Page 28

This page: Lake Dunstan looks its best as the 50MAX combination rolls towards Queenstown with a load of aggregate Opposite page: Another load of sand is delivered to its Crown Range destination

the grind up from the bend at the Roaring Meg is handled with aplomb. The Super-Liner’s 16-litre MP10 engine will soon be rated to its highest optional outputs of 685 horsepower (510 kilowatts) and 2300 pound foot (3120 Newton metres) of torque. But the necessary software for New Zealand importer Motor Truck Distributors to make that rating upgrade didn’t come with the truck, so it’s gone on the road with the MP10 at 600hp (441kW) and 2065 lb ft (2799Nm) for the first few weeks of its life. The impressive thing is that, even at 85hp less than what will be its norm, it’s unfussed in handling everything the road and traffic throws at it. First impressions are overwhelmingly positive. Hey, as a passenger, how could you complain when you get a premium Isri air seat – just one step down from the Isri Big Boy model enjoyed by the driver? Especially noteworthy is the quietness of the engine...and of the truck overall, for that matter, with only a rustle of air around the mounting brackets for the West Coaster exterior mirrors intruding at highway speeds. It certainly doesn’t call for raised conversation volumes. The mirror mounts are a bit of a nod to tradition – in contrast to the sleek fairings employed by most new trucks these days. The mounts are also in contrast to the Super-Liner’s interior, which ticks a heap of boxes as a good place to spend a working day. Accessibility to minor controls is at the top of that list. The fascia return is one of the more sharply-angled ones on the market, meaning it puts all the important switches – a combination of rocker and blade styles, logically grouped and clearly labelled – no more than a hand span or so away from 26 | Truck & Driver

the steering wheel. Providing the room for all this has meant a high top to the dash, which does tend to obscure the view of the bonnet and consequently makes it a bit more difficult to sense where the front of the truck is in tight situations. The main instrument panel borders on information overkill, with the two main analogue gauges flanked by 10 smaller ones, and a fan of three LCD displays above that which is able to not only duplicate the data from the conventional readouts but can probably answer any technical question a driver might ask. In contrast to the user-friendliness of the minor switchgear is the control panel for the Mack’s mDrive AMT, mounted at the top of the dash and a good way to the left – certainly not optimal if you regularly want to be shifting the ratios manually. Which makes it a good thing that a driver will almost never need to override the electronic decisions of the system, so uncannily does it pick the correct gear at just the right time – the shift mechatronics and automatic clutch working even quicker than a human finger can twitch. We’ve seen the engine/transmission pairing working brilliantly on the run from Cromwell, but its starring role comes in the slog up the Zig-Zag. In little more than five minutes, Rhys’ forebodings disappear as the combination growls steadily on and up. On the flatter sections the 12-speed mDrive – left in its fully automated mode – holds 7th gear, with the MP10 spinning sweetly at the top of its torque band at 1550rpm and the speedo showing around 30km/h. Steeper sections and the bends see the revs drop to 1050rpm before a crisp engagement of 6th brings

NZ Truck & Driver Dec/Jan 2018  
NZ Truck & Driver Dec/Jan 2018