Road test: New Iveco 8x4 ACCO agitator

By: Matt Wood


We take the Acco for a spin to see the latest tweaks made to the truck.

Road test: New Iveco 8x4 ACCO agitator
The simplicity of the Acco’s architecture and its low tare weight are its biggest selling points.

 

It’s been a long time since I’ve sat in an Acco.

The venerable Iveco vocational work horse has been lumbering over urban streets, through rural paddocks, down quarry access roads and plying the open highway for more than 40 years.

This year saw an update to Iveco’s Aussie built truck.

A facelift inside and out and the addition of electronic stability control have been aimed at giving the flat faced Acco a new lease on life.

And it’s lost even more weight.

With this in mind we took an 8x4 Acco agitator for (bad pun alert) a spin to have a look at the latest tweaks on the cabover and see just how it compares to the competition in 2015.

Hopping into the new model will be like stepping into a time warp for anyone who’s spent time behind the wheel of Acco’s past incarnations.

The squarely symmetrical dashboard and block switchgear haven’t changed for years. However, a new digital Iveco instrument cluster and steering column make for a slightly more modern appearance.

That said it does seem a little incongruous in the old esky shaped cab, a bit like receiving a Snapchat from your grandmother.

There will be plenty who’ll have unkind things to say about the Acco’s ergonomics and basic, almost Spartan-like cab.

However, it’s these very things have kept the truck selling well.

It adapts to dual control very easily for trash truck duties and the cab can be easily manipulated for a number of vocational roles.

The simplicity of the Acco’s architecture and its low tare weight have been its biggest selling points for decades, but underneath quite a bit has changed.

A 9-litre Cummins ISLe5 provides power at either 320 or 340hp and an Allison 3200 auto takes care of gear changes.

Given the Acco’s vocational target audience there is no manual option.

The 5.1m agitator wheelbase has lost even more tare weight, one of the Acco’s biggest selling points, which means it can handle a 7.5 cubic-metre bowl.

This is a best in class at this point in time.

The twin-steer front end rides on Airtek air bag suspension, while the rear has a choice of good old rubber block or Hendrickson Primaax air bags.

 

Acco test time

While climbing into the ACCO may have sent my mind swirling back through the mists of time, turning the key brought me back to the present as the little Cummins fired up.

With the live drive PTO engaged and a three-quarter-full bowl spinning on the back it was time for me to reacquaint myself with the Acco.

The Allison transmission selector is straight forward, though this one was on a pivoting mount.

Clearly this is for dual control roles, but as a fixed driving position agitator, the push button unit tends to flop from side to side when you’re using it which is annoying.

But with the blunt end of the agitator pointed at the gate I put the foot down and let the 9-litre SCR powerplant have a go.

It may not be Euro quiet but driveline noise, even with the live drive PTO engaged, isn’t overly intrusive.

The 340hp and 1500Nm of torque got the tail shaft spinning quite easily and the Cummins/Allison combination seemed to have a productive working relationship.

The standout, however, was the ride.

I made it my mission to tackle a couple of rail crossings, expecting the double thump of the twin-steer axles to kick the driver’s seat skywards.

Instead the whole unit just rumbled over the tracks with barely a squeak.

Of course having a decent amount of pudding on its back would no doubt have contributed.

The 19.8m turning circle of the Acco also made it quite nimble for a big rigid when reversing into tight spots.

While it may not be an ergonomic marvel by any stretch of the imagination, the Acco in 8x4 guise is still a pretty comfortable workplace.

One of the big plusses for it in this role is the low-cab height.

The reality is that agitator roles don’t require travelling great distances and drivers spend quite a bit of time jumping in and out of the cab when on site.

It’s an easy truck to jump in and out of.

Visibility is good too and that box cab gives a good idea of the vehicle’s dimensions when manoeuvring.

The Acco is what it is: a simple, basic vocational tool that feels tough enough to deal with the challenges of site work.

It’s not luxurious by any stretch, but then nobody ever claims it is.  

 

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