Iveco Powerstar 6400 video review

By: Matt Wood


The most visible aspect of the Iveco brand these days seems to be its light commercial and vocational products. It can be easy to forget that the company not only sells heavy duty products here, it also builds them here as well.

 

 

It’s been a while since we last climbed behind the wheel of an Iveco prime mover and the last one I tested was the bonneted Powerstar 6800 ISX powered by the 15 litre Cummins ISX EGR engine. During this drive I kept wondering why this truck isn’t more popular.

Recently we got our hands on another incarnation of the Powerstar, the lightweight 6400. Under Performance Based Standards (PBS), this truck can go out to 56.5 ton as a tipper and dog giving it a lot of payload potential.

Engine

One of the factors contributing to the light tare weight of the 6400 is the 13 litre Iveco Cursor engine which puts out 560hp and also cranks out 1840 ft/lb of torque; impressive numbers for a 13 litre engine.

The fact that the Cursor is of European origin means that it has a nice low, flat torque curve. Emissions are taken care of by using Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR).

Iveco ,-Powerstar -6400,-review ,-truck ,-ATN3

 

Transmission

Taking care of gear changing business is the ZF sourced 16-speed Eurotronic automatic manual transmission (AMT), this tranny under other names has found a home in products offerings from DAF and MAN to name a couple and has proved itself in many applications over the years as a smart and sweet shifting cog box.

Iveco ,-Powerstar -6400,-review ,-truck ,-ATN2 

 

Cab and controls

There are cup and bottle holders au go go, so there is always somewhere for a latte and well placed power outlets handle gadget power duties.

The view down both sides of the truck is exceptional thanks to the well-placed mirror shrouds with all four mirrors including the spotters electronically adjustable.

Overhead are the UHF and stereo, unfortunately the branded head unit isn’t Bluetooth compatible, though, thankfully, the unit doesn’t light up like a distracting Wurlitzer juke box just out of line of sight, which is to be commended.

Iveco ,-Powerstar -6400,-review ,-truck ,-ATN

 

Performance

A load of gravel in the back had us tipping the scales at a gross weight of 48 tonnes, a very decent tipper weight.

I fired up the 13-litre, which came to life with a muted rumble before chattering away quietly while I made myself comfortable.

After that it was just a matter of selecting D for drive, releasing the maxis and hitting the road.

I’ve never actually worked as a professional mud carter, but I learnt to appreciate the nimbleness of the tipper and quad dog combination as well as the other perks that come along with it.

My experience tells me that professional mud carters are allowed to overtake turning B-doubles on the inside, disconnect people’s pay TV at will as well as being able to periodically modify the roofs of inner city freeway tunnels. I, though, behaved.

I rolled through the streets of the Victorian town of Shepparton with the Cursor happily chatting to the Eurotronic tranny.

The Euro torque curve kept the wheels turning with ease as I turned onto the highway. The Cursor is a very rev happy engine that develops its peak 2,495Nm of torque from 1,000rpm but develops peak horsepower at 1,900rpm. It’s quick to build up revs and to drop them making it a very perky engine to drive and very quick to respond to a planted jandal.

Once out of town, the Powerstar settled into a happy highway 1,600rpm. The Cursor is very quiet in operation at round town speeds and even out on the highway. As with other Powerstars I’ve driven, visibility is excellent, even out over the front left-hand corner of the truck.

Steer axle placement means that it’s very responsive to steering wheel input which makes it great for backing a quad dog and chasing the dolly around a corner.

It does, however, make it a little twitchy on the open road but a decent sized steering wheel means that you’re not constantly correcting either.

Iveco ,-Powerstar -6400,-review ,-truck ,-ATN5

 

To give the Iveco a decent workout, I decided to give it a run over the Strathbogie Ranges and out through Bonnie Doon before heading back to Shepp.

On tackling the 20km/h switchbacks and steep climbs over the Merton Gap, the Cursor responded gamely.

However, to stop it from losing its momentum, I did have to keep an eye on what was happening with the AMT.

The free-revving engine drops rpm too quickly for the tranny to catch in some cases, so some driver intervention is warranted to keep the revs up and the wheels turning.

This is hardly difficult and only needs a flick of the steering column-mounted wand to drop a cog or two to preempt a climb.

Engine braking seemed a little lacklustre at first, but again, dropping a cog or two and getting rpm up to 1,900rpm really pulled the truck back on the steep descent.

Over the test loop that took in rolling hills, country roads, climbs and descents, the Powerstar rode and drove exceptionally well.

Does it perform as well as a 15-litre equivalent?

Well, no, an ISX Cummins hangs on and lugs down a lot more. But you only really notice any lack of performance on really hard climbs amongst the tough stuff.

The Cursor does tend to keeps its cool as well which keeps the engine fan to a minimum.

The climate control inside kept things cool inside the cab as well.

As a hard working tipper around town or as a grain hauler in the bush, the 6400 really should be enough truck for most.

In fact, the use of a SCR power plant should be seen as a bonus for agricultural roles.

Fuel wise our combination averaged 2.1km/l with a lot of starting, stopping and climbing which is pretty darned respectable in my book.

Iveco ,-Powerstar -6400,-review ,-truck ,-ATN4

 

Verdict

As I climbed out of the Powerstar for the last time I found myself wondering yet again:

"Why don’t more people buy this truck?"

It’s a functional easy to use truck that promises productivity gains in both payload and in fuel economy and the Cursor engine is now well proven.

Dorky styling inside and out probably doesn’t help; it looks like a cab over with a bonnet stuck on the front and the windscreen is just a bit too upright, however that never did Scania’s T-cab any harm.

I reckon it comes back to image and perception, one industry insider made a point saying that maybe if the Powerstar had worn an International badge for the bulk of its life it would have a better image and perception, and maybe he is right.

Either way the Powerstar image really needs a tiger-blood transfusion as it’s a much better truck than many give it credit for.

 

Likes

  • Ergonomically very good
  • Engine and transmission is a nice combo

 

Dislikes

  • Very dorky looking
  • Lack of Bluetooth connectivity

 

Specifications

Make/model: Iveco Powerstar 6400 6x4

Engine: Iveco Cursor 13 with SCR

Power/torque: 560hp(412kW)@1,900rpm / 1840ft-lb (2,495Nm)@1,000rpm

Transmission: 16-speed Iveco Eurotronic AMT

GCM: 60,000kg

 

Find Iveco trucks for sale.

Search for new Iveco specs.

 

You can also follow our updates by joining our LinkedIn group or liking us on Facebook