The power of six
Scania comes up with a smart inline number
CAR buyers might be moving away from big six-cylinder engines but they are still a favourite among truck drivers.
Scania is probably best known for its headline V8 hero engine but its range of six-pot units gets the bulk of the work done.
The company has just released a modular inline six in Australia and Carsguide has managed to give it a workout on a test run.
This new six-cylinder engine, along with a new fivecylinder, now cleans up its emissions with selective catalytic reduction (SCR), using AdBlue diesel exhaust treatment fluid.
Scania believed SCR was only needed for its V8s, which tend to run hotter, at high speeds with heavy loads, and felt exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) did the job on its fiveand six-cylinder units. It has concluded SCR is the best solution for all its engines.
The new engines get the latest SCR technology, with revised AdBlue injectors for better control and improved reliability. The good news for my test drive passenger and me is that the new engine is also available with Scania’s twopedal Opticruise 14-speed automated transmission, which means no gear crunching on my behalf.
This is the next step along from the three-pedal automated transmission, which would require clutch use only when you get started and come to a halt.
I don’t think I’mthe only one who got caught out by this older system, as it was easy to forget the clutch was needed when pulling up at traffic lights because it isn’t needed for gear changes.
Our test truck is the small and low-riding P-Series cab, which is sending power through one axle. The engine is the 324kW (440hp) version of the 12.7-litre six with 2300Nm of torque and is the most powerful engine available for the P-Series cab.
The 12.7L is also available in power outputs running from 265kW (360hp) through to 353kW (480hp) although the highest rated engine is only available with larger cab models.
Our single trailer combination weighs 37 tonnes all up but you wouldn’t think that when it comes to hauling up hills. The new SCR engines lose nothing to the old EGR units and there is plenty of torque low down to ease along, using the least amount of fuel. The gearbox works extremely well left in automatic but switching to manual for hilly terrain is the best way to keep fuel use down.
Our truck is fitted with the driver training application that rates your changes, anticipation and accelerator operation. It gives you points for positive driving and, though this all sounds a bit silly, it does encourage drivers to think about what they are doing.
This gearbox runs quite a tall diff ratio, which means it chugs along at a relatively low engine speed of 1400rpm at 100km/h.
Scania has loads of safety gear including the lane departure warning, a buzzing sound if you move out of your lane. In theory it should help a dozing driver wake up but if the driver has enough time to avert a crash will need to be seen in the field.
Adaptive cruise control, which maintains a safe distance between your truck and vehicles in front, is available, as is electronic stability control.
There’s cruise control and downhill cruise control, that brings on the transmission retarder and engine brake to keep the truck at a set speed down hills without using the regular brakes.