The Mercedes Axor is the smaller brother of the Actros and even there is also a long haul model the truck was built especially for the light construction sites. Unlike its bigger sibling, the Axor is equipped with slightly weaker engines and has a more serene character. The Axor has a wide range of engine options and is available in tipper, rigid and tractor forms. The Axor construction vehicles are equipped with the 180 mm longer, European version of the S-cab which offers plenty of space for daytime operations.
Besides the common three axles semitrailer tractors (4x2 and 6x2) there are also heavy solo trucks available with two axles (4x2 und 4x4) and a gross vehicle weight of 18 t, three-axle variants with 25 t (6x2) and 26 t (6x4) gross vehicle weight and four-axle variants with a GVW of 32 t in an 8x4 configuration as a platform for tipper and concrete mixer bodies. The Axor comes with two years repair warranty available for up to 160,000 km per year.
Design and interior
The overall design of the Axor keeps the typical lines of the Mercedes trucks. The rectangular light clusters are located low into the bumper and are covered by protective guards which underline the rough character of the truck. The Axor wears the same squared-off sheetmetal as its competitors, though Mercedes tried to add a piece of class by giving it a “V” shaped grille and aerodynamic side deflectors which make the truck a bit more dynamic. The construction model also comes with a huge ground clearance which shows the off road nature of the vehicle.
Despite the high ground clearance, access inside is made pretty easy using those three steps located ergonomically. Into the cabin the overall built quality is typical Mercedes with good fittings and solid materials which were chose for their durability.
All the controls are logically and clearly arranged within easy reach of the driver. There is also a switch array in the driver’s door which controls mirrors, heating, the optional power windows, central locking and the convenience closing system.
The air suspended seats are fairly comfortable too, and they can also be adjusted so you can easily find a good driving position. There are a lot of storage places available and there is also plenty of space behind the seats.
Engines and transmissions
The Mercedes Axor is equipped with a 12 liter engine with a range of three outputs including 354 hp, 401 hp and 428 hp with maximum torques of 1850, 2000 and 2100 Nm. All engines are smooth and perform magnificently well, being able to tow massive loads effortlessly.
The engines are mated to either 9 or 16 speed manual gearboxes but there is also available an optional 12 speed PowerShift automatic transmission. Compared with the 16-speed Telligent gearshift, Mercedes Power-Shift makes for a 50 kg increase in payload, and compared with the 9-speed manual shift it permits 40 kg more payload. The major attributes of this new transmission option include more customer benefits by virtue of further improved economy and faster, more comfortable gearshifts.
If you leave the transmission in full auto mode, the unit will reward you with well choose gear changes. The manual interventions are also minimal and you’ll have to use the right stalk from time to time only if you want to keep the fuel consumption to a very low level.
The Mercedes Axor’s speed can be slowed down using a two stage engine brake which can be engaged using a right stalk mounted on the steering column. This retarder is pretty capable and we don’t have any complains about it, as it can be used with confidence in many situations. There are also available conventional all round discs brakes with ABS, which can stop the truck in a matter of seconds.
Suspensions and handling
The frame adapted from the Mercedes-Benz Actros was designed for a high carrying capacity. All steel-suspension variants of the truck are equipped with parabolic springs. The standard shock absorbers and stabilisers are also specifically configured for these parabolic springs. The slightly forward inclination of the two-stage rear spring – with a lower back-up spring – produces neutral to slightly understeering axle characteristics, and therefore improves handling safety.
Moreover, the springs don’t need neither central nor manual lubrication as they are mounted on maintenance-free molecular rubber bearings. The Axor also features coordinated stabiliser and spring configurations which reduce the loads acting on the springs and cargo.
The truck however, has the tendency to nod occasionally, especially on the off road. Luckily the shock absorbers and the stabiliser bar are able to absorb the shocks with ease, while also maintaining a proper handling.
The Axor is a nice piece of German engineering. With a payload range between 19-41 tonnes, the truck drives well and it’s perfectly built for the light construction sites. We also like the cabin and the overall build quality. Moreover, the truck is available with the automatic Power-shift transmission which is a rarity among the construction trucks that are usually equipped only with manual gearboxes.
Video: Mercedes Axor