The Auto Trader expert verdict: ★★★★★ ★★★★★ 4.4
When it comes to multi-wheelers, Mercedes-Benz doesn't always spring to mind. With established and worthy competitors in the sector, including the DAF CF and Volvo FMX, its history has not been the most spectacular.
Launched in 2013, the Arocs has played an important role in growing Mercedes-Benz Trucks’ sales to customers in the construction sector.
This range is certainly more diverse than many are aware. It covers virtually the whole range of heavy truck requirements from 2-4 axles, all the way up to the SLT tractor units at 250 tonnes Gross Combination Weight.
Reasons to buy
- Euro VI compliant engine
- Multitude of cab variants
- Plenty of storage
At a glance
The majority of Arocs sold are rigids with 3 or 4 axles. For this test, we have taken out one of the most popular versions – the 3240K 8x4/4 Tipper. As the name suggests, this is a 4-axled rigid tipper producing a nominal 400 horsepower.
The second-generation Euro VI compliant OM470 engine has a capacity of 10.7 litres developing 394hp (290kW) and torque rated at 1900 Nm.
Behind the engine is a 12-speed version of the very familiar and proven Mercedes PowerShift 3 automated manual gearbox. It comes with “offroad” and “power” driving programs. Both possess three driving modes: offroad, standard and manual. The offroad mode is specifically designed, as it says on the tin, for use on rough sites, and supports a power-oriented driving style at the push of a button.
There are a multitude of cab variants for the Arcos, with two widths – narrow (2.3m) and wide (2.5m) – and three cab lengths, from 1700mm to 2300mm, as well as what can loosely be called ‘trim’ levels. For our test we had a middle-of-the-road, 2.3m-wide ClassicSpace M-cab with 320mm tunnel.
Comfort and storage
The ClassicSpace M-cab has plenty of storage areas, as demanded by the typical 8-wheeler operator, but is essentially designed for a day-based work pattern.
Comfort starts in the drivers’ seat. Our truck had the standard-fit air suspended Comfort seat which, matched to the fully adjustable steering wheel, made it easy to get into a comfortable driving position.
The Arocs has the usual set of electronic braking systems including; ABS, ASR, Brake Assist and hill holder. There are also more advanced safety systems available on the Arocs range, such as Stability Control Assist, Active Brake Assist, Proximity Control Assist with a stop-and-go function, and Attention Assist. Some of these (like ABA) aren’t available on four-axle rigids like our test truck though.
The chassis has a wheelbase of 5.15m and weighs in at around 9636kgs. Pure road versions are equipped with steel suspension on the front axle and four-bellow air suspension on the rear axle of the wide frame. Our truck had the steel suspension on the rear bogie, which helped with the off-road application.
Plenty of construction operators are very happy with the running costs of their Arocs tippers. Brunel Recycling, for example, switched to Mercedes-Benz four years ago, and runs a selection of 8-wheeled tippers and tipper grabs. Managing Director Brian Venables says of his Arocs: “They’ve been totally reliable and are very economical.” SRC Aggregates, of Great Dunmow, Essex, bought an 8x4 Arocs tipper, and less than a year later was back for four more.
Transport Director Clint Layzell recalls: “We’d not run Mercedes-Benz trucks before, so took a bit of a gamble when we ordered our first Arocs. It’s certainly paid off, though, because that truck has been the most fuel-efficient eight-wheeler on the fleet – it’s at least 0.3 mpg ahead of our established vehicles.”
Price and residuals
Pricing is invariably sensible but chances are you’ll pay less for a competitor’s chassis which, on the face of it at least, looks to be similarly specified. As always with Mercedes-Benz, though, the key is to look beyond the ‘up front’ purchase price and weigh up the likely whole-life costs of operation. Factor in the brand’s reputation for bullet-proof reliability and fuel-efficiency, as well as the strong residual values that go hand-in-hwarrenand with the three-pointed star, and an Arocs starts to look like a very attractive proposition indeed.
Warranties and dealer networks
Mercedes-Benz Trucks has national coverage with over 80 dealer locations, and a one-year bumper-to-bumper / 2-year driveline (up to 250,000kms) warranty.
Mercedes-Benz thoroughly researched the on/off road multi-wheeler market. Our drive of the muscular Arocs, with its good unladen weight, fuel efficient straight-six engine and comfortable cab, indicates the manufacturer listened to the right people.