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The Italian mid-size truck, entirely produced in Brescia, recently won the 2016 Truck of the Year award. The new version appeals to urban transporters and its technological equipment is worthy of a heavy duty truck

Massimo Lanari



In 2013, the SCR’s Euro 6 technology - combined with the launch of a brand new model – earned Iveco Stralis Hi-Way the Truck of the Year award. Now, three years later, it’s time for the mid-size Eurocargo, 2016 Truck of the Year. The announcement was made during Lyon’s Solutrans event last November, thus ending 2015 on a high note, in which Iveco celebrated its forty years of activity. It was in fact on January 1, 1975, that Fiat Commercial Vehicles, Lancia, OM, Unic and Magirus-Deutz joined forces and created the Iveco brand, which stands for Industrial VEhicle COrporation. A corporation with an international dimension, established well before the Marchionne era, but with its heart firmly set in Italy: Magirus-Deutz was German as Unic was French and in 1990 also Pegaso from Spain joined forces. But now, back to the present. What were the convincing arguments that prompted the jury to reward the Italian truck, produced entirely in the former OM plant in Brescia with Tector engines produced by FPT Industrial in Turin? Not to mention that also most suppliers are also Italian.




Gianenrico Griffini, the Italian president of the International Truck of the Year jury puts it this way: "Iveco’s new mid-size truck sets new standards in a highly competitive industry in which Eurocargo has been the benchmark for the last 25 years”.


Putting on the best “smile”

The new design launched in late 2015, updating the 2010 version that blew its title chances in 2011 in favour of its main rival, the Mercedes-Benz Atego in hybrid version, certainly played a major part in winning the award.  The new Eurocargo lines have been greatly inspired by its bigger “brother”, the Stralis, though some features are also common to the particularly successful new Daily. The air intakes and the new grille seem to draw a "smile." But there is more to the picture than meets the eye: according to the Turin based company, the new front design, including the new deflectors, can improve the aerodynamic coefficient by 2% compared to previous models. Of course, certain elements of continuity are clearly visible, and it could not be otherwise, seeing the model’s success story since its launch in 1991, with a market share of over 67% in Italy, and close to 50% in Spain, more than 37% in France, 24% in the UK and 20% in Germany, for an overall share in the European market of 32.6% at the end of 2015.


A mobile office

In short, the mid-size truck segment in Europe - between 6 and 18 tons - is dominated by either the Eurocargo (32.6%) or the Atego, with all others left far behind, or almost. Too bad, though, that this segment has been gradually losing ground in the past few years, due to the relentless competition from the larger urban vehicles – starting with the Daily  – as well as large multi-task trucks. A true urban carrier, the new Eurocargo sheds a few of its “suburban” features. A quick look at the interior design: the central console, comfort and storage compartments for tablets, PCs and smart-phones certainly appeal more to an urban use. A true mobile office.


A wide range

But the Eurocargo was, is and will always be a mid-size truck with a wide range of applications that make it a true all-rounder. Starting from the 4x2, 6.2 tons GVW chassis, with a low entry cab, going all the way to the 18 tonner, which can become the driving unit of a 35-ton truck. Not to mention the 4x4 option. Speaking about the cabs, there are no less than 8 different configurations: a low roof short cabin, a high roof long cabin, a low roof long cabin and even a double cab, all with one or two steps. The 7.5, 10 and 12 ton segments are still crucial.


Setting the example

From a mechanical point of view, the inspiration comes from the heavy duty segment, at least as far as after-treatment systems are concerned. The SCR-only (Selective Catalytic Reduction) technology, already a reality on Iveco’s Stralis, is obtaining rather good results on the market, to the point that last year Scania launched a new 450hp engine equipped only by an SCR system, thus following the path taken by Iveco back in 2012. Going back to the mid-size range, Tector engines 4 and 6 have been adjusted to Euro 6 standards. Now, the new engines: from the Tector 5, a 4.4 litre 4-cylinder engine with power outputs of  160, 186 and 207 hp, to the Tector 7, a 6-cylinder (6.7 liters) with outputs of 220, 252, 280 and 320 hp. The smaller engines have also been improved, and the torque output has been increased with new pistons and new injectors. Furthermore, Iveco offers CNG versions, based on the Tector 6 5.9 liter 204 hp and 750 Nm, with a 400 km range. These engines are coupled to a manual 6 or 9 speed gearbox, as well as to 6 or 12 speed automatic gearboxes with torque converter, particularly useful for waste collection.


Light on fuel

Cutting edge technological equipment, besides being able to reduce fuel consumption, can do a lot of good also as far as safety is concerned. The Echo roll feature, introduced on the 12-speed gearbox, takes advantage of the vehicle’s inertia and automatically shifts the gearbox in/out of neutral to reduce consumption on, for example, mild slopes. Or the ECOSWITCH, which reprograms the gear change logic for maximum truck efficiency. When switched on by the driver, the EcoSwitch activates the speed limiter, deactivates the kick-down function, and allows only automatic gear changes. There's also a Lane Departure Warning System which alerts the driver when the truck makes an unwanted departure from the lane, as well as an automatic emergency braking system. What’s there left to say, we just have to wait and see what 2017 has in store...

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