EFFORTLESS: The Scania P440 had a 13-litre Euro V engine rated at 440hp.
EFFORTLESS: The Scania P440 had a 13-litre Euro V engine rated at 440hp. David Meredith

Getting Underway

WHEN I climb on board a new truck I always try and pair my phone without asking for help to see how intuitive the systems are.

I accessed the phone part of the settings menu and all it said was "No Phone Connected."

 

I finally discovered it's done through the radio dial.

By the time I hit the road the weather had worsened and I was heading directly into near gale force winds.

The Scania felt the impact of that as expected, and accelerating up to cruising speed took longer than normal.

Pretty quickly I got the cruise control engaged and then managed my speed with the steering wheel buttons.

In this mode as I started down hills the retarder came on progressively, keeping me legal, then seamlessly re-engaged top gear at the bottom and powered away.

Scania's engine brake/retarder is without doubt the best auxiliary brake on the highway.

It has five stages, from mild retardant to 4,100Nm boat anchor.

Flicking it on with a single finger stretched below the steering wheel rim delivers complete control.

Outside of coming to a complete stop, I really never have to use the service brakes.

Given that the cab is based on the bigger units, the interior fit-out's very comfortable.

There's lots of storage space and plenty of air coming through the vents.

A toggle button on the steering column allows adjustment for tilt and telescope.

I had no trouble getting the seat right either. There are arm rests on both sides, and with them down and cruise engaged, the P440 was a sweet thing to wheel down the road.

Some of the roads were pretty rough and the Scania needed a firm hand, as does every articulated truck I take on this route, but the driver position made all that pretty easy.

The single trailer rig was set up like a classic supermarket distribution unit, and so I took the opportunity for lots of stops to duplicate the likely trip outline of a regional delivery run.

The Scania was always an easy truck to get into and out of, and a cosy refuge from the stormy rain that lashed the cab at times.

On the return run I allowed the AED to do its thing and keep me a set distance from the traffic.

Dead easy, even bringing me to a complete halt behind the traffic jam when the lane was blocked by a fallen tree.

Finally there are only two things I'd change. Firstly, as mentioned there are no cup or drink holders.

My drink bottle squeezed in the door pocket. Get yourself a coffee and you're going to have to finish it before you move off.

Secondly, there's no USB charging point. There are 12 and 24-volt points, plus an auxiliary port for the sound system. But most drivers use Bluetooth now and need to top up on phone power more often.

Distribution will always be a growing market sector. Scania is already doing well with the P Series, and the AEB will only make it safer.

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