Mercedes-Benz has announced it has upgraded its Econic model for the Australian market following consultation with local customers.

The new age specialist refuse truck has been improved according to Mercedes-Benz and now features beefed-up airconditioning, better driver access and a new advanced safety feature called Sideguard Assist.

The Econic is offered as a traditional single control model as well as a ‘developed-for-Australia’ dual control version, which features two steering boxes.

Both Econic models now feature a considerably more potent airconditioning system, with between 8.5kW and 10kW of power depending on the model, that are better suited to the extreme heat of an Australian summer.

“Our Australian operators identified a way that we could further improve this brilliant truck and we listened,” says Mercedes-Benz Truck and Bus Australia Director, Andrew Assimo.

“The Econic has a raft of advantages over competitor trucks including ease of access, class-leading safety and remarkable vision. Now the more powerful airconditioning will help ensure optimum driver comfort in any conditions,” he adds.

Available on select Econic models, Sideguard Assist uses radar technology to ‘see’ down the left side of the truck and advise the driver if any vehicles, other objects or pedestrians, could be in the path of the vehicle as it turns left or changes lanes.

The Econic has a range of other key safety technology including Lane Keeping Assist and a radar-based system that can automatically brake the vehicle even if the driver fails to respond to a potential impact. The latest generation of Active Brake Assist can even brake when it senses moving pedestrians.

Safety was a core concern from the start of the Econic development process and its unique design provides the driver with direct vision of other road users, and clear sight of, pedestrians.

The Econic’s vast panoramic glass windscreen, in addition to large side windows, is a critical feature given the high-density areas with high levels of foot traffic, in which they operate.

Some interior repackaging in the dual control Econic has freed up some more cabin space, making it easier to move through the area.

Mercedes-Benz has also improved ingress and egress for the driver of the dual control Econic, with a door that opens a further 15 degrees over the current dual control door. The single control Econic features a bus-style super low entry door for even easier driver access.

The dual control Econic features two separate steering boxes, instead of the cheaper rod-linked system employed by some competitors. Key control items in the dual control Econic are duplicated; including the gearshift levers and handbrakes, to ensure the driver is in full command all the time.

The Econic features a 7.7-litre six-cylinder engine that meets the strict Euro 6 emission ratings and lower noise requirements and generates up to 260kW.

The engine is linked to an Allison 3000P six-speed torque convertor automatic transmission. It is available with an optional factory retarder, but the Econic’s impressive engine brake is cited by customers as providing ample braking power.

Both single and dual control Econic models come standard with air suspension for the front and rear axles, which not only help with ride comfort and provide indicative weight measurements for the driver, but can also assist when unloading (for particular models). Access to bumpy sites is also made easier thanks to the ability to lift the front end of the Econic and increase the clearance height by 160mm.

The Econic is available as a 6×4 with various wheelbase options for maximum flexibility.