Mercedes-Benz Arocs 3240K - Tipper truck review

mercedes-benz-arocs-3240k

Jump to: Vehicle specifications, Driveline delight, Highlights, Body parts, In the cab, Looking good.

The Mercedes-Benz Arocs is about to receive a significant upgrade, but is there still life left in the current model? CM takes it for a spin.

The Mercedes-Benz Arocs arrived in 2013 as an Actros for off-road work. Its toughened looks, construction-centred focus and all round go-anywhere-butin- the-comfort-of-a-big-cab-like-the- Actros ethos meant it was elbowing its way to the top of the muckaway and aggregate trees.

Since then newer cabs have arrived, from Renault with its Range C, as well as the much more heavy-duty, but less popular in the UK, Range K. There’s also been the new Scania XT, which has added another dedicated offering to the construction market. While certainly not out of date, they’ve all left the Arocs feeling like it is perhaps on the curve, rather than being slightly ahead of it.

How does a 2013 product shape up then in 2019?

Vehicle specifications

  • Make - Mercedes-Benz
  • Model - Arocs 3240K
  • Chassis layout - 8x4
  • Cab type (as tested) - M-cab, ClassicSpace 2.3m
  • Cab floor height from ground - 1,580mm
  • First step height - 690mm
  • Engine - M-B OM 470, 10.7-litre
  • Power - 394hp at 1,800rpm
  • Torque - 1,900Nm at 1,100rpm
  • Transmission - Merc PowerShift 3 12-speed with off-road software
  • Body manufacturer and type - Thompsons Loadmaster Lite
  • Tipping gear - Binotto TFC145
  • Sheeting system - CM 1000
  • Weighing system - VPG On-board PM 1155
  • Kerb weight* - 9,574kg
  • Net body / payload allowance - 22,426kg
  • Fuel / AdBlue tanks** - 290/25 litre
  • Steering turns - 5.5
  • Turning circle - 20.0m
  • Noise – tickover - 49.4dB(A)

*basic chassis with day or extended day cab, no driver, empty tanks **as tested

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This 8x4 tipper is essentially an entry-level unit and is actually part of Mercedes’ WorkReady programme – an initiative to provide a core spec of vehicles at short notice to customers. What that means in this case is that it is built with the bare essentials in mind and from a working vehicle’s point of view – as if there is any other kind of vehicle in this industry – it is without luxury. A driver’s suspension seat, an exterior sun visor and remote central locking are the “highlights” among the optional extras, but that’s not to say that the standard equipment isn’t already fit for purpose.

Driveline delight

At the heart of the Arocs is a 10.7-litre OM470 engine, producing 394hp and 1,900Nm of torque. There’s a 12-speed automated manual gearbox with Power- Shift3 software that makes for snappy and well-timed gear changes. We first test it at an almost anorexic weight level with a near bone-dry tank before adding close to maximum ballast to get a feel for it with and without a load. While the weight makes a small difference to performance, the gearbox easily makes up for any deficit, maintaining torque and shifting just as seamlessly as before.

Highlights

  • Sensibly-specced tipper now part of the WorkReady programme.
  • Communicative steering makes Arocs feel like an Actros.
  • Enhanced safety features.
  • Simple and well integrated tipping systems.
  • Aggressive styling helps with off-road performance and ground clearance.

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Like the Actros, itself a well-balanced and effortlessly easy vehicle to drive, the Arocs also shows considerable dynamic poise. Tight country lanes, the stomping ground of an 8x4 tipper, are actually enjoyable to steer the Arocs around. It holds its line and drives elegantly into corners.

Body parts

Productivity is so important for a tipper that specifying the right body is an essential part of the process. This Arocs was equipped with a Thompsons Loadmaster Lite providing 14cu m of capacity. Although not heavily scrutinising the weight of the chassis and body combination we can’t help but glance at the kerb weight and with some simple maths determine that we could comfortably transport a 19-tonne payload in its current spec. Tipper gear comes courtesy of Binotto with a TFC 145 and there’s a CM 1000 electric sheeting system. Also fitted is a Loadmaster hinge for the manual tailgate as well as slimline LED beacons and front and rear LED strobes.

Operationally, tipping the Arocs couldn’t be simpler.

The Thompsons and Binotto equipment prove to be a reliable combination that work quickly and effectively and the controls are neatly integrated into the truck’s dash.

The rest of the interior is equally as practical, with the super-informative and detailed trip computer providing ample information as well as the settings for the Mercedes-Benz safety systems. These include Active Brake Assist 4 with its emergency braking system that features pedestrian recognition.

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In the cab

Looking good

Overall visibility is still good. The seating position in the Arocs is high, which gives a good view of the road directly in front. But if we are to pick a particular criticism it has to be of the wing mirrors. They’re huge, and while that works brilliantly for seeing backwards it does hamper forward visibility a bit as unlike other models the flat and wide-angle mirrors are contained within a single unit. It means a bit more moving forwards and backwards in the seat, but it’s something you soon get used to. Mercedes’ forthcoming mirrorless camera system MirrorCam will be offered as an option with the latest Arocs, and can’t come soon enough. Nevertheless, the Arocs – while ready for a significant update – still performs and produces and is certainly on par with sector rivals.

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Continental warns of smart tachograph supply delays until August

Continental has told customers that it is experiencing “delivery delays” of its DTCO 4.0 (pictured) and Kitas 4.0 smart tachographs which will “normalise after August”. Annex 1C (EU 2016/799), which essentially makes next-generation (or smart) tachographs mandatory on all commercial vehicles above 3.5t GVW, came into force on 15 June.

Continental said in a letter: “Continental has already started production of the DTCO 4.0 and Kitas 4.0 during 2019. In order to ensure high quality on all aspects, especially functionality, materials and production line, we have started the production with a ramp-up phase, during which we optimise processes and parameters.

“Unfortunately, although having started this process in early 2019, this led us to a situation where we are not able to respond to the unforeseen high demand of orders.

“We are working hard to solve the issues, but unfortunately, with this situation we foresee delivery delays which we expect will normalise after August. Meanwhile the Continental team is committed to allocate available quantities having regard to all interests involved.”

The letter, supplied to Commercial Motor by Kevin Green, head of sales and marketing, commercial vehicles and aftermarket at Continental Automotive UK, adds that Continental’s sales teams are “ready to answer your questions and keep you up to date with scheduled deliveries”.

Meanwhile Stoneridge, which manufacturers the SE5000 Connekt smart tachograph (which was launched in April with shipments to OEMs), says it is able to “continue to serve customers” to “ensure they meet the demands of the market”.

FTA head of road freight regulation James Firth said that drivers will notice “little change” following the introduction of smart tachographs.

“The new models look identical to their predecessors and drivers do not need to replace their tachograph cards. Furthermore, the added satellite location data will help authorities to catch non-UK based operators who work illegally in the UK market. The satellite location function does not provide live tracking – a common misconception – instead, it takes a location 'stamp' at start and end of duty and every three hours of continuous driving,” he said.