Region gets new Iveco truck

New generation Trakker exclusive to the Middle East and Africa boasts extra strong chassis and new engine line-up.

New Trakker looks similar to her predecessor but in the cab and underneath it is an all-new vehicle.
New Trakker looks similar to her predecessor but in the cab and underneath it is an all-new vehicle.

New generation Trakker exclusive to the Middle East and Africa boasts extra strong chassis and new engine line-up.

Origins

The Trakker name has been around for a few years now. Although Pegaso - a subsidiary of Iveco - used the brand, the modern truck derives from the EuroCargo built in the 1990s.

However, the new models offer a number of refinements over their predecessors.

From the front, the truck looks similar to the outgoing model. The company blurb  though eagle-eyed buyers will notice that the branding script has been moved up, allowing a space for the owner to paint his own logo.

Other external differences include a three-piece bumper with a steel radiator protector, advised for off-road use, as well as protector grilles for the halogen lights. There is also a couple of external storage lockers, large enough for an emergency kit, some water and a few odds and ends.

Climbing into the cab is made easier thanks to re-arranged acces steps with anti-slip treads and a handle conveniently positioned for the operator to haul himself up. However, it is inside the cab where the difference between the new and old Trakker is most obvious.

The new model uses a similar layout to its bigger brother, the Stralis. The binnacle is contoured, effectively wrapping around the driver. In turn, this means the controls are better placed for the operator's fingers and it generally feels more ergonomic.

Like most modern designs of this type, controls for the radio are built in to the steering wheel, while a column-mounted stalk sets the cruise control, vacuum engine brake and hydraulic transmission retarder.

On the console, the dials are quite attractive for a work truck, too. Gone is the 'meter under the stairs' look of yore and in place are some pleasant green-lit dials with red pointers. These are complemented by the usual array of warning lamps, and an LCD readout to indicate things like fuel consumption, average speed and so on.

There are two cab styles, named 'Active Day' fro the standard version and 'Active Time' for the elongated cab with a bed. The cab seat themselves have a pneumatic damper inside them, which can be adjusted for the driver's weight.


Additionally, a third seat can be specified, but due to the hump in the centre of the cab, it is really only for occasional use.

Engines

The Trakker line-up for the Middle East and Africa mainly differs from the European range in the choice of engines available. Trakker is offered with either Cursor 8 and Cursor 13 engines, with a choice of six different power outputs: 270, 310, 350 & 380 HP, and 440 & 480 HP respectively. Cursor 8 was designed mainly for on-road use on vehicles that need a low kerb weight.

The 12.9 litre Cursor 13 comes into its own on more demanding operations: huge reserves of torque - available even at low engine revs - guarantee good performance, on and off-road.

With a variable geometry turbocompressor, these two engines share the same specification, except for the Cursor 13 @ 380 HP, on which turbo pressure is regulated by a waste-gate valve.

Performance

The use of Cursor engines on Trakker has a decisive influence on the vehicle's performance and productivity.

Cursor 8 and Cursor 13 both have one feature that makes all the difference on site: high torque available at low engine speeds, and over a wide spread. That simplifies hill starts and guarantees the right amount of power output, excellent driveability and low fuel consumption.

Another strong point is the standard engine brake which delivers a deceleration capacity of between 310 HP (Cursor 8) and 408 HP (Cursor 13).

Factory

The newcomer is built not in Italy, but in Madrid, Spain in the former Pegaso plant. While the factory buildings are reasonably old, the tooling and equipment are all new.

Traditionally, heavy truck building conjours up images of men the size Chevrolets, handling impossibly heavy items accompanied by the din of hammers and cussing, so it was a pleasant surprise to find that the majority of factory workers were young, and at least four out of ten of them were women.

Robotic trolleys glide around with an endless cargo of components, while overhead gantry cranes take the strain out of the work. "We have eliminated heavy lifting for the workers" explained Siro, adding that dexterity was a more valuable skill than brawn in the job now.


Welding is also an area where robots rule. Actually, there are two automatic welding processes involved in welding a Trakker. One is a simple fixed weld, while the other has the robotic arms whirling about all over the place.

Gearbox

The range of mechanical gearboxes extends from a 9-speed unit for smaller engines, up to a 16-speed unit, with Servoshift on models from 350 HP up.

The range of EuroTronic 2 automated gearboxes offers two 12-speed Overdrive versions for Cursor 13, and a direct drive unit for Cursor 8.

Rapid gear engagement and a system that allows the driver to choose easily between automatic and semiautomatic operation, means that he always uses the right ratio in all circumstances, with benefits in terms of driveability, fuel consumption and clutch wear.

Another important feature is Manoeuvring Mode. This is activated by a pushbutton on the dashboard and allows the automated gearbox to regulate clutch use more accurately in low gears and reverse, via the accelerator pedal. Just the kind of technological assistance that's needed for manoeuvres in particularly tight corners.

Axles

Trakker's rear axles are either single or double reduction with epicyclic gears inside the wheel hubs, a set-up that limits the size of the differential housing and increases ground clearance.

All rear axles are fitted with a differential lock, whilst tandem also have a cross-axle differential lock.

A wide range of rear axle ratios ensures that the driver is able to choose the most correct configuration for his vehicle, so optimising fuel consumption.

Front axles are fitted with ventilated disc brakes, whilst drive axles and rear axles are fitted with Duo-Duplex drum brakes.

In summary

Pro: Tough, class-leading truck with better comfort and off road capabilities.

Con: Availability. The lead time for the new Trakker is many months long.

 

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