Having spent a few hours behind the wheel of a new generation MAN TGX 26.640, Diesel’s European Correspondent, Will Shiers, reckons the new truck from MAN is a winner.
Kim Kardashian could have been doing naked star jumps in the truck park I pulled into, and nobody would have noticed or cared! That’s because all eyes were firmly on me, or rather the new MAN TGX 26.640 I was driving.
At the launch of the new truck in Bilbao, Spain, in February, some social media pundits were quick to criticise the new generation TGXs for not utilising a new cab. They reckoned a make-over wasn’t enough, and that the trucks didn’t look significantly different. Well, if the reaction I received while driving the first right-hand-drive example in the UK was anything to go by, they’re definitely wrong.
These days, everyone seems to be a truck designer, and thanks to the likes of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, they have a platform for expressing their views. Hunt long and hard and you will of course find some positive comments relating to a new truck launch, but for some reason it’s those keyboard warriors with complaints that always seem to shout the loudest. Ahead of this first drive, I decided to look at some of the criticisms levied on the new generation TG range, just to see if any were justified. What else could they be wrong about?
Yes, this is the same basic cab shell that first saw the light of day in 2000 (albeit re-engineered to meet the safety requirements of the directive UNECE R29.03), but it looks radically different. And besides, there’s nothing wrong with refreshing an existing cab. It certainly hasn’t done Paccar any harm anyway.
So, how come the new truck from MAN is a winner? Well for starters, the whole design has been sharpened up, with a lot more attention to air flow. There’s a new air dam at the bottom of the cab, redesigned air deflectors at the side, and a new air intake for cooling. It’s out with the old shiny grille, and in with a new matt version.
The headlights have been redesigned too, and in the case of my test vehicle (which had the optional ‘Light and Visibility Plus’ safety package), included all exterior lights in LED technology. The package also adds rain-sensitive windscreen wipers, automatic headlights, and Headlight Assist (which automatically dips when it detects oncoming vehicles). The front end is supposed to resemble a lion’s face – hence the golden launch colour.
There are changes to the side of the cab too, with revised door aerodynamics. This has been done to lower the air pressure, and direct dirt and grime below the windows and door handles. There are three instead of five aerodomes (MAN’s name for the horizontal styling moulds towards the rear of the cab), and in front of them is a fake black window.
The truck is slightly more slippery than before, and MAN claims an eight per cent enhancement in fuel economy over its predecessor. But, it’s important to stress that this isn’t a direct comparison, with the bulk of the improvement coming from an earlier move from Euro-6 step C to Euro-6 step D engines.
My test truck was the flagship 26.640, featuring the largest GX cab (or XXL in old money).