At the truck’s launch in Turin we were given the
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opportunity to drive a flagship 4x2 Hi-Way, complete with the 500hp version of Iveco’s Euro-5 Cursor 13 engine. At 12.9 litres, this engine’s swept volume remains the same at Euro-6, but the 7.8-litre Cursor 8 is to become the 8.7-litre Cursor 9, while the 10.3-litre Cursor 10 is to be replaced by the 11.1-litre Cursor 11 at Euro-6. Our truck was fitted with the ZF’s 12-speed ASTronic (dubbed Eurotronic by Iveco), which will come as standard in the UK.
Climbing into the cab, you are greeted with a completely new interior. Not only has the dashboard been redesigned, the quality of the materials has improved too with the use of non-reflective softtouch plastics. Although the shape of the instrument binnacle is unchanged, the dials contained in it and most of the surrounding switchgear are new. Storage has been increased, and the bunk is wider (behind the passenger seat) and has a thicker mattress. The new ventilated height-adjustable seats now feature an integrated seatbelt.
Overall, the interior has a businesslike feel, and represents a significant improvement in quality over the current model.
Our range-topping Hi-Way test truck had very few switch blanks. Many were devoted to the numerous safety features that now appear on the Stralis options list, including Lane Departure Warning System, Adaptive Cruise Control, Hill Hold and Driver Attention Support. As yet no announcement has been made on what safety features will be part of the standard LJK specifications.
Neatly set into the dashboard, and within the eyeline and easy reach of the driver’s hand, is the Iveconnect 7in touch screen. As well as incorporating audio, Bluetooth and satnav functions, this screen gives access to the driving-style evaluation tool. This monitors various aspects of the driver’s performance, including anticipation, braking frequency, gear changing (on manual models) and inertia. In other words, everything that can affect fuel economy.
The results are continually updated and displayed as a percentage score on easyto-read charts. This allows drivers to continually monitor their driving style in real time and they can see what happens to their score as they modify their technique. If they don’t want to know, there’s always the Ecoswitch, which introduces compulsory fuel-saving measures such as reducing the top speed to 52mph and eliminating the kick-down facility. The data can be downloaded and analysed via FleetVisor, a paid-for service offered by Qualcomm, Iveco’s telematics partner.
Considering the new Stralis driveline is identical to the current one (at least in Euro-5 guise), there isn’t a lot to say about the driving experience that we haven’t said many times before. The only real difference is that the new cab is noticeably quieter. Not only has engine noise been reduced, thanks to improved sound deadening, but the redesigned sidewind deflectors have resulted in significantly less wind noise. ■
Fresh new looks and a plusher interior definitely add a feel-good factor that Stralis has lacked in the past. But is it enough to halt the slide in Iveco’s share of the UK tractor market, which was down to a paltry 2.3% last year? The company says that this year it has reversed that trend (4%) and expects this new version of Stralis to build on that progress.
The performance and fuel economy of the new Euro-6 Cursor 11 engine covering the core 420hp to 480hp power require ment will be crucial to Stralis’s long-term share of the UK tractor market.
Iveco’s decision to reject the EGR plus SCR NOx reduction strategy used by other manufacturers for Euro-6 is certainly brave: we will have to wait a little longer to see if it is a good decision.
New Stralis is available for order now, but the first righthand drive deliveries are not expected until the end of the year.