Posted 4th Jul
Scania’s new range of vehicle, the Next Generation Scania, has caught the eye of the industry and somewhat divided the drivers among us. The redevelopment of the truck, from the design right through to the production and the performance, has, in Scania’s opinion, looked to the future and encapsulated the need for sustainability within the transport industry.
As a business, Maritime have now integrated five of the Next Generation vehicles onto their fleet and so we caught up with Felixstowe Driver Trainer, Steve Smith, after he’d spent two days with one of the R450 trucks, to see what he thought of the latest release from the Swedish truck manufacturers.
“The Scania lovers from around the Company will be begging to drive this greatly improved vehicle. Those who do not like the marque of vehicle, myself included, will be pleasantly surprised at the comfort, standard of equipment and the drive the latest truck to hit the market has to offer.
Some drivers have confessed ‘it’s ugly, what on earth is that?’ Personally, I think the shape of the truck is a mixture of the Volvo, the Mercedes, the previous Scania model and a transformer (I called the model I was driving Optimus!). Whilst first impressions may have caused debate, the shape definitely grows on you and I do now like it.
Spending what can only be millions of euros, Scania have streamlined the exterior to develop what they believe is the ultimate shape to reduce wind resistance and therefore improve fuel consumption. The sun visor has been dropped, a good thing for the tall drivers among us, and the windscreen is now deeper, giving plenty of forward vision.
The lights midway up the front of the vehicle are extra driving lamps for when the main beam is required, be careful though – they are blinding as a driver informed me after I flashed him whilst driving in daylight. The fog lights are in the usual place and the headlight bulbs are a doddle to change with just a small plastic cover to remove and unscrew two Allan key bolts. The headlights swing out, giving access to the headlight bulb and fog lights, and the taillights are all LED, including the number plate.
The interior of the cab is airy, which is helped by the deep front windscreen, larger door windows and the electric glass sunroof. The dash is light grey and blends in well with the rest of the interior, all made of what feels like good quality plastic.
There is plenty of storage space within the vehicle with three large aircraft style lockers above the bed, a deep storage locker next to the fridge and three lockers, all with lighting, above the windscreen, not to mention extra storage either end of the bed.
The lighting and mirror adjustment switches have moved alongside the standard side power window switches and are all in an ideal location to operate. The Scania is also the first truck on the market which allows the driver to electrically adjust all six mirrors; something that should be mimicked by the other manufacturers, giving no excuse for incorrectly adjusted mirrors!
Over on the passenger’s side, the driver is able to relax and eat their meal using a metal fold out table. This easily pulls out from the dash and folds open – a nice touch from Scania.
The driver’s seat has also been improved immensely. I’ve had a back problem for a number of years and, like many of us, felt uncomfortable after a short period of driving. However, having driven the new vehicle all day, driving some seven hours, I still felt as fresh as the minute I started work, without any back pain at all.
The exhaust brake has been redesigned and is now more powerful, the cockpit has had a face-lift and has a high-class look to it and the entertainment system is a top of the range Scania model with a DAB, FM and AM radio. There are also two SD card slots, giving you the ability to play your music without the hassle of bringing a large number of CD's and two Bluetooth devices can be simultaneously connected.
So, what is the new Scania like to drive? Having driven the vehicle for two days on a mixture of motorway, dual carriageway, single carriageway and side roads, the first thing I noticed was how quiet the engine is. It still has the Scania trademark low revving, high torque engine but there was little wind noise whilst driving at speed.
The gearbox has been greatly improved, giving a near seamless gear change as the vehicle increases speed, and the ecolusion work fine, once you get used to it.
The good all round vision from the deep windscreen and the new style mirrors meant, even driving in heavy traffic in the centre of Rochester, I had no problem negotiating the tight turns a typical town not designed for a large vehicle offers.
Overall, I found the Scania to be a lovely drive and I have to admit I really like this new offering from Sweden – if I had to return to the road, driving full time, I would certainly ask John for one of these.
Well done Scania for bringing your trucks into the 21st century!”