Big rig manufacturers are starting to roll out their new 2018 Class 8 trucks. That means it’s time to understand what’s different about the new models, so you’ll know what to look for as they start to roll into your fleet. Heavy Duty Trucking—a.k.a. TruckingInfo.com—recently published a preview of all major manufacturers’ 2018 lineups. We highly recommend you click that link and take an in-depth look for yourself, but let us provide a few of the highlights for you:
- Freightliner. The new Class 8 lineup includes the Cascadia, the Cascadia Evolution and the SD vocational truck. The Cascadia models offer three configurations of mid-roof sleeper cabs with two different options of aerodynamic packages. The largest model even offers a two-seat table with opposite seating. It also includes enhanced fleet management telematics through Freightliner’s Detroit Connect and Detroit Assurance 4.0 systems.
- International. The new HV Series severe-duty truck from International may not look much different than previous models, company executives promise it’s been “redesigned from the inside out.” The new standard powertrain is 600-700 pounds lighter than traditional engines for severe-duty trucks, which will obviously help with engine strain. It also features the Diamond Lock electrical system that automates tasks to protect equipment and crews. The company has also introduced its regional haul RH Series available in several different configurations.
- Kenworth. Not that Kenworth didn’t make visible upgrades to their 2018 models, but it wasn’t their main focus. That falls to the company’s new fully integrated and automated transmissions. Developed in collaboration with Eaton, the new transmissions include familiar features, like Creep Mode and Blended Pedal. They also include optimized gear selection, which will select the best starting gear for different situations, as well make optimized decisions on shifting depending on a truck’s engine torque, terrain grade and throttle position.
- Mack. Dubbed the “Next Generation Highway Truck,” Mack has launched its new Anthem highway tractor for 2018. The aggressively styled rigs feature updated aerodynamics for better fuel efficiency, as well as completely redesigned driving and sleeping areas for maximum comfort and productivity. Mack also updated the interiors for its Granite and Pinnacle models.
- Peterbilt. Like Kenworth, Peterbilt went straight to the transmission when redesigning for 2018. The new Paccar Automate Transmission cuts almost 400 pounds from the overall weight, while offering a 7% savings when it comes to fuel economy. Peterbilt worked with Eaton on the new transmission. The team didn’t try to convert a manual gearbox design, electing instead to redesign it completely as an automated transmission.
- The new VNL series highway tractor from Volvo comes in multiple configurations, including a 70-inch sleeper with a reclining bunk and curved cabinets for maximum space. The company is also still pushing its VNR regional Class 8 tractor that was introduced last summer and is available in three base configurations.
- Western Star. Celebrating its 50th anniversary, Western Star has a ton of new upgrades in its Class 8 offerings, including the new Western Star 5700 for expeditor and RV applications. Two things about this truck are very cool. First, it’s available in an anniversary throwback color scheme. Second, the safety improvements are phenomenal and include RollTek Seats with side-impact airbags, auto-tightening seatbelts and seats that automatically compress to the lowest position to keep drivers safe in a rollover.