IVECO is making a splash across the nation thanks to the 2017 launch of the Eurocargo Euro VI line of medium-weight trucks, with a focus on urban and short-haul distribution.
There is no doubt that the Eurocargo models bring a sense of style to this market segment, and the feedback from Europe - where they have been available for a year or two - has been mostly positive, with the truck winning prestigious industry awards.
But that is Europe. This little truck still has to carve a name for itself in the Australian market where, as written in Big Rigs earlier this year, the European overlaps the market area of Iveco's little Aussie battler, the ACCO.
Clean and green, a city dweller, safe and stylish seem to be the subtext differentiations between the ACCO and the Eurocargo, even though Iveco has invested large amounts of moolah bringing the ACCO into 21st century market expectations.
I climbed into the Eurocargo ML180 at the Iveco dealership at Rocklea in Brisbane. The truck was set up with the highly decorative marketing blurb that came with the Euro cargo release in this country in May this year.
This is a stylish truck, there is no doubt about that, and everything is pretty much where it's supposed to be as far as driving comfort goes - adjustable steering wheel, most controls within finger-reach on steering column wands, handbrake beside the driver, fully adjustable and very comfortable seat.
The nine-speed ZF transmission comes standard with the Eurocargo. An Allison S3000 five-speed automatic box is available as an option.
The manual transmission is a double H pattern with a range change.
Reverse and bog cog are achieved through a gate to the left of the H pattern, a collar must be pulled to engage these ratios.
The powerplant is Iveco's Tector 7, a 6.7 litre six- cylinder engine with high- pressure common rail electronic injection.
The engine is turbo- charged and inter-cooled, 24valves offering maximum efficiency from the four- stroke diesel.
Maximum output is 280 hp or 206 kW peaking at 2500rpm.
There is 1000 Nm of torque. This may not sound like huge torque compared to bigger powerplants but I found that there was a surprising amount of hang-in-there on pulls.
Part of the new deal with the Eurocargo launch is that the engine meets Euro VI standards which it manages using a Selective Catalytic Reduction emissions system.
Laden with concrete blocks, the Eurocargo topped the scales at just under 14 tonne all up, a little short of the 18 ton GVM but probably a reasonable working load for the type of distribution work this truck would end up doing in the real world.
There is a feeling of a big truck sitting in the cabin with its high roof, a sleeper configuration big enough to stretch out while waiting for a load, a translucent sunroof way up in the belfry.
Yes it is a big, comfortable cab and you do feel like you're sitting in a real truck as opposed to some of the 'utish' feelings one might get in other vehicles in this weight range.
I may not be a big fan of synchro transmissions, but the double H pattern on this truck is very easy to come to terms with and as I mentioned before, with the torque hang-on, the gear shifts can be kept to a minimum.
We drove west from Rocklea out through Blacksoil, swung north onto the Brisbane Valley Hwy and drove out to Esk for a coffee.
As you would expect, the truck comfortably held road speeds, the 100 kmh road speed limiter holding the speed reasonably well without any great jerks along the way.
The engine brake is not the most effective I have ever driven but it does give some retardation with a very low noise level.
As to this truck finding a place in the Australian market, the biggest challenges will be proving itself in longevity against the Japanese opposition which have claimed a bullet-proof reputation in this area.
It will be up to the Iveco sales department to find a price mark that makes this truck attractive to an operator, so vocation proving can be done and the Eurocargo can stake a claim in the Australian landscape.
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