In Short Story July 2021, July 20213 MinutesBy Dave McCoidAugust 29, 2021

Arch homeland rival Volvo has the FMX and Scania the XT; trucks designed to ease the operator’s mind in applications less than ideal. You’ll buy an XT when you don’t want to bring a front bumper, brake pot, cross-member, or axle home in the smoko bag with your click-clack. They can be towed, pushed and pulled, and when under their own steam, it takes a good-sized ground haemorrhoid to foul the underside. The Marsh machine had a ground-to-bumper and front-axle clearance of 590mm to 390mm and 390mm respectively.

Obviously, some things make an XT an XT, but there’s still a plethora of driveline specification options that are pretty much shared across the Scania portfolio. Take the Opticruise AMT. There are off-road modes available to facilitate better traction and altered shift parameters when in the ‘goo’, but that feature was specified in the Sea Products highway truck for its life in the Coromandel hills (New Zealand Trucking magazine, June 2021). It’s an endless bevvy of options, including all-wheel-drive variants for when life gets seriously ‘real’.

Key visual point cues with an XT are a higher front bumper made of steel, the underside of which is smooth and rakes down and back – “approach angle” is the term, evidently. The bumper houses a 40-tonne tow pin, and there’s a fold-down access step on top. The headlights are also protected in a steel cage.

With four steps into the low cab, even if you were too short to reach the pedals once in position, at least you’d have no trouble getting there.

There’s the option of an inspection step built into the cab flanks, accompanied by a grab handle on the roof. It allows the driver to inspect the load in big-bodied trucks. Ben’s truck doesn’t have this less-than-elegant, workman-like addition thankfully; not that it’s any use in New Zealand because the step is clearly located at a height no human can manage, i.e. more than a metre from the ground. They’d need to provide a harness attachment.

XT mirrors are of a more robust construction, so flicking the odd macrocarpa or willow branch aside isn’t as big a deal, and the air intake for the motor is also set higher.

If old age or inactivity has erased the range of motion in your hip flexors, you can also get a swingy step that dangles off the last fixed rung and swings out of the way if clunked by something horrible.

XTs come in all cab styles from P through to S. Fill your boots.