Iveco has taken its on-road tipper to the next level with a new look and feel. Launched through last year’s trade shows and the franchised dealerships, has the upgraded X-Way got what it takes to break the Dutch-Swedish stranglehold on the eight-wheeler market?
IT HAS been four years since Iveco introduced the Stralis X-Way. It, according to the manufacturer, combined the ‘legendary Trakker chassis and off-road capability’ with the ‘best-in-class payload, ultimate on-road performance and fuel efficiency’.
But when S-Way was launched in 2019, there was a new generation X-Way tractor unit tucked away in the corner that raised eyebrows. With the pandemic hampering any subsequent official launch, X-Way made its tangible debut via an array of trade and truck shows before appearing at Tip-Ex 2021 in Harrogate.
It also made its way through the Iveco dealer network, and was met positively by operators. Marketshare is dominated by the Dutch and Swedes, but is X-Way competitive enough to make ground?
Iveco offer two tippers; the rugged, off-road specified T-Way working in demolition and muckaway, or the more refined X-Way for aggregates and asphalt.
So, what are the X-Way specifications? Let’s start with the axle configuration. As a rigid you can order a 4×2, 6×2, 6×4, 8×2 and 8×4, the latter is also available as a tridem. Go for a tractor unit then it’s a 4×2 or a 6×4. Both single and hub reduction drive axles are available.
On the 8×4 there are a choice of six wheelbases from 4,250 to 5,820mm.
For propulsion, the entry level diesel Euro 6D engine is the Cursor 9, with 330, 360 and 400hp; next is the Cursor 11, available at 420, 460 and 480hp; and finally, it’s the Cursor 13 with the 510 and 570hp options. Natural gas is available with the Cursor 13NP (Natural Power) at 460hp.
Choose the Cursor 9 then it’s a further choice of the 12-speed ZF Hi-Tronix automated gearbox, the 16-speed ZF Ecosplit manual, or Allison 3200 series automated six-speed.
Cursor 11 has a choice between the same Hi-Tronix and Ecosplit, while the Cursor 13 options include an additional automated Hi-Tronix 16-speed.
For the driver, there is a choice of three cabs; Active Sleeper (AS), Active Time (AT) with low or medium roof, and Active Day (AD), a short cab with low roof. Selection dilemmas don’t end there. Choose either the AD or AT cab and there are three bumper options; plastic and hybrid in either grey or painted, or steel. Choosing AS removed the steel option.
For this appraisal, Iveco rocked up in an X-Way with the Cursor 11 engine delivering a true 414hp (badged as 420) and 2,000Nm of torque, the ZF Hi-Tronix 12-speed automated transmission and fitted with the AD cab. Its wheelbase is 5,020mm, the rear bogie runs on air suspension, it has disc brakes fitted to all the wheels and is finished in metallic orange.
Kerbweight for the chassis cab with full tanks and without the driver is 9,631kg.
Overall, that provides a good choice of solutions for operators. Compared to previous write ups with day cabs with similar wheelbases, cabs and fuel tanks:
X-Way is lighter than the MAN TGS 35.430 at 9,940kg (March 2021), the Renault C430 8×4 chassis cab at 9,730kg (February 2020) and the DAF CF FAD with the MX-11 11-litre engine at 9,806kg.
A Scania P-series with a day cab and the 13-litre engine is 9,734kg, while a Volvo FM420 8×4 with the 10.8-litre 430 and day cab is 9,149kg.
At the business end of the chassis-cab is the Boweld Mightylite HD Grabmaster steel body, with Edbro UB16 tipping gear and the Palfinger Epsilon Classic crane. That takes the kerbweight to the best part of 15,700kg.
As you can guess, the driveline is well specified for 32 tonnes gross vehicle weight (GVW). That power and torque provides the oomph a driver needs, especially through undulating terrain interspersed with a few telling hill climbs. Via a 12-speed automated transmission that power is delivered smoothly and quietly.
An improvised test route from a quarry just off J35 of the M6 was mapped through Lancaster. It’s a city with enough stopping points on an array of inclines, and that was just the city centre, to put the driveline through its paces.
From standing starts on inclines, both the power and the transmission delivered forward motion smoothly, and it makes timely changes without impacting on the driver’s sense of progress.
Transmission controls are an unfussy three button system on the dashboard to the left of the steering wheel. A right-hand stalk allows you to change up or down the box, although this truck came without a retarder.
In the quarry, the TraXon’s off-road mode helped to optimise the gearbox’s shift strategy. The quarry wasn’t quite a tabletop, it was more like a traditional rolling quarry with potholes masked by pools of water. Going to a higher rpm threshold for gear selection meant untimely changes were eliminated.
Overall, the dynamics were very positive. Smooth delivery of power is matched by secure handling and reassuring disc brakes.
From a lower seating position in the AD, vision ahead and at 90 degrees are excellent. The space between the cab corner pillar and the aerodynamically designed mirrors provide decent visibility when you look out at around 30 to 45 degrees, but the use of physical mirrors still creates a blindspot for the driver at roundabouts and junctions.
The AD is a short length cab with a low roof. It’s 2,300mm wide and 1,700mm long. Overall height is 2,550mm and the cab floor height is 1,250mm but that also depends on the tyres specified. Internally, the height from the floor to the ceiling is 1,250mm, and the engine tunnel is 340mm high.
Adopting the new generation door and front panels, the cab looks streamlined and modern; although there is a Hercule Poirot-esque look to the grille and the angled panel above it might not lend itself to housing all company names.
As well as giving it a rugged, no-nonsense look, the steel bumper provides better underrun protection from rocks and other undesirables. It has an off-road gradeability and approach angle of up to 25 degrees, should a boulder come close to the chassis or cab.
Plenty of thought has gone into the driver’s workspace. In the protruding central dash are vents and extracurricular buttons, in this case the beacons. To the left of the steering wheel is where the key is inserted and above it the push button ignition, three button transmission, power take off and climate control.
The onboard computer and trip as well as the cruise control switches are on the steering wheel, with lights on the right of the dashboard by your right knee.
The dashboard is an understated design that is simple to visually navigate and there are no hidden buttons behind the steering wheel. For the driver, the adjacent surfaces are solid while a softer material is used on top of the dashboard.
These days, to run economically and to make good time at 32 tonnes GVW it means anything less than 11-litres and 400hp will slow you down, especially if you work the more arduous parts of Scotland and the north of England. It’ll also affect the residual price.
A decent driveline also makes choosing an automated transmission easier. The construction industry has been slow to embrace the ‘auto’ gearbox because it struggles with the nuances of tipper work like the incremental moments when unloading into a paver or loading from asphalt cold planer.
While the Italians do offer manual gearboxes as well, operationally an automated box undoubtedly made life easier within the confines of a quarry. It handled the uneven terrain with ease, as did the air suspension.
On-road, the changes are smooth, apt and unintrusive. You cannot ask for more although a separate retarder, added to the engine exhaust working off the brake pedal, would have been nice.
The cab is designed to keep the driver focused on the road and not distracted by looking or stretching for the right controls.
As well as a good drive, the new look, gives X-Way a modern feel. Without increasing the size of a cab, all you can do is introduce new furniture and deck it out in new livery. Here Iveco has done well and there’s more than enough to provide stiff competition to the market leaders.