hands on a test rig that Daimler is using to evaluate some new technology that will probably find its way into the range over the next year or so.
The rig had been sitting still at Daimler Trucks HQ in Mulgrave for a few days and the brakes on the B-trailer refused to participate in the road test initially.
This time, the DD15 engine was producing the 560hp it is famous for - 500 from the fuel and the extra 60 from the turbo compounding. Plus the Eaton gearbox also did what it was told.
But I did make some changes to the way I drove it. The first few hills after Ballarat showed that the Eaton was calibrated to let the big 15-litre engine rev a little higher for performance.
After my recent experiences driving Mack's mDrive, I switched to manual mode on the hills, and held the gears to lug down to around 1050rpm before skipping down a couple of cogs.
It was quieter, got to the top just as quickly and used less fuel.
This Argosy had a complete interior rework with soft-touch padding across the dash and felt finish to other interior surfaces.
Daimler Trucks is trialling the trim to se if drivers like it. I do, that's for sure.
The cab is a lot warmer and more inviting, and I think it's quieter as well. Having said that, Argosy is not yet a European cab-over - it still welcomes you with characteristic US squeaks and rattles, all of them no-cost options!
I didn't stay in the Argosy overnight this time, but the cab was just as appealing as the last one.
I'd be happy spending a few days in the Argosy Hilton. Freightliner is hoping many more drivers will feel the same way.
- David Meredith
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