The Foton Auman is the biggest truck built by the Chinese manufacturer. The truck’s main advantages are that it uses Mercedes-Benz technology for its chassis and is powered by a range of Cummins engines.
While the Chinese trucks are still seen with doubtful eyes by the truckers from all over the world, the Foton Auman could prove to be of a different breed thanks to its American engines and the German technology used for the chassis.
The Auman is offered with a wide choice of wheel base lengths which range from 3400 to 6000mm and has a gross combination mass of up to 45 tonnes. In order to meet a wide range of operational needs, the Foton Auman is offered in various models including tractor, platform, dump and other.
Until recently, most of the Chinese vehicles were either copied after successful international models or covered in a cheap locking and strange sheet metal. Sadly the Chinese clones are still in the making, but luckily some less ugly models are starting to surface which shows that these people are fast learners.
While the Foton Auman still has a few resemblance with the Volvo FH we have to admit that it looks fairly good, and the Chinese engineers put a lot of good creativity into this design.
The truck features a pretty European design with a cab-over engine configuration. The front looks close to the smaller Aumark model and features a big black grille which bares the company logo in its center. Above the grille, Foton added a nice polished bar which looks fairly good and underlines the modern look of the truck.
To be more stable and high speeds and also to keep the wind noise to as low as possible, the truck was equipped with two side deflectors and above them sit two the thin turning lights.
The bumper shares the same modern design as the rest of the cab and it’s fitted with two big headlights which gel well with the rest of the truck.
While the exterior looked fairly good and pretty close to the famous European designs, the interior would prove to be a bit disappointing.
While the design could be considered by some critics not far from its Japanese rivals, we are still not sold on Auman’s interiors, as something about the colors just looks cheap. The plastics are also part o the third class, but some sacrifices had to be done to keep the truck’s price to a low level.
Unlike most of the trucks in the business which feature and wraparound dash, the Auman comes with a conventional one which looks pretty similar with what you’ll find in a passenger car. The center console is fitted with an audio system and all the conventional controls. But, while the HVAC buttons can be reached pretty easy you could have some problems when using the audio system as it’s placed pretty far from the driver’s seat.
While the build quality is still light years behind the European cab-over models, we’ll have to admit that is much better than a usual Chinese truck and the fittings have the potential to last more than you would expect.
Leaving material choices and build quality aside, the Foton Auman is competitively spacious inside. That’s thanks to the conventional dashboard design and to the clever carving made by the company engineers. You won’t have any problems to store you things either, as there are more cup holders, cubby holes and consoles than you’ll ever need.
Talking about space, you’ll be glad to see that the truck can accommodate up to three people in more or less comfort depending on the shape or size of every passenger. While the two passengers could fight for more shoulder room, the driver has plenty of space and the air suspended seat comes with a wide range of adjustments thus providing a proper driving position. Furthermore, the steering wheel can be also adjusted for both reach and rake, improving the overall comfort.
Seating in the driver’s seat, it will be fairly easy to read the big gauges of the meter cluster, as they have a modern design. The only fault could be that occasionally they could catch a few disturbing sun reflections. Apart from that everything is fine and we also like the color scheme selected by Foton’s engineers.
Engines and transmissions
The Foton Auman is powered by either Cummins or Weichai turbocharged engines which deliver maximum outputs of up to 430 Hp and 2010 Nm of torque with displacements from 8.9 to 11.5 liters. Both engines meet the Euro IV emission standards and provide plenty of power and low end torque. The Foton Auman also utilizes Mercedes-Benz technology for the chassis to increase transmission efficiency and reduce fuel consumption. The inline six cylinder engines use common rail technology to offer controlled fuel efficiency.
The engines are mated on Eaton’s Synchromesh transmissions with twin countershaft construction and offer a light feel and well chose gear ratios. Both the engines and transmissions are able to cope well with the rugged nature of the truck and can deal with big weights and uphill sections without too much drama.
Ride and handling
The truck is equipped with a 13T double hub reduction axle, while the stamped, welded and cast axle allows for up to 20% more carrying capacity than conventional heavy-duty trucks.
To be more resistant, the frame was shaped by a one-time stamping process using high strength steel alloys with its inside and outside beams closely fitted. This strong base is combined with capable suspensions which can deal with massive payloads without backing down. To offer a proper ride comfort the truck is also offered with a four point full-floating cab which is able to keep most of the road bumps far from the driver’s seat.
For extreme working conditions and payloads, the frame’s upper plane can be lowered by 52mm, increasing vehicle stability during driving and lifting, while the front axle can be reinforced from 6.5T to 7.5T and the wheel track widened from 1,939mm to 2,005mm.
The Foton Auman’s handling isn’t at same level with its European rivals, but it’s not far behind either as the body roll is pretty well controlled.
On the other hand, the steering is overly light and won’t reward you with any road feedback. Luckily, at high speeds it performs better and you’ll need to make only small manual adjustments to keep the truck on the straight line.
Considering the base price, the Foton Auman is pretty competitive and it will be hard to find a cheaper model in this class. Foton has managed to put together a satisfactory product which shows us that the Chinese manufacturers are on the good road and they are closer and closer to the high standards imposed by the European manufacturers.
While the exterior design, price, chassis and engines are Auman’s best weapons to fight against competition, its biggest faults are the cheap looking cabin and the handling. The company will also have a lot of problems convincing buyers about the reliability of its trucks, and its standard warranty of 2 years or 100.000 km won’t be of much help as it isn’t exactly the widest offered in the industry.
Video: Foton Auman