Picking and spec'ing rigs that appeal to drivers can go a long way in a fleet's driver recruiting and retention efforts. Fleet Owner asked truck OEMs to select their most driver-enticing tractor and specs for this preview of the most desired trucks by teams and long-haul drivers.
The Freightliner Cascadia is one of the industry's most aerodynamic trucks designed to deliver superior fuel economy and a smooth and comfortable ride. Key driver comfort features standard on the 125-in. sleeper include a tilt and telescopic steering wheel; multi-function steering wheel controls that allow drivers to select cruise control settings along with setting marker light interrupt and engine brake; air suspension driver and passenger seats with air lumbar support and cushion extension, which optimizes thigh support; ergonomic, driver-centric dash with two 12V power supplies and large, easily accessible cup holders; cab insulation resulting in a quiet and comfortable interior; ample cab and sleeper lighting; and airliner rear air suspension.
Top driver comfort options available include a premium satellite radio audio system with Bluetooth; premium air suspension seats with three-chamber air lumbar support and seat heating; leather-wrapped steering wheel; premium cab insulation package; Park-Smart battery-driven auxiliary HVAC system for quiet, anti-idling, all-season sleeper comfort; Thermo King TriPac auxiliary power units; quilted spring premium mattresses; factory-installed, integrated refrigerator; premium cabinetry options; and Hendrickson's Airtek front air suspension, which allows for a vehicle with full air suspensions, both front and rear.
The Kenworth T700 targets over the road and team driver operations with a spacious, wide cab that provides nearly 30 in. between the driver and passenger seats for convenient access to the 75-in. Aerodyne sleeper.
The sleeper offers an 8-ft. cathedral ceiling that optimizes the work environment and provides room to sit upright in the upper bunk. The T700 sleeper includes a 42-in. liftable lower bunk; pullout desk; full-length door-enclosed hanging closet; an array of storage choices; rich-looking wood grain accents; wall-to-wall carpet; and Xenon incandescent lighting for excellent illumination. Optional amenities include a drawer-style refrigerator and an adjustable flat panel TV mount. The interior provides 60-plus cu. ft. of storage space.
The T700's ergonomic cab features modern dash styling; multiplexed instrumentation; and the Kenworth Driver Information Center. The new Kenworth NavPlus system is standard on the T700 with premium interior trim and optional with other interior trim packages. NavPlus includes truck-specific navigation; vehicle data; hands-free phone; audio controls; camera inputs for up to four optional video cameras; and optional Internet access.
International Trucks touts its Pro-Star+ with a MaxxForce 13 engine as the company's most driver-friendly model. Standard features include a tilt and telescopic steering wheel and dash with an ergonomically designed wing panel housing a radio, switch panel, driver information display, HVAC controls and parking brake controls. Ergonomically designed gauges and instruments are easy to read and switches are lighted with the most commonly used controls located on the steering wheel for easy access.
Standard features include air suspension swivel driver and passenger seats with lumbar control with horizontal seat travel of 8.75 in.; a hydraulic clutch actuation system that allows lower clutch pedal force and smoother clutch engagement; and an outboard-mounted cab air-ride suspension with finely tuned shock absorbers to reduce cab sway. A fresh air filter removes particulates from both outside and recirculated air through the HVAC system.
Among optional driver comfort features are a Suite Interior Sleeper Trim with couch and Murphy-styled fold-down bed, and optional hardwood floor; a premium sleeper insulation package; Bluetooth radio with integrated mic in headliner; auxiliary radio controls in the sleeper; Monsoon stereo amplifier system; a pivoting bracket for LED flat screen TV, and a vertical or under bed refrigerator.
The Mack Pinnacle, available in both axle back and axle forward configurations, comes in several sizes to fit any fleet's unique specifications.
Mack offers 48- and 56-in. flat-top and 60- and 70-in. mid-rise sleepers for bulk tank and flatbed operations, as well as 70-in. high-rise sleeper options for van and refrigerated applications. All of the configurations are ideally suited for either over the road or regional haul segments.
Inside the Mack Pinnacle model, drivers are greeted with a comfortable, functional environment, exemplified by a Grand Touring trim package with button-tuck vinyl and ultra-leather seats. The quiet, reinforced cab features an ergonomic dash, plush interiors, plenty of storage, and a thick innerspring mattress in the bunk.
The Rawhide Edition Pinnacle, which is only available in axle forward configuration, features a brushed nickel dash; leather-grip steering wheel; and two-tone ultra-leather seats. The exterior boasts bright-finish stacks with chrome bullhorns, quad trumpet air horns with snow shields, and a stainless steel extended sun visor.
The Rawhide Edition comes in three models: daycab and 60- or 70-in. mid-rise sleepers.
Mack MP series Econodyne engines provide legendary Mack power while also delivering maximum fuel efficiency, which is boosted by Mack's recently optimized roof and chassis fairings. With the addition of Mack's mDrive 12-spd., two-pedal automated transmission, drivers can sit back and let the integrated powertrain do all the heavy lifting. With the engine, transmission, and vehicle in constant communication, mDrive can automatically select the best gear for optimized fuel economy at the desired road speed.
PETERBILT MODEL 389
The Model 389 is Peterbilt's flagship premium traditional truck. The platinum interior package features top of dash panels in a dark charcoal color that is scratch-resistant, reduces driver glare, and is less likely to fade or show dirt. The lower dash panels are woodgrain. The interior offers an ergonomic environment with conveniently placed window, lock and mirror controls; LED backlit gauges to reduce driver fatigue; and a powerful new HVAC system for improved overall air conditioning performance. The platinum interior also features highly contoured premium door pads; a GPS navigation system and the ConcertClass audio system. The 70-in. platinum UltraCab sleeper features plenty of storage options such as woodgrain-accented enclosed cabinets; shelving for refrigerators and microwaves; ample overhead lighting; and a convenient control panel for the audio and HVAC systems.
Peterbilt's SmartSound system provides acoustic and thermal insulating properties to reduce noise by 50%, providing a comfortable environment for the driver. SmartSound can be integrated into any interior level.
Peterbilt's SmartNav is an in-dash navigation and business system that utilizes a high-resolution, 7-in. touch panel display. When a truck is not in motion, the driver will be able to access the Internet and send and receive emails to enhance communications with dispatchers, logistics providers and shippers. SmartNav also includes hands-free phoning with Bluetooth; back-up camera options; vehicle data; and audio controls, including satellite radio, AM/FM, CD, MP3 and USB.
VOLVO VN 670
The Volvo VN 670 is all about driver comfort for the long haul, thanks to a space-efficient 61-in. sleeper cab with 264 cu. ft. of sleeper space. The advanced climate control system of the VN 670 maintains a perfect temperature inside. And drivers will appreciate the microwave, refrigerator and TV/VCR options. Volvo's large, centrally positioned driver information display is easy to read and supports the Volvo Link interface. Convenient control stalks let the driver operate critical functions without reaching away from the steering wheel. Display controls are incorporated into the steering wheel stalk. Controls for electric mirror adjustment, power windows and power door locks are located within easy reach on top of the door panel.
Standard level seats provide contoured cushions; 7-in. fore-and-aft slide; front cushion adjustment; power air lumbar; rear cushion adjustment; and chugger snubber. Comfort level seats include standard features plus additional shoulder support; contoured side bolsters; power air cushion and back bolsters; triple chamber lumbar support; and six-button seat. Additional options include swivel base; heated cushions; BackCycler and Wide-Plus cushions that are 2 in. wider than a standard-width seat. The standard Volvo air suspension increases comfort and stabilizes the ride.
The VN 670's aerodynamic design promotes exceptional fuel economy and is furthered by the combination of a Volvo D13 engine and intelligent I-Shift automated transmission. With the engine and transmission in constant communication, the I-Shift automatically selects the best gear for the engine, allowing every driver to shift like a fuel-efficiency expert. This also puts less stress on the driveline for longer life and less maintenance.
WESTERN STAR 4900 FE
Key driver comforts that are standard on the Western Star 4900FE include extra thick floor insulation; full perimeter double door seals; and composite wall technology in the sleeper that allows for one of the quietest cabs in the industry.
A set-back front axle configuration contributes to a smooth ride with great maneuverability.
Western Star's interior features bright new colors and two trim levels — base and premium. Seat material options include Mordura, vinyl and ultra-leather. Storage space is maximized in the sleeper with customizable shelving. New door panels provide increased storage and added comfort getting in and out of the truck.
Dash-mounted, in-cab electrical panels with plug-in fuses and manual reset circuit breakers allow easy access. Plug and play gauges are easily relocated within the dash panel allowing drivers to customize the layout for added flexibility. An electronic device prep option provides secure mounting and easy access for flexibility in placing aftermarket instruments such as GPS systems. Exposed fasteners on a hinged dash allow for easier access. Automatic temperature control allows drivers to better maintain climate settings. Suspended clutch and brake pedals provide premium ergonomics. New door panels provide increased storage and added comfort getting in and out of the truck. Window control and door lock switches on the door top sill allow finger-tip access.
Western Star 4900FE options include an aerodynamic, high-visibility hood; chrome wraparound bumper; under-hood air cleaners; and horizontal or back-of-sleeper exhaust.