VIDEO: Freightliner 2013 Coronado 112SD


You know a truck is something special when it catches your eye, already slightly dirty from an honest day's work. But this classy Freightliner 2013 Coronado 112SD (severe duty) turns heads with its mostly black paint really setting off the chrome and white trim.

Twist Trucking

Parked up with plenty of other sharp rigs along the Westshore motel strip in Napier, the striking black and white paint schemes is just as bold as the small company itself. Operating from Waipawa, the rural heartland of Central Hawke's Bay, there is no shortage of local competition. It's something good for this company to be surviving amongst competition from some of the big rural transport companies.

Freightliner -2013-Coronado -112SD-2

Like many Kiwi trucking firms, Twist Trucking rose out of the owners farming operations into a successful business in its own right. Father and son Neville and Tom Twist have long farmed at Argyll. While Neville initially set up Twist Trucking, these days Tom takes care of day-to-day management and dispatch. In its early days, Twist Trucking did a variety of livestock, drop-sider, and bulk work before slowly transitioning to specialising in bulk to offer the best service to their clients. The eight-truck fleet is now all tippers, except for one drop-sider unit.

Alongside the Coronado, Twist also operates five 2007-2009 Freightliner Argosys, a 2004 Freightliner Century class, and an ex-Hurlestone 2008 Kenworth SAR404 truck and trailer unit. Talking Freightliner, Tom says the brand's reliability attracts him. He also highly rates the back up from Cummins for the engines. With Tom saying the 2004 Century, with 1.1-million kilometres on the clock, is still going like new, it looks like the fleet will stick with Freightliner.

Freightliner 2013 Coronado 112SD

Tom saw and bought the Coronado at the 2013 Mystery Creek transport expo, which Trucks and Trailers Ltd had painted black for the show.Freightliner -2013-Coronado -112SD-1

Loaded up with fertiliser for a remote airstrip bin in the Hawke's Bay high country hills, it was time to join driver Mike Wise for the journey.

Engine

Engine-wise, the DD15's rated 560 horsepower and 1850ft/lb torque is a slight step down from the Signature 620 the driver used to have but compensated by the comfortable ride of new truck.

Cab

Access into the cab is good with decent size grab handles and steps in the right places. And for a low-roof bonneted day cab, the interior, although limited in space as expected is still well designed and workable.

As Wise exits the yard and smoothly shifts the manual 18-speed transmission through its gears, I note the superb luxury of the seats. This is definitely a truck you could spend some serious hours in and not be wanting to jump out of. Further up the line the ride quality
seems so good that the affectionate 'Freightshaker' moniker used by many drivers may fall out of use.

Freightliner -2013-Coronado -112SD-4The ride

A bonneted truck always rides a bit better than a cab-over, but hitting some of the many rough sections of the Napier-Wairoa road is the real test. Even taking away the seat aspect and feeling through the floor with your feet, it's obvious Freightliner has done some great work. Rounding out the comfort factor, the aircon dealt to a typical Hawke's Bay 30-degree day with ease.

Loaded to 44 tonnes, the Coronado makes short work of the early climbs on SH2. Wise says he's eager to see what the 560 Detroit will do after a top-end tune once a few more kilometres are racked up. Although down on power from the Signature 620 Wise last drove, he is still impressed with its performance and climbing ability, with good braking performance too.

Verdict

By the time we reach the remote airstrip I've struggled to note any faults with this rig. Maybe a few remote cab rattles that could be tracked down, if you were to spend the time. Even empty, the Coronado ride quality is pretty sweet. This truck is definitely one prime bit of American muscle that might sway my preference for European rigs.

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