We take Iveco’s new X-WAY tipper for a treacherous quarry trek to see if its off-road chops are worthy of the marque’s formidable rough-terrain pedigree.

Iveco has one of the widest off-road product portfolios on the market, ranging from light to extra-heavy. At the lighter end is the impressive Daily 4×4, which offers up to five tonnes of maximum permissible load at seven tonnes’ GVW. Moving up, Eurocargo 4×4 caters for medium-weight operations with GVW variants from 11-, 12- and 15-tonnes.

Iveco’s heavy range consists of the tough X-WAY and super-tough new T-WAY. T-WAY is a pure off-roader built for quarry work, mining etc and will most likely not see much interest from UK operators. But the X-WAY, primarily targeted at a mix of on- and off-road work, should catch the eye of hauliers running tippers, concrete mixers, timber trucks, hook-lifts, skip-loaders etc. A wide range of wheelbases are offered, and power take-offs (PTOs) can be linked to engine, gearbox or flywheel as the job requires.

On & off the grid

X-WAY has a modular design which enables a wide amount of chassis customisation. Two-, three- and four-axle variants can be spec’d (4×2, 6×2, 8×2, 6×4 or 8×4), with rear axles available as single- or hub-reduction. Suspension can be air or mechanical, and disk brakes are offered both front and rear.

Iveco also offers a HI-TRACTION hydrostatic front-wheel drive system, which can seamlessly switch to all-wheel drive when a bit more grip is required to tackle tricky terrain. HI-TRACTION is lighter than a standard all-wheel drive set-up, making it a good choice for operators looking to squeeze in some more payload while not sacrificing off-road capability.

A Creep mode can also force the truck to run on hydrostatic power alone, should precision low-speed manoeuvring be required.

Payload is one of X-WAY’s major strengths, with Super Loader versions offering one of the best on the market. Trucks can be configured to fall inside one of three main brackets: On, On+ or Off, which all share a frame thickness of 7.7 mm.

‘On’ is geared towards on-road driving and prioritises ride comfort, while still benefiting from a reinforced chassis. ‘On+’ balances on- and off-road performance with a higher approach angle and ground clearance, plus improved bumper protection. Both On and On+ are available as in 4×2, 6×2, 8×2, 6×4 and 8×4 set-ups.

Meanwhile, the ‘Off’ spec is for primarily off-road tasks requiring greater gradeability and approach angles, better chassis reinforcements and lower R&M costs than purely on-road vehicles. For X-WAY, this is offered at 4×2, 6×4 or 8×4.

Cab options for X-WAY are AS Sleeper, AT sleeper with low or medium roof, and AD short cab with low roof. GVW for these trucks with AD/AT cabs ranges from 26-30 tonnes for 6×4, or 32-36 tonnes for 8×4.

Iveco’s new Euro 6 Step E Engines have an increased combustion ratio, use HI-SCR aftertreatment and can be 8.7-litre Cursor 9 at 330, 360 or 400 bhp; 11.1-litre Cursor 11 at 420, 460 or 480 bhp; or 12.9-litre Cursor 13 at 510 or 570 bhp.

Torque ranges from 1400 Nm for the 330 bhp lump to 2500 Nm for the top-power 570 bhp unit

Alternatively, you can spec a 12.9-litre Cursor 13 NP (Natural Power) gas engine to cut carbon emissions. This is rated at 460 bhp and delivers 2000 Nm of torque.

Automated ZF HI-TRONIX 12- or 16-speed transmissions are the default offering, which can be taken with dedicated Off-Road programming and a rock-free mode to get you out of trouble. Iveco is one of the few remaining manufacturers to offer a manual option – so drivers who enjoy a ‘traditional’ level of gear control can make use of a ZF Ecosplit 16-speed ’box if they prefer.

Hitting the dirt

When we tested X-WAY on UK highways back in the September issue, we were impressed with the truck’s on-road performance – but we were keen to take it off-road and drive it in anger around some difficult terrain. So late in 2021, Iveco flew us to Bologna, Italy to try out its off-road vehicles on a variety of lengthy roads in a large quarry.

Our ride was an X-WAY AD360X48Z 8×4 rigid tipper. This was sporting an AD day cab, which is a step up over previous generation Ivecos, though it’s still a bit ‘workmanlike’ compared to some other competing brands (for example, MAN’s new tipper cabins manage to offer a more luxurious feel alongside a similarly hardwearing and functional design).

However, this X-WAY is spec’d for hard graft, so we’re not expecting top-end levels of comfort in a lorry that’s going to be bouncing around in the dust day in, day out. Visibility, however, is excellent.

After firing up the Cursor 11 six-cylinder engine, we punched the Hi-Tronix 12-speed automated ’box into Drive, pulled out of the parking area and headed straight for a trail that twisted around and through the quarry. Soon enough, we were faced with a steep climb over very loose gravel, which needed the diff lock to be engaged and a switch into semi-auto mode to hold onto gears until we flicked the stalk for a change up or down.

Loaded to 32 tonnes, we selected third gear and this X-WAY dug in impressively as we climbed the hill, tyres following the deep, muddy grooves forged by other vehicles before us.

At the crest, we flicked to fourth and swung an immediate tight right-turn into a wooded area, which began a long, steep descent. The powerful retarder held us back with ease, and we always felt in full control of the vehicle – despite the slippery surface.

We continued on for good few miles, slowly and methodically working our way along the trail that rose and fell, twisted and turned and presented no short amount of sharp crests that lifted our front axle high into the air.

It was a bumpy ride – our rigid had parabolic two-leaf suspension on the front axle and three-leaf on the rear so it felt fairly stiff, but handling was excellent. In fact, there wasn’t a single point along the entire course where we felt X-WAY was beginning to struggle.

Although the automated transmission was loaded with Off-Road software, we stuck to semi-auto for the rest of the journey and soon became adept and grabbing the gear we needed before we got into trouble. But if we had gotten stuck, this truck had a rock-free mode to get us moving again. Plus, a low-speed Creeper mode was useful when we got back to the busy parking area and began jostling for space.

VERDICT

Iveco has a strong pedigree when it comes to off-road vehicles and its latest range looks set to carry on the tradition. X-WAY is tough and comparatively lightweight, offering great payload potential if spec’d correctly. The AD day cab is not perhaps the most elegant or luxuriously appointed cabin on the market, but it’s got all the essentials covered: visibility is great, controls are easy to find, and it’s certainly comfortable enough for a full day’s work off the beaten track.

X-WAY feels like an extremely capable truck. Handling is superb and the 480 bhp, 2300 Nm motor was more than enough to get us around a tough course with a decent load on. And its stopping power is also worth reiterating – Iveco’s retarders are some of the best we’ve used, and when geared correctly it holds on tight on even the steepest hills.

Tipper drivers are some of the last to favour manuals over automated transmissions, and it’s easy to see why this level of control is useful in quarries and the like. But ease with which the driver can flick through the gears using Hi-Tronic’s semi-auto mode further weakens the argument for stirring a stick. As mentioned, Iveco is one of the last few truck-makers offering manual ’boxes, so the option is there if you really want it – but for most applications, we reckon the automated ’box is well up to the task.

Likes:

  • Great handling
  • Strong & lightweight build
  • Excellent engine & braking performance

Dislikes:

  • Stiff ride
  • Cab not as plush as competitors
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Kelsey Media Ltd
The Granary, Downs Court
Yalding Hil, Yalding
Kent, ME18 6AL
01959 541444
www.kelsey.co.uk

© 2022 Kelsey Media Ltd

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