Seven years ago we tested a Clark C25L LPG truck. We have now moved on to the newest model, the S25L, but the conclusion is the same: Clark brings an open, easily accessible conventional truck with some pretty modern facets. He is pleasant to handle and solid. The improvement of our points of criticism and some Unique Selling Points (USP) make it extra interesting.
With more than 100 years of experience, Clark is one of the oldest forklift truck manufacturers in the world. The brand is originally American, but has been in Korean hands for some time now. During product development, the Asian technicians are well informed by the experiences of their worldwide sales organization. As the requirements in Europe are on average higher than elsewhere around the globe, the German experts of Clark Europe from Duisburg have also contributed a great deal of thought to these new S-Series.
The new range runs from 2 to 3.5 tons of lifting capacity and are available with diesel and LPG engines. For this test we have a 2.5-ton LPG version in our hands. This truck is also the entry for the IFOY Award 2019 and is equipped with many options, such as the special cabin, a fork positioner, an extra complete lighting package, the ergonomic gas bottle holder and armrest with mini levers and automatic horizontal adjustment of the mast.
Clark aims for functionality in its trucks. The S25L shows solid, robust yet compact and invites you to work with it. Where almost every brand lowers its step, Clark chose to raise the first step from 340 to 420 mm. This makes the next step leading to the floor plate easier to make, and you’ll notice that with every entry and exit. The step is also larger, deeper and equipped with a solid non-slip grille.
Through the improved entrance you enter the cabin where there is plenty of room for the feet. The footplate is completely free of obstacles and the bonnet is neatly rounded. Our test version is equipped with insulating synthetic leather upholstery.
The seat, built especially for Clark, sits well and is equipped with a fine adjustable and especially solid armrest. The armrest has well-dosed and predictable working mini levers for mast control and has a thumb switch for the direction of travel. With the button for tilt angle stop you can easily set the mast perfectly vertically. The system works both forwards and backwards. Our test truck is equipped with a 4,800 mm three-stage mast with excellent mast damping of both incoming and outgoing segments. A ground level damping could be the icing on the cake. Clark is one of the few brands that also offers a quadruple mast.
In 2012 we were not so happy with the plastic bonnet, the poor forward visibility and the old-fashioned large steering wheel of the C25L. To deal with that the S25L has been improved on all these aspects. The bonnet is made of steel and provides a more stable seat. The dashboard has been lowered, the steering column is slimmer, the steering wheel smaller and the visibility through the mast improved. That is to say, if you compare it with the mast version of that time. Our test truck has an optional Clark fork positioner and that comes to the expense of the visibility. In return, of course, you can always safely choose the right fork width for each load to be lifted without getting off the seat.
All new, and a USP of the Clark S25L is the 5″ colour display. This not only shows the required working information, the display is also the screen of the (optional) rear view camera. The display also offers the possibility to set speed limits. The screen also shows service messages and warnings if you execute a wrong start order. The information is available in 26 different languages.
The cab that Clark has placed on her youngest truck is another USP and deserves a compliment. It is solid yet very ‘open’ in character thanks to its slim profiles. Both doors are constructed in two parts. You can fix the rear 1/3 part so the swing out of the front part is not that big. This is good for accessibility when standing in tight spaces. Another advantage is that you can fully open the front door section and work with an open door if the ambient temperature permits.
The cabin has a newly designed heating system with (optional) integrated air conditioning. We also find two spacious storage compartments for various items and a large bottle/container holder. In the storage box under the armrest are two USB ports and a 12V connection. The cabin lighting, neat insulating upholstery and the Bluetooth/USB radio are not missing. As well as the good handle with horn on the rear roof pillar for safe reverse driving. As far as we are concerned, this last option should be standard for every truck.
Under the bonnet is the easily accessible Ford LPG engine that meets the strictest Stage V emission standards. Those who prefer diesel, get a DOC (Diesel Oxidation Catalyst) Isuzu engine. Later in 2019 a particulate filter system (DPF) will also be available.
To make work smooth and vibration-free, Clark uses split transmission that disconnects the engine and transmission. New to the powertrain is the front axle with wet oil bath brakes, automatic parking brake, hill start assist and the rear axle with improved suspension that increases stability in bends.
And then there is the performance. The truck of seven years ago remained on the modest side of all averages in this truck class and so does the newcomer. A major reason for this is the extra weight this fully equipped test truck has in combination with an average set performance level. We also experience differences in the rollout speed forwards and backwards, which makes cornering slightly less predictable. The inching pedal may also be given a slightly better doseability and predictability, because the brake sometimes intervenes strongly.
Of course, there are other small points for improvement, such as more visible stickers for the mast functions – they are now hidden behind the rocker switches – but that doesn’t detract from this truck that has been successfully improved in many aspects. With its special display, remarkable cab and a list of affordable options, it’s a truck to suit every taste and application worldwide.
(Text and photos: Theo Egberts, Andersom Testing)
Tags:Andersom test, Andersom testing, Clark, Clark S25L, Forklift test, IC-truck, Intralogistics, Test