November 2008, TruckingInfo.com - Test Drives
T370 Hybrid tractor is Kenworth’s latest medium-duty conventional-cab model, joining Class 6 T270 and Class 7 T370 hybrid and diesel-only trucks (and a Class 5 T170 truck). Like other hybrids, the new tractor uses a Cummins-made 6.7-liter Paccar PX 6 engine and Eaton’s electric-drive system. In other models, Kenworth uses the PX 6 with up to 300 hp and the larger 8.3-liter PX 8 with up to 330 hp. Last year the midrange T series got new hoods made of composite materials with an assist device for easy opening, new grill designs, and projector-beam headlamps. For ’09 the T270 and T370 will add the AG210L, a two-bag, 21,000-pound rear suspension; and the AG400L, a 4-bag 40,000-pound tandem rear suspension. Also in the lineup are the Class 6 K260 and Class 7 K360, Americanized versions of DAF low-cab-forward trucks from Europe, with PX 6 engines.
Nissan Diesel America fields four truck models in Class 6 and 7: UD2000, UD 2300, UD2600 and UD3300. UD is the brand (it originally meant Uniflow Diesel) and the numbers indicate gross vehicle weight ratings in pounds (times 10). All were updated for the last model year with fresh aerodynamic styling for their cabs that saves fuel and cuts wind noise, while interiors are comfortably appointed. The EPA ’07-legal diesel for all these models is the MD230 inline-6 with 230 horsepower. Power steering pump and air compressor (in air-braked models) are gear driven. All come standard with a Nissan 6-speed manual transmission, while 5-speed Allison 5-speed automatics are optional.
Class 6 Model 330 (shown) and Class 7 Model 335 are Peterbilt’s main entries in the midrange market. There’s also a “heavy 7” 340, which is primarily a vocational truck, and a Class 5 Model 325. All use Cummins-built Paccar PX-6 and PX-8 diesels with Eaton manual and Allison automatic transmissions. Late this year there’ll be a 335 hybrid tractor, using Eaton’s electric-drive system, like that in the 330 and 335 hybrid straight trucks. Horsepower in the PX-6 diesel will be higher in the tractor but, as in the trucks, the modest 6.7-liter engine size suffices because torque is augmented by that from the electric motor at startup. Peterbilt’s model 210 and 220 are DAF-sourced Class 6 and 7 low-cab-forward trucks also sold by sister company Kenworth; they also use the PX-6 engine with a ZF manual or Allison automatic.
Assembled in West Virginia from imported and domestic components, Hino conventionals have sold briskly since replacing imported LCFs several years ago, but sales have fallen since the economic slowdown. Four Class 6 and 7 models are offered: the 258, 268, 308 and 338, with the first two numbers suggesting approximate GVW ratings in thousands of pounds and the 8 indicating a 7.6-liter, 220-horsepower, in-line six-cylinder diesel used in all models. The 258 has a low-profile chassis and the others have a normal stance. The 338 is now available in a down-rated 25,900-pound-GVW version that doesn’t require a driver to have a CDL. The 338 and 268 can be had with Eaton’s 6-speed UltraShift automated mechanical gearbox; generally, Eaton manuals and Allison automatics are available throughout the midrange line. An Extended Cab version has a 30-inch composite extension installed by Fontaine that can fitted with a full-width bench seat or a fold-down bunk. By popular demand, a Class 4 LCF is again available in Canada, and Class 3 LCFs will come to the U.S. in a year or two.
Fuso’s LCFs last year got redesigned cabs with upgraded interiors and lower-profile frames, and these continue. The cab on the Class 6 and 7 models is said to be 4 percent more aerodynamic with a van body and 25 percent better with a flatbed. Models include the Class 7 FM330 with a 7.5-liter 243-horsepower Fuso 6M60 diesel with exhaust brake, full air brakes, and Allison automatic or Mitsubishi 6-speed overdrive manual transmissions. A Class 6 FK260, rated at 26,000 pounds with air brakes, and FK200, at 19,850 pounds with hydraulic brakes, use the same engine with Allison 2200 and 1000 automatics. Sterling-Western Star executives in Michigan have taken over many administrative functions since Daimler AG bought into Fuso, but some parts and service people remain in New Jersey.