Saving around 10,000 €, lower fuel consumption, more payload—models such as the MAN TGS, Mercedes Axor, Scania G and Volvo FM offer a lot of truck in comparison to their larger siblings, and they make the hearts of shippers and movers beat faster. This was enough reason for lastauto omnibus and FERNFAHRER magazines to take a good look at the four small big trucks at the end of 2010.
The weight and the high access of the Mercedes Axor did not cause any enthusiasm among the testers. They found the ingress height of 55 inches (1400 mm) a little bit too high, particularly in comparison with trucks like the Volvo FM, which offers 48 inches (1215 mm) and almost allows the driver to “walk” into the cab. The storage space of the Mercedes was exemplary, either. The two 1½ cubic inch (40 liter) big outside storage compartments with 40 liters volume were “piddly.” The Scania G 420 exemplary in offering six times the volume. The testers were enthused by the MAN-TGS driver’s cab. Almost everything was right: interior noise, suspension, air-conditioning, and storage space. The experts from Stuttgart only found one drawback: the cool box. Not because it cools, but because it is always in the way.
Swedish Dominance of Driving Performance
There was a clear winner in the driving performance category: the Scania G. The Swedish truck was fastest on the testers’ mountain track. The most important reason for this high speed was the mighy torque of the Swedish truck. The Scania reached 1550 lb-ft (2100 Nm) 1100 and 1400 rpm. Almost the entire 420 HP is available at 1400 rpm and full acceleration. The MAN, at 380 HP, clearly falls behind under the same conditions. The Mercedes Axor and Volvo FM at least managed 390 HP. Both are in the middle, as far as the average speed is concerned, with the Volvo coming closer to the Scania than does the Mercedes.
All four trucks were very close with regard to average fuel consumption. Consumption ranged from 6.58 to 6.61 mpg (35.76 and 35.57 liters, respectively) and was, according to the testers from lastauto omnibus and FERNFAHRER, at the limit of measuring accuracy. However, some special aspects showed clear differences: the MAN TGS was the most frugal truck during hill climbs. It required 4 liters less per hundred kilometers than did the Scania—that is significant. The results were quite different for partial loads. The Scania G was ahead and was more economical by four percent than the Mercedes Axor and the Volvo FM. Compared to the MAN TGS, it needed even seven percent less fuel.
… and the Victory Goes to the Far North: Scania G
At the end of the test, the Axor was rated the most economical truck by the testers. However, the driver’s cab adopted from the Atego and the tuned-down accessories did not please. The MAN TGS sneaked through the test and never made an unpleasant impression. The Volvo FM almost had what it takes to win, but its low-mounted driver’s cab cost it too many points. This finally left the Scania G victorious. Fuel consumption, driving performance, power train, driver’s cab—everything received a thumbs up from the testers.