Giti Tyres Big Test: Fit for a Legend
In the ongoing contest between European truckmakers as to who has the most luxurious, best appointed and most driver-friendly cab interior, Scania has a new contender.
In fact, the second generation of its PRT heavy range – and in particular its all-new S-Series sleeper cab,
with its high roof and completely flat floor – is a potential winner.
That's no big surprise: Scania has had the benefit of calling on some impressive expertise in the newcomer's development. The Volkswagen Group, which owns Scania, by way of its Traton truck subsidiary, has an enviable reputation for the quality of the materials used in its car interiors….and a similar standard has now been applied to Scania's premium trucks.
At a more fundamental level, the design of the new range's cabs was contracted out to the famed Porsche Engineering – another VW Group subsidiary. That's seriously heavyweight competence to have in the family.
The first of the new model in service in New Zealand is a V8-powered S650 run by Heikell Transport, a livestock operator based at Thornton, just outside Whakatane.
There's a nice symmetry at play here – as HTL bought its first Scania in 2001 and has stuck with the brand ever since. Currently the only non-Scanias on the fleet – a Volvo and a Hino – are run by owner/drivers.
The H-rated 8x4 S650, which is the subject of this month's Giti Big Test, is hitched to a five-axle Jackson trailer and carries Nationwide alloy crates – both brands standard across the fleet.
Pirelli Trevor TestWe start out in Whakatane for this test of Heikell's new Scania S650 8x4 livestock unit, running a Jackson stock deck, a matching five-axle trailer and Nationwide alloy crates.
The mid-winter rain has set in by the time we pick up a load of steers and heifers in the hills behind Matata, destined for Silver Fern Farms' meatworks in Hastings.
James has the tough job negotiating a muddy, tight situation at the cockey's yards, but has no trouble, thanks to the great steering lock and traction delivered by the Scania. He also had Traction Air CTI if needed.
I get to take over the driving duties at the Rangitaiki Tavern after a nice hot coffee and lunch before we head over the major part of the Taupo-Napier Highway.