The Eurocargo range of trucks is a top performer in Europe and was named the International Truck of the Year 2016 by a panel of top European truck journalists. Eurocargo is the reason the Iveco truck brand is considered to be a major player there.
Here, the new-look Eurocargo has arrived in Australia, with a Euro VI engine and cleaner lines, but it is selling in a truck market under 18 tonnes gross vehicle mass (GVM) trained by the Japanese, who control well over 90 per cent of the market, to buy a generic product on price and back-up.
The long list of features available in this new set of Eurocargo trucks tends to go beyond the levels the average medium-duty customer expects to see in Australia, but this is what is regarded as standard fare in Europe.
Abbreviations abound in the specification sheet, there’s Anti-Slip Regulator (ASR), Electronic Stability Program (ESP) and Advanced Emergency Braking System (AEBS). Iveco is now up to EBS9 and this braking system comes with a number of bells and whistles, enabling a growing number of sophisticated safety systems through the provision of data.
The adaptive cruise control offered as an option uses the AEBS radar functionality. The new Eurocargo can sit at a set number of seconds behind the vehicle in front and will slow down, or even brake autonomously if the vehicle in front slows.
With the limited opportunity Diesel News had to drive these new models, it is hard to make a definitive judgement on this particular system, but it did monitor following distance well and did pull up sharply when a braking truck surprised this driver.
There is also a speed limiter button available, with which the driver can set a maximum speed by a simple press of a button. Once set, the truck will not go over the set speed. This may be useful in built-up areas and around roadworks. It is a common fitment in Europe, but unlikely to get much use from Australian truck drivers.
The lane-departure system also comes as standard on these trucks. It proved to be effective and not prone to false alarms. It works well and does not become annoying in normal width lanes, however, travelling in the city in narrower lane situations will soon see the driver reach over for the off switch, when it starts to go off a bit too regularly.
Further functionality is available from a number of other buttons along the central dash area. One simply turns Active Cruise off, reverting to normal cruise. Another engages the hill-hold function. This works well but for some reason cannot be left on all of the time. If the truck is pulled up at traffic lights on a slope, the driver has to hit the switch before the brakes will hold for two seconds until they release the clutch or hit the accelerator.
The exhaust brake is just that, an exhaust brake, only at all effective at the higher end of the rpm range. This proved to be most effective on the driveline fitted with the Allison option. The transmission immediately changes down a ratio when the exhaust brake lever is pulled back. It has two settings; one engages the exhaust brake on brake application and the other does so when the driver takes their foot off the gas.
Iveco claims much-improved fuel economy on the new model, some coming from the new engine configuration, and some coming from the new cabin design with improved aerodynamics. Looking at the new model side by side with its predecessor makes it clear how much has changed.
The aerodynamics improvements are obvious to even the casual observer. The new cabin has cleaner lines and a higher stance. Air deflectors are gone and the shaped front panels channel air around the front corners and cleanly across the doors.
This is a well-designed and executed truck range, with plenty of add-ons available to come up with a very sophisticated package. It is, however, destined to be a bit player in the Australian truck market. Iveco has little chance of breaking the stranglehold the Japanese truck makers have on this sector of the truck market. Having said this, there are many truck buyers out there looking for a truck exactly like this, now Iveco has to get out there and find them.