IVECO, THE INDUSTRIAL VEHICLE COPANY, HAS A LONG AND PROUD HISTORY OF TRUCK MANUFACTURING IN AUSTRALIA.
Now that local production effort is stepping into a new-generation with an all-new Iveco ACCO and this new Stralis X-Way.
The Stralis is no stranger to the Australian market, it’s been one of the best-selling trucks in the local market for a number of years now.
But, and it is a big point of difference, prospective local operators will now be able to custom build their Stralis to their own requirements.
Heavy Vehicles was one of the first Australian truck publications to get a drive of the new Iveco Stralis X-Way, an assignment I undertook in Melbourne late last week.
Firstly, some details on the new Australian-built Stralis offering.
There are three configurations on offer – 6×4 prime mover and a 6×4 and 8×4 rigid.
Euro 6 compliant Cursor 9, 11 and 13 common rail engines range from 310hp/1300Nm to 510hp/2300Nm.
All three engines are mated exclusively to a 12-speed ZF HiTroniX Automated Manual Transmission (AMT).
Cab choices run to Day, Sleeper and Active Space Sleeper.
My test vehicle was the prime mover/Active Space Sleeper and with the Cursor 13 510hp/2300Nm engine.
The test truck had a couple of options boxes ticked, these include Xenon headlights, a tyre pressure monitoring system, hydraulic retarder and Durabrite alloy wheels.
On the Road
The first thing that you notice when driving the Iveco Stralis X-Way is the quietness of the engine and the well soundproofed cab.
You almost have to listen for the engine, rather than having it constantly in your ears.
It also rides along quite nicely too (especially for a cab-over).
Slowing the big Iveco is best approached with the right-hand side stalk, one click down gives you exhaust brake, the Intarder kicking-in from 2 through 6.
I found on my test drive that I seldom got beyond position 3. If you need some real stopping power the 6 setting will lock the engine fan in and utilise a rapid downshift function on the transmission.
The steering is very light in the Iveco Stralis, my only real complaint is that on more serious road imperfections you get perhaps too much shock/feedback through the wheel.
I thought the transmission shifted quickly and 12-speeds for most applications utilising a 510hp prime mover/rigid will be sufficient.
The driver is aided by a Lane Departure Warning system that works well, it gives you an audible warning if you stray out of your lane.
Standard safety kit in the Iveco also includes Autonomous Emergency Braking, Adaptive Cruise Control and Stability Control.
Inside the Cab
From the driver’s seat (a leather-clad heated/ventilated ISRI offering) visibility is very good and you have both tilt and telescopic steering adjustment.
To the front of you are traditional analong main gauges and a large colour driver info screen.
Some of the best features of the screen include the digital engine oil level display and the adaptive cruise control setting display.
Standard in the Stralis X-Way, and again displayed on the info screen, are the axle masses – calculated by the airbag system.
While the optional wireless tyre pressure monitoring system also displays each tyre set pressure here too.
As you can see in the video below, four main mirrors are electronically adjustable – the driver info screen showing you which one you’re adjusting.
The only thing that is missing is a digital speedometer, this would be a very handy future addition in my opinion.
As mentioned, this was the big daddy of the cabs available on the Stralis and it didn’t disappoint.
There’s twin bunks, both the same length, and I could easily stretch out and still have space.
A clever fold-down table has been mounted to the side of the cab, ideal for a small TV etc. and there’s a digital cab control interface too.
This allows you to adjust the radio, roller blinds, windows, central locking etc.
A plethora of storage areas have been designed into the Stralis cab, including clever upper storage spots on the cab side walls.
There are storage areas just about everywhere, including under the seats, and durable rubber cargo nets in use on the open storage spots.
There’s also three large lockers above the dashboard and two side opening lockers on each side of the Stralis accessed from the outside (ideal for storing things like dirty clothes when on the road for several days), the upper lockers are also accessible by lifting the bottom bunk.
There are no sunvisors as such, instead there’s an electronic blind that can be rolled down at the push of a button to shield your eyes when on the road, when stopped for a break it continues all the way down.
Both sides of the cab have foot wells, step up from these onto the main cab floor and even guys and girls over 6 feet tall will be able to stand up.
On the roof of the cab is an electric sunroof, again, with its own electric roller blind.
An often overlooked driver necessity is a convenient place to store your work diary – Iveco has thought of this with a work diary sized glovebox.
The fridge and other slide out storage spots feature below the lower bunk and are easy to access from the driver’s seat.
I did a stint in the passenger seat of the Iveco Stralis X-Way and can confirm the designers have put some thought into the ‘off-siders’ seat.
There’s a fold-down arm rest on the right hand side, storage spots for things like a mobile phone and even a lumbar support on the seat.
Heating and cooling is also better than adequate for the passenger with large vents pointed your way from the dashboard.
One thing that I thought could be better about the Iveco, on both sides of the cab, are the access steps.
Where some of the competition allows you to see the first step down as you alight, here that step is mostly obscured, and that means you’re searching for it with your foot.
From there, steps three and four are easier to spot.
A couple of other observations about the new Aussie-built Iveco offering that are worth mentioning – firstly access onto the catwalk is easy and then the actual catwalk is well-designed and comprehensively covers the rear of the cab.
Open the hood on the Iveco Stralis and your coolant bottle, washer fluid and engine oil dipstick are easy to access.
The cab has an electric motor should you need to lift or lower it.
It’s great to see another vehicle rolling down an Australian production line.
The Iveco Stralis X-Way delivers a fine European truck with the convenience of local customisation/manufacturing.
Overall, especially when factoring in the standard safety/driver assist features, the Euro 6 engines and the ease of use, I would say prospective truck buyers should certainly give it a very close look.