Best new trucks of 2019


We reveal the vast array of exciting new truck models headed our way in 2019

Buy now

Off the back of an extraordinarily buoyant truck market in 2018 and 2019, manufacturers across the board have unveiled some of the most exciting new products to emerge in decades.

And many were on public display for the first time ever at the 2019 Brisbane Truck Show – the one-and-only event on the Australian trucking calendar where tens of thousands of visitors flock to see the latest and greatest trucks and trucking equipment, mixed with some of the safest, most efficient technology anywhere in the world.

And in true Brisbane fashion, 2019 was another spectacular success with more than 36,000 visitors pouring through the doors to view first-hand, and many for the first time, the latest developments in trucking hardware.

From Freightliner to Volvo; Kenworth to Western Star, Hino to Isuzu, and Mercedes-Benz to Scania, here are some of the exciting new truck models headed our way in 2019.

MERCEDES-BENZ

Toyota Hilux - best selling ute

So what’s missing from this truck?

Mirrors, of course.

Or, at least, mirrors as we know them.

Star attraction on an exceptionally professional and popular Mercedes-Benz stand was the first sight of an advanced model featuring a swag of new developments and currently undergoing a comprehensive validation program.

Top of the list is MirrorCam; a design that uses aerodynamic cameras connected to two large screens on the A-pillars in the cab that dramatically boost driver vision.

Clever!

Really clever, and a vast improvement on the big, traditional mirror housings which severely limit driver vision at roundabouts and the like.

Another big attraction from Benz was its SoloStar concept truck, showcasing a dramatically reworked interior design with big improvements in overall bunk comfort and driver convenience.

Again, clever!

In fact, clever enough to prompt a plea to take the truck for an overnight stroll in the not-too-distant future.

 

FREIGHTLINER

FREIGHTLINER

Well, we tipped its first public appearance would be in Brisbane and sure enough, there it was facing straight across the aisle at Kenworth; the first right hand-drive Freightliner Cascadia 126 model in the country, sporting a 36-inch XT sleeper. 

Punched by a 600hp Detroit DD16 engine driving into a 12-speed automated shifter and chalking up big test kilometres in a top-weight B-double fuel operation, the right-hooker sat alongside the two lefthand-drive models which have been undergoing Australian testing since mid-way through 2018 in preparation for an official launch late this year.

Critically, Cascadia is set to raise the safety standard for conventional trucks in Australia to an entirely new and decidedly overdue level.

Confidence is running high within Freightliner but insiders say nothing is being taken for granted.

At every level of the organisation is the knowledge that it must get Cascadia right if the brand is to realise its true potential on the Australian market.

 

VOLVO

Volvo

It’s said all good things comes to those who wait and that was certainly the case for Volvo in Brisbane.

More than six years after the launch of the current FH family, you could almost hear the sighs of relief as Volvo Trucks Australia revealed the upsized Globetrotter XXL cab, effectively making Volvo the only European brand with a sleeper cab to match the space and driver convenience of Kenworth’s K200. 

After an exhaustive development and test program spanning several years, and by moving the rear wall of a regular XL cab back 250 mm, Volvo has created a cab with 40 percent more space than its existing FH sleeper and surprisingly, 13 per cent more than the XXL cab from the former FH family.

Yet the XXL wasn’t Volvo’s only truck on show.

It’s now 25 years since the launch of the original FH range and celebrating the milestone, a ‘Special Edition’ took pride of place equipped with a full suite of safety and operational features – I-shift Dual Clutch, the iSee topography system, dynamic steering and a comprehensive safety pack.

 

KENWORTH

Kenworth

Kenworth’s long-held leadership of the heavy-duty truck market is perhaps now more entrenched than ever following the recent launch of its new T360 and T410 models.

Like the super-successful T610 launched at the 2017 Brisbane show, the T360 and T410 carry the 2.1 metre wide cab and while the 360 retains Cummins power, the 410 employs the Paccar MX-13 engine only.

Unlike the T610, however, the T410 offers no SAR version with a set-forward front axle.

Whispers from within suggest that may change before too much longer.

Meantime, the 410 now offers an extensive range of sleeper options.   

Predictably, both the T360 and T410 were front and centre on a Kenworth stand that saw hordes of people getting up close and personal with not just these new models, but also a K200 cab-over equipped with a Cummins X15 engine achieving Euro 6 compliance without any EGR input.

  

DAF

DAF

The other half of the Paccar pair is, of course, DAF.

The appearance of a CF85 model with an all-Aussie livery left no doubt that plenty has happened since the last Brisbane Truck Show in 2017.

For instance, the CF85 is now the first DAF to be assembled at Paccar’s Bayswater (Vic) headquarters, but it definitely won’t be the last.

The Bayswater facility is currently undergoing a massive $30 million-plus expansion program as Paccar prepares for a future where the Dutch cab-over will play a far greater role in the Australian operation.

In typical Paccar fashion, it may not happen overnight.

But it will happen!

 

UD

UD

Told ya so!

A few months back, and much to UD’s consternation, we predicted the brand’s new generation of medium-duty models would be based on a model built in Thailand called Croner, probably powered by Volvo Group’s lively 8.0 litre engine.

And sure enough, there it was in Brisbane.

Croner won’t be officially released here until later this year or perhaps even early 2020.

In the interim, UD will be busy putting the finishing touches to a model which marks an evolutionary change for the durable Japanese brand.

Yet while Croner is an exciting development, UD’s biggest news in Brisbane was the release of an 8.0-litre version of its highly acclaimed Quon.

This is a particularly smart move by UD.

The engine is Volvo Group’s highly efficient GH8 8.0 litre in-line six delivering up to 263kW (353 hp) at 2200 rpm and peak torque of 1428Nm between 1200 and 1600rpm.

Offered in two forms – 6x2 and 6x4 – the 8.0-litre Quon joins its 11-litre counterpart which in our estimation remains the best heavy-duty Japanese truck on the market.

But don’t expect these two models to be the end of UD’s immediate product plans.

You can bet there’s more to come, and soon!

 

MACK

MACK

It’s now 100 years since Mack started selling trucks in Australia, yet rather than looking back at past highlights, the focus in Brisbane was all about the future.

Front and centre was the much anticipated and somewhat overdue Anthem.

It’s not available yet and there’s still no definite timeline for its introduction as Mack continues testing and validation processes.

Nonetheless, an Anthem display with a walk-through cab layout at least showcased the benefits this more modern Mack brings to the breed, not least a much needed stand-up sleeper for most models in the Mack range, particularly Super-Liner.

The only other Mack at the dog show was a B-double concept unit.

Arguably the highest conventional cab ever shown to an Australian audience and with a uniquely styled and heavily raked hood, the prototype has been developed to fit Mack’s big bore MP10 16-litre engine into a shorter bumper to back-of-cab dimension to satisfy 34 pallet B-double roles.

Mack’s current contender for 34 pallet B-double work is the Trident model but limited to the 535hp output of the MP8 13-litre engine (the 16 litre simply doesn’t fit), the bulldog struggles to satisfy the market’s performance demands.

According to several sources, customer response to the big bore, high-rise prototype was extremely positive. Certainly positive enough to continue with development plans.

We’ll being staying tuned on this one.

 

IVECO

IVECO

In a sign of changing times at Iveco, centre-court on the show stand was given to derivatives of the diverse Daily light commercial range.

Iveco has made significant inroads with Daily over recent years, from an off-the-shelf van with the biggest cubic capacity in the business to extremely capable and highly advanced off-road units, light commercials continue to be big business for the brand.

On the truck side, though, it’s slow going.

The new Stralis X-Way range covers a lot of bases but in a fiercely contested market, climbing the sales ladder won’t be easy.

Likewise, it’ll be interesting to see how acceptance goes for the new ACCO with its Iveco cab and powertrain.

The new design is certainly better than before and while Iveco is a master of dual control systems for waste collection and the like, competition is coming thick and fast.

As for the only conventional string in Iveco’s bow, two International Prostars were tucked deep into a back corner of the stand.

It makes you wonder what’s ahead for Prostar when neither Iveco nor International parent Navistar seem particularly keen to push the truck’s potential which now includes the latest Cummins Integrated Power system.

 

FUSO

fuso

In a major move aimed at taking Fuso into a bold new future in the heavy-duty truck business, Daimler’s Japanese brand used the Brisbane Truck Show to introduce its Shogun range.

In ‘old world’ Japan, a shogun was a military leader with immense power.

In the modern world of Fuso, however, it’s a name that signals a European heart for a distinctly Japanese heavy-duty truck.

Under the remodelled cab exterior, for instance, is Daimler’s 11-litre six-cylinder engine with outputs up to 335kW (455hp) and 2200Nm of torque – and up to 340kW of auxiliary braking power – feeding into Fuso’s version of the same 12-speed automated shifter fitted to several of Mercedes-Benz’s latest models.

Likewise, there’s an extensive suite of safety features and a substantially upgraded interior layout across a range of single-drive, 6x4 and 8x4 (with loadsharing twin-steer) configurations, and gross weight ratings up to 63 tonnes.

 

MAN AND WESTERN STAR

Penske

Given the shoulder-to-shoulder crowds on Penske’s MAN and Western Star stand, surely there must have been moments when some insiders wondered why on earth the company chose to miss the 2017 show.

Whatever, 2019 was a huge success for both brands as visitors crammed onto the Penske stand.

Indeed, such was the attraction of Star’s new 5800FE model and a classic 6900 big banger set to start roadtrain work with well-known Queensland operator Neil Mansell, it left you wondering why Western Star sales are so low.

Then again, maybe things are on the move.

The Detroit-powered 5800FE, for instance, is a smart spec obviously aimed at cracking better numbers in the B-double business while the 6900 with a 600hp Cummins is perhaps the only conventional to give Kenworth’s T909 a run for its money in the truly tough end of the roadtrain world.

Meanwhile, MAN’s attraction was obvious, headed by the flagship 640hp TGX 26.640 ‘Performance Line’ model with a roomy XXL (not to be confused with Volvo’s latest shed) cab.

The German brand has been a reasonably good performer for Penske over the past few years and judging by the strong interest in Brisbane, MAN’s future in Australia is perhaps more certain than any time in its modern history.

 

SCANIA

SCANIA

In a major turnaround after the disappointment of 2018 when product supply issues stopped Scania from making the most of its New Truck Generation in a booming market, 2019 may well go down as one of the best on record for the Swedish maker.

Addressing the media in the opening hours of the Brisbane Truck Show, Scania Australia managing director Mikael Jansson said acceptance of the new range is exceptionally strong, with flagship V8 models such as the R650 show truck appealing to operators across the country.

However, his strongest commentary was directed at old trucks being retired to city and suburban applications.

"Australian roads are home to some of the oldest and dirtiest trucks globally," he remarked.

"Old, dirty trucks should not be retired into the city. They should be pensioned off for good."

Pushing the point, he said Scania was showcasing several models aimed at reducing the environmental impact of trucks operating in the city, including a P340 6x2 rigid model fuelled by compressed natural gas (CNG).

Several brands have, of course, offered CNG models in the past with modest success, at best.

It’ll be interesting to see if Scania fares any better.

Meantime, there’s still no sign of the heavy-duty S-series model developed as part of Scania’s new generation.

We hear there are a couple working in the west where front axle tolerances are more generous than the eastern seaboard.

 

ISUZU AND SEA ELECTRIC

isuzu

Have no doubt, electric trucks are coming.

And, if a pilot program now being run by Isuzu Australia in concert with SEA Electric delivers the right results, the Japanese truck maker will be ready, willing and able as demand increases.

The obvious application for electric trucks is shorthaul distribution work in light and medium-duty trucks, and according to both Isuzu and SEA Electric, operator interest is slowly but surely growing.

Both companies accept there are many hurdles still to be overcome but the efficiency and environmental benefits are undeniable.

Yet while an electric test vehicle configured with a tilt-tray body was the star attraction, Isuzu’s market-leading strength remains steadfastly attached to the multitude of models which have helped keep it at the top of the Australian market for 30 years in a row.

Among many success stories are the exceptional acceptance of Isuzu’s multi-faceted ready-to-work range and higher up the scale, the extraordinary inroads made by its eight-wheeler models, particularly in concrete agitator work.

Isuzu’s presence in agitator applications has been especially damaging to Iveco’s iconic ACCO and it appears ACCO is again in Isuzu’s sights with the following the release of a dual control model targeting the waste collection industry

 

HINO

Hino

It is one of the most impressive and advanced medium-duty trucks to hit the market in a long time and it surprises no one that the standard cab version of Hino’s 500-series has quickly attracted intense interest.

While the Japanese brand nowadays resists the urge to publicly challenge Isuzu’s mantle at the head of the Australian market, there’s no doubt that making life as difficult as possible for the market leader is high on the Hino agenda.

Speaking at the media briefing on the first morning of the truck show, Hino Australia general manager Bill Gillespie was quick to cite the high level of safety in the standard cab range.

"The 500-series standard cab boasts the most comprehensive active safety package available from a Japanese manufacturer in the medium-duty market."

Completing the 500-series line-up was a wide cab FM2632 model with a six-speed Allison automatic and electronically controlled rear air suspension which, according to Hino, have proven extremely popular in the two years since the launch of the new wide cab line-up.

 

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