The Iveco S-Way is definitely a very different beast to its predecessors, but that only becomes clear when you are out on the road with the B-double in tow. Although the basic truck looks quite familiar, this really is a new design and a new truck. The basic driveline is very similar to the one on offer in the X-Way before it, but the rest of it is a revelation.
The truck tested in a run from Brisbane down to Sydney with a fully loaded B-double set, is the S-Way with AS cab and the 550hp 13 litre Cursor engine, putting out 2500Nm of torque at 1000rpm.
This shouldn’t come as a surprise, the change from the last Iveco prime movers built at Dandenong to these new trucks being introduced involves several steps of truck development. Australia was two or three steps behind Europe, in Iveco terms, but now we are on par with the latest trucks on sale there. We have caught up, and Iveco needed to catch up.
How can you tell it is so different? Because it is better in just about every aspect. Climbing up into the cab is better, the interior of the cabin is much better designed. Driving, the noise levels in the cabin are low, the look and feel of the dashboard is very good, it feels like a different truck altogether, and it is.
Driving down the Pacific Highway, it pulls really well. This may be because at 100 km/hit’s the engine is running at 1600rpm, a higher level than the most frugal trucks tested in recent times. What we’re looking at here is a driveline that we’ve known for a while, it’s the Cursor 13 engine, pushed out to 550hp, but it does feel like a valid B double prime mover, there’s no doubt it could do the job.
It uses the 16 speed gearbox, known as the Hi-Tronix 16 an AMT, made by ZF but using the Iveco software control system. This has been a good go-to box for some time and continues to be well up to the task. The job of differentiating between AMT transmissions gets harder every year, as their performance levels get closer. This driveline is just a solid performer, it may not be the best in the world, but it does an excellent job.
At the same time as the Traton brands are moving away from retarders, Iveco are moving towards them. Previous Iveco drivelines relied only on compression braking, but now, when the driver takes power off, they get a little bit of compression braking and then a lot of retarder braking.
On the steering wheel are the controls for the cruise control and they’re pretty good. With these Iveco have come up with a smart idea which makes life a little easier. The problem on many active cruise control systems comes when following a vehicle at 100 km/h. If that vehicle slows, the truck slows and often the driver doesn’t realise for some time. They then have to knock off active cruise and get the vehicle up to speed to overtake the slower vehicle ahead.
On these new Ivecos, there is a button to toggle in and out of active cruise. Coming up behind a slower vehicle, the driver clicks out of active cruise and passes the vehicle without missing a beat and then clicks again to reactivate it, simple. The radar used to measure distance is also well designed, there were no false positives during this test, no road signs causing the system to drop out.
Another gimmick which works well on the steering wheel is the buttons behind the wheel. On the right are buttons to turn volume up and down and on the left, they change channels on the radio, or scroll through modes on the screen.