The International Truck division of Navistar is rolling out what it calls “major enhancements” to its LoneStar highway tractor; deliberately dovetailing the announcement with the start of National Truck Driver Appreciation Week to highlight the “driver-focused” upgrades to its LoneStar family of trucks, originally introduced back in 2008.
“These benefits move the needle in this ‘advanced classic’ segment,” David Majors, Navistar’s vice president of product development, noted in a conference call with reporters regarding the LoneStar upgrades, which will become available in January 2018.
“This vehicle is really like a Porsche; it has a very distinctive style when it comes down the road. It’s always had iconic style but now we’re refining it,” he explained. “We’re combining form and function better to provide an outstanding environment for the driver while making aerodynamic improvements to boost fuel economy.”
Majors said hood design changes and new seven-pound-lighter pedestal mirrors when combined with the new Cummins X15 engine models available for the LoneStar improve fuel efficiency by 3% versus previous iterations of the vehicle.
He pointed out, however, that Navistar’s new A26 engine will not be available for the company’s retooled LoneStar model.
Some examples of the LoneStar upgrades include:
- A new single-canister aftertreatment system provided by Cummins, the LoneStar’s engine supplier, that is 60% smaller and 40% lighter than the previous two-part system and is also simplified for quicker servicing.
- An all-new cab wiring harness package and in-cab power distribution module that is inside the truck, away from the elements.
- An all-new HVAC [heating, ventilation and air conditioning] system delivers outstanding comfort and visibility with faster defrosting capabilities. During testing at 0°F, the company said the LoneStar’s “MAX” defrosting setting cleared 100% of the windshield in under 30 minutes from start-up.
- The doors on the LoneStar now open 4% wider, are two-times as stiff, and feature more seal compression to help reduce cab noise, Majors noted. “Lower NVH [noise, vibration, harmonics] reduces driver fatigue for long haul,” he said.
- Door handles are wider and deeper to accommodate use when wearing gloves. Indeed, Majors said most of the rocker switches on the LoneStar’s redesigned dashboard can now be operated when wearing gloves.
- The steering wheel buttons now feature laser-etched descriptions and are backlighted as well. “We had complaints about the markings wearing off over time and being hard to see as well – drivers were taking their eyes off the road to find the right switch,” Majors said.
The revamped LoneStar will also feature an all new ergonomically designed interior with new digital information display, a new integrated stalk shifter integrating transmission and engine brake functionality, durable and easy to clean soft touch vinyl interior, and stylish diamond interior is standard, said Majors
Drivers will notice that the doors, side glass and cab mirrors have all been redesigned to enhance visibility and ultimately helping to reduce neck strain and fatigue over the long haul, he added – with 15% less head turning needed to the left and 5% less to the right for maximum side-window visibility.
The LoneStar is available in several configurations, Navistar noted: Daycab, 56-in. low roof sleeper, 56-in. high-rise sleeper, 73-in. high-rise sleeper, and a 73-in. “Sky-Rise” sleeper package. The LoneStar is not typically spec’d for vocational applications, though Majors noted some are being sold into the heavy-wrecker segment.