FOODSERVICE distributors and other local delivery fleets are among the potential customers that Mack Trucks Inc hopes to attract with its new Freedom series of medium-duty cabover trucks. The Freedom replaces the Mid-Liner cabover and conventional lineup.
Like the Mid-Liner, the Freedom is being built in France by Renault RVI. It is marketed in Europe as the Renault Midlum. The US introduction was June 22 in Las Vegas, Nevada, and shipments of the Freedom already have begun.
“From the beginning, our Freedom series development team set out to create new concepts and new solutions to meet the present-day requirements of medium-duty customers,” said Kevin M Flaherty, Mack senior vice-president of sales. “As a result, Freedom series owners will benefit from several new benchmarks in terms of performance, innovation and productivity, while significantly reducing operating costs.”
The new Freedom series cabovers are available in four Class 6 and 7 models, which have been designated M, L, XL, and XXL. Each is available in one of two cab sizes — the Standard cab, with a 63-inch bumper-to-back-of-cab (BBC) length and the XTRA cab, with a 79-inch BBC.
With 17.5-inch wheels, the Class 6 M model has one of the lowest cab heights among medium-duty vehicles and allows for one-step cab entry. The vehicle has a very low loading height, which is ideal for those making retail and wholesale deliveries. The L (Class 6) and XL (Class 7) models include 19.5-inch wheels and two-step cab entry. The Class 7 XXL model features 22.5-inch wheels, two cab steps, and a standard frame height. Both the XL and XXL models are available in Gross Vehicle Weight Ratings from 26,000 to 35,000 pounds.
Flaherty added that the effective BBC of the Mack Freedom series is the tightest in the industry, thereby providing a “highly compact vehicle package when Freedom trucks are equipped with bodies of any size or length.” In addition, wheel cuts have been maximized at 50 degrees to ensure tight turning with virtually any type of body. The maneuverability was clearly apparent to members of the trade press when they drove the truck on a closed course at the Las Vegas Speedway.
The Freedom series Standard cab offers a roomy, well-insulated work environment with numerous new features to promote driver productivity and comfort. Chief among these are storage areas that are conveniently located to accommodate anything from credit cards to a change of clothes.
A standard overhead console contains a large storage compartment while also housing the radio and a single dome light above the driver. An optional deluxe overhead console comes with two large compartments with doors, two dome lights, and map lights.
The center console on the Standard Freedom series cab provides a document holder and storage pockets. For working on the road, an optional mobile case with a detachable document carrier is available as a substitute for the standard center console. The mobile case can be used for a multitude of storage needs — documents, a laptop computer, cellular phone, supplies, and tools.
An optional two-person bench seat features a storage locker under the right seat and a concealed document holder under the center section. The center seat back conveniently folds down for use as a table and document holder.
The 79-inch XTRA Freedom cab offers an additional 16 inches of length, and is available as an option on all models. It comes with a choice of two new interior designs — the Office cab and the Utility cab. The main feature of the Office cab is the center console, which consists of three sections. The lower section is a hanging folder file cabinet that was designed to handle standard folders. The upper section has space for a laptop computer and two separate 12-volt power ports. A slide-out desk in the center console provides a convenient work area.
Freedom series owners opting for the XTRA cabs with either the Office or Utility interiors also will enjoy the new driver's seat, which reclines and is capable of sliding back to the rear wall for stretching and relaxing during break time.
Lower loading height was accomplished without sacrificing payload capacity and should help reduce operator fatigue. An additional benefit is enhanced stability due to a lower center of gravity.
Four-wheel disc brakes — combined with a new suspension system that combines parabolic springs, gas shocks, and stabilizer bars on the front and rear axles — are standard on all Freedom vehicles. This system provides progressive braking action to reduce stopping distance, resist brake fade, and ensure stability. Brake pads on Freedom vehicles can be replaced at a fraction of the labor hours required for S-cam brakes.
Freedom's doors open 90 degrees, and two grab handles are mounted inside the cab. Optional driver-side step lights provide step well illumination at night.
Good visibility is another critical need for medium-duty truck operators, and the Mack Freedom series has a panoramic windshield and horizontal angle of vision of 90 degrees in front, 71.5 degrees to the left, and 26 degrees to the right. A lower door window in the passenger side is optional. Heated remote controlled mirrors also are available.
The standard tilt steering wheel also includes an integral flip-open writing surface. Tilt, telescope steering columns are optional. When optional factory-installed radios are ordered, they include a control system on the steering column adjusting volume, muting, tuning, and station searching.
A standard in-dash driver information display keeps drivers aware of operational alerts while the vehicle is moving and when it is stopped. Information that can be viewed while underway includes trip miles, total miles, trip mpg, total mpg, total engine hours, and total idle hours. When the truck is parked, the driver also can check total gallons of fuel used, trip idle gallons and total idle gallons. Date, time, and ambient temperature complete the information available on the display center.
The standard engine in the Freedom series is Mack's E3 engine rated at 210 horsepower. The 250-hp E3 is optional on the XL and XXL models. The six-cylinder E3 engine is certified in all 50 US states. Oil change interval for the E3 engine has been extended to 20,000 miles or every two years.
Freedom series trucks are standard with Mack's V-MAC (Vehicle Management and Control) system. V-MAC provides fully electronic engine and vehicle management for optimum fuel economy and low emissions levels. Customer programmable features consist of electronic road speed limiting and cruise control engine protection, idle shutdown and engine RPM controls for both the electronic throttle, and a PTO. Vehicles also are equipped with trip recorders to automatically and continually log trip and maintenance information.
Pretrip inspection processes have been simplified. The hinged front panel is easily lifted so that fluid levels can be checked by merely glancing at the translucent fluid reservoirs. Checking the engine's oil level is even easier because the driver doesn't have to do it. It is automatically displayed on the oil pressure gauge every time the ignition switch is activated.
Body builders also will find Freedom series trucks highly accommodating. Bodies may be fitted to within inches of the back of the cab, which is free of obstructions and provides for the tightest overall package in the industry. Electrical junctions at the end of the frame and battery box also are standard, as are two dedicated body builder rocker switches on the dash that are provided to promote electrical system integrity to the end user.