TEST DRIVE: Cat Trucks CT630S

By: Matt Wood


Technical Editor Matt Wood got behind the wheel of the recently-launched Cat Trucks CT630S and liked what he found

TEST DRIVE: Cat Trucks CT630S
Cat Trucks' CT630S has been in the pipeline for more than three years.

 

The much anticipated B-double hauler from Cat Trucks, the CT630S, has now been launched.

The 630S has been in the pipeline for more than three years and the finished product has now seen the light of day.

I drove the new CT630S from Melbourne to Brisbane via the Newell Highway to get a hands-on look at the new truck as a B-double grossing 60 tonne.

This wasn’t my first drive of the S as I’d previously driven one of the engineering versions on the same route during the vehicle’s test program.

After driving the engineering test truck to Brisbane and back with real freight last year and I did have some concerns about the ride and handling of the new model.

 

THE RIDE

However, jumping into the production version was a completely different experience altogether.

Where the engineering truck had a two-leaf spring front end the new S has uses a three-leaf spring set up, three as standard and this alone has made a massive difference to the Cat’s on-road handling characteristics.

Meanwhile, Hendrickson PRIMAAX EX soaks up the bumps on the drive axles.

Our truck for the drive had a 4800mm chassis length and 200mm lead in on the trailer kingpin all of which contributed to excellent ride and handling on a very ordinary road surface.

The CT630S has been developed specifically for the Australian market and much of the engineering work was done locally.

The result of this local engineering effort shows from behind the wheel as the S ate up the miles.

Where some vehicles may be tempted to duck and dive and sometimes tram- track on patched, rutted and broken black top, the Cat stayed straight and easily held on line.

 

ENGINE

Like the rest of the CT630 range, the S model uses Euro 5 (ADR80/03) compliant 550hp Caterpillar C15 engine with a choice of either Eaton manual or Eaton UltraShift Plus AMT transmission.

The C15 is unique on the Australian heavy duty market in that it doesn’t require exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) or selective catalytic reduction (SCR) to meet current smog laws.

Instead twin diesel particulate filters (DPF) use exhaust gas temperature to regenerate without an active burn off.

 

DIMENSIONS

To fit into the 26-metre Aussie B-double envelope, the S has bumper to back of cab (BBC) options of 2855mm (day cab) or 3515mm (extended cab).

The result is a modern, bonneted aerodynamic prime mover with a relatively simple driveline that retains the sort of driveability that is not usually seen with post Euro 5 vehicles.

LED headlights are standard across the Cat range and the S is currently available in day cab and extended cab form and this newest Cat has a GCM of 90 tonne.

 

INTERIOR

The interior of the S remains the same as the rest of the range and is quite basic and without a great deal of storage close to the driver, and the styling of the Cat remains controversial both inside and out.

Our truck was an extended cab version with a low roof 26-inch sleeper, which is OK for occasional nights away but too cosy in my opinion for traditional linehaul duties.

 

FINAL IMPRESSION

The CT630S has excellent road manners and the C15 powerplant is a tried and true performer.

However, the arrival of the CT630SC is imminent giving Cat a bonneted B-double contender with a high-roof walk-in sleeper on the same platform as the S we drove.

This truck should be a game changer for Cat and the newly renamed Navistar AusPac.     

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