What does David think of the Stralis X-Way?
I HAD the new Stralis X-Way with a single trailer and was turning in to Iveco's factory on the Princes Highway in Dandenong.
It needs a big swing out to the second lane (third lane if it's a B-double) to avoid leaving your mark on a lane sign or the guard house.
Naturally some peanut snuck down the inside, even though my flashers were on for at least 100-metres. X-Way's mirror set was up to the task though and I managed to let him squeeze through as the rest of the traffic held back and let me make the turn.
I'd just taken the 50-tonne rig to Gippsland, getting a feel for how drivers who will be using the new Stralis will handle their working day.
It was a chance to explore the digital driving and safety aids that are crammed into the latest version of Iveco's heavy duty rigid and prime mover truck.
This new model marks a significant shift for the brand. It's the first European Iveco to be shipped out in bits then fully assembled here in Australia. The new process has allowed easier customisation of the trucks for individual operators. The ageing factory is also given a new lease of life.
The 4x2 rigid and prime movers are now the only Stralis models still fully imported. That won't last, but they only flog a dozen or so a year and it's not worth making the production line changes.
The new X-Way has all the components shipped in from Italy. The cab is also imported as a shell, but trimmed locally. For Australia, Iveco has made the decision to use parts that are built to a European light duty off-road spec. Hence the transmission is a bigger unit, the cooling system is enlarged and the muffler is bigger too. The 510hp 13-litre Cursor engine has the ancillary components usually supplied with the 570hp model.
The 12-speed ZF transmission is also beefed up and includes the company's superb Intarder, which combines with the Cursor's engine brake to deliver enough braking to keep the service brakes in the back pocket most of the time.
The new transmission has three new modes that were not available in the previous model. Rocking mode is accessed via a toggle switch on the dash and automatically engages/disengages the clutch to rock the truck if there's a loss of traction at the back. All the driver has to do is flick the switch, play the throttle and the system handles the clutch.
Ecoroll is now added and will drop the rpm to idle when road conditions allow. There is also Creep mode, which converts the transmission into a virtual full auto box for tight and careful manoeuvring.
There are now up to four reverse ratios - handy for the rigids operators who have long reverses on sites. Cursor engines now use the HI-eSCR emissions system, which has zero EGR and therefore no requirement for exhaust gas cooling. No surprise engine de-rating as the system cleans itself up.
The emissions level is Euro VI, Step C, which is the latest variant available. When Step D is regulated in Europe in September this year, all the Cursor engines imported from then on will upgrade as it's just a recalibration of the software - no hardware needs replacing or upgrading.
The test truck was specced with a 23-tonne European Meritor rear axle set with 23-tonne ECAS Iveco air suspension. The system allows active axle weight measurement, which is displayed on an instrument panel menu. The only limiting factor to weight capacity on this back end is tyres.
At the front is a 7-tonne Meritor unit on steel. Chassis rail section is 7.7mm, up from 6.7mm in the previous Stralis. In short, the X-way for Australia blends the off-road mechanical spec with the on-road cab comforts.
The test truck was the Active Space Cab - the biggest in the Stralis range.
Standing up was no problem and the bunk beds had plenty of elbowroom for a relaxing sleep.
The new Cursor 13-litre engine delivers 510hp and 2300Nm of torque, with a raft of internal tweaks to make that power arrive more smoothly and with less fuel. A new low viscosity oil and thermal management system combines with new rings and reprofiled pistons with lower tangential load to reduce internal friction. Iveco claims this alone delivers around .6 per cent better fuel economy.
A Garrett electronic variable geometry turbo replaces the VGT from Holset and helps deliver the extra 10hp. The common rail system injection pressure is now up to 2200 bar. Multiple injections are controlled electronically. With injectors integrated into the cylinder head, these measures lower diesel engine clatter by 1 dBA.
An exhaust flap is now incorporated into the manifold and helps boost engine brake performance by a strong 30 per cent. It also enables early intervention of the treatment system boosting SCR efficiency to 95 per cent.
When blended with the ZF Intarder the auxiliary brake capability seems the best in the sector, with up to 440kW at 2600rpm. The auxiliary lever works in six stages, up to 100 per cent engine and retarder with downshifts at stage six. I hardly used the service brakes.
X-Way's cab is light, airy and comfortable. I really only had two criticisms. The radio system is very basic and hard to use. I failed to synch my phone despite several attempts. Also the driver's seat armrests are an unusually hard surface material. The run along the M1 was a breeze in the X-Way. Setting a 3km/h over-run on the adaptive cruise meant I just steered as the system applied the auxiliary brake to stop me heading into speeding fine territory downhill.