MAN trucks are considered by many the best option for long haul heavy duty transportation. The TGX is the biggest truck in the manufacturer’s lineup and has received its latest upgrades in 2007. It is hard to find a perfect truck and all models have both strong and weak points. Compared to its 44 tonnes rivals from Scania and Volvo , the TGX V8 range of engines is weaker while the overall build quality is also inferior. However, the TGX offers one of the biggest and comfortable cabs in the segment and its engines are very efficient. Moreover, the reliability factor and the low cost of maintenance are also worth to be mentioned. The MAN TGX is available in three cab designs - XL, XLX, XXL - and three axle configurations - 4x2, 6x2 and 6x4.
Design and Interior
Even if the exterior design of the MAN isn’t something to rave about, it’s still pretty modern. We like the “V” shaped grill that dominates the flat front and also the low light clusters, as they cope well with the heavy-duty character of the truck. The rest of the body panels are flat and robust underlining the rough character of the vehicle.
The rough exterior is matched by an equally manly cabin. Hop inside and you’ll find a nice place to be in. Even is the build quality is not as good as a Volvo FH or Mercedes Actros the fittings look durable.
Unlike most of the European trucks, MAN didn’t choose a wrap round dashboard for its cab and the TGX is fitted with a conventional one. There are few buttons and knobs adorning the center stack, and the dashboard materials are mostly of the hard plastic variety.
We’re happy to notice that the decision to use a conventional dash didn’t affect the overall ergonomy. Moreover, we dare to say that the ergonomy is even better than what you’ll find in the Iveco Stralis orVolvo FH .
Some may consider the overall design of the cabin a bit dull, but thankfully, the standard multifunctional steering wheel saves the day and provides a touch of class in and otherwise utilitarian interior. The steering wheel’s dimensions are also pretty small compared with other trucks in the segment and we really like it as it’s easy to hold and maneuver.
Another feature that helps the MAN TGX to make a compelling case for itself is the spacious XXL cabin which can be equaled only by the Renault Magnum sleeper cabs. You’ll also like the sizeable bunks which are bigger and more comfortable than those from the Volvo FH .
Most of today’s trucks are fitted with fairly comfortable seats and the MAN TGX makes no exception. The nicely upholstered adjustable seats are plenty comfortable while the steering wheel is also adjustable, hence even after a full day of work you’ll feel as new. Needless to say, that the road visibility is good, but the rear view mirrors have a larger than preferred blind spot.
As any respectable truck, the TGX is also fitted with a plethora of storage places including an underbunk compartment, a pull out central storage box with folding table and overhead storage lockers.
Engines and transmissions
Depending on your needs, you can choose from a wide range of diesel engines. To offer maximum efficiency, the engines are mated to a Tipmatic 12 speed automatic transmission with a single plate clutch. There is also available a 16 speed manual gearbox, but we’ll recommend the Tipmatic as it does an excellent job. As most of today’s transmissions the Tipmatic is smooth and has well timed gear changes.
However, from time to time there are a few manual interventions required to keep the fuel consumption to a minimum level and you can control the gear changes manually using the stalk mounted on the right of the steering column.
Ride and handling
The MAN TGX offers a wide variety of suspension possibilities from leaf/leaf through leaf/air to full air. Rugged and weight-saving leaf suspension with parabolic springs and specially attuned shock absorber and stabilizer scores high through good roll stabilization and track-keeping.
The electronic air suspension control ECAS ensures a uniform driving level, regardless of the load. For precise adjustment of frame height the chassis can be lowered by 90 mm from the driving level and raised by 190 mm.
All suspension setups offer a good ride and a competent handling. The steering is power assisted and can deal with most of the turning situations with ease providing a good feel.
The stopping operations are kept under control by means of the engine brake and a full air service system combined with all round discs. The brake pedal offers a good “bite” even when it’s pushed softly, stopping the truck in no time.
The MAN TGX offers a good balanced between price and performances. Even if it’s not the most luxurious truck in its segment, the TGX is strongly build and has a few winning cards hidden in its sleeve.
The TGX’s strengths are its spacious and comfortable cabin and the efficient engines. Moreover, the truck has also low maintenance costs and a good resale value. Thanks to all these features the TGX will continue to keep the top spot on the sales charts.
Loading capacity and payload are the crucial factors in long-haul transport. This is why the MAN TGX is in a class of its own. The 26-tonner with trailing axle offers a whole load of efficiency.
Video: MAN TGX