INSIDE: The cabin of a Scania P440 prime mover. for a test drive recently.
INSIDE: The cabin of a Scania P440 prime mover. for a test drive recently. David Meredith

Big tech in small Scania

SEVERAL years ago I was in Japan watching a Japanese engineer demonstrate the newly-released collision avoidance system on a new model truck destined for Australia.

After four attempts at around 70kmh, and four splattered test dummies without the slightest trace of braking, the feature was deleted from the order list.

So when Scania got excited about its new Advanced Emergency Braking (AEB) system, I decided to check out tests of the system on the web.

Watching the big Scania brought to a halt before impact I was most impressed - until I noticed that the test object was actually an inflatable car lookalike!

So I decided not to test the system up against real vehicles while on my drive.

In reality however, the advanced linking of radar signals and camera feeds is well established and I'd happily trust the system to provide a last-second fail-safe for those times when a driver is unable, for whatever reason, to react to road conditions.

And that's what it really is about. The ultimate crash avoidance mode in any new technology is only really there for emergencies - and I don't plan on having one.

The AEB was installed in a Scania P440 prime mover that I had for a day.

The P440 delivers Scania's big cab feel to a smaller truck.

It includes the comfort and safety features that Scania drivers already enjoy, whether heading into the suburbs or across the continent.

This one had the 13-litre Euro V engine rated at 440hp and 2,300Nm of torque.

You can get it in 400hp, but I'd probably go for the bigger output and then drop one of the drive axles.

I've already driven a Scania 6x2 and the extra dollars you'd spend on the power, you'd get back with the single drive. Adding alloy wheels would add to the weight saving as well.

The six-cylinder not only doesn't have the bass rumble of the V8s, it's a very quiet engine.

It clatters a fair bit when idling, at least from outside the truck, but on the road I was largely unaware of the work it was putting in.

Scania's 14-speed Opticruise is a slick and sweet transmission that reads throttle demands precisely. It really is "select 'D' and go".

The P series is Scania's smallest and lowest cab, and with the height of an upright six-cylinder 13-litre diesel instead of the customary Scania V8, the cab has a sizeable engine hump that fills the entire space between the two seats.

This truck had the largest sleeper you can get in the P - not as big as an interstater but bigger than the narrow shelf that claims to be a bunk in most Japanese competitors.

Getting settled in a cab with this attention to comfort is always a pleasure.

Distribution operators should be confident that their P-Series drivers will rarely complain about the truck - except for the lack of cup holders that is. Hopefully, that's being rectified right now.

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