THE AUSSIE OP­TION

The Sca­nia Tour­ing has hit Aus­tralia pro­vid­ing a ver­sa­tile choice for op­er­a­tors and a range of Aus­tralian-de­signed op­tions that make it ide­ally suited to this coun­try’s var­ied needs. ABC mag­a­zine takes an ex­clu­sive first lo­cal test.

ABC (Australia) - - CONTENTS - WORDS & IMAGES PAUL ALDRIDGE

The Sca­nia Tour­ing has hit Aus­tralia, pro­vid­ing a ver­sa­tile, af­ford­able choice for op­er­a­tors and a range of Aus­tralia-de­signed op­tions that make this ide­ally suited to our var­ied needs. Paul Aldridge got be­hind the wheel.

We all know that Aus­tralia has some of the most var­ied and harsh driv­ing conditions world­wide, and it’s a com­mon theme that’s al­ways brought up when we talk to im­porters. When the global mar­ket meets our mar­ket it’s al­ways re­as­sur­ing to know that our conditions have been con­sid­ered. It’s a good sign the ve­hi­cle’s longevity, safety and com­fort will meet our needs and they will be well re­ceived.

The Sca­nia Tour­ing is ad­ver­tised as an af­ford­able, qual­ity ve­hi­cle suit­able for dif­fer­ent ap­pli­ca­tions from daily school runs to char­ter op­er­a­tions, but also suit­able for longer trips as well due to its im­pres­sive nine cu­bic me­tres of un­der­floor lug­gage space, so it seems like the Tour­ing is a ver­sa­tile, all ’round choice.

So how has Aus­tralia re­acted to this new model since its re­lease?

Sca­nia na­tional sales man­ager Jamie Atkin­son said: “Very, very well. At the mo­ment we are work­ing day and night try­ing to get them out there. So, we’ve got the orders, we are ac­tu­ally just try­ing to in­crease pro­duc­tion to keep up with de­mand.

“This Sca­nia Tour­ing is a Euro 6, K 360, SCR [se­lec­tive cat­alytic re­duc­tion] only. We are still the only man­u­fac­turer that can achieve Euro 6 just by us­ing AdBlue, so there is no EGR [ex­haust gas re­cir­cu­la­tion],” con­tin­ued Atkin­son.

AUSSIE ADAPTATION­S

Its brochure states that the Sca­nia Tour­ing is de­signed for the global mar­ket and re­fined for Aus­tralia. So what mod­i­fi­ca­tions have been made specif­i­cally for the Aus­tralian mar­ket?

“We are bring­ing the ve­hi­cles in with no seats, so we use Aus­tralian sup­pli­ers. The ve­hi­cles are then equipped with lo­cal des­ti­na­tion signs, ob­vi­ously school bus signs, with school bus lights, which is com­pli­ant to the dif­fer­ent state reg­u­la­tions,” he replied.

“When it comes to spe­cific de­sign changes for Aus­tralia, this is a global prod­uct and the Sca­nia-Higer pro­duc­tion line is over­seen by the en­gi­neers from Swe­den, but we have had feed­back about the A30 prod­uct that has re­sulted in some spec­i­fi­ca­tion changes specif­i­cally to suit the longevity of ve­hi­cle re­quire­ments in Aus­tralia.

“An ex­am­ple of this would be the ad­di­tion of alu­minium floors in the lug­gage bins. Over­seas, tim­ber floors are of­ten used and this is suit­able for their ve­hi­cles’ lives as they are only kept for 12 years, but it is com­mon in Aus­tralia for gov­ern­ment con­tracts to run from 18 up to 25 years,” he con­tin­ued.

De­signed for global mar­kets, re­fined for Aus­tralian conditions – Sca­nia mar­ket de­mand also drives the ‘Aus­tralian op­tions’ avail­able. The drive ve­hi­cle today has a wind­screen stone pro­tec­tor and that is an­other op­tion de­signed in Aus­tralia purely to meet Aus­tralian needs. It’s good to know there are op­tions avail­able to suit our var­ied conditions.

AF­TER­SALES SIM­PLI­FIED

Time off the road means costly dol­lars for op­er­a­tors, so how does Sca­nia meet the all-im­por­tant af­ter­sales ser­vice, as it claims to have a rapid order-to-delivery parts sys­tem in place?

Atkin­son replied, “Well, ev­ery­body is look­ing to re­duce their cents per kilo­me­tre and we have fo­cused on a day-to-day ba­sis. Be­fore we brought the ve­hi­cles into the coun­try, we had to get the parts right and we’ve had to get the trad­ing right with our af­ter­sales team.

“Es­sen­tially, with all of our ve­hi­cles, the bod­ies are the same and that’s go­ing to help be­cause it’s a com­plete Sca­nia prod­uct, so ev­ery part on that ve­hi­cle has got a part num­ber – the air con­di­tioner, the bin doors, the mir­rors….

“We are mov­ing away from a ‘that’s a body is­sue’, ‘that’s an air con­di­tioner is­sue’, or there is ‘an OEM is­sue’. This is a very dif­fer­ent of­fer­ing to the cus­tomers; it’s a one-stop shop, which means we of­fer a one-point con­tact for all cus­tomer needs and makes ev­ery ve­hi­cle a com­pletely sup­ported Sca­nia ve­hi­cle,” Atkin­son ex­plained.

HOW LONG?

With its ap­par­ent great re­sponse from the Aus­tralian mar­ket, what is the or­der­ing time?

Alexan­der Corne, man­ager public re­la­tions for Sca­nia Aus­tralia said: “The pop­u­lar­ity of the prod­uct in Aus­tralia is

bet­ter than we had ex­pected, and the de­mand is cer­tainly bet­ter than we ex­pected. All the other coun­tries and mar­kets that have re­leased the Tour­ing have ex­pe­ri­enced a very strong and en­dur­ing de­mand for the Tour­ing,” he ex­plained.

“We have been able to in­crease our al­lo­ca­tion of pro­duc­tion slots from the fac­tory, and so we will have a good sup­ply of stock ar­riv­ing be­fore the end of the year in both ZF auto and 8-speed Sca­nia Op­ti­cruise trans­mis­sion op­tions.

“This is one of the ben­e­fits of mass pro­duc­tion, the fac­tory can in­crease pro­duc­tion to meet de­mand,” he ex­plained.

DRIVER COM­FORT

Sca­nia says the driver’s seat in the Tour­ing is the best seat in the house. Big claims, so how is this achieved?

Atkin­son said: “It’s the er­gonomics and you will no­tice this im­me­di­ately when you have a drive. The tra­di­tional way of build­ing a ve­hi­cle is the body can be ex­actly the same, it doesn’t mat­ter what chas­sis it is built on.

“And ob­vi­ously, there are dif­fer­ences in all dif­fer­ent chas­sis, but you will see today the er­gonomics of that dash­board. You will see that as a driver, it’s a com­plete Sca­nia dash­board. It’s de­signed specif­i­cally for that chas­sis, so your view of all your in­stru­ments, your ease of get­ting to the air con­di­tioner, it is all set out to make it easy for the driver; your in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem,

It’s a one-stop shop, which means we of­fer a one-point con­tact for all cus­tomer needs.

and the PA is all right at your fin­ger­tips.”

COM­FORT FOR ALL

An­other ad­ver­tised fea­ture of the Tour­ing is the low noise lev­els achieved. For both driver and pas­sen­gers alike, noise re­duc­tion is es­sen­tial for a com­fort­able ride. The re­duc­tion is meant to be a com­bi­na­tion of the ef­fi­cient aero­dy­namic ex­te­rior and good driv­e­train iso­la­tion. Corne helped ex­plain how Sca­nia achieves these re­duc­tions…

“Some of the ben­e­fits of the in­te­grated ap­proach for the busi­ness be­ing 100 per cent pure Sca­nia is that we have the abil­ity to talk to all sys­tems to achieve the best re­sults.

“The driv­e­train has dif­fer­ent ar­eas work­ing to­gether to en­sure that the NVH [noise vi­bra­tion and harsh­ness] char­ac­ter­is­tics are as good as they

pos­si­bly can be, and we have the abil­ity for the en­gine en­gi­neers to talk to the body en­gi­neers and say ‘this is the ve­hi­cle rev range, this is how the en­gine is go­ing to run, what do you need to do to en­cap­su­late the en­gine com­part­ment to make it quiet?’ I think when we had our very first drive that was the first thing that re­ally stood out.”

Atkin­son added: “We keep talk­ing about lift­ing the com­fort for the pas­sen­gers, and it comes down to ‘if you are go­ing to do it, you might as well do it right’ – and that’s not only a de­mand for the Aus­tralian mar­ket, you’ve got to re­mem­ber that it is also a mar­ket de­mand from Europe. At the launch of the Tour­ing last year we had to shut­tle our guests from and back to Cairns. The im­me­di­ate feed­back – and it was all bus op­er­a­tors and their wives and part­ners – was how quiet the coach was.”

DRIVER SUP­PORT

Some­times driv­ing tools could be in­ter­preted as a way for op­er­a­tors to mon­i­tor (spy on) their driv­ers, but the re­sponse has been pos­i­tive from feed­back on the Sca­nia Driver Sup­port sys­tem.

The sys­tem of­fers a com­bi­na­tion of driv­ing tips and awards driv­ers a star rat­ing for their smooth­ness, an­tic­i­pa­tion and safety.

“An ex­am­ple of how the Driver Sup­port works would be if you are ap­proach­ing a crest on a hill the driver sup­port tool will show a mes­sage like, ‘well done for lift­ing off’, or if you don’t lift off it would say maybe next time ‘lift off be­fore crest­ing the hill’, so it is of­fer­ing praise or tips to help you man­age your ef­fi­ciency,” Corne ex­plained.

Yet it’s not just data col­lec­tion. It has the tips that help driv­ers cor­rect or im­prove ar­eas of their driv­ing and help them im­prove bad driv­ing habits and be­come more ef­fi­cient driv­ers.

Corne con­tin­ued, “Es­sen­tially at the end of your shift – be­cause it’s got the Sca­nia telem­at­ics sys­tem – that data is col­lected and gath­ered of how you have done on your drive. Your op­er­a­tions team, or your man­age­ment team, get ac­cu­rate in­for­ma­tion on your driv­ing habits. With your driv­ers, as long as they are will­ing to fol­low the tips you will start to see run­ning cost come down be­cause they have an on-board driver trainer.”

THE TEST DRIVE

For today’s drive we set off from Sca­nia’s head­quar­ters at Camp­bell­field, Vic­to­ria.

Just a short drive to the Hume Free­way, it was prob­a­bly a good time of day as we avoided the peak-hour rush. We did about an half hour stint on the Free­way then left to give the Tour­ing a bit of a coun­try drive.

This model is a nine-litre, five-cylin­der Euro 6 with 360hp (268kW) and 1,700Nm matched with an eight-speed Sca­nia Op­ti­cruise au­to­mated trans­mis­sion.

Upon first start­ing the drive, it’s fair to think this is a pretty im­pos­ing-look­ing ve­hi­cle and won­der how well the specs and driv­e­train might suit, but as soon as you jump be­hind the wheel it’s im­me­di­ately ev­i­dent that it’s a per­fect match.

In test­ing we got to ex­pe­ri­ence city driv­ing, free­way driv­ing and coun­try roads and we could not fault how it both drove and han­dled.

The driver’s cabin has some fea­tures you would re­ally ap­pre­ci­ate: it has a leather-bound steer­ing wheel and heated seat. Straight away when step­ping into the Tour­ing you can see the dash is very car like, stream­lined, and easy to nav­i­gate.

As stan­dard comes a favourite driver’s cabin fea­ture: dis­creetly hid­den in the dash is a small fridge. On ex­tended trips or in hot conditions it can be hard as a driver be­cause you of­ten don’t get the luxury of leav­ing the coach to buy your meals and drinks, so this fea­ture means cold water on a hot day is al­ways on hand.

Vi­sion for the driver is great. The mir­rors work per­fectly, but what’s re­ally great are the blind-spot mir­rors in­cor­po­rated into the arms. Mir­rors might not seem like a ma­jor safety fea­ture, but any driver will tell you, the greater your abil­ity to see ob­jects and peo­ple near your ve­hi­cle, the eas­ier your job is and the like­li­hood of any im­pact or ac­ci­dent is sig­nif­i­cantly re­duced.

The rear-view cam­era gives great vi­sion and field of view, as you can ac­tu­ally even see what’s be­side you. The colours and pic­ture qual­ity is per­fect. There is also a cam­era for the lug­gage area. One click of a but­ton and you get a sur­pris­ingly clear pic­ture in­side the com­part­ment. There is a che­quer­plate floor in the cabin, so all’s very easy to see.

The wind­screen is a huge piece of wrap-around glass. There are quite large pil­lars at the sides, but there is no neg­a­tive im­pact on vi­sion be­cause of the large glass ar­eas and great mir­ror cov­er­age.

In­ter­nally, one fea­ture adding an­other level of safety are the yel­low strip high­lights on the grab han­dles and safety rail. The win­dow tint is quite dark on en­try so the

It’s quite amaz­ing how the ac­tions of the driver in front are re­acted to with­out the driver do­ing a thing.

yel­low against the grey re­ally stands out and would make it safer for older pas­sen­gers.

SAFETY FIRST

Free­way driv­ing al­ways give you a bit of time to test out how some of the safety fea­tures work. The Tour­ing has anti-lock brak­ing sys­tem, elec­tronic brak­ing sys­tem, elec­tronic sta­bil­ity con­trol, trac­tion con­trol and hill start aid.

Adap­tive cruise con­trol is an­other great fea­ture with the Op­ti­cruise trans­mis­sion. The driver sets the re­ac­tion dis­tance be­tween them­selves and the ve­hi­cle in front which, of course, would de­pend on your driv­ing sit­u­a­tion. It takes the un­ex­pected out of the equa­tion, so as a driver it gives you peace of mind – even more so for the op­er­a­tors and it cer­tainly gives an ad­di­tional layer of safety to your pas­sen­gers.

When you first ex­pe­ri­ence how it works it’s quite amaz­ing how the ac­tions of the driver in front are re­acted to with­out the driver do­ing a thing.

Some­times no mat­ter how dili­gent we are it can be the ac­tions of oth­ers that we can’t con­trol. When you ex­pe­ri­ence how it kicks in as a safety fea­ture you re­alise all buses should have the ca­pac­ity for this fea­ture. It comes stan­dard in the Tour­ing, so well done Sca­nia.

SEAT OF THE PANTS

The seats are the only ma­jor add-on op­er­a­tors need to make with the Sca­nia Tour­ing. In this test ve­hi­cle are McCon­nell seats, though most op­er­a­tors have their own pref­er­ences with seat­ing and it can also dif­fer, of course, ac­cord­ing to the ap­pli­ca­tion.

Ex­ter­nally, there is the dis­tinc­tive Sca­nia styling with matt black grille, smart LED day­time run­ning lights, plus the over­head clearance lights are a good as they are flush mounted into the body so this would be handy when driv­ing near over­hang­ing trees. This model today is fin­ished in a very slick cham­pagne colour while over­all the fit and fin­ish was im­pres­sive.

Above: Adap­tive cruise con­trol is an­other great fea­ture on this model with the Op­ti­cruise trans­mis­sion.

Below: The wind­screen pro­tec­tor is an­other aussie-de­signed op­tion.

Top, Left: Sca­nia says it is the only man­u­fac­turer that can achieve Euro 6 just by us­ing AdBlue; Miche­lin 295/80R 22.5 tyres with Al­coa Du­raBrite alu­minium rims.

Below: The stor­age bins have an alu­minium lin­ing to in­crease the longevity.

Above, Right: Quite a strik­ing rear end once out on the road.

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