In Europe, the Iveco Stralis X-Way range is undeniably extensive, with rigid and semi models available for tipper and mixer applications, hook-lift/tilt tray container operations, crane, timber and tanker work. For those hauliers looking to get into, and out of, tight-spots there’s the option of rear-steer axles on three and four-axle rigid chassis, along with a tridem bogie on 8x2s and 8x4s.
Finally, as if having three specific X-Way models wasn’t enough, Iveco’s previous range of ‘Trakker’ heavy–duty multi-wheelers remains available for really arduous jobs or all-wheel-drive operations. And should you need something even-tougher, Iveco’s own specialist construction truck division, called Astra, builds extreme-duty three and four-axle chassis with their own curvaceous cabs atop the latest Iveco drive-trains. Talk about spoiled for choice.
But back to X-Way. I promised you a driving impression and here it is. My mount was a X-Way ‘Off’ eight-legger with the 420hp Cursor 11, ‘Active Day’ cab and a Boweld all-steel tipping body on the back, perfect for UK-muck-away work. Being an N3G chassis, its cab sits higher-up than on equivalent on-road models, but its three-step set-up, complemented by well-placed ‘grippy’ grab-handles, make it easy to climb into the cab. Reflecting its off-road role, the bottom step on the Off chassis is flexibly-mounted, so if you ground it, you won’t hurt it.
Inside, the cab interior is suitably robust with a tough rubber floor covering and black dash and seat trim which won’t show the dirt. A lighter roof panel ensures it’s not too oppressive. There’s some decent storage space in the cab too, though considering cross-cab access isn’t something tipper drivers worry about, the flat top engine hump would benefit from having a big tray on it, like DAF’s CF.
If I’ve not said it before I’ll say it now, the current Stralis range has an excellent driving position, backed up by an extremely comfortable and supportive ISRI seat, for X-Way read ditto. Vision from the driving seat isn’t bad for an N3G chassis. There’s a decent gap between the A-pillar and the back of the mirror cluster which also provides a good lateral view.
All the instruments are easy to read and the control layout is driver-friendly too, with the two-position engine exhaust brake well placed on a stalk on the RHS of the steering column. The ‘rocking’ mode button is to the right on the dash well within reach. To engage drive on the 12-speed Traxon auto, simply press D on the dash, release the park brake and put your foot down on the go-pedal. Holding the D button down for longer than two seconds engages slow-speed manoeuvring mode which delivers more-gentle throttle inputs (the same applies when pressing R for reverse).
Out on the road the Cursor 11 is responsive, torquey, and well matched to the slick-shifting TraXon (sorry Hi-Tronix) box. The X-Way’s disc brakes were certainly powerful. Naturally, I’ve saved the best bit till last. The X-Way’s precise steering, with good feedback, is definitely worth writing home about. Moreover, as any eight-legger driver will tell you, 8x4s can take a bit of turning in-town. However, the steering lock on our 5.02m wheelbase model was more than sufficient to get us around tight T-Junctions with ease.
Now that Stralis X-Way has joined Trakker, the Italian truck-maker has a construction truck for just about every occasion and application. Just as well, considering how the multi-wheeler market up here is increasingly polarised. But whichever one you go for, they certainly look capable of taking a good old-fashioned Aussie ‘battering’.