Straight to the top

Scania’s new R-series captured first place in the recent 1000-point test of 460-480 hp tractor-semitrailer combinations. The test is a well-reputed comparative road test organised by several European trade magazines.

Text: Per-Ola Knutas

The 1000-Point Test is one of Europe’s largest comparative truck tests and widely known as the toughest truck test in Europe. It is organised by Germany’s ETM Verlag, which publishes the magazines Lastauto Omnibus and Fernfahrer and is carried out in cooperation with Spain’s Transporte Mundial, Great Britain’s Commercial Motor and the Netherlands’ Truckstar. Articles about the test are also published in trade magazines in some 10 other countries.

The aim of the latest 1000-point test is to compare the biggest cabs available on the market in combination with the most popular engines. The test is carried out  on a 180-kilometre route in the Hunsrück area of south-west Germany, a hilly part of the scenic Mosel valley.

Winner by the largest margin

The overall winner was Scania’s new R-series, which earned a convincing 8.5 points over the closest contender. In its December 2009 issue Commercial Motor remarked: “The fact that it won by the largest margin for some time may cause a few champagne corks to pop at Scania’s Christmas party.”

The Scania R 480 Topline faced three other tractors: a Mercedes-Benz Actros 1848 (469 hp), a DAF XF105.460 with 456 hp and a MAN TGX 18.480 XXL with 473 hp. Scores were totalled on the basis of how many points the vehicles scored in six categories: Cab, Driving, Driveline/performance, Fuel consumption, Productivity and Safety. The trucks’ trailers were swapped after each of four runs to even out differences in rolling resistance.

Scania received especially high marks in the areas of driver appeal and for the new cab. “Scania has really cleaned up its act,” wrote Commercial Motor. “The stylish new dash and smart sliding lower bed are noticeable. But there is so much more. Forget the easy-to-scratch old-fashioned grey plastics used in past versions; it’s now high-quality materials all the way.”

"The King is back"

Fernfahrer echoed these sentiments. “The King is back in style,” it said, listing in addition to the high-quality materials and new lower bed such factors as the “famous” cockpit around the driver and the “exceptionally generous” adjustments for the steering wheel and driver seat. “It’s clear which manufacturer has succeeded best in making the cab state-of-the-art: It’s Scania with the new R series,” said the magazine.

But the nicest cab environment wouldn’t be worth much if it didn’t offer a comfortable drive, Fernfahrer noted, and noise is a particular issue. “The most silent of our magnificent four is the Scania,” the magazine said. “Almost nothing can be heard of the engine and tyres ­– proof of how carefully the Swedes have now insulated the R-cab. It can easily happen that the combination approaches 100 km/h downhill without the ears noticing.”

Commercial Motor also awarded Scania in the Driving category: “Once you get on the road, the new R 480 is still a joy,” the magazine said. “It is a driver-friendly truck that handles very well and fits like a glove. The adjustability of the steering wheel and the driver’s seat are excellent, which makes for the best driving position.”

The importance of safety

The test also compared safety features. What’s required, said Fernfahrer, is a good mix of a powerful engine brake, a generous choice of safety systems and excellent visibility. “In this respect, DAF and Scania have the best overall packages,” the magazine reported, “which also makes Scania the final winner of the comparison test.”

In other areas, Scania is the only brand that manages the Euro 5 standard with application of AdBlue. “That results in a small usage penalty, because the DAF, Mercedes and MAN had to add AdBlue to their total usage,” Commercial Motor wrote. “Still, the new Scania came out well.”

The 1000-Point Test

Available pointsDAF XF105.460 Super Space CabMAN TGX 18.480 XXLMercedes-Benz Actros 1848 LS Mega SpaceScania R 480 LA Topline
Fuel consumption135122131129129.5
Total points1,000907923923931.5

Scania’s R-series was the overall winner with a convincing 8.5 points to the closest contender. “The largest margin for some time”, Commercial Motor remarked.