Giti Tyres Big Test - Mountain Master
So, imagine you're the New Zealand distributor for a truck make and you need to put a new model through a bit of a Kiwi fitness test – ensure that it's going to be suitable in NZ conditions.
Check that the combination of its new automated manual transmission and revised 13-litre engine is going to be up to the job of dealing with NZ's steep, sharp up and downhills – as against the autobahn, auto strada, autoweg and auto route running that it's already been proven on in Europe.
That its smart technology isn't going to be fooled by something peculiarly Kiwi…or just our bloody awful roads.
And then someone comes up with a brainwave. Do a deal to get one of three pre-production test trucks into the Greymouth-based Trans-West Freighters – running it as a bulk unit…to-ing and fro-ing daily across the Southern Alps. Boom! Double tops!
Yeah, that should do it: Have it negotiate what must amount to hundreds of corners, get hammered by bumpy, potholed and just plain rough tarmac road surfaces, bang its way on and off dozens of bridges….
Pirelli Trevor Test
We catch up with Liam and his Trans-West Euro 6 DAF CF 530 on a nice fine morning in Darfield, ready for a run over Arthur's Pass to the West Coast.
After the compulsory stop at Sheffield Pies for breakfast we're on the road towards the Alps.
Liam's in the driver's seat for the first stage and then I take over once we get up onto the flats beyond Porter's.
It's an easy entry with three well-spaced steps, each with good width, depth and a grippy treadplate for stable footing. Grabhandles front and rear of the doors complement these great steps and make it nice and safe.
Once inside it's easy to get comfortable, with a great Comfort Air seat that gives plenty of adjustment, along with great steering adjustment.
Right in front of the steering wheel is the main dash with the usual speedo and tachometer, along with fuel and temperature gauges and, in the middle, the multifunction driver performance assistant (DPA) – an interactive programme to assist the driver to achieve more fuel-efficient driving.