With a BBC of 124 inches, CT680 is the longest of the three Cat Truck models. It’s available as a truck or tractor. Photo: Caterpillar

With a BBC of 124 inches, CT680 is the longest of the three Cat Truck models. It’s available as a truck or tractor. Photo: Caterpillar

Caterpillar this week unveiled its CT680 on/off-road truck and tractor, the third model in a line of Cat Trucks first introduced about four years ago for vocational customers.

The CT680 has a long hood and set-forward steer axle designed to tackle heavy vocational applications, executives said at an event at Cat’s Tinaja Hills demonstration center southwest of Tucson, Ariz.

While describing the new model, executives acknowledged that there would be a 15-liter diesel offered in the CT series, with an announcement coming later this year. They also said they began offering glider-kit versions of the existing CT660 about a year ago.

The new CT680 joins the CT681 medium-hood set-forward-axle truck introduced last November and the CT660, a medium- and long-hood truck and tractor with setback steer axle, that came out in 2011.

The CT680 features rugged automotive exterior styling, a spacious aluminum cab with ergonomic gauges and controls, and vocational-specific 12.4-liter diesel and automatic, automated and manual transmission options.

Its set-forward axle sits on a parabolic taper leaf suspension, tuned cab air suspension, and premium sound insulation and interior trim.

“The CT680 sets new standards in comfort and style,” said Dave Schmitz, vocational truck product manager. “Customers said, ‘We want options,’ so we offer two exterior trim packages."

The L level trim offers polished stainless steel grille trim, a three-piece Metton hood, three-piece chromed steel bumper, and composite halogen headlamps with incandescent parking-turn signal lights. The LG trim features an unadorned single-piece fiberglass hood, sealed-beam halogen headlamps and LED parking-turn signal lights.

‘Bold design’

“Its bold design will set our customers apart from the crowd,” Schmitz said of the CT680L and LG.

For ease of servicing, the CT680’s modular components — including the grille, grille surround, bumper and fender extensions — can be replaced individually. Key service points such as coolant, washer reservoirs and air filters are easy to access, and customers can quickly replace headlight bulbs and windshield wiper blades without tools. A high-capacity dual external air cleaner option is newly available.

Customers can choose from multiple seat options, including the Cat Comfort Seat, he said. A tilting, telescoping steering column with a leather-wrapped steering wheel comes standard. There’s plenty of room for paperwork and log books in easy-to-reach side compartments, back-panel storage and oversized side pockets. Map lights are plentiful to help drivers with paperwork. HVAC controls and vents are easy to access, and hoses and vents are round for maxium air flow.

Vocational-specific engine

Like other CT series vehicles, the CT680 uses a CT13 diesel equipped with selective catalytic reduction and vocational-specific ratings from 410 to 475 hp and peak torque from 1,450 to 1,700 lb-ft. Ratings can be matched to individual applications. The engine and truck are built by Navistar to Caterpillar’s specifications.

Like current models, the 680 can be ordered with Caterpillar’s CX31 6-speed automatic transmission, vocational versions of Eaton’s UltraShift Plus automated mechanical gearbox, and Eaton Fuller manual transmissions.

The 15-liter diesel due out later this year might or might not be a reintroduction of the Cat-Navistar engine built in small numbers in 2011. It will handle higher gross combination weights, though the current 13-liter engine is quite capable, customers have found.

“It’s a powerhouse,” James Williams, owner of J&L Contracting in Springfield, Mo., said of the CT13. He tested one of the two CT13-powered tractors shown at the Cat CT680 event on Thursday, and was pleased with its performance.

Cat began selling engineless glider-kit versions of the CT660 last year, said Ron Schultz, sales and product support manager. They are set up to take Cat 3406E diesels with EPA 1998 and 2004 emissions equipment.

The new CT680 comes standard with Caterpillar’s asset and fleet management tool, Product Link. Customers can use this tool and the accompanying VisionLink web interface to track fuel use and costs, location, working versus idle time, preventive maintenance schedules, among other things. Fault code or suspicious movement alerts can be sent via email or text message to help keep downtime to a minimum.

CT680 production will begin by the middle of this year, Schmitz said. Like the current models, it will be assembled at Navistar’s plant in Escobedo, Mexico.


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Tom Berg

Tom Berg

Former Senior Contributing Editor

Journalist since 1965, truck writer and editor since 1978.

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