Revealed: New Scania R-Series set for 2010 launch

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<font color=red><b>FIRST LOOK:</b></font> Scania unveils new R-Series range in Europe, ahead of 2010 Australian release

Revealed: New Scania R-Series set for 2010 launch
Revealed: New Scania R-Series set for 2010 launch
By Gary Worrall | September 18, 2009

With a determination rarely seen in the current economic climate, Swedish manufacturer Scania has unveiled its new R-Series range in Europe, with the Australian launch set for 2010.

Featuring a host of upgrades inside and out, the R-Series is another example of European manufacturers chasing high horsepower ratings that for a long time were the preserve of American truck companies, boasting a peak figure of 450kW (620hp).

While the Australian specification is yet to be decided, line haul operators will be looking to fuel capacity increases, with European laws stipulating a maximum fuel load of 1500 litres.

While some question marks remain, Scania spokesman Alexander Corne says there are "no plans" to bring the featured TopLine cab to Australia.

The frontal area of the R-Series had a lengthy encounter with the makeover stick, with changes including a deeper grille section that extends from the windscreen down to the bumper as well as adding side skirts to cover the fuel tanks, improving aero efficiency.

The new bumper line also opens the possibility of Adaptive Cruise Control for Australia, as Scania widens the range of trucks able to be fitted with the technology.

Operator comfort also went under the microscope with plenty of improvements to make life on the road more comfortable, including a 155mm thick ‘pocket spring’ mattress that can be extended out to 900mm wide.

There are also four ‘Designer’s Choice’ recommended interior colour schemes, as well as a wide colour selection for upholstery, textiles, trim panels, dashboard, underskirts and mats, while the ‘soft touch’ dashboard is new, including an easy-clean finish.

The designers even went so far as to offer a dash-mounted coffee machine and a fold out work and dining table with anti-slip lip, both optional in the new model.

Even the steering wheel was re-configured with new buttons for easier operation, including cruise control and audio functions, while the audio unit now includes CD and MP3 as well as an auxiliary input for outside devices.

The twin bunk layout has been retained with additional storage spaces now available, including high mounted bins accessible from the top bunk, as well as overhead storage and bedside storage bins behind the doors, while the doors themselves include expanded storage compartments and bottle holders for up to 1.5-litre bottles, as well as four cup holders inside the cabin.

Mechanically, the R-Series now offers an optional ‘clutch-less’ version of the highly-regarded Opticruise transmission, as well as the standard three pedal version.

The new AMT Opticruise retains the ‘12+2’ layout, however the hydraulic clutch is now controlled by a computer for smoother and faster gear changes to reduce clutch wear. Meanwhile, the Hill Start function holds the brake pressure for three seconds , allowing time for the driver to bring the revs up without stressing the engine.

The gearbox now features a ‘manoeuvring mode’ which allows for precise clutch control for hooking and unhooking trailers and other sensitive operations, while a ‘rocking’ mode allows the driver to shift rapidly between first and reverse.

On the power side of the equation, the R-Series will have a range of selective catalytic reduction (SCR) and exhaus gas recirculation (EGR) engines in both Euro 4 and Euro 5 emission trim.

But the biggest development is the Scania Driver Support: an on-board, real-time driver assistance package aimed at reducing fuel consumption by encouraging the driver to monitor their own performance.

With Scania’s European research showing the driver can directly influence at least 40 percent of a truck’s operating cost, the Driver Support System continuously monitors and updates the driver’s ‘score’ and suggests alterations to improve fuel economy based on the terrain, throttle position, braking and other factors.

The system grew out of the European regulation requiring heavy vehicle drivers complete 35 hours of ongoing driver trainer in a five-year period, however the greatest benefit came from ongoing assistance leading to the development of the system.

Scania says its research has found drivers adjust to the system’s assistance, benefiting not just the operator, but all road users, as it also encourages safer driving habits.

The Scania Driver Support is standard on all vehicles specified with an electronic braking system, range-splitter gearbox and Scania Retarder.

With the new R-Series now available in Europe, Australian operators can look forward to the arrival of the new trucks to the local market, including a full test and review by ATN and Owner//Driver.

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