MAN CLA EVO 49.300 6×4 & 31.300 8×4 ‘EXPEDITION’ Review

MAN CLA EVO 49.300 6x4 & 31.300 8x4

The MAN CLA EVO range of medium and heavy duty trucks are aimed at the ‘Value’ bulk-cargo transportation in the domestic market. I took part in MAN Trucks India’s ‘Expedition’ campaign as a part of its eleventh anniversary celebrations to read the load hauling-cum-cruising capabilities and cabin dynamics of the trucks.

Expeditions are undertaken for both purpose and pleasure. When I received an invitation from MAN Trucks to participate in a road tour with their haulage trucks, I was excited. Since the expedition was a comprehensive one, spanning over 51 days and 9,000 kms across three different paths covering the length and breadth of Indian mainland, I must pick a moment in the trail to be pragmatic. To my convenience, I chose the 160 kilometer Coimbatore to Namakkal stretch in one of the expedition route en route MAN’s Pithampur plant, the one from Kochi via Chennai and Vijayawada.

Two other teams are scheduled to start from Pune and Dhanbad respectively in a similar vein to reach the destination, I was told. The ultimate purpose of these expeditions is to demonstrate the superiority of the CLA EVO cargo truck series in long-haulage applications across different terrains of India to the market audience. All through the journey, the trucks are to stop at key transport hubs, motels, and dealerships on the way to convey the message.

Also Read: MAN CLA EVO 25.300 And 49.300 (6×4) – Tech Specifications, Review

It was 6 am, hazy weather, when I reported at MAN dealership at Coimbatore. Awaiting me were MAN CLA 49.300 EVO 6×4 tractor with a 40 ft. TSI trailer and 31.300 EVO 8×4 rigid hauler, along with the expedition team. Both the trucks are jacked-up with the rated payload, and will be driven only by trained ‘Master Drivers’ all through the expedition, so all I had to do was to cuddle myself to a co-driver seat of the trucks.

Design wise, the ‘EVO’ suffix to the MAN CLA cargo trucks does spruce-up its largely conservative looks. The redesigned dull-black bumper now boasts fresh headlamp units with daytime running lights. The ‘Lion’ in the brand logo is missing, but the MAN lettering under a chrome housing looks more pronounced. The custom blue paint scheme with attractive graphics made the expedition trucks more pleasing.

MAN CLA EVO 31.300
With 300 hp power on tap, the MAN CLA 31.300 EVO 8×4 rigid truck is one of the powerful hauler one can buy in India.

On the inside, the cabin and dashboard layout remains utilitarian. Both the driver and co-driver seats are air suspended, while the former gets 3-way adjustment. There are ample storage compartments in the dashboard and over-head rack, while the cabin is adequately spacious. The steering wheel is great to hold, and the column features height and rake adjustment. Both expedition trucks were equipped with cruise control and HVAC system with effective blowers, which literally made the day travel bearable.

The suspended cabin did filter-out a great deal engine heat and road noise. Road vibrations were partly taken care by suspended seats. Although, the ride was still bumpy, especially the tractor-trailer, but that was expected. Nevertheless, I must say that the MAN CLA trucks are a huge leap from basic trucks that are the norm of the haulage industry. Rightly termed as value trucks, these are kind of semi-premium offering that are fast-catching up in the industry. They strike a balance between affordability and premium comfort.

Also Read: Mahindra Blazo HCV Truck Range – Tech Specifications, Review

But what impressed me was the cruising abilities of these trucks. The 31.300 rigid truck, in particular, was simply brisk enough to make overtakes and pursual in highways, without any harsh acceleration and gearshifts as such. It was also partly the master driver who was behind the wheel of this truck, he kept up right rpm and managed gearshifts cleverly, so as maintain constant acceleration and speeds. In the 49.300 tractor, the drivers smartly used the Exhaust Valve Brake (EVB) for all anticipated slow-downs and while descending down flyover slopes, thereby averting regular braking which would otherwise demand a gear down-shift. This way they can maintain constant speed and lower fuel consumption. Although the trucks can hit speeds up to 80 kmph max, drivers of both the vehicles did not breach 60 kmph mark so as to register optimum fuel efficiency throughout the trip. In addition, the cruise control feature equipped in both the trucks helped their cause as well. Oh yeah, this whole expedition is to prove some point, right?

MAN CLA 49.300 EVO 6x4 T
MAN CLA 49.300 EVO 6×4 tractor is now equipped with heavy-duty Bogie type suspension with planetary tandem bogie rear axle to save costs. 

Powering the CLA EVO trucks is a 6.9-litre, in-line 6-cylinder, MAN D-0836 engine with a turbo-charger and intercooler. Mated to a 9-speed ZF synchromesh gearbox, the engine generates a healthy 300 hp power in both the expedition trucks. This time, the company has added 250 hp variant in its engine range for the buyers to choose as well. MAN Trucks have earned a great reputation in the Indian market for their reliable engine and longer life, even touching 1 million kms in odo-reading! I could feel that all through the ride, the engine felt refined at all speeds, with lower NVH levels.

We cruised like a pro in the NH 544 Coimbatore-Salem expressway up to Komarapalayam. It’s time for some narrow district roads now, I was a bit skeptical too. I know this upcoming stretch very well, full of twists and turns, including a railway level crossing with a height gauge! But both the trucks took the challenging road with ease, steered through the clumsiness of the town traffic of Tiruchengode, and reached the destination Namakkal, the ‘truck town’ of South India, by noon. I bid adieu to the trucks later with a sense of contentment. It was a good trip!

Also Read: Tata Signa Truck Range (MHCV) – Tech Specifications, Review

The tipper segment has been MAN’s forte all these years. But with improved potentials, especially post GST where inter-state and long-distance hauling is expected to get huge boosts, the company is eager to penetrate into the cargo segment. Plus, it has a very vibrant range of haulage trucks in the 16 to 49 tonne category that needs no formal intro. With improved fuel efficiency and lower TCO of these trucks in BS IV livery, the CLA EVO makes an appealing proposition for long-distance haulers.

MAN CLA EVO 49.300 6×4 & 31.300 8×4 – Image Gallery


49.300 EVO 6×4 tractor 31.300 EVO rigid truck
Engine Dl, Turbo-charged Intercooled

MAN D-0836, 6.9-litres

Output Max Power: 300 hp @ 2,300 rpm

Max Torque: 1,150 Nm @ 1200-1800 rpm

Transmission ZF 9-speed synchromesh gearbox
Front Axle Heavy-Duty Drop forged I-Beam type, Maintenance free Hub Bearings Heavy Duty Drop Forged I-Beam type, Maintenance free Hub Bearings
Rear Axle MAN Planetary Tandem Bogie with Hub Reduction, Inter Axle and Stabilizer Bar Fully floating single speed Hypoid Axle
Front Suspension Semi Elliptical Leaf springs with Double Acting Shock Absorbers Semi Elliptical Leaf springs with Double Acting Shock absorbers.
Rear Suspension Heavy Duty Bogie type suspension Bell Crank Type Suspension
Brakes S-Cam, Dual-Circuit, Air-actuated Drum Brakes with ABS
Engine Brake MAN Exhaust Valve Brake (EVB)
Inter-axle Differential Lock Yes Nil
Cruise Control Yes

*An edited version of this article has been published in the January 2018 edition of MotorIndia Magazine.

LiuGong 611 BS III Vibratory Soil Compactor in India

Liugong 611 Compactor_WagenClub(1)

Designed specifically for the unique working conditions of India. 

LiuGong India, the fully-owned subsidiary of China-based LiuGong Machinery Corporation, is jacking-up its Indian operations by launching new products. The company will be launching the advanced 611 Vibratory Soil Compactor at the EXCON 2017, along with LiuGong 921 Di excavator.

The market for compactors in India is on the go, with an estimated sales figure of 4,000 units sold annually, of which almost 50 per cent are soil compactors. Construction industry demands optimum compaction with minimum number of passes these days, resulting in growing relevance of vibratory compactors as against static rollers. These machines send pressure waves into the soil surface in different directions leading to the particles achieving a dense state of orientation. Although initial capital investment for these products are higher, contractors are starting to realize that an extra premium is bound to pay off in the long run, given the cost savings achieved out of lesser number of passes.

Also Read: LiuGong CLG 921 Di BS III Excavator: “Made in India, for World”

Powered by Kirloskar-sourced engine, the LiuGong 611 compactor delivers a gross power of 77.2 kW (105 hp) at 2,200 rpm. It is claimed to offer lower noise and emission. The machine presents a vibration frequency range of 33 Hz, along with a centrifugal force range of 270 KN/ 150 KN. Its working width is 2,130 mm, while its operating weight is pegged at 11,000 Kgs. LiuGong claims that this product is suitable for road building and full range of road maintenance work.

Liugong India Products
LiuGong India´s product stable consists of excavators, wheel loaders, motor graders, compactors, bull dozers, backhoe loaders, and forklifts.

Design wise, a streamlined approach has resulted in a good appearance for the compactor. Featuring comfortable cab offering high visibility, adjustable operation platform and high-back seat, the interiors are designed to provide the operator with a high level of comfort, adds the company.

*An edited version of this article has been published in the November & December 2017 (combined) edition of MotorIndia Magazine.

LiuGong CLG 921 Di BS III Excavator: “Made in India, for World”

Liugong 921 Di Excavator_WagenClub(1)

Locally designed and manufactured at LiuGong’s plant at Pithampur, MP.

LiuGong Machinery Corporation is one of the titanic player in the CE industry internationally, with a wide array of extreme-duty and advanced product lines. It has an extensive global reach across 130 nations, along with 20 manufacturing facilities including that of Pithampur in India that is in operation since 2009. The China-based company began its Indian journey with a sale of a product way back in 2002, and later established a subsidiary firm LiuGong India that is dedicated to the local market including that of Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, and Sri Lanka.

At present, the company has over 19 dealers and 50 touch points, with dedicated technical support and marketing teams. And, it feels mature enough in the Indian market to unleash its full potential, by launching new India-focussed products. In the run-up to EXCON 2017 at Bengaluru next week, the company has announced that it will be launching a new excavator is made in India and made for world, along with few other new products.

The all-new LiuGong 921 Di is a heavy-duty, medium-range tracked excavator aimed at best-in-class performance and low operating cost. It boasts a maximum digging depth of 5,875 mm with a bucket capacity of 0.95 m3 and track length of 4,170 mm, with operating weight of 21,000 Kgs. Powered by Cummins B5.9 engine assembled in India, the machine generates a gross power of 104 kW (141 hp) at 2,000 rpm.

Liugong India
LiuGong India´s product stable consists of excavators, wheel loaders, motor graders, compactors, bull dozers, backhoe loaders, and forklifts.

To improve fuel efficiency, the 921 Di is designed with negative flow hydraulics, that optimizes the speeds of main control valve and while working and cutting down on the hydraulic system’s pressure loss. The synchronization between pilot valves and main control valve offers precise control. An advanced Auto Idling system is also in place to lower engine rpm when the machine is idle to save fuel. In terms of digging operations, additional buffer valve is provided for smooth hydraulic operation. While high breakout forces of bucket, arm and high torque of powerful swing motor have reduced the swing cycle time considerably.

*An edited version of this article has been published in the November & December 2017 (combined) edition of MotorIndia Magazine.

BharatBenz 2523C 6×4 Construction Tipper: “Tip” o’ the hat!

BharatBenz 2523C 6x4 Tipper_WagenClub(9)

The German-patronised “Indian” truck maker is the favoured marque of Sri Ram Transport of Tiruchirappalli, Tamil Nadu; says BharatBenz makes the correct choice of equipment for construction-oriented tipping operations.

After a retrograded phase in the past couple of years, the Indian medium- and heavy-duty tipper market is finally rejoicing a breath of fresh air. The demand for these trucks are not price-driven, but are largely dependent on the health of infrastructure and construction sectors. The latest bout of government-led investments on infrastructure and increasing per-day road construction targets have given a new lease of life to this segment. Renewed demand from the mining sector in some states have also helped the cause. The dampening impacts of BS-IV implementation has subdued, the demand has bounced back on account of higher mining, road construction and allied activities. The recent trend of market demand of pre-owned BS III trucks has bypassed the tipper segment, as tipper operations call for optimum uptime and reliability, which cannot be assured in used vehicles.

Also Read: BharatBenz 3143 And 4940TT: A Closer Look At Daimler’s Heavy-Duty Trucks

Further, dormant growth in sales owing to GST implementation is also mending up, those who postponed their purchases due to lack of clarity on taxation and accounting changes are back to the purchasing spree. On the whole, industry experts agree that the nation-wide demand for tipper is steadily soaring up to a rough figure of around 50,000 units annually. Moreover, in terms of product diversity, the tipper segment in India is no more duopolistic in nature. Newer brands like that of BharatBenz are fast catching-up, with almost every truck maker offering tippers especially in the 25-tonne capacity category. There is also a clear shift towards higher GVW (Gross Vehicle Weight) and power output rating in this segment, as dumpers are preferred for carrying large volumes over shorter distances as against small trucks.

The `Superiority´ factor

Tamil Nadu is traditionally a tipper market, with numerous operators and fleets using a sizable number of tippers for both mining and road construction. The Tiruchirappalli region, in particular, is packed with sand mining and cement production-related activities, for which dumper trucks are lifelines. Sri Ram Transport is one of the leading fleet in this region catering to cements and sand transportation for road construction activities. Led by its proprietor Mr. B. Subburam who has tipper experience for over 20 years, the company now owns 10 BharatBenz 2523C 6×4 dump trucks, including 4 units of latest BS IV models. To achieve 100 percent BharatBenz-only tipper fleet, the company is also planning to acquire 25 more units of the same truck before the end of this financial year.

Why BharatBenz? Mr. Subburam answers, “I have owned over 400 dumpers of different brands in my two-decades of trucking business, Daimler trucks are unique and unparalleled in terms of rugged built, engine reliability, and cabin features. They are a notch above all other brands in the segment”. He explains that managing a fleet of heavy-duty application trucks like tippers isn´t an easy task, as they terribly call for constant maintenance and the downtime is usually high comparing to haulage trucks. Their running costs are usually a nightmare for any operator.

BharatBenz 2523C 6x4 Tipper_WagenClub(8)
Sri Ram Transport employs BharatBenz 2523C 6×4 tippers for cements and sand transportation for road construction activities.

“The feel-good factor in owning BharatBenz is that though the spare and service costs per instance is high, the long-run affordability of regular maintenance is advantageous. Longer and synchronized service intervals offer optimal uptime for the tippers, and the frequency of lubrication and oil replacements are comparatively less. The propensity of its components to fail is also far lower and exceeds the usual cycle”, he observes. Sri Ram Transport employs all its 2523C tippers in road construction activities, for delivering sand and cement from local stock yards. “At times, they shunt between the sites day and night in multiple shifts, crossing a variety of roads from broken quarry roads to national highways and city roads. The superior engineering and technology of Daimler has made them reliable workhorses that are up and running in any given point of time” adds Mr. Subburam.

Also Read: Tyre Management For Lower Costs of Trucking

The BS IV-compliant DE 175 engine of BharatBenz 2523C tippers offer almost 90 percent of maximum power and peak torque within engine speeds as low as 900 rpm, thereby ensuring enhanced pickup and gradeability in crawler gears. “Fuel efficiency is exemplary and sets new standards” observes Mr. Subburam, thanks to advanced engine technologies like unitized fuel injection pump system, high-boost turbo charger, SCR, constant throttle valve engine brake, etc. “The Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF) is an added cost for BS IV trucks, but we are happy that the emissions are controlled and fuel-economy is improved” he added.

Responsive Service Network

Apart from managing Sri Ram Transport, Mr. Subburam is also the regional dealer for JK Tyres and runs a JK Tyre Truck Wheels workshop at Tiruchirappalli. Of course, his BharatBenz tipper fleet uses only JK Tyres and he is quite happy with their performance as well. For periodic service and technical assistance, he trusts the local BharatBenz dealer Jayaraj Trucking. “Being in the trucking industry for quite some time has taught us a lot about tipper maintenance, ascertaining technical problems, spare replacement cycle, etc., and people will find it extremely difficult to hoodwink us in this regard. Jayaraj Trucking is a professionally sound and responsive team, an essential value partner in our tipper operations” observes Mr. Subburam. Even when our trucks called for assistance from farther hinterlands, Jayaraj roadside and mobile assistance team did their best to put them back on running in no time, he added.

BharatBenz 2523C 6x4 Tipper_WagenClub(7)
BharatBenz offers a well-built, modern cabin with attractive dashboard, reclining driver seats, and provision for sleeper berth.

Asked on the popularity of BharatBenz tippers in the region, Jayaraj Trucking told us that they are the market leaders in terms of annual sales. “The 25-tonne capacity tipper segment is one of the fastest growing in the region, with the BharatBenz 2523C model taking up a majority of share in total sales. This model is specifically designed for 25-tonne tipper load limit legally permissible on city roads and flyovers. Fleets and contract operators in the road construction sector show great interest in this dumper model” notes Mr. Ajay Jayaraj, Director and CEO, Jayaraj Trucking. One-Stop and express service is the motto of DICV, and that puts us in the pedestal of tipper market, he adds.

Next, would you like to read more on BharatBenz?

BharatBenz 2523C 6×4 Tippers – Image Gallery

*An edited version of this article has been published in the November & December 2017 (combined) edition of MotorIndia Magazine.

TVS Apache RR 310: Racing Spirit for Everyday Fun

2018 TVS Apache RR 310_WagenClub (1)

Priced at INR 2.05 Lakhs (Ex-Showroom); deliveries to begin by end of December 2017. 

The latest and the most-hottest addition so far to the 2018 year in the country´s motorcycle scene is the TVS Apache RR 310. The much-awaited performance bike from the home-grown bike maker, whose story began from the TVS Akula 310 concept a couple of years ago, is an all-new offering in the segment. With promising package and competitive pricing, the RR 310 is likely to spruce-up the heat in the segment, by taking on Benelli 302R, Kawasaki Ninja 300, and KTM RC 390.

Also Read: KTM Duke 390: Sharp, Aggressive Styling Intensified

Design wise, the new Apache RR 310 is brute and intimidating, but not as we imagined from the impressions of the Akula concept. But one can notice a balanced approach in the way the whole body is crafted. There is high impetus on aerodynamic styling. The LED projector head lamp and taillights are sharp-looking, while the nose down-tail up design presents an aggressive impression for the motorcycle. The RR 310 will be available in two paint shades – Racing Red and Sinister Black.

2018 TVS Apache RR 310_WagenClub (1)

What´s underneath the RR 310 is interesting. It uses an identical Trellis frame as the BMW 310 R, as both the bikes utilise the same platform. TVS claims that the light weight trellis frame offers higher stiffness, improved dynamism at higher speeds and ease of manoeuvrability to wade through the city traffic. Yet, the riding position is slightly relaxed unlike its competitions, thanks to the rear-biased foot pegs and high clip-on handlebars.

Also Read: Bajaj Dominar 400 Can Be Yours For INR 1.36 Lakhs

Powered by a liquid-cooled, fuel-injected 312.2 cc single-cylinder DOHC engine, the unique reverse-inclined design and compact layout is said to improve its productivity. It is paired to a 6-speed transmission, and generates 34 PS of max power at 9,700 rpm and 27.3 Nm of peak torque at 7,700 rpm. Although the engine is similar to that of BMW 310 R, few unique changes have been carried out to make RR 310 stand apart.

2018 TVS Apache RR 310_WagenClub (2)

The company claims that the new Apache RR 310 can hit 0-60 kmph in just 2.93 seconds, while 0-100 kmph in 7.17 seconds. The top speed is pegged at 160 kmph, thanks to a custom ECU used in this bike. The bike features 41 mm USD fork suspension up front and a monoshocker for the rear, sourced from Kayaba. Brakes includes a 300 mm single petal disc and 240 mm petal disc at front and rear respectively, assisted by dual-channel ABS.

2018 TVS Apache RR 310 – Image Gallery