When you get inside and saddle up in Mack Trucks' new Anthem highway tractor, the word that may come to mind is "friendly." And then you'll notice how smooth it pulls.
The Anthem's redesigned driver environment, which crosses over into the Pinnacle axle-forward and Granite models as well, puts controls within easy reach and provides more information at a glance to the operator. It does its intended job adeptly and it's an obvious refresh, actually making the Pinnacle and Granite feel like all-new trucks.
Mack's mDRIVE HD automated manual transmission — which the company said has made big strides in the market since its introduction in 2015 to achieve an 88% penetration rate — offers simple, push-button operation. Available in 12-, 13-, and 14-speed versions with one or two low-ratio creeper gears, the mDRIVE gives the Anthem and other Mack models carlike drivability.
Similarly capable are Mack's MP8 13L and MP7 11L diesel engines, which were included in Anthem models available for media test drives at Mack's Customer Center in Allentown, PA last week. With trailers loaded near weight limits in tow, it was easy almost to forget those trailers were there in drives around the test track (which we didn't do, of course). Speed around the test track is limited to 40 mph.
Here are some photos and some more detail on the tractor's design from that first drive in Allentown.