Test Drive

Weigh to Go

It’s now more than 50 years since the introduction of the Scania V8 engine which, along with some big six and five cylinder engines, has helped the Swedish manufacturer gain solid ground in the heavy duty categories. The introduction of a 7.0 litre combination (actually a 6.7) shows that Scania is intent upon widening its market appeal by entering into a category much lighter than it has participated in for a long time.

The upper end of medium duty sector has been traditionally dominated by Japanese brands and the logical and likely strategy is to promote the lighter capacity Scania trucks to fleets that already utilise bigger engine variants of the same brand. This can be assisted by the fact that Scania owns and operates the majority of its dealers in this country.

Among the essential parameters for urban and regional distribution operators are factors such as fuel consumption, payload, driver environment, reliability and total cost of ownership. These are vital across the industry and not just to existing Scania owners just as the inherent availability of European engineering finesse and vehicle refinement should see the 7.0 litre P series added to fleet shopping lists for trucks with a GVM of up to 26 tonnes.

The six cylinder DC07 engine has a 6.7 litre capacity and the basic architecture has its origins in the Cummins B Series engine, which has been a reliable installation in bus applications as well as large American SUVs such as certain models of the Dodge RAM. The Cummins B series also provides the basis of the PACCAR PX-7 used in some DAF trucks. While the basic design of the long motor is from Cummins, Scania engineering is responsible for many components including the manifolds, a new fixed geometry turbo, ECU and Scania’s in-house exhaust gas after-treatment system.

It is interesting to note that Scania’s parent Volkswagen Group, through its Traton truck division, encouraged its Swedish manufacturer to embark upon a different course in association with Cummins to develop the new engine rather than take what was potentially an easier route by adopting the existing MAN 6.9-litre D0836 engine from the German member of the Traton stable.

The relationship born from the Scania-Cummins XPI fuel injection system joint venture has apparently been successful for all parties to a large degree and in this application has managed to avoid turning to EGR (and that particular technology’s acknowledged shortcomings) in order to meet the Euro 6 emission standards. The 7.0-litre is able to meet the stringent Euro 6 criteria (which is still some years away before being mandated in Australia) utilising SCR AdBlue injection and a Diesel Particulate Filter. Average AdBlue consumption is claimed to be around seven per cent of diesel burn.

The use of Scania’s own engine management systems has resulted in a seamless integration with the rest of the driveline particularly the Opticruise automated manual transmission. The 12-speed Opticruise transmission has two additional crawler gears and Economy, Standard and Power modes and is activated by the familiar stalk lever on the right hand side of the multi-adjustable steering column.

The 7.0 litre engine continues Scania’s drive across all of its engine families towards ensuring usable torque is abundantly available at low engine revs. In typical Scania style the various horsepower outputs are matched with maximum torque being available from as low as 1,050 rpm all the way through to 1,600 rpm, providing excellent driveability and the potential to keep the engine’s revs as low as possible to suit the immediate situation of load and road and to save fuel. Low friction oil is specified to reduce internal friction losses at the same time as ensuring component protection and longevity. For the local market the 7.0 litre is available in 220hp, 250hp and 380hp outputs and when fitted to the P series has a GCM of 26 tonnes and will be offered in 4×2, 6×2 and 6×4 configurations.

The 3.07:1 final drive ratio allows the engine to be running at just over at 1600 rpm at 100 kph. In local testing, running both empty and with a payload of 9,500kg, and on both urban roads and freeways, the 280hp version of the engine returned an average of 3.5km per litre. As an example of Scania’s commitment to shift towards more sustainable transport solutions, the new engine is certified for the use with 100 per cent HVO (Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil), a biofuel which gives a carbon dioxide reduction of up to 90 per cent when compared with conventional diesel.

Using an engine with more compact overall dimensions translates to lesser intrusion into the cab and has permitted the use of the Scania G series cab floor in the P series cab, which results in the lower engine hump and therefore creating more cabin volume. The additional space has allowed the use of the same storage compartments as the larger G series cabs and some additional options for layouts with rear storage and bunks. A refrigerated storage compartment is standard and a welcome asset for drivers.

The interior of the Scania P cab is one of the most ergonomic on the market and the dash design and placement of the controls arguably exceed the brief of being driver friendly. The use of large screens for the digital dashboard displays reduce the momentary time that the driver needs to take attention away from the surroundings to check the gauges. The Scania high standards are carried over to the audio system which includes digital radio and Bluetooth streaming and phone connections.

This is a working truck and the considerations for the driver extend to the large fold out desk on the passenger side of the dash which has sufficient room to spread out paperwork around an open laptop. The driver and passenger both ride comfortably on air suspended seats and the expected Scania quality of fittings and finish result in a noticeable lack of squeaks and rattles and the noise, vibration and harshness levels within the cab are similar to the other Scania models which puts them on par with many European luxury cars.

During its last decade, the development of Scania’s Next Truck Generation, of which the current P series is a member, involved a serious focus on safety. Consequently, there is a driver’s airbag located on the steering wheel plus Scania’s unique curtain airbags to provide additional rollover protection for both driver and passenger plus seat belt pre-tensioners for both occupants. Advanced Emergency Braking, Electronic Stability Control and Lane Departure Warning systems are all standard equipment. The two stage exhaust brake provides 88kW of braking force to the driveline at 2,500rpm. Ben Nye, National Product Manager for Trucks at Scania Australia explains much effort has gone into ensuring the effectiveness of the overall braking package which uses discs rather than the drum brake systems found on some other brands in similar weight categories.

“Because of Scania’s modular systems we have the same brake components as bigger trucks,” says Ben. “So when you’re pulling up at say 22.5 tonnes with the same braking package as a large prime mover, it stops well and you feel confident.”

The fitment of front and rear air suspension permits the inclusion of the on-board weighing system with a truck graphic on the information screen with digital confirmation of the load on each axle. Maintaining legal weight especially on the front axle can be a challenge for operators of urban distribution and civil construction vehicles and the lighter weight of the 7.0 litre engine contributes up to an extra 360 kgs of payload when compared to the larger Scania 9.0 litre five cylinder engine fitted to a P series. The latest design of front suspension utilises two airbags and helper springs and provides almost a car-like ride.

“The 7.0 litre will give us new strength in the lighter applications,” says Dean Dal Santo, Director of Truck Sales at Scania Australia. “We will continue to offer our proven and popular 9.0 litre engine in the P series which is ideally suited to offering heavier twin-steer and 6×4 applications. Our goal is always to support our customers’ profitability and using Scania’s modular system allows us to offer so many engines and ensure that we always give customers the best total operating economy.”

The tare weight and category may be lighter but everything else about the 7.0 litre P series contains Scania’s heavy-duty engineering and other features optimised for lighter-duty roles.

 

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