Late last year, Scania completed its long-anticipated ‘New Generation’ range renaissance. Diesel News’ European Correspondent, Brian Weatherley, reckons there’s more to it than just a shedload of bright-new shiny trucks.
You’ve got to admit it’s impressive. In less than 18 months, Scania has completely replaced its truck line-up – from top-weight prime movers down to low-entry urban warriors, stopping off in between with an all-new construction range. Yet the Swedish truck maker’s recent range renewal isn’t just about multiple new cabs atop a host of revised chassis. It’s introduced a shedload of new engines and drivetrain improvements too. Frankly, it’s been hard to keep up with all the changes but – for the record – the whole shooting match has cost Scania a cool €2 billion ($3.1 billion).
So what’s it bought them? Given that the first fruits of Scania’s ‘New Generation’ will be arriving Down Under this year, let me just remind you what Diesel Editor Tim Giles wrote back in the November/December 2016 issue. After having driven the latest top-of-the-range R- and S-Series ‘Glamour Boys’, he declared: “With so much attention to detail, Scania’s new flagship has all the potential to step into the footprints of its globally successful predecessor, and maybe even surpass it.” Far be it from me to argue with the bloke who pays my wages but, as far as I’m concerned, there’s no ‘maybe’ about it.
Since their European launch, the R- and S-Series have not only walked off with the 2017 ‘International Truck of the Year’ trophy, more importantly, Scania’s promise of greater fuel efficiency from its more-aerodynamic cabs and revised Euro-6 drivetrains is being delivered out on the road, not least in Blighty. When the Swedes unveiled the R- and S-Series, they claimed the new trucks deliver “five per cent lower fuel consumption” on average. Judging by reports from this part of the world, it’s closer to 6.7 per cent on a typical R450 prime mover.
However, man cannot live on prime mover sales alone – even if they do represent a massive chunk of the new truck market up here. Today, it’s all about having a ‘whole range’ and, while Scania may only build down to 18 tonnes gross vehicle mass (GVM), last June it began filling in the remaining gaps in its New Generation line-up, starting with G-Series. With its narrower (2.3-metre-wide) medium-height cab and lower driving-position, the G-Series is aimed fairly and squarely at the major short-haul distribution fleets and supermarkets. Think DAF CF and Volvo FM – that’s where it sits in the marketplace.
Next to arrive was a collection of new construction models badged as the ‘XT’, which broke cover last September. The initials apparently stand for ‘extra tough’, and the models undoubtedly look the part, being a mixture of mission-matched drive-train components underneath new cabs, with an exterior and interior makeover that emphasises their off-road role. To put it another way, Scania has done to XT what Volvo did with FMX and Mercedes with Arocs – created a dedicated off-road family based on existing components specifically tailored to the job.
At the XT’s launch, Scania declared it wanted to win more construction industry business. It now has the truck to do that with. The most obvious clue to the XT’s off-road heritage is its all-new steel bumper assembly, which sticks out 15cm from the front of the cab, shielding the lights and radiator behind it. Improved approach angles offer further under-run protection, while the reinforced ribbed housing around the rear-view mirrors should minimise the damage caused by those annoying ‘mirror-on-mirror’ encounters with a truck coming the other way on narrow roads.
Other XT attributes include Scania’s trademark well-positioned slip-proof steps, vertical exhausts, durable seats and high-edge rubber mats. On the tech side, you get a electronic braking system (EBS) with either disc or drum brakes, and the new optional electric park brake (offered on all New Generation chassis) incorporates a no-time-limit hill-hold function. It also automatically applies the brakes when the truck stops, for example in a traffic queue, and if your XT is kept stationary for slightly longer, it switches from auto-hold to the park brake.