Friday 20 October 2017

Scania rolls out latest new generation chassis and cabs

VW subsidiary Scania has rolled out the next phase of its new generation trucks – with the launch of construction and heavy-duty chassis, and the full range of cabs, including the smallest P-Cab variant, given the new generation treatment.

Much of the launch hype centred on the XT package, which gives Scania a direct competitor for the robust Volvo FMX, Mercedes-Benz Arocs and Renault Range-K models, and boasts such features as a heavy-duty protruding steel bumper with a 40-tonne towing pin, and sturdy mesh guards on the headlights.

However, these vehicles are only likely to make up a minority of UK sales, as most British construction truck operators are increasingly prepared to compromise ultra-durability and mobility in favour of payload and fuel economy.

P-cab saves weight

While many Scania construction trucks will feature the P-cab, it is also a favourite choice for urban distribution trucks, and other applications where easy cab access and egress takes priority over internal space, or where a low height and/or unladen weight is essential, meaning that it will also appear on tankers and car-transporters.

Scania’s modular design is apparent across all cab ranges, from S to P, with all variants sharing the same windscreen, for example – although the amount of interior space varies hugely.

Within the P-cab family, there are three different lengths (1.4-metre day-cab, 1.7-m day-cab with space behind the seats, and a 2.0-metre sleeper-cab). There are three roof height options giving a total of six different available combinations for the P-cab alone.

P-cabs share many of the improvements introduced with the new flagship S model last year, including a greater glass area with slimmer A-pillars and a revised driving position. A new dashboard also enhances visibility closer to the truck, but there was no sign at the launch of a kerb-view window option for the nearside door. External and internal cab lockers are available.

The G-cab range has also been expanded with the addition of 1.4-metre and 1.7-metre day-cab length low-roofs, which join the existing two-metre low, normal and high-roof (Highline) versions. Internal headroom is more generous than on previous normal and high-roof G-cab designs.

UK-specific new generation chassis prepared for bodying as tippers, mixers, hooklifts, skiploaders, concrete pumpers, mobile cranes, and flatbeds with loading cranes are all on offer, together with heavy-haulage versions.

Rerouted wiring and airlines, together with a lowered second-axle shock-absorber and steering link, make bodying twin-steer chassis easier.

There are a variety of steel and air suspension options, and dimensions such as mudwing height and rear overhang can be finely tuned to suit individual applications. Two different types of upright exhaust stack are available.

Electronic braking is now available with drum brakes on all axles specifically for applications where durability is prioritised over performance.

Third pedal returns

Scania was the last mainstream manufacturer to delete the clutch pedal from its automated manual transmission trucks, and the third pedal has now made a reappearance as an optional extra on Opticruise trucks.

The two-pedal Opticruise engages drive at engine speeds of around 500 rpm. Activating the clutch on demand, which is done simply by depressing and then releasing the pedal as you would on a manual, allows the driver to maintain control over engagement of the point of drive, and increase revs as necessary.

This can be advantageous in some off-road conditions where engine torque must be carefully balanced against traction to ‘unstick’ the vehicle or feel for grip, but it can also be very useful in applications such as concrete mixers where PTO-driven equipment is in operation necessitating relatively high and constant engine speeds while the truck is inching along, discharging mix into a trench, for example.

Once underway the third pedal can be forgotten, and the truck slots through gearchanges of its own volition with the usual Opticruise aplomb.

A new electronic parking-brake is optional. This has a progressive action, as opposed to the previous on-off device. An enhanced hill-hold function can be specified for it, which has no limit on the time it will hold the vehicle. The previous version disengaged after about four seconds had passed.

XT in the spotlight

Scania’s UK sales director Andrew Jamieson described the XT as “a dynamic and instantly recognisable flagship model for the most extreme operating conditions.”

Besides the distinctive bumper (which gives an improved approach angle over the standard component) and headlamp guards, the XT also features tough-looking ribbed mirror bodies which pick up styling cues from the rubber casings of ‘ruggedised’ hand-held devices. The XT cab interior has practical high-edged rubber floor mats which can be lifted out for cleaning, and unique branded seating.

A variety of other XT-branded fittings and accessories can be specified, ranging from rear cab wall interior storage systems to clothing.

The full range of cab and engine variants across the construction chassis range are available with the XT bumper, trim, and branding. XT gives Scania a second ‘hero’ brand to sit alongside the V8 engines and their associated badging and accessories.

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