Mack goes on tour

By: Matt Wood

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Mack convoy Heartland tour The Heartland convoy rolls north out of Townsville. Mack convoy Heartland tour
Mack Heartland tour Matt Wood 10 It’s hard to believe that terry toweling hats were ever cool, just sayin’ . Mack Heartland tour Matt Wood 10
Mack Heartland tour Granite 6 This 500hp Granite was a neat little truck to steer. Mack Heartland tour Granite 6
Mack Heartland tour Trident 3 The Trident isn’t really my cup of tea for B-double roles, but the MP8 loves a single trailer application. Mack Heartland tour Trident 3

The Mack Trucks Heartland Tour has been rolling from dealer to dealer nationally opening up a chance to drive the range to a special destination. MATT WOOD tagged along.

Mack has kicked off its Heartland Tour, a round-Australia cavalcade from dealer to dealer to showcase the heavy-duty Super-Liner, Trident and Granite models.

The previous day I’d had a chance to climb behind the wheel of all these trucks on a drive from Townsville to Ravenshoe on the Atherton Tableland.

The Mack line-up included a 685hp (510kW), MP10 powered Super-Liner hauling a loaded B-double combination on its back. An MP8 motorvated Granite prime mover, a Trident prime mover and a couple of tippers rounded out the convoy.

Also tagging along for the ride was Mack the Transporter which never failed to be a hit with kids and adults alike when it rolled through town during the drive.

The Super-Liner certainly made a visual impact parked out front of the Townsville dealership. The big black beast sat glistening in the sun as we pulled.

The Super-Liner has found favour with more and more B-double operators in recent times who are taking advantage of the extra grunt on tap from the 16-litre engine.

The 535hp (399kW) Trident is capable of the same job but in my past experience I’ve found the MP8 a little light on power wise for heavy double work.

As luck would have it, the big dog was going to be my first drive of the day.

This was the first time that I’d driven the Super-Liner as a double. Before this I’d only driven it in double road train and single trailer guise.

There’s less aural drama with the Mack product these days, the Volvo Group driveline has taken some of the growl out of the beast.

But the driving experience for the most part manages to straddle the line between an engaging drive while still cosseting the driver.

Our first stop saw me ejected from the flagship in favour of a day cab Granite prime mover. Jumping between trucks across the Mack range is an easy ask as they’re all pretty much the same to operate.

The 500hp (373kW) MP8 may be a step down from the 16-litre Super-Liner but with a partially loaded display trailer on its back the round town runner had no performance issues as we got rolling again. 

Of all the Mack range the Trident is the model that I’ve spent the most time with. To my mind it makes a much civilised single trailer hauler.

Though the Trident prime mover I found myself behind the wheel of didn’t like me very much at all.

The Trident and Granite tippers that were along for the ride were empty so needless to say that without dog trailers on the back both trucks performed and handled like sports cars.

The cane fields that had been rolling past the window for most of the trip eventually gave way to rolling hills as we started to climb the table land.

The road narrowed and wound its way to the highest town in Queensland and the final stop of my journey, Ravenshoe.

Read more about Matt’s Mack adventure in the upcoming issue of New Farm Machinery magazine, on-sale October 12. 

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