In 2002, Iveco launched Stralis as its replacement for the ageing EuroTech and EuroStar heavy tractor range. Since then, Stralis has had limited success in the UK market despite being Truck of the Year in 2003.
Every facelift over the past 17 years has brought improvements both to its reliability and reputation. Indeed, the last incarnation, the Stralis Hi-Way, received the coveted International Truck of the Year in 2013.
Iveco’s UK history has been carved along the lines of its medium rigid truck range for many years with the Daily van winning over operators at the lighter end of the spectrum.
This has meant, potentially, Iveco’s future success could be, and may probably be, defined by the number of sales of its new heavy truck range, the S-Way.
At the launch we took the S-Way around a test track in Madrid. Of course, given it was a pan-European event, all the trucks were left-hand drive and 4x2 configurations.
We opted for the 4x2 natural gas-powered tractor unit rated at 460PS.
Truck manufacturers have learnt a lot about launching new vehicles over the years. We have seen one or two choose to introduce a whole new range with a completely new cab and driveline at the same time.
Unsurprisingly, this approach led to issues on both the cab/chassis as well as many components within the driveline resulting in poor in-service reliability and durability.
Concentrated on the cab
With this in mind, Iveco has opted to launch the new S-Way without any major alteration to the driveline specification and has concentrated on the new cab, and, just as importantly, the connectivity of the vehicle from an internal as well as external perspective. It has reduced the total cost of ownership by up to 11%, according to Iveco.
Our LNG S-Way was powered by the familiar Cursor 12.9 litre in-line six cylinder 460PS (338kW) engine running at 1,900rpm to Euro VI d emission standard and producing 2000Nm of torque in a range from 1,100-1,600rpm.
As always, behind the engine, Iveco has specified the ZF-based 12-speed Hi-Tronix automated gearbox with an overdrive top gear
Given this was a left-hand drive vehicle, the specification may be somewhat different compared with the eventual UK spec.
It was a 4x2 with a 3,800mm wheelbase which allowed for a 540-litre LNG tank and then an additional 250 litre LNG tank on the opposite side offering a total of 790 litres.
Suspension was provided by parabolic spring at the front with a more conventional setup of air suspension supporting the rear axle.
At first glance, the S-Way cab looks like a cross between the Scania S series and Iveco’s existing Stralis, which is not a bad thing. Indeed I feel it’s quite a positive step with a very bold and deep grill.
At the launch of the S-Way, head of medium and heavy trucks product management for Iveco Giuliano Giovannini said: “When designing the new cab for the Iveco S-Way we left no stone unturned to fulfil all the driver’s needs.
“Our overarching aim was to meet their full satisfaction in terms of driving comfort and quality of life on board with excellent ergonomics and an appealing and welcoming environment for them to drive, work and rest – their home away from home.”
An ambitious goal to say the least.
The new and more aerodynamically-shaped cab helps increase the vehicle’s fuel efficiency by up to 4%. This is achieved by reducing the Cx drag coefficient by as much as 12% and builds on the optimised driveline introduced in Stralis around three years ago.
Key cab features
The cab incorporates a number of key features including a new roof integrated into the front end, a retractable front step providing access to the windscreen and then recesses into the grille when not in use. The front multi-piece grille has recessed headlights, a bumper with integrated deflectors as well as newly shaped wheel arches.
From a safety perspective, the new cab has been redesigned and reinforced to ensure its compliance with the latest ECE R29.03 cab crash standards and the front axle has been fine-tuned to reduce braking distances by 15%.
The full LED lights have a much sharper beam, improving visibility and obstacle perception by 15% and, of course, there’s an array of advanced driver assistance systems to help the driver operate the vehicle efficiently and safely while reducing fatigue on the road.
Looking into the cab its obvious Iveco have spent a lot of time and effort in this area, the multi-functional steering wheel, with 22 switches, puts all the necessary functions, including the Assisted Driving Systems, at the driver’s fingertips. The instrument panel and semi-wrapround centre binnacle hosts a seven-inch capacitive touchscreen offering access to the new state-of-the-art infotainment system which features Apple and Google interactivity via mobile phone mirroring , along with a truck sat-nav system.
Looking around one of the big “wins” is the lower tunnel height allowing a standing height of 2.15 metres, there’s the normal myriad of storage lockers and behind the driver is a one-piece lower bunk bed offers a choice of 14 cm-thick mattresses with 2 levels of comfort, a” Smart Bunk” with 8 cm-thick mattress, which is a foldable bed that can double up as a luggage compartment, or the 70 cm-wide Comfort Bunk with 10 cm-thick mattress and ladder. One interesting feature is a new design of the door which now extends all the way down, leaving only the bottom step exposed, and includes an additional mechanical door lock inside the cab.
Slotting the electronic key into the recess allows the driver to press start/stop engine button and pressing the large “D” button gets us on our way, immediately its obvious Iveco have spent a lot of time on improving in-cab noise, its up with the best ! Visibility is on par with its competition as well, and the overall ambience within the cab allows for a relaxing driving style.
The Cursor engine and H-Tronix automated gearbox are a well know combination and driving the S-Way to its maximum revs of 1,900rpm produces a downshift between gears of 600rpm keeping the revs well within the green zone.
The cab suspension, which has air at the rear, produced no noticeable roll and the same could be said for the chassis which behaved impeccably even on the tight corners of a race track.
Obviously this was just a short drive on a race track in a left-hand drive 4x2 truck so its difficult to give an in-depth opinion of the new S-Way, but it’s fair to say Iveco have taken their new heavy truck range up a level to meet most of their competition, I can’t wait to try it out on a longer drive but in the UK we maybe waiting until second quarter 2020!