For Tatra it was very hard to survive to the difficult economic conditions and had also need to face a very strong competition coming from its European drivers. Luckily, in 2011 DAF acquired 19% ownership in TATRA and now it also supplies engines and cabs for the Czech manufacturer.
Tatra’s main product is now sold globally under the name of Phoenix. The Tatra Phoenix is part of the heavy duty league and can carry massive loads on both regular roads or on harsh terrains.
The truck features a unique chassis design which requires no sub-frame for affixing tipper body. This translates into more payload capacity hence lower costs per km.
Tatra’s vehicles were always engineered to last just a bit longer than a forever, and the Phoenix makes no exception. While its design isn’t as refined as the premium European models, its build quality is fairly strong and looks lasting.
As most of its European counterparts, the Tatra Phoenix features a cab over engine configuration which gives it a tall and imposing stance. At the front we find the big Tatra badge mounted in the center of the grille which is split in two horizontal sections enhancing the cab width.
The bumper has a bullet proof build quality and gels great with the rest of the design. The main headlights feature a simple rectangular shape and are place lower into the bumper offering a proper road visibility.
The all metal cab can be tilt forward to offer easy access to the engine and it’s available in both Day (two or three seats) and Sleeper (one or two beds) configurations.
Climbing inside is made without too many efforts, as you can rely with confidence on the ergonomically placed footsteps and handles.
Once inside you’re treated with an airy cabin and acres of space. A fast glance around the cabin will permit you to spot different design elements borrowed from DAF trucks and this is a good thing as the German manufacturer’s quality is among the top in the business.
The dashboard comes with the typical wraparound design which offers easy access to different controls mounted on the center console. The parking brake is located on the dashboard, thus clearing the floor area nicely.
The instrument cluster can be read without any efforts and it’s also fairly clear during night missions.
The truck is equipped with comfortable jump seats which also come with numerous adjustments making your life on board easier. The steering wheel can be also adjusted for both reach and rake, so it won’t be hard to find a proper driving position.
As you seat high from the ground and you are surrounded by a generous glass area, you won’t have any problems with outward visibility.
The storage department is also pretty good represented including lockable trays and cup holders on the engine tunnel and a few storage boxes above the windscreen. The Sleeper Cab features storage space under the lower bunk, while the underbunk storage locker is accessible from the outside only. The Sleeper Cab is fitted with a full-size one-piece bunk that is 205cm long, 70cm wide and 12cm thick.
Basic equipment on all models includes electric windows, electrically adjustable and heated mirrors, remote power door locks, roof ventilation and adjustable steering wheel for rake and reach. The options list it’s also pretty generous including useful features such as automatic air conditioning, independent heating or pneumatically sprung co-driver’s seat.
Engines and transmissions
Tatra Phoenix is powered by a range of inline six-cylinder PACCAR MX liquid cooled Diesel engines supplied by DAF. The engines develop 360hp, 408 hp, 462 hp and 510 hp.
The diesel units have a capacity of 12.9 liters and meet the Euro 4 and Euro 5 emission norms, featuring SMART high-pressure injection to offer maximum power and torque at relatively low speeds. To be more efficient the turbocharged engines also use SCR (selective catalytic reduction) technology.
The 12.9 litre PACCAR MX engine has service intervals than can go up to 150,000 km being one of the most reliable units in its class.
The Tatra Phoenix is offered with a choice of two ZF 16-speed Ecosplit manual and 16-speed AS-Tronic automated transmissions. Both the transmissions are available in combination with an integrated retarder and PTO (power take off) systems.
Tata Phoenix Engines Specifications
|MX265|| 360 @ 1500-1900||1,775 @1000-1410|
|MX300||408 @ 1500-1900||2,000@1000-1410|
|MX340||462 @ 1500-1900||2,300@1000-1410|
|MX375||510 @ 1500-1900||2,500@1000-1410|
Ride and handling
Tatra Phoenix uses standard axles with independently suspended swinging half-axles and axle differential lock for driven axles. Optionally, the truck can be equipped with a central tire inflation system controlled by the driver.
The front suspension includes air bellows supplemented with telescopic shock absorbers and a torsion stabilizer. For the rear axle, Tatra offers either leaf springs or company’s King FrameTM combined suspension system (a combination of air bellows and mechanical suspension).
The stopping power is assured by a capable retarder and all around disc brakes combined with EBS and ABS.
The power steering is pretty good offering a sharp response and permitting you to permanently know what the wheels are planning to do. All these are translated in a predictable handling and good road stability at both low and high speeds.
The Tatra Phoenix is fairly good product that has anything it needs to stack up with success against its European rivals. Even if it’s not as refined as a Volvo, Scania or Mercedes, the Tatra Phoenix is still a pretty reliable workhorse that is able to get any job done without too much fuss.
The cabin is pretty simple, but it offers a proper comfort and has a good overall ergonomy. The Paccar engines are also fairly good and reward you with plenty of low end torque being able to deal with massive loads without breaking a sweat. The truck’s handling abilities are also worth to be mentioned as they are among the best in class.