Fleet owners, especially those of medium- and heavy-duty power units, may not be in the best of buying moods next year, given their concerns about how much trucks with EPA 2007-compliant diesel engines may cost to buy and run, according to the editors at EC&M's sister publication, Fleet Owner, a trade magazine geared toward executives and managers of commercial-trucking fleets that operate five or more vehicles. Nonetheless, Executive Editor David Cullen and Senior Editor Sean Kilcarr predict there will be plenty of tires to kick on perhaps the biggest convoy of all-new or updated Class 1 to 8 commercial vehicles to come into view in quite some time.
They also say that in many cases, OEMs needed to make adjustments to their cab and chassis designs to properly engineer in EPA '07 engines. While the '07 engines have had a massive impact on medium- and heavy-duty trucks, the lighter side of trucking is also enjoying a design renaissance. There are new models available from several Class 3 to 7 manufacturers as well as many Class 1 to 2 commercial pickups and vans now boasting major improvements. Following is a preview of next year's light- and medium-duty models.
Dodge will offer a new version of its Sprinter van in 2007, although details are scarce at this point. The '07 Sprinter will feature an adaptive Electronic Stability Program (ESP), which can help prevent rollovers by measuring the weight of the vehicle's load, calculating the center of gravity, and adapting its braking and engine-speed responses correspondingly.
Production of the Sprinter will shift to the United States in '07, when parent company DaimlerChrysler completes a $35-million conversion of its Ladson, N.C. plant to van assembly later this year.
On the pickup side of the ledger, Dodge plans to market its Ram 3500 Mega Cab dually to commercial buyers, emphasizing the higher payload capacity and greater trailer-towing stability compared to standard pickups. The '07 Mega Cab dually, which can be configured with a 4×2 or 4×4 drivetrain with a 6-ft, 3-in. box, comes standard with a 5.9-L Cummins Turbo Diesel engine, offering 610 lb-ft of torque at 1,600 rpm. Six-speed manual transmissions are standard; automatics are optional. An electric-shift transfer case is standard on 4WD models, with limited-slip differential as an option.
Gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) on the Ram 3500 Mega Cab dually is 10,500 lb, with payload capacity topping out at 3,240 lb, and rear gross axle weight rating (GAWR) hitting 9,350 lb. It offers a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 23,000 lb and maximum trailer weight of 15,600 lb, thanks to the heavy-duty 11.5-in. solid axle and longitudinal leaf springs, with three leaves carrying normal loads and an auxiliary leaf supporting additional load capacity.
A tow/haul mode and an overdrive off mode deliver maximum trailer-towing performance by providing crisp shifts and reducing gear searching when climbing hills.
The Mega Cab provides seating for six adults, with plenty of head, shoulder, leg, and hip room. A standard 60/40 two-position fold-down rear seat can be used in several configurations to accommodate passengers and gear.
The F-150 pickup and its stablemate, the Explorer Sport Trac, a hybrid SUV/pickup built off of Ford's Explorer chassis, will get some new looks and capabilities in 2007.
The FX2 is an example of the new styling changes and cab/pickup bed options Ford is rolling out with its F-150 line next year. According to Raj Sarkar, assistant marketing manager for the F-150, Ford is beefing up styling “cues” to appeal to younger customers. “It looks aggressive both because of its design and its stance,” he adds.
The F-150 FX series was originally introduced in model-year 2004.
The FX2 features a dark billet grille, clear headlamps with platinum bezels, and a sporty deep front valance. The monochromatic paint scheme adds body color to exterior components, such as the bumper fascias, side mirror caps, and door handles.
It's all part of melding big towing and cargo capacity with styling and quality, says Sarkar. That includes marrying the '07 F-150's SuperCrew cab to a 6.5-ft cargo box, offering a flexible-fuel 5.4-L Triton V8 capable of running on straight gasoline or an ethanol/gasoline blend, and getting traction assist on 4×2 V8 models.
The '07 Explorer Sport Trac is an all-new version of the SUV with the cargo box of a truck. The 4.5-ft cargo box is made from corrosion-proof sheet-molded composite (SMC) with a molded-in black inner liner that is dent-proof and resists scratches. The box is notched, allowing customers to place two 2×4 boards across the span to provide tiered storage of materials, including the ubiquitous 4×8 plywood sheets.
Three integrated cargo bins are recessed into the bed floor, while two six-pack-sized bins sit in the right and left rear of the box, and one large bin runs the length of the headboard. Bins are equipped with weather-resistant lids and removable drain plugs for storing wet gear or ice.
The '07 Sport Trac also gets a new frame that is 444% stiffer than the previous model, standard AdvanceTrac with Roll Stability Control, and adaptive safety features, as well as a new independent rear suspension for refined ride and handling.
The OEM's Class 1 and 2 E-Series vans will also see some changes next year. The 12- and 15-passenger extended-length vans will be outfitted with Ford's proprietary AdvanceTrac with Roll Stability Control technology, which features roll-rate sensing and correcting capability, offering assistance to the driver in maintaining vehicle control during extreme maneuvers. The AdvanceTrac system automatically engages counter measures to help the driver maintain maximum control and further reduce the risk of rollover.
The big news from General Motors for 2007 is the total makeover of its Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups. GM says it plans to start production of the completely new pickups in the fourth quarter. “Our new '07 model redesign will give the Silverado and Sierra more refinements, more power, and more safety features,” said Ed Peper, general manager for GM's Chevrolet division. “But we're deliberately keeping a tight lid on the details for now.”
Peper added that the first '07 Silverado and Sierra pickups to roll off the production line at the end of the year are going to be crew cab models, followed by extended cabs, and then the standard pickups. He also said '06 models of those pickups will be renamed the Silverado Classic and Sierra Classic to distinguish them from the '07 versions.
The OEM also announced some changes to its Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana full-size vans in '07. FlexFuel packages will be offered on the 2WD and AWD ½-ton models, enabling them to operate on E85, a blend of 85% ethanol/15% gasoline.
Available with Duramax 6600 6.6-L turbodiesel engines delivering 250 hp and 460 lb-ft of torque, also standard on the Savana and Express vans will be GM's StabiliTrak for better handling and safety. The company's OnStar communications package will be optional. According to GM, its goal is to make the OnStar system standard on nearly all of its retail vehicles in the U.S. by the end of '07, including light trucks.
GM is also widening the availability of its Active Fuel Management (AFM) system, formerly called “displacement on demand,” to include V6 and V8 models in '07. Equipped with AFM, the new 3.9-L V-6, rated at 233 hp and 240 lb-ft of torque, will automatically operate on half of its cylinders under light load conditions, thus improving efficiency by reducing fuel consumption. When the cylinders are deactivated, the 3.9-L effectively operates as an inline 3-cylinder engine, with cylinders 1, 3, and 5 deactivated on the left cylinder bank. The engine returns to V-6 mode the instant the controller determines that vehicle speed or load requires additional power.
Introduced three years ago on GM's Gen IV V-8 engine, AFM uses a new E38 engine controller that determines when to deactivate cylinders, allowing the engine to maintain vehicle speed in lighter-load conditions such as highway cruising. GM says the seamless changeover process is not perceptible to the driver. The OEM will offer AFM on 11 vehicles in '07.
Honda Motor Co. says that although there are no major changes in store for its Ridgeline pickup in 2007, it does plan to speed up development of the V4 and V6 clean diesel engines. These powerplants would give the Ridgeline more low-end torque and better fuel mileage than commercial light-duty buyers often look for in the United States.
“Based on our highly successful diesel engine currently sold in Europe, [we are] now developing a cleaner next-generation 4-cylinder diesel engine that shall meet the EPA's stringent Tier 2 BIN5 emission standard requiring NOx emission levels equivalent to a gasoline-powered vehicle,” says Takeo Fukui, president and CEO of Honda. “We plan to introduce this super-clean diesel engine to market within the next three years and also [plan] to work toward development of a clean V6 diesel engine.”
The Ridgeline offers a half-ton, 5-ft cargo bed built on a closed box unibody frame that combines the strength of a ladder frame with the many advantages of a unibody design. Vehicles are equipped with a 247-hp VTEC V6 engine; 5-speed, electronically controlled automatic transmission; advanced Variable Torque Management 4WD; and fully independent 4-wheel suspension.
The following features will also continue to be standard on the Ridgeline: ABS with Electronic Brake Assist and Vehicle Stability Assist with Traction Control; advanced dual-stage, dual-threshold driver's and front passenger's airbags; driver's and front passenger's side airbags (passenger side with Occupant Protection Detection System); two-row side curtain airbags with rollover sensor; a tire pressure monitoring system; air conditioning; tilt steering wheel; power side windows; power sliding rear window and door locks; cruise control; keyless entry; and automatic heated wiper zone.
All models also come equipped ready to tow with standard transmission and oil coolers, heavy-duty brakes, dual radiator fans, an exclusive fresh air intake system for improved towing performance in hot weather conditions, and pre-wiring for 4- and 7-pin trailer hookup.
Nissan plans only minor changes to its Frontier and Titan pickups in 2007. For the Frontier, different bed configurations and choices will be made available, with the addition of an auxiliary jack on some models. The SE, LE, and NISMO trim levels will have LEV2 and ULEV Emission Certification.
For the '07 Titan, engine power is going to jump to 315 hp to 320 hp, and a new chrome package will offer chrome step rails, rims, mirrors, etc. The Titan is available in King Cab and Crew Cab body styles, each with a standard 305 hp 5.6-L DOHC V8 and a choice of 4×4 or 4×2 drive; the higher horsepower engine package is optional.
The '07 Frontier and Titan are also going to play bigger roles in Nissan North America's (NNA) new Light Commercial Vehicle (LCV) and Fleet Division, which was formed last February. “This is a major part of Nissan's future profit and volume plans for the United States,” said Jed Connelly, senior vice president, sales and marketing for NNA. “A dedicated division will help us meet the specific needs of the American light commercial vehicle customers, in terms of both products and services.”
Although not yet for sale, the Onyx is a concept vehicle that offers a glimpse into the future of Nissan's light trucks.
Completely redesigned for 2007, the Tundra pickup will not only be bigger and more powerful but will also offer new body and engine configurations, according to Toyota Motor Sales USA, the U.S. manufacturing and sales arm of Toyota, Inc.
The '07 Tundra will feature a brand new 5.7-L i-Force V8 engine mated to a new heavy-duty 6-speed automatic transmission, giving it a towing capacity of 10,000 lb. Other features include larger front disc brakes; standard rear disc brakes; higher-capacity cooling and electrical systems; and a chassis platform made with 30% higher tensile strength steel.
The Tundra will have three engine options in '07: the new 5.7-L V8, a 4.0-L V6 and a 4.7-L i-Force V8. The full-size '07 Tundra platform features a significantly expanded wheelbase and an increase of 10 in. in overall length, with a nearly 5-in. gain in height and 4 in. in width.
The '07 Tundra will be available in three cab configurations and three trim levels: Base, SR5, and Limited. A redesigned “command and control” center provides an unobstructed view of the instrument panel, and puts knobs, switches, and buttons within close reach of the driver, with all Tundra models offering four more inches of shoulder room to the passenger cabin. Two-row cab models, by extension, are going to offer rear passengers nearly 3 in. more shoulder room.
For buyers who use their Tundra as a work truck, the '07 model has a tailgate that can be opened and closed with two fingers. Robust dampers on the hinges have been added to help cushion the tailgate when opening, as well as help reduce bouncing when driving with the tailgate down. Other design features developed with workers in mind include large door handles inside and out, easy-to-turn HVAC knobs, and adjustable headrests, allowing drivers and passengers to ride to their next jobsite without having to remove protective gear, such as hardhats and gloves.
Dodge is expanding its Ram pickup line into the Class 3 segment with the 2007 Dodge Ram 3500 Chassis Cab, offering an upfit-friendly design that does not require expensive re-engineering for body installations, according to Joe Veltri, director of body-on-frame designs for Dodge. The 3500 is offered in single-rear-wheel and dual-rear-wheel models, and two cab-axle lengths (60 in. and 84 in.)
The '07-model Class 3 carries a single-rear-wheel GVWR of 10,200 lb, while maximum GVWR for dual-rear-wheel models is 12,500 lb. When equipped with optional diesel power, the truck has a GCWR of 23,000 lb. Standard power is a Chrysler V8. Optional features include a Hemi engine rated 330 hp and 375 lb-ft of torque and the 6.7-L Cummins TurboDiesel with 305 hp and 610 lb-ft torque.
Other key features include a 50-psi steel 52-gal fuel tank; 121.6 cu ft of interior space for Quad Cab models and 65.2 cu ft for regular cab models; 15,000-mile oil change intervals; four-wheel disc brakes with ABS; and optional exhaust brake.
The Ram 3500 is available with a 6-speed automatic transmission (diesel only) with PTO capability, or a 6-speed manual with PTO capability. Both 2WD and 4WD models feature a re-circulating ball system that the OEM said provides precise response and on-center steering feel through lower internal friction. The truck also has solid-beam front and rear axles and a five-link, coil-spring front suspension with beam axle. A front and rear link-type sway bar and heavy-duty tubular shock absorbers are also standard.
Ford Motor Co. anticipates very few changes to its E-Series and F-Series medium-duty trucks in 2007. While base models for the E-Series continue to be the E-350 and E-450, the OEM is adding a stripped chassis configuration, including a cutaway version that can be prepped for ambulance, school bus, and shuttle bus bodies, for example.
Standard on E-Series vehicles is an Electronic Throttle Control (ETC). And for the cutaway chassis specified with the 6.0-L PowerStroke diesel engines (built by International Truck & Engine Corp. exclusively for Ford), a 140A alternator is an option.
For gasoline fleets, the E-350 comes with a 5.4-L EFI V8 engine, while the E-450 gets a 6.8-L EFI V10. The transmission package for both engines is a TorqShift electronic 5-speed automatic with tow/haul mode.
Ford F-Series models F-250 through F-750 are offered with several engine options: the 5.4-L 3-valve Triton V8 and 6.8-L 3-valve Triton V10, both with electronic throttle control and an optional 50-state emissions system, and the 6.0-L PowerStroke V8 Turbo Diesel. All engines are available with the TorqShift 5-speed automatic transmission. Also standard are antilock brakes, coil front springs, and the BlockerBeam front bumper underride protection system. A trailer brake controller is optional.
Ford will continue to offer its Class 4-5 Low Cab Forward (LCF). Built in conjunction with International, it features four GVWRs ranging from 15,000 lb to 19,500 lb; a V6 diesel engine with 200 hp and 440 lb-ft of torque; a clean cab-to-axle on top of the frame; and standard 34-in. frame spacing.
Freightliner Trucks' medium-duty Business Class lineup now includes an All Wheel Drive option on M2 106 and M2 106V vocational models. The front drive axle option is a part-time system that the OEM says is ideal for use in fire and rescue, utility, snowplow, and municipal applications. The system is activated by the operator when AWD is needed during traction-poor conditions. It can be engaged at or below 10 mph or while the vehicle is coasting on a level grade.
The AWD setup is enabled by factory-installed Meritor front drive axles. These axles use straight front-to-back frame rails, eliminating the need for a step frame for optimized cab height. The transfer case of the front drive axle is mounted between the transmission and rear axle. Additionally, the axle bowl is offset by 11 in. to the passenger side, matching the driveline angles and eliminating the need for a lift kit.
The front drive axles are available in a 4×4 or a 6×6 configuration on M2 106 or 106V models powered by Mercedes-Benz MBE900 or Caterpillar C7 engines.
The AWD option is offered with 12,000-, 14,000-, and 16,000-lb ratings and is available in combination with a variety of single and tandem rear suspensions.
Business Class M2 models are offered in day cab, extended cab, and crew cab configurations with a variety of front and rear seating options.
Gasoline engine options will be the big news for GM's medium-duty offerings in 2007, when new emissions technology puts a price premium on diesel engines. GM estimates the changes required to meet EPA's more restrictive '07 emissions mandate will add $3,000 to $6,000 to the base price of its diesel-powered vehicles, including the GMC TopKick and Chevrolet Kodiak conventionals and the T-Series and W-Series cabovers. The OEM says this could increase demand for its standard Vortec 8100 MD gasoline engine.
According to Ross Hendrix, marketing director for General Motors Fleet and Commercial, fleets that operate their trucks less than 25,000 miles a year, with low idle time and no need for a PTO, are ideal candidates for gasoline engines in '07.
The OEM says the Vortec 8100 MD can power its entire line of Class 5-7 trucks, including its single-rear-axle “Baby 8” tractor configuration, which has a GVWR of 37,600 lb. Horsepower ratings range from 295 to 325, with 440 to 450 lb-ft of torque.
A new 6-speed Allison automatic transmission will replace the 5-speed in '07, and the ML6 manual transmission will no longer be offered. LED front marker lights will be optional on all models.
TopKicks and Kodiaks will continue to have factory-engineered 4WD, with the 4×4 option available on both regular and crew cab configurations. Wheelbases range from 152 in. to 235 in.
For the C4500 and C5500 4×4 regular cab models, a 22.5-in. wheel and tire option will be available. One change to the C4500 for '07 is the base front axle, which will be 7,000 lb, thus eliminating the 6,350-lb front axle option. Off-road handling continues to be enhanced with an electronically controlled Venture Gear Model NV273 2-speed transfer case and an instrument panel-mounted rotary selector switch for 4-low, 4-high, and 2WD settings.
For additional traction, 4WD TopKick and Kodiak models have manually activated front locking hubs; a heavy-duty off-road skid plate protects the transfer case. All TopKick and Kodiak models come equipped with electronic throttle control, providing better control in slow-speed maneuvers like parking, as well as during fast response situations when operating off-road.
Hino Motor Sales USA plans to offer some new options and features in 2007 for its line of Class 4-7 conventionals, which were introduced three years ago in the United States to replace the company's cabovers.
Hino offers six conventional truck models: the 145, 165, 185, 238, 268, and 338, with GVW ratings ranging from 14,050 lb to 33,000 lb. All are equipped with Hino's J-Series 5-L or 8-L engines, which offer horsepower ratings of 175 to 260.
New factory options include rear rib tires, air horns, and chrome bumpers, as well as the Allison 200HS automatic transmission without the PTO gear. In addition, synthetic oil will be used for all Allison transmissions specified on Hino trucks.
In addition to a new Low Pro chassis package, the 258A, Hino will also introduce two new wheelbase options next year — the 212-in. version for the 258LP model and a 152-in. version for the 268.
Finally, a variety of new “local options” will be available on '07 models to fit specific customer applications. Examples include vertical exhaust stacks, air suspension dump valves, fender-mounted mirrors, fire extinguishers, and safety triangle kits.
International Truck & Engine Corp. has added the International 4100, a new Class 5 conventional truck, to its medium-duty 4000 Series.
The new truck, offered in 17,800 GVW and 19,500 GVW ratings, is aimed at a wide array of vocational applications, including construction, landscaping, flatbed, service body, dry van, and utility.
According to the OEM, the 4100 offers superior maneuverability and visibility, as well as extended and synchronized service intervals for reduced maintenance and operating costs. Mike Elwell, director of marketing, Medium Vehicle Center, points out the 4100 extends International's “family of industry-leading medium-duty trucks and maintains all of the key features and benefits of the International 4000 Series.”
The new truck is powered by an International VT-365 diesel engine with a 230-hp and 540-lb/ft torque rating. It's driven through an Allison 1000 Series automatic transmission.
The 4100 boasts a spacious cab with available air-ride suspension, optional crew or extended cabs, and durable frame ladder system for more demanding jobs supported by a seven-year warranty, says the OEM. In addition, the 4100 is built on a low-profile frame for easy loading and unloading. According to International, the 4100 offers superior maneuverability and visibility, as well as extended and synchronized service intervals for reduced maintenance and operating costs.
Other key features of the new model include commercial grade, 4-wheel hydraulic disc brakes with 15-in. rotors, and the exclusive International Diamond Logic Electric system, which the truck maker says is a self-diagnosing system that “brings integrated intelligence to truck operations.” International's new Aware Vehicle Intelligence telematics system is also available on the 4100.
While cabover models from Isuzu Commercial Truck of America are not expected to see any major changes in '07, they will be equipped with a new 6-speed Allison automatic transmission. The gearbox features Gen IV controls for smoother shifting and better torque management, allowing for higher torque capacity — up to 660 lb-ft in some cases.
Isuzu N-Series (Class 3 NPR, Class 4 NPR HD and Class 5 NQR and NRR) will have diesel power available for all five of its GVW ratings: 12,000 lb, 14,500 lb, 17,950 lb, and 19,500 lb.
The 5.2-L Isuzu 4HK1-TC turbocharged, intercooled diesel engine produces 190 hp and 387 lb-ft of torque, and can be paired with a 6-speed manual transmission or the Aisin 450-43LE 4-speed automatic.
The gasoline-powered Vortec 6000, 6.0-L V8 engine can also be specified for the NPR and NPR HD models. It delivers 300 hp and 358 lb-ft of torque driven through a Hydra-Matic 4L80-E 4-speed automatic.
Isuzu's conventionals, dubbed the H-Series, are available in Class 6 (HTR, 25,950 lb), Class 7 (HVR, 25,950 lb to 33,000 lb) and Class 8 (HXR, 33,000 lb to 54,600 lb) weight ratings.
Kenworth Truck Co. has added a new Class 6 rating to its T300 medium-duty line. The 25,000-lb GVW model is equipped with air brakes and is targeted at P&D as well as other applications.
“We're excited to offer the popular Kenworth T300, featuring outstanding quality, performance, and durability, in an additional Class 6 weight rating to pickup and delivery and other customers in the growing Class 6 air brake market,” says Gary Moore, assistant general manager for marketing and sales.
“We anticipate Class 6 customers will welcome this new 8,000-lb front and 17,000-lb rear axle combination for T300s with air brakes, especially as freight becomes more regionalized, and companies increasingly use non-CDL product alternatives to staff their driver needs,” Moore adds.
The T300 Class 6 model is available with Cummins ISB and ISC engines and with the Caterpillar C7 engine. Along with the air brakes, Kenworth is offering a low-profile chassis on this model that comes with 19.5-in. wheels and tires. Also available are 22.5-in. wheels and tires.
Kenworth has also announced new standard features and options for its full line of T300 Class 6 and 7 models. The T300 now comes standard with “the same world-class door pads” currently used in Kenworth's Class 8 models. Power door locks, passenger-side electric windows (optional on the driver's side), heating and air conditioning, a 10⅝-in. by 5/16-in. frame rail, and a glove box with locking door also come standard.
New T300 options include remote keyless entry and a low-voltage disconnect system that Kenworth says continually monitors battery voltage.
The OEM notes it also continues to provide hydraulic brakes on its T300 Class 6 and 7 vehicles, which are available as straight trucks or tractors.
For model-year 2007, Mitsubishi Fuso Truck of America is bringing back on old favorite to its lineup of Class 3-7 cabovers, which was completely redesigned in 2005. Back on the scene will be the Class 3 FE 120.
“This model was dropped a few years ago when OBII was required on all Class 3 vehicles,” explains Mitsubishi Fuso Spokesman Joe Devlin. “At that time, a decision was made not to spend the money needed to comply with the OBII requirements on an engine that would only have a limited life, considering the stricter '07 requirements. Now, the return of the FE 120, rated at 12,000 lb GVW, allows us to again offer a complete line of commercial vehicles from Class 3 through 7.”
The OEM emphasizes that the key design marker for its trucks remains the comfort and ergonomics of its cabs, with car-like controls used wherever possible. The FE 120, FE 145, FE 180, and FG 140 4WD models offer cabs with plenty of room for a 6-ft-tall driver, plus two workers. If more room is needed, the FE 145 Crew Cab is available to seat seven, with four full-access doors and storage areas under the rear bench seat.
To reduce driver fatigue, all models are equipped with one-touch tilt/telescoping steering wheel adjustment, high-mount HVAC vents, easy-to-reach storage slots, adjustable driver's armrest, noise-reducing door seals and high-mount air intake, tinted windshield glass, and power windows and door locks.
Peterbilt Motors Co. has added the Model 330 and the Model 340 to the existing Model 335 to fill out its medium-duty truck range. The new trucks were rolled out as the result of the largest product development in Pete's history, according to the OEM.
“The Model 330 and Model 340 join our award-winning Model 335 to provide medium-duty operations more choices than ever before,” says Dan Sobic, Peterbilt general manager and Paccar vice president. “The full range of Class 6 and 7 medium-duty truck GVW ratings will be available, accommodating everything from urban P&D to rugged construction applications.”
The new lightweight Model 330 is a Class 6 truck offered with GVW ratings up to 26,000 lb. According to Peterbilt, it can be fitted with hydraulic brakes and low-profile tires for operation by a non-CDL driver. “For customers that can utilize Class 6 vehicles in their operations, the Model 330 will help open up a wider pool of potential operators,” points out Chief Engineer Landon Sproull.
On the other end of the medium-duty scale, the new Model 340 is available in 33,000 lb and higher GVW ratings. According to Peterbilt, this model is “best suited for vocational, municipal, and specialty applications.”
Sobic points out that the Class 7 Model 335 will remain the “best model for the majority of Class 7 applications, such as van body and beverage distribution.”
Peterbilt medium-duty models are offered with Caterpillar and Cummins engines, as well as Allison automatic and Eaton Fuller automated and manual transmissions.
Sterling Truck Corp. has rolled out a new low-cab-over-engine (LCOE) medium-duty truck, the Sterling 360. Based on a Mitsubishi Fuso design, the Sterling 360 will be available at select Sterling dealers. Already, Class 4 and 5 models have debuted, and a Class 3 version is due by mid-2007.
The new model boasts “leading fuel economy in a low-cab-over-engine truck, as well as the industry's easiest entry and egress, biggest cab, outstanding maneuverability and visibility, and a body builder-preferred design,” according to the OEM.
According to John Merrifield, senior vice president of distribution for Sterling's parent, Freightliner Group, the 360 will be distinguished from competitive models, including those of sister DaimlerChrysler operation Mitsubishi Fuso, by a “complete, value-added package, including expert customer support, easy financing, and body-upfitting options.”
He also states the 360's fuel economy can deliver $600 a year or more in savings over competitive trucks.
The Sterling 360 is powered by a 4.9-L turbodiesel rated 175 hp at 2,700 rpm and 391 lb-ft torque at 1,600 rpm. It is driven through a 6-speed automatic with a final gear ratio of 5.285.
The truck is available in GVW ratings of 14,050 lb, 14,500 lb, and 17,995 lb. Available wheelbase and body length combinations are 115 in. and 12 ft; 134 in. and 14 ft; 152 in. and 16 ft; 164 in. (at 14,500 GVWR and 17,995 GVWR only) and 18 ft; and 176 in. and 20 ft (17,995 GVWR only). Standard features include air conditioning, power steering, an engine brake, and ABS.
Furthermore, says the OEM, drivers can effortlessly “walk” into the cab and ease in directly under the steering wheel because the 360 features an 11.75-in. distance from step to cab, which is up to 4.25 in. less than competitive designs. Offset hinges also allow full access to the larger door opening. A dash-mounted gearshift allows easier movement inside the cab and provides power and brake interlocks with an accessible override button. To ensure driver safety, the transmission control interlocks require electrical power, and the service brake must be applied.
For more room and ergonomic seating positions, the 360 features a 1.5-in. steering column tilt. “The distance from the center fuel pedal to the seat base is 16.5 in., the depth of the cab is 51 in., and the seatback area is 7.5 in., which gives more room and comfort to the driver,” Sterling states.
“Just like the other trucks in Sterling's lineup — the A-Line, L-Line, Acterra, and Cargo — the Sterling 360 is body builder preferred,” the OEM states. “For easy upfitting, the truck's shorter cab-to-body clearance of 4.5 in. allows for longer bodies with more load-carrying capacity and a greater range of body mount positions for optimum weight distribution and reduced wind resistance. Additionally, with 300 lb less curb weight than comparable models, the Sterling 360 carries more payload.”
The parallel top and bottom flanges help make it easier to mount bodies, says Sterling. Similar to a Class 8 design, the straight frame also makes wheelbase changes simple because all components can easily be slid to a new location.
Workhorse Custom Chassis
Workhorse Custom Chassis had added a 16,000-lb GVWR model of its W42 chassis for '07. Previously, the highest GVWR was 14,500 lb. Wheelbase options for all W42 models are 125, 133 in., 157 in., 178 in., and 190 in. — all of which are available with a diesel or gasoline engine.
The diesel option is powered by an International VT 275 V6 diesel engine that produces 200 hp and 440 lb-ft of torque, coupled with an Allison LCT-1000 electronic 5-speed transmission. The engine has a dual-staged turbocharging system, with a small turbo for quick, low-speed responsiveness and a second turbo for power at higher rpms.
Workhorse also announced plans to reinvigorate its FasTrack program in '07, making it possible for fleets to order W42 chassis equipped with Utilimaster bodies all under one invoice and warranty. The offer applies to common walk-in models. FasTrack makes it easier for dealers to stock walk-ins, making them more immediately available for customers.
The UD Trucks that will be introduced in 2007 are actually considered model-year 2008 by the OEM, explains Dave Trussell, marketing manager for Nissan Diesel America, UD's parent company. In addition to changes related to emissions technology, the lineup will offer several new features.
While the dual convex side view mirror is standard, a heated version will be available as an option. As Trussell points out, this is ideal for fleets operating in wintry conditions to keep those mirrors free of ice and snow.
Factory-installed back-up alarms will become standard equipment on all UD vehicles, not only to boost safety, but also to make the upfitter's job easier. Tensile steel frames, which were previously an option, will now become standard.