While the Stralis is hugely popular in Southern Europe, particularly Spain and Italy, the Stralis has a bit of an image issue with some UK drivers, reckons Diesel News’ European Correspondent, Will Shiers. Much of this stems from its interiors, which while perfectly competent, aren’t as plush as some rivals. It doesn’t matter how great a truck is to drive, if the interior lets it down, it will never win over drivers.
With this in mind, when test driving its new replacement the Iveco S-Way, what I want to see is plenty of soft-touch high-quality plastics, leather, a splash of coloured stitching here and there, and maybe some wood or brushed aluminium accents. But most importantly, absolutely no lowest-bidder plastics! This is Iveco’s chance to really raise its game.
When I climb the well-positioned steps (still only three of them despite the higher cab), and take my first look, I’m a little underwhelmed. It all appears to be perfectly good, with better quality materials, and definitely represents a massive improvement over Stralis, but it’s just a bit average.
When trucks are in development there are normally battles between the design department and the accounts department. And on this occasion, I can’t help but feel that the good guys won the argument with the exterior, and bad guys won with the interior!
But there are still plenty of highlights inside, perhaps the most significant being the additional space. As the cab sits higher, the engine tunnel has been reduced from 205mm to 95mm. The redesigned roof gives 2.15m of standing space, and there’s more room for moving about too, helped by the recessed middle over-screen locker. Storage has been greatly enhanced, and I like the console on the floor in the centre of the dashboard, which features cup-holders and an A4 drawer.
The one-piece lower bunk is wider, and the bed module, which controls the lighting, heating, radio and door locks, is now positioned centrally. Pockets and USB ports are located at both ends, meaning the driver can sleep either way around.
The driver’s seat is new, has a thicker cushion, and 4.5cm more vertical movement.
A new multi-function steering wheel, with 22 switches, puts a lot of controls at the driver’s fingertips. Everything on the left is related to the infotainment, and everything on the right assists with driving. It’s squared off at the base, which should be welcomed by more rotund drivers.
The ignition has been moved higher up, freeing up leg space. Now it consists of a slot for an electronic key and a stop-start button. A mechanical handbrake has been retained.
The dashboard incorporates a 7in touch-screen infotainment system, with DAB radio and phone mirroring using Apple Car Play. It’s Bluetooth-equipped, has voice recognition and a dedicated truck navigation system. The driver can also use it to access a Driving Style Evaluation tool.
Lighting has been enhanced, with LED dimmable ceiling lamps. They are activated by a rotary controlled switch, located on the upper shelf above the driver.
So, you see, there have been some massive improvements to the interior, it’s just that Iveco hasn’t set a new standard.