Freightliner Shows Coronado for Owner-Operators

Jan. 1, 2001
IN keeping with the idea of the Great American Trucking Show as a trading post for drivers and owner-operators, Freightliner Trucks took the opportunity

IN keeping with the idea of the Great American Trucking Show as a trading post for drivers and owner-operators, Freightliner Trucks took the opportunity to introduce a new highway tractor aimed directly at independents at the annual event in Dallas, Texas.

The new tractor, known as the Coronado, is a second generation design intended to replace the Classic XL in the Freightliner product line. It is a 132-inch BBC longnose conventional with a set-forward front axle. In keeping with its retro styling, Coronado has dual cab-mounted exhaust stacks, polished aluminum grille, and chrome sun visor above the windshield. Although it does not have external air cleaners, the new tractor has chromed air intakes on both sides of the hood. Cross bars in the grille match the bars on the intakes and the cooling intake vent in the front bumper. Aluminum running boards along each side cradle polished aluminum fuel tanks. Bright finish storage bins attached to the frame rails fore and aft of the tanks are optional.

Unlike most current tractor designs, the hood and fenders are separate. The fenders bolt on and can be replaced individually. Large round headlamps are set in chrome bezels. A string of teardrop-shaped marker lamps runs across the sun visor and along the lower edges of the cab skirts. Finishing the styling package is a sculpted hood ornament sitting atop the grille surround.

Tight Turning Radius Although the front axle is set forward, the new tractor still is remarkably agile for a truck of its length. Steering gear on the Coronado provides a 52 wheel cut - a tighter turning radius than the Classic XL, the vehicle it replaces.

Prior to the introduction of the Coronado, drivers seeking conventional tractors with traditional styling have been forced to choose from vehicles that lack the latest innovations in technology, ride, handling, and fuel efficiency, said James L Hebe, president and CEO of Freightliner. Those drivers should not have to settle for out-of-date technology simply because they want a tractor that looks like a traditional truck, he said.

New technology extends from wiring to driver safety and comfort. Coronado uses halogen headlamps with replaceable bulbs. Marker lamps are long-life LED lights. The new tractor rides on the most modern suspension. At the rear, Coronado uses Freightliner's AirLiner lightweight air suspension that enhances lateral control and minimizes self-steering. Standard front suspension is Freightliner's leaf-and-a-half steel spring system. A new combination air and spring AirTek suspension from Hendrickson is available as an option.

Improved Interior Comfort Inside, Coronado provides Freightliner's proprietary EzyRider driver's seat as standard equipment. It has an advanced suspension system and is taller and wider than previous standard Freightliner seats. If more driving position flexibility is required, the tractor can be ordered with an optional pedal adjustment system. The new tractor has 17 outlets for the air-conditioning and heating system. Drivers will find 24 cubic feet of storage space under the bunk.

For safety, Coronado has long-stroke brake chambers with an additional half-inch of reserve stroke to help reduce the effects of brake fade. The cab exceeds the European ECE R-29 standards for crashworthiness. For added driver protection in accidents, the new tractor can be equipped with optional airbag.

Coronado has the retro styling - long nose, tall hood, and large grille - favored by owner-operators and power to match. Engines up to 600 horsepower from Detroit Diesel, Cummins, and Caterpillar are available. A Detroit Series 60 engine rated at 500 hp is standard equipment.

While drivers may want a tough-looking tractor, they don't necessarily want one that is tough to drive. To make the task easier, Coronado is available with SmartShift, a proprietary steering column-mounted shift control that allows shifting Eaton or ArvinMeritor automated transmissions.

More Cooling Capacity Big engines require large cooling capacity. Coronado is equipped with a 1,500-sq-in radiator that fills more than the large, bright-finish grille. Air for the cooling system also flows to the radiator through an intake in the chrome front bumper. An engine-mounted fan shroud helps pull air through the radiator with a minimum of efficiency loss around the blade tips.

Air flow around the outside of the new tractor is important as well. Make no mistake; the Coronado is not an aerodynamic, low drag design. Swooping curves and sloped hood designs are totally out of place in traditional truck styling. However, Coronado's basic cab design along with the windshield, hood, and fenders contributes to smooth air flow as much as possible in a truck that clearly is not intended for aerodynamic efficiency. The large front bumper creates an effective air dam at the front to help minimize drag from turbulence under the truck. This line is continued by running boards along both sides that integrate into the front fenders and rear quarter fenders.

Coronado will be available in three configurations: a 70-inch raised roof sleeper, a 70-inch mid-roof sleeper, and a day cab. Production of the new tractor starts in January 2001. Hebe says that Freightliner will take steps to maintain Coronado as a prestige tractor for owner-operators, primarily by pricing it in a way that discourages large fleet applications.

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