Scania has a strong reputation for building ‘big’ engines including the 16-litre V8 which is currently available in Australia rated up to 730hp, with an even higher rating on the horizon for later in 2021.
In addition to the V8, Scania’s six- and five-cylinder offerings provide a comprehensive range of engines suitable for heavy duty applications.
With an obvious intention to provide trucks with the appropriate specifications for the upper levels of the Medium Duty sector traditionally dominated by Japanese brands in this country, Scania has set about developing a suitable engine for the maximum of 26 tonne GVW category.
Logic would have operators using Scania Heavy Duty models with their big loads being suitable potential targets for trucks from the same brand to handle their requirements such as urban and even regional distribution activities.
Scania’s solution involves the availability of a new 7.0-litre (actually 6.7-litres) six cylinder engine in a P cab configuration. Our test model has 280hp at 1,900rpm although the 7.0-litre is also available in ratings of 220hp and 250hp.
The engine has been developed in conjunction with Cummins which has been a partner in engine development with Scania for some time.
Cummins is mainly responsible for the ‘long’ engine while the monitoring and control systems have been developed by Scania as well as components such as manifolds and the turbocharger, which is an uncomplicated fixed geometry unit.
The result is a quiet running, fuel efficient and well performing engine seamlessly integrated into the Scania trucks’ mechanical and electronic architecture which includes the Scania Opticruise automated transmission.
Scania’s version of the engine has avoided the need for Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) and the perceived problems which accompany that particular emissions technology.
The 7.0-litre uses Supplementary Catalytic Reduction (SCR) and a Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF) as exhaust after-treatments to meet the Euro VI emission standards.
The 7.0 litre has now been available in Australia for more than a year and only recently has the truck trade media had the opportunity to experience an extended drive. The route selected contains the infamous Mt Ousley section of highway between Sydney and Wollongong which provides excellent tests for engine power and the truck’s braking abilities.
The truck provided for the road test is a Scania P280 6×2 fitted with a 14-pallet curtainside body from Austruck and loaded to a gross weight of 19.2 tonnes according to the on-board weighing system, with 5.6 tonnes on the steer axle.
The 7.0-litre engine weighs 360kgs less than the larger 9.0-litre five cylinder Scania engine which adds to the payload capacity. The reduction in weight also makes its own contribution to fuel efficiency.
The Opticruise transmission in this truck has 12 speeds plus two crawler settings which operate in forward and reverse and make manoeuvring easy and reduce the component wear on the automated clutch.
The driver has the choice of Economy, Standard and Power modes for the transmission operation. The rear axle ratio of 3.07:1 translates to 100 km/h at around 1600 rpm in top gear.
Holding down the column mounted transmission control stalk will select the Opticruise’s ‘automatic manoeuvring’ mode which isn’t a crawler gear as such, but feathers the clutch to produce a very smooth operation in circumstances such as backing up to a loading dock.
The maximum torque of 1,200Nm from the 280hp rating is delivered between 1,050 and 1,600 rpm and the Opticruise makes good use of it in urban situations and also on the punishing climb back up Mt Ousley.
The wide torque spread contributes to the truck’s excellent driveability and under load there is no temptation to interfere with the operation of the transmission, other than sampling the three modes.
The interior of the Scania P Series low roof day cab has an impression of spaciousness due in part to the use of the floor from the G Series which provides a very low engine tunnel and also permits the inclusion of similar storage compartments to the larger G Series cabs.
A refrigerator and lidded storage compartments are located behind the seats and other functional features include a fold out desk fitted above the glovebox.
The full air suspension system provides the truck with a smooth and well-damped ride with none of the pitch and yaw that can sometimes be associated with air-bagged front axles.
The airbag control for the rear suspension has three memory settings therefore enabling the operator to adjust the truck height to suit specific, frequently used, loading docks.
The front airbags can lift the truck up to 100mm above normal ride height which can be a benefit when negotiating obstacles such as deep spoon drains. The suspension system is configured to return to the normal ride height automatically once the vehicle reaches 20 km/h.
Both driver and passenger are treated with air suspended seats with integrated seat belts.
The steering wheel and column have an extensive range of tilt and reach adjustments.
This test drive takes place on a day when the East Coast is being lashed by very heavy rain, yet the wipers, demisters, heated mirrors and cab air conditioning combine to provide a comfortable and, very importantly, a safe working environment.
Scania’s level of active and passive safety features is second to none and this is the only truck in the Medium Duty sector which is equipped with standard side curtain airbags on both sides of the cab in addition to the driver’s airbag located in the centre of the steering wheel.
It shares in common with other trucks in the current Scania range Lane Departure Warning and Autonomous Emergency Braking that provides visual and audible warnings of imminent crash situations in which the braking system is autonomously activated if the driver doesn’t respond to the warnings.
This P Series is equipped with Scania’s 360-degree aerial view camera system which uses input from four cameras and some cunning software to deliver a drone-like overhead view of the truck and its surrounds displayed on the dash-mounted tablet screen. When reverse gear is engaged the rear-mounted camera’s display is augmented by guidelines on the screen and another camera aimed down the kerbside is activated by the turn signal lever and minimises blind spots especially when merging or turning left.
The rules of physics determine that smaller engines will have a reduced ability to provide engine braking compared with larger capacity engines. The two-stage exhaust brake is still reasonably effective and the Opticruise transmission automatically downshifts to maximise the level of available engine braking.
A small slide switch on the transmission/exhaust brake lever selects the Scania’s brake blending function which in turn activates the exhaust brake when light pressure is applied to the brake pedal and progressively engages the four wheel disc brakes as additional pressure is applied.
The ergonomics and driveability of the Scania range are well known and the 7.0-litre engine now expands Scania’s range into market segments overwhelmingly inhabited by Japanese trucks.
In addition to its extensive suite of safety benefits and driver conveniences, the Scania P Series with the 7.0 litre engine retains Scania’s heavy-duty engineering and driveline features, which are optimised for lighter duty functions such as urban and regional distribution as well as infrastructure and maintenance applications.