Scania were the first brand to introduce the driver support scoring system in Australia and it has continued to develop. However on a recent test drive PowerTorque’s scores were not particularly flattering and so we decided to blame such a low scoring performance, on the scoring system not being reset at the beginning of the test drive.
Smart designers at Scania have come up with indicators like temperature gauges, that are either white or red, there is no orange in between. This is because if it shows white, there is no damage being done to the truck’s systems. However, it goes red as soon as there is some damage likely to be happening within the truck’s systems.
The Scania 540 prime mover, pulling a fully loaded B-double, tested includes something which has not often appeared before on Scania, and that is an electronic park brake. It took some time for Scania to let go of the idea that a truck needed a clutch in the past, but the company has come around to the idea of an electronic parking brake switch somewhat quicker. The electronic switch remains an option and a traditional park brake lever is also available, as is the traditional hand activated trailer brake.
One useful feature, of this modern parking brake, is its ability to function as a more practical hill start aid. Previous incarnations of the hill start system would only hold onto the brakes for two seconds. Now, with this new system the brakes will stay on indefinitely until the driver touches the accelerator to indicate that they are ready to take off. This is a major improvement in the simple functionality of the braking system, which is long overdue.
This is simply a smarter parking brake. If the brake is activated and the driver puts the truck into gear and hits the accelerator, the truck automatically releases the parking brake. On the other side of the coin, if the driver has not activated the parking brake but opens the door to climb out, the parking brake will automatically activate, an important safety feature.
Anyone unfamiliar with the Scania brand does need careful instruction on how to use the steering wheel. The number of buttons on a steering wheel grows year by year in the truck industry, and Scania is no slouch in this area. However, once a driver becomes familiar with what buttons do and where they are placed, it does make the whole driving experience much easier and in a lot of driving conditions it is possible to simply be a steering wheel attendant and keep the truck pointing in the correct direction while pressing the correct buttons on the steering wheel to get the job done.
This truck is designed to be driven with as much of the automatic systems turned on as is possible. The Opticruise AMT transmission is a well proven system, but now things like adaptive cruise control and automatic retarder activation are also proving to be useful and reliable.
One of the other considerations which many operators have strong feelings about is fuel capacity for a B-double prime mover. Quite often there is a preference to have enough fuel capacity to be able to get from one capital city to the next. This means that some operators are looking for well over 1000 litres of diesel on a truck.
This question has always been an issue for the Scania brand and chassis real estate can become problematic. It is possible to specify a Scania with 1400 litres plus of fuel on board. However, on this model using the larger Euro 6 SCR unit, there are still more than 1000 L of fuel capacity available.
More and more, the performance and available features, on a modern truck are becoming similar across all offerings. Truck buyers are looking for smaller and smaller advantages in one brand over the other. If Scania has a strength in this department, it is not just the driver support scoring system, it is the overall integration of all of the elements which make up a truck and make for a relaxed and comfortable shift in the driver’s seat.