Despite the big falloff in new truck sales this year due to the mandated introduction of EPA 2007-compliant diesel engines into 2008 model year trucks — increasing sticker prices by up to $10,000 — manufacturers viewed this period as an opportunity to redesign many of their products and introduce brand new ones.

According to the editors at EC&M's sister publication, Fleet Owner, a trade magazine geared toward executives and managers of commercial-trucking fleets that operate five or more vehicles, perhaps the biggest changes are happening in the medium-duty sector, where new cabover and conventional chassis designs are joining the field. There is also a spate of diesel-electric hybrid vehicles hitting the market as well, with International Truck & Engine Corp., in particular, planning to mass produce its medium-duty hybrid starting in January 2008.

Fleet Owner Executive Editor David Cullen and Senior Editor Sean Kilcarr predict there will be plenty of new tires to kick on perhaps the biggest convoy of all-new or updated Class 1 to 8 commercial vehicles to come into view in quite some time, with all-new Class 5 through 8 medium- and heavy-duty products being offered from the likes of International, Kenworth, Peterbilt, and Freightliner. These new models result from the adjustments OEMs need to make to their cab and chassis designs to fit in EPA-compliant '07 engines and aftertreatment systems that remove harmful pollutants from their exhaust pipes.

Even the lighter side of trucking is enjoying a design renaissance, with many Class 1 to 2 commercial pickups and vans now boasting major improvements — many also driven by the introduction of cleaner diesel engine products. Following is a preview of next year's light- and medium-duty models.


LIGHT-DUTY

DODGE/FREIGHTLINER

Dodge and Freightliner Trucks have rolled out the completely redesigned Sprinter van and cab-chassis light trucks as 2007 models. The OEM said the newest version of the Sprinter, which was introduced earlier in Europe by parent DaimlerChrysler, is “super sized,” measuring wider, higher, and longer than the previous model sold here. It features an all-new V-6 diesel as well as an optional V-6 gasoline engine, has a higher maximum gross weight rating, and boasts significant new active safety systems added as standard equipment. The new '07 Dodge Sprinter goes on sale in North America this year and will also be offered as a Freightliner model.

Changes for the new Sprinter start with the body, which now features a pronounced hood and more streamlined profile, moving away from the original Sprinter's boxier sheet metal. Two inches wider than the previous model, the 2007 version will be available in three lengths (233 in., 273 in., and 289 in.); two wheelbases (144 in. and 170 in.); and three roof heights, including a new 84-in.-high “Mega” option.

The roll-open side door, which can be spec'd on either side of the body, is now wide enough to handle a standard pallet, and the rear doors open a full 270°. Maximum cargo capacity for the 2007 Sprinter goes up to 600 cu ft, and GVW ratings are offered up to 11,030 lb for both van and cab-chassis versions.

The truck's new 3.0L V-6 turbodiesel produces 154 hp and peak torque of 280 lb-ft. It's fitted with a diesel particulate filter to meet 2007 U.S. emissions requirements, but retains the previous model's 10,000-mile oil change intervals and 30,000-mile PM schedule, according to Dodge. Available only in the United States, the new gasoline engine option is a 3.5L V-6 rated at 254 hp and 250 lb-ft peak torque. Both engines are mated to a 5-speed automatic transmission.

The '07 Sprinter is the first commercial light truck to feature DaimlerChrysler's new adaptive electronic stability program (ESP), which compensates automatically for changes in vehicle payload. ESP is integrated with a variety of new safety-related electronic and suspension systems, including roll-over mitigation, skid control, ABS, electronic brake distribution, and emergency brake assist — all standard.

Other new Sprinter features of note include 16-in. wheels, high-density halogen headlamps with cornering lights, park assist with both front and rear bumper sensors, power windows and mirrors, and automatic rain and light sensors to control the windshield wipers and headlights.

Refreshed for the '08 model year, the mid-size Dodge Dakota pickup offers new interior and exterior styling, a bigger cab and longer bed, more towing capacity, and more power, thanks to a new 4.7L V-8 engine producing 290 hp (25% more than its previous engine offering) and 320 lb-ft of torque (a 10% increase).

No major changes have been announced for the Class 1-2 Dodge Ram 2500 pickup.
www.dodge.com
www.freightliner.com

FORD

The biggest changes to Ford's 2008 model year light trucks are largely reserved for its E-Series vans, available as the E-150 (regular length), E-250, and E-350 (regular and extended length).

A new front-end design inspired by the F-Series Super Duty helps improve engine capability by increasing airflow, while an all-new exclusive E-Guard Cargo Protection System adds a double-lock design to beef up cargo security, an option straight from the factory.

This E-Guard design can only be unlocked from outside the vehicle using the key. For example, on vehicles with power lock systems, the key fob or interior switch can be used to lock all doors and double-lock the side and rear cargo doors. While the key fob will unlock the front doors, the cargo doors can only be unlocked with the key.

All models feature a new, steel-reinforced license plate bucket. The E-Guard system installs in the steel bucket for added security, while the lock itself has been reinforced with a steel flange.

Other improvements include a redesigned steering system, plus changes to the front and rear suspensions that boost driving dynamics and braking performance. AdvanceTrac with roll stability control (RSC) is now standard on E-350 passenger wagons equipped with the 5.4L V-8 engine.

Load-carrying capacity for the 2008 E-Series has been increased, with GVWR now 14,500 lb. Standard side doors are 60/40 swing-out, with a sliding cargo door option for no charge. Passenger wagons feature all-new seats.

Rear cargo space is 236.5 cu ft for standard models and 275.1 cu ft for extended versions. The cargo area features a double-wall design that leaves the exterior sheet metal less vulnerable to damage from shifting cargo.

For Ford's F-150 pickup line, a wide variety of body configurations remain available for the 2008 model year, including three cab choices, three box lengths, two box styles, and five unique series. New options, features, and equipment include a tire pressure monitoring system, enhanced seats, new factory-installed accessories, and new colors. The F-150 also offers a modular overhead rail system that allows owners to customize interior storage options. Maximum tow rating is 10,500 lb when properly equipped; maximum payload capacity is 3,050 lb.
www.ford.com

GENERAL MOTORS

The upgrades continue for General Motors' line of light-duty vans and pickups, with a focus on safety and performance improvements. The GMC Savana and Chevrolet Express vans now come standard with StabiliTrak on all 1-ton passenger models to improve vehicle stability and handling. AWD and the OnStar safety and security system are optional.

The versatility of these trucks, which can serve as both cargo vans and passenger haulers (able to accommodate up to 15 people), gets beefed up with the addition of a standard Vortec 5.3L V-8 that delivers 295 hp and 335 lb-ft of torque. The Vortec 5.3L is the standard engine in G1500 and H1500 passenger models — and in H1500 cargo and conversion models. It's also available with the Duramax 6.6L turbo-diesel V-8 that delivers 250 hp and 460 lb-ft of torque, as well as a FlexFuel E85 version of the Vortec 5.3L.

On the pickup side, the Chevrolet Silverado and its GMC Sierra counterpart both offer a new platform that supports a smoother ride and better handling with more power and improved fuel economy. Six powerful, Gen IV small-block V-8 engines complement the stronger chassis to deliver towing capacity of 10,500 lb, 367 hp, and maximum payload capacity of 2,160 lb.

Both the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra are offered in three cab styles: regular, extended, and crew cab. Cargo box lengths are short (5 ft, 8 in.), standard (6 ft, 6 in.), and long (8 ft). Both pickups are available in 2WD and 4WD.

The Sierra is also available in a premium specification, the Denali, with exclusive features such as 6.2L all-aluminum V-8 engine with variable valve timing, and a new 6-speed automatic transmission. It is available in 2WD and 4WD crew cab models.
www.gm.com

HONDA

The half-ton unibody Ridgeline pickup from Honda continues relatively unchanged into the 2008 model year, carrying over a new full independent 4-wheel suspension and in-bed truck introduced during the 2007 model year.

In addition, the Ridgeline now also comes with what Honda calls a “value-oriented” RTX trim level that includes a standard trailer hitch. Also standard next year for all Ridgeline models, which includes the RT, RTX, RTS, and RTL, are a driver side illuminated vanity mirror and four new exterior colors.

Standard engineering for all Ridgeline models includes: a 247-hp, 3.5-L VTEC V-6 engine; 5-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission; advanced Variable Torque Management four-wheel drive system; 5-ft cargo bed.

Standard comfort and convenience features include: air conditioning; tilt steering wheel; power windows and door locks and power sliding rear window; cruise control; keyless entry; automatic heated wiper zone; and 60/40 split lift-up rear seat with underseat storage.

All models come equipped with transmission and oil coolers, heavy-duty brakes, dual radiator fans, an exclusive fresh air intake system for improved towing performance in hot weather conditions, and pre-wiring for 4- and 7-pin trailer hook up.

The following safety features are standard: ABS with Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA) with traction control; brake assist; advanced dual-stage, dual-threshold driver and front passenger airbags; driver and front passenger side airbags; two-row side curtain airbags with rollover sensor; and a tire pressure monitoring system.
www.honda.com

NISSAN

Nissan's Titan full-size pickup is getting some major upgrades for the 2008 model year, including the addition of new Titan Long Wheelbase (LWB) King Cab and Crew Cab models, plus a new PRO-4X grade, which is available in both King Cab and Crew Cab 4WD standard bed configurations.

In all, the 2008 Titan will be offered in four models (XE, SE, PRO-4X, and LE), two body styles (King Cab and Crew Cab) in both 4×2 and 4×4 drive configurations, and four bed size options (5 ft, 5 in., 6 ft, 5 in., 7 ft, and 8 ft.). The 2008 Titan is also available with Flexible Fuel Vehicle (FFV) capability so it can operate on E85 ethanol.

On the styling front, Titan is getting a revised front end and all-new wheel styles. Inside, it features a new seat design and refined meter cluster, with an optional Bluetooth hands-free phone system, XM Satellite Radio tuner, heated leather-appointed bench seat, a revised center stack, and a larger, 8-in. DVD screen (up from 7-in. in previous models).

More importantly for working fleets, however, is the 2008 Titan's redesigned brake system, with larger front rotors and optional larger standard wheel sizes, including 20-in. alloy wheels on Titan LE models.

The Titan is built on Nissan's F-Alpha pickup platform, featuring a powerful 5.6-L DOHC Endurance V-8-rated at 317 hp and 385 lb-ft torque mated to a standard 5-speed automatic transmission, giving the truck a maximum towing capacity of up to 9,500 lb for King Cab and 9,400 lb for Crew Cab, when properly equipped.
www.nissan-usa.com

TOYOTA

The big news from Toyota is its beefed up Tundra pickup, with a new four-door CrewMax full-size option, as well as the Regular Cab and Double Cab versions.

Larger in every dimension, the new Tundra is available in 31 model configurations, with a choice of 4×2 and 4×4 drivetrains, three cab styles, three wheelbases, three bed lengths, three engines, and three trim levels.

Powering the Tundra is a 381-hp, 5.7L i-Force V-8 engine teamed to a new 6-speed automatic transmission.

Technological upgrades include Bluetooth cellphone compatibility, high-end audio, and an optional navigation system that includes a wide-screen rear backup camera.

The Tow Package for units equipped with V-8 engines boosts capacity significantly, up to 10,800 lb, depending on the model and drivetrain. It is standard on the Double Cab long beds and optional on all other models.

In Regular and Double Cab models, a standard 4.0L V-6 produces 236 hp at 5,200 rpm and 266 lb-ft of peak torque at 4,000 rpm. The mid-grade option for these models — and standard for the CrewMax — is an enhanced version of the 4.7L i-Force V-8, producing 271 hp at 5,400 rpm and 313 lb-ft of peak torque at 3,400 rpm.

Tundra models equipped with the 4.0L engine will have city/highway fuel economy ratings of 17/20 miles per gallon; those with the 4.7L engine will have city/highway fuel economy ratings of 15/18 miles per gallon.

Both the V-6 and the i-Force 4.7 V-8 feature DOHC 4-valve cylinder heads and Variable Valve Timing; they are teamed with a 5-speed automatic transmission. An updated flex lock-up torque converter control enhances transmission response and efficiency. For added driver control, the transmission features an uphill-downhill “shift logic” function — all Tundras have sequential shift as standard equipment.

The all-new 5.7Liter i-Force V-8, now available in every Tundra model configuration, offers 381 hp at 5,600 rpm and 401 lb-ft of peak torque at 3,600 rpm. Tundra models equipped with the 5.7L engine will have city/highway fuel economy ratings of 16/20 miles per gallon (4×2) and 14/18 miles per gallon (4×4).
www.toyota.com


MEDIUM-DUTY

DODGE

The all-new Ram 4500 and 5500 Chassis Cabs join Dodge's medium-duty truck lineup for the 2008 model year and are designed to compete within the Class 4 and 5 segments, with their gross vehicle weight rating topping out at 14,000 and 19,500 lb, respectively.

The Ram 4500 and 5500 Chassis Cabs have a 52-gallon fuel tank, 390 mm brake rotors, 66 mm caliper pistons, and 34-in. frame rail spacing with flat, clean frame rails on a one-piece C-channel rear-frame rail made from 50,000-psi steel.

Both are offered in dual-rear-wheel models and four cab-axle lengths (60 in., 84 in., 108 in., and 120 in.), in 4×2, 4×4, regular, and Quad Cab configurations, along with a standard 6.7L Cummins High Output Turbo Diesel cranking out 305 hp and 610 lb-ft of torque. Cummins' 6.7L engine is also B5 biodiesel compatible and has life-to-major overhaul intervals of 350,000 miles.

Completing the powertrain package is a 6-speed automatic transmission with PTO capability or a 6-speed manual with PTO. An electronic-shift transfer case is optional, and a factory-installed exhaust brake contributes to both safety and superior brake life.

Bolt-on and riveted-on exhaust hanger brackets provide increased up-fitter flexibility, and riveted cross-members behind the cab allow for easier modification.

The fuel filter on this model is routed through the frame, and an optional mid-ship fuel tank frees up more space behind the rear axle for special up-fit applications. Fuel and brake lines are routed together on the frame's left side to make better use of space along the frame, which also has clearance for rear-exhaust routing.

Electrical connections are user-friendly, thanks to three fused battery feeds routed into the cab and onto the rear of the chassis. A high-current 50A ground stud is located at the rear of the frame. Up-fitter wire circuits and electrical schematics are identified in the body builder guide.

Targeted at small-business tradesmen, fleet customers, and traditional chassis cab users, the Dodge Ram 4500 and 5500 Chassis Cabs join the Dodge Ram 2500/3500 Box-Off models, Dodge Ram 3500 Chassis Cab, Dodge Sprinter, Dodge Ram pickup, and Dodge Caravan and Grand Caravan cargo vans in its commercial vehicle lineup.
www.dodge.com

FORD

The F-Series Super Duty is getting a complete makeover for the 2008 model year, including a new 6.4L Power Stroke V-8 turbocharged diesel engine (built by International Truck & Engine Corp.); beefed up towing capacity of 24,000 lb; and maximum payload of more than 6,000 lb; an integrated tailgate step and stowable bed extender; a PowerScope power-fold; and power-telescoping trailer-tow side mirrors.

The F-450 for 2008 incorporates a new rear leaf-spring suspension while using the radius arm front suspension from the F-450 chassis cab for improved maneuverability when towing. Selected F-350 DRW models can also be outfitted with the F-450's front suspension.

The new 6.4L Power Stroke diesel engine delivers 350 hp at 3,000 rpm and 650 lb-ft of torque (on the F-250 & F-350) starting at 2,000 rpm. Transmission choices include a 6-speed manual with overdrive or a TorqShift 5-speed automatic. On the gasoline side, a 5.4L three-valve SOHC Triton V-8 gas engine is offered with a 6-speed manual.

The powertrains use a new unique mounting system that better isolates the powertrain and reduces vibration, while air vents — mounted on the fender just behind the wheel arch — dissipate engine compartment heat and designate powertrain type: red for diesel, black for gasoline.

New technologies also provide an ultra-quiet cabin. Quiet Steel, a unique composite laminated steel sheet, makes up the vehicle's dash panel and works with extra sound padding in the dash and floor, while a rear bulkhead panel and thicker side glass help keep unwanted noise out of the cabin.

A totally redesigned climate control system has more balanced airflow and refined, quieter operation that improves cabin comfort. The system uses a more reliable, more durable, higher capacity compressor — one of the many components that contribute to the better performance of the A/C system. Floor ducts for the heater now run under the seat, out of site of the rear-seat passengers.

Ford has also beefed up its medium-duty E-Series cutaway chassis, with a new exterior that matches the Super Duty — all-new sheet metal from the A-pillars forward, including hood, fenders, radiator support, grille, and bumpers. The larger grille, which improves cooling capability by increasing airflow to the powertrain, sits on a sharp, horizontal line that defines the upper portion of the bumper and provides a base for the unique stacked, dual-beam headlamps. Base models come with a contrasting black bumper, grille, and headlamp surrounds, while the high-end series features an all-chrome treatment.

The 2008 E-Series line also features a re-engineered front suspension that uses an all-new geometry and larger sway bars to provide a better stance and firmly plant the front end to the road. New valve technology on the rear shock absorbers further enhances the E-Series ride and handling while upgrades to the steering system provide a better on-center feel and reduced steering efforts.

An all-new braking system features larger front and rear rotors and calipers. A great swept area and new brake lining material help lower brake operating temperatures, adding to pad and lining life and reducing maintenance costs.

The chassis and suspension improvements have also resulted in an increase in the maximum GVWR to 14,500 lb, up from 14, 050 lb. Maximum front GAWR is increased to 5,000 lb from 4,600 lb.

The E-350 SRW Cutaway model has an optional mid-ship fuel tank to allow for more usable rear GVWR, and the E-450 has a 37-gallon tank as an option, as well as the standard 55-gallon tank.
www.ford.com

FREIGHTLINER

Few changes are being made to Freightliner Trucks' medium-duty Business Class lineup for the 2008 model year. Introduced in 2002, the Business Class line now includes an all-wheel drive (AWD) option on M2 106 and M2 106V vocational models.

The AWD option is a part-time system that the OEM says is suitable for use in fire and rescue, utility, snowplow, and municipal applications. The operator activates the system when traction conditions are poor — it can be engaged at or below 10 mph or while the vehicle is coasting on a level grade.

The AWD setup is based around factory-installed Meritor front-drive axles. These axles use straight front-to-back frame rails, eliminating the need for a step frame for optimized cab height. The transfer case of the front-drive axle is mounted between the transmission and rear axle. Additionally, the axle bowl is offset by 11 in. to the passenger side, matching the driveline angles and eliminating the need for a lift kit.

Front drive axles are available in 4×4 or a 6×6 configurations on M2 106 or 106V models powered by Mercedes-Benz MBE900 or Caterpillar C7 engines.

The AWD option is offered with 12,000-lb, 14,000-lb, and 16,000-lb ratings and is available in combination with a variety of single and tandem rear suspensions.

Business Class M2 models are offered in day cab, extended cab, and crew cab configurations with a variety of front and rear seating options.
www.freightliner.com

GENERAL MOTORS

Gasoline engines are still being touted as a cheaper alternative to more expensive 2007-grade low-emission diesel engines for GM's medium-duty conventional line, which includes the GMC TopKick and Chevrolet Kodiak.

GM's Vortec 8100 MD can power its entire line of Class 5-7 trucks, including its single-rear-axle “Baby 8” tractor configuration, which has a GVWR of 37,600 lb. Horsepower ratings range from 295 to 325, with 440 lb-ft to 450 lb-ft of torque.

A new 6-speed Allison automatic transmission has replaced the traditional 5-speed model; manuals are no longer offered. TopKicks and Kodiaks will continue to have factory-engineered 4WD, with the 4×4 option available on both regular and crew cab configurations. Wheelbases range from 152 in. to 235 in.

For the C4500 and C5500 4×4 regular cab models, a 22.5-in. wheel and tire option remains available. Off-road handling continues to be enhanced with an electronically controlled Venture Gear Model NV273 2-speed transfer case. These models feature the Duramax 6.6L engine with the base diesel models featuring 300 hp with 520 lb-ft of torque and 330 hp with 620 lb-ft of torque.

C6500/7500/8500 models are available with an optional Caterpillar C7 (7.2L diesel I-6) that delivers horsepower ratings from 207 to 250, and torque ratings up to 800 lb-ft

On the cabover side, Chevrolet and GMC get a newly overhauled W-Series line. It features a larger and more spacious cab, with more side-to-side and front-to-back room, and a redesigned dash. The W5500 now comes in a 22-ft model available with a 200-in. wheelbase, with the W5500 HD offering 22-ft and 24-ft models with a 212-in. wheelbase.

W5500 and W5500 HD LWB models are powered by the overhead cam 5.2L 4HK1-TC turbocharged diesel engine. It delivers 205 hp and 441 lb-ft of torque and is mated to a new Aisin A465 heavy-duty 6-speed automatic with double overdrive. Also new is a W3500 Gas Crew Cab, powered by a 325-hp Vortec 6.0L V-8 engine, mated to a Hydra-Matic 4L80 4-speed automatic with lockup torque converter and overdrive.
www.gm.com

HINO

Cleaner diesel engines are the biggest change to Hino Motor Sales USA's line of Class 4-7 conventional trucks for the 2008 model year. The six conventionals, with GVWRs from 14,050-lb to 33,000-lb, are equipped with Hino's J-Series 5L or 8L engines rated between 175 hp and 260 hp. Modifications include a bigger EGR cooler, diesel injection pressures constant at 26,000 lb — up from 22,000 lb — and a 16-bit electronic processor on the variable nozzle turbo for better control.

All of Hino's 2008 models come standard with an air tank, even those using hydraulic brakes. That's because all trucks will be equipped with a new air-controlled butterfly valve engine brake to help manage exhaust backpressure and engine heat while offering a way to slow the vehicle without using the brakes.
www.hino.com

INTERNATIONAL

A new hydraulic anti-lock braking system is the major 2008 model year upgrade for International Truck & Engine Corp.'s medium-duty truck line. It will be standard on the RXT, 3200, 4200 4×4, and 4000 Series 4×2 models, with the exception of the mid-cab tractor.

While previous brake options used pressure from the power steering system to boost the master cylinder pressure output, electric pumps will now be used to generate hydraulic pressure. This means stored pressure in the accumulators will allow the full power system to build pressure at the brake calipers significantly faster, providing drivers with reduced stopping distances.

This new electronic brake force distribution (EBD) hydraulic braking feature, supplied by Meritor Wabco, proportions braking force relative to axle load conditions.

The braking system also improves pedal feel because the stored energy provides an almost immediate response when brake pedals are applied. This is unlike the system used by other OEMs where the system is asked to provide pressure energy, but the energy must be created to apply the brakes. The master cylinder sends signal pressure to a control valve. In response to that, fluid from the accumulators is sent to the brake calipers for stopping the vehicle. As a result, the master cylinder does not have to stroke as far, resulting in the better pedal feel. Less overall stroke allows for the repositioning of the brake pedal so it is set at a more comfortable height for drivers. Optional in 2008 is automatic traction control (ATC), which works at low-speed conditions, sending brake pressure to wheels that are spinning for better traction. When sensors detect spinning wheels above 30 mph, the ATC initiates “engine management,” which backs off of engine power and does not apply braking pressure.

Powered parking, which will be an option for all medium-duties with full power, uses the Spring-Apply Air-Release (SAAR) parking brake chamber. This chamber includes stroke indication, which identifies any damage or out-of-adjustment conditions in the parking brake. A service park brake indicator lamp on the dash will be lit should any such out-of-adjustment conditions be identified.
www.internationaldelivers.com

ISUZU

The N-Series line of medium-duty low cab forward (LCF) trucks from Isuzu Commercial Truck of America is getting a serious makeover for the 2008 model year.

The N-Series models not only meet the 2007 EPA and California diesel emission standards, but also feature front-to-back enhancements, including more cab room, enhanced safety and convenience, and more power. Horsepower has increased to 205 at 2400 rpm for the 5.2L diesel engine, with torque getting a boost to 441 lb-ft at 1850 rpm. That engine covers GVW ranges from 12,000 lb to 19,500 lb and has a B10 durability rating of 310,000 miles.

Isuzu's new 5.2L diesel can be paired with the new Aisin A465 heavy-duty, 6-speed automatic with double overdrive, or a 6-speed manual transmission. The gasoline Vortec 6.0L, V-8 engine delivers 325 hp and 360 lb-ft of torque, driven through the Hydra-Matic 4L80 4-speed automatic transmission.

Isuzu N-Series diesel models include the NPR, NPR HD (regular and crew cab), NQR (regular and crew cab), and NRR. For 2008, they can also accommodate longer and wider bodies — up to 24 in. long and 102 in. wide.

Cab interiors get a major upgrade, including more room and higher seatbacks covered in a Tricot cloth that stays cooler in summer and warmer in winter. Cab mounting has been improved to deliver a smoother ride.

An easy-to-remove panel at the front of the cab provides access to the wiper motor and linkage, electrical connections, and air intake filters. To enhance safety and durability, Isuzu engineers redesigned the seatbelt for easier operation, cut side windows lower to enhance visibility, mounted larger side mirrors with integrated convex sections, and increased cab structural strength and corrosion resistance.
www.isuzucv.com

KENWORTH

New to Kenworth Truck Co.'s medium-duty family for 2008 are the Class 7 T370, Class 6 T270 and T270 hybrid-electric conventional models, and the Class 6 K260 cabover, which joins the Class 7 K360 cabover. The T370 and T270 feature halogen projector low-beam headlamps, which provide 30% more light down the road. The new hood and grille are made of sheet molded composite for enhanced fit and finish, while a new hood assist device and 90° hood tilt opening offer easier access to the engine. A one-piece chrome or painted bumper and new Metton quarter fenders provide additional durability and impact resistance.

The T370 and T270 are available with Paccar's PX-6 engine rated to 325 hp and 750 lb-ft of torque, along with the Paccar PX-8 engine rated to 330 hp and 1,000 lb-ft of torque. Customers can choose manual or automatic transmissions and air or hydraulic brakes.

The interior of the new T370 and T270 features wrap-around instrument panels with easy-to-read, glare-free gauges. The fact that there's no doghouse reduces interior noise. Standard features include power door locks, passenger-side electric windows (optional on the driver's side), DayLite doors with peeper window, and a 50° wheel cut for improved maneuverability.

The hybrid-electric version of the T270 is powered by the Paccar PX-6 engine and features an integral transmission-mounted motor/generator, a frame-mounted 340V battery pack, and a dedicated power management system. The hybrid model operates just like a standard diesel vehicle with all power coming from the engine during steady driving conditions above 30 mph, and it uses a combination of diesel and electricity below 30 mph.

The K260 and K360 cabovers are based on the LF55 chassis — known for its low chassis weight and clear back of cab — built by Paccar's European subsidiary (DAF).
www.kenworth .com

MITSUBISHI FUSO

A new cab for medium-duty models, new configurations on the light-duty side, and new engine emissions systems with diesel particulate filters (DPFs) lead the changes for the 2008 North American Mitsubishi Fuso cabover truck line.

The light-duty FE 2008 models bring the return of the Class 3 FE125 (12,500 lb GVW), which now has the OBD II emissions monitoring system required by California and other states. Power is provided by a 4.9L Mitsubishi diesel producing 185 hp and 391 lb-ft peak torque. It will only be available with an Aisin 6-speed automatic transmission. Offered in three wheelbases, ranging from 114.6 in. to 153.4 in., the FE125 will accommodate bodies up to 18 ft.

The Class 4 FE145 (14,500 lb GVW) is available in four wheelbases, including a new 155.3-in. length. Transmission is the Aisin automatic.

A 6-speed Mitsubishi manual transmission remains available for Class 5 FE180 (17,995 lb GVW), which adds a fifth wheelbase of 189.4-in. for 2008.

Also returning to the MFTA lineup for 2008 is the 434 FE140 (in a 138.2-in. wheelbase) and the FE145 Crew Cab.

The FK/FM medium-duty Mitsubishi Fuso models for 2008 will feature a new cab that cuts aerodynamic drag up to 25% in flatbed applications and lower chassis heights. Driver comfort and productivity features have also been upgraded.

The 2008 low-profile Class 6 FK200 (19,850-lb GVW) has a frame height of only 36 in. and can accommodate bodies up to 24 ft long. Like all FK/FM models, it is powered by the 7.5L 6M60 Fuso diesel, producing 243 hp and a peak torque of 513 lb-ft. This engine does not require a variable geometry turbocharger to meet the new emissions requirements and retains its wastegated turbo.

The Class 6 FK260 (25,995-lb GVW) will be offered with either a spring or full-air rear suspension. Frame height drops 3 in. to 38 in., while the air-suspension version can dump its air bags to lower the truck an additional 2.5 in. while stationary. The FK260 features full air brakes for 2008 and adds a 253-in. wheelbase. The Class 7 FM330 (32,900-lb GVW) can be fitted with bodies ranging from 16 ft to 28 ft.
www.mitfuso.com

PETERBILT

The big news for Peterbilt Motors Co.'s 2008 model year is the addition of two cabovers — the Model 220 and 210 — to its line of medium-duty trucks, which also includes the Model 325 (also new) Model 330, Model 335, and Model 340 conventionals. The Model 220 is being offered in both Class 6 and 7 configurations and is based on the LF platform; a truck chassis originally introduced to the European market in 2001 by Peterbilt's sister company (DAF Trucks). The Model 210 is a Class 5.

On the conventional side, the OEM is adding a Class 5 version of its Class 6/7 Model 330/335, called the Model 325. The OEM's Model 330 can be spec'd in either a Class 6 truck or tractor configured for non-CDL operation, while the Model 340 is designed for vocational applications.

Diesel-electric hybrid versions of both the Model 330 and 335 are being added to Peterbilt's 2008 model year lineup as well.

According to Scott Pearson, Peterbilt's assistant GM-sales & marketing, customers have cited the new models' capability to operate with greater levels of productivity, efficiency and cost effectiveness. “In development of our new products, we were able to mitigate the impact of the new engines and aftertreatment devices used to meet the new 2007 emissions regulations, so we were able to introduce new vehicles … with more fuel-efficient aerodynamic designs, reduced chassis weight, improved serviceability and reliability, and greater overall performance,” he says.
www.peterbilt.com

STERLING

Two new trucks join Sterling Truck Corp.'s medium-duty family for the 2008 model year: the Bullet Class 4-5 conventional and the Class 3 Sterling 360 cabover.

The Bullet features a Cummins 6.7L ISB engine with exhaust brake, a PTO prep package, and a rugged 34-in.-wide, 50,000 psi frame for easy body builder up-fitting. It's offered as a regular cab in four wheelbases or as a quad cab in two wheelbases, while featuring both 2WD and 4WD configurations, plus optional snowplow and towing packages.

A manual 6-speed transmission comes standard on the Bullet, with a 6-speed automatic option. Standard features for the cab include air conditioning, easy-to-read gauges, an adjustable tilt steering wheel to reduce operator fatigue, and driver- and passenger-side airbags.

Options include cruise control, fog lights, power windows and locks, power trailer tow mirrors, and numerous radio options. A premium interior package is also available, with options such as a navigation radio with available GPS, a cloth six-way power seat, and an Infinity MP3/CD player.

The Bullet comes in several configurations, including the regular cab (123-in. BBC) and quad cab (143-in. BBC) — both available in 2WD and 4WD. Vehicle GVWRs total between 16,500 lb and 19,500 lb for both regular and quad cab, with a GCWR of 26,000 lb.

For the regular cab, wheelbase/cab-to-axle measurements are: 144.5 in./60 in., 168.5 in./84 in.; 192.5 in./108 in., 204.5 in./120 in.; and for quad cab, 164.5 in./60 in., 188.5 in./84 in. Axle ratios of 4.10, 4.44, and 4.88 are available, with front axles rated at 7,000 lb and rear axles 13,500 lb .

The Class 3 version of Sterling's low cab forward (LCF) 360, with a GVW of 12,500 lb, joins the existing Class 4 and 5 models that debuted early last year.

For 2008, engines have been upgraded from 175 hp to 185 hp, and the chassis is 2 in. lower, thanks to an improved cooling system and change in frame height.

In addition, the LCF 360 line features the OBD-II on-board diagnostics system for 2008, providing a universal inspection and diagnosis method to be sure the vehicle is performing correctly and to EPA emissions standards.

Air conditioning, automatic transmissions, and cruise control are all standard, and an improved electronic engine management system enables drivers to limit top speed and accelerate the engine during stationary PTO applications. Also new in 2008 is a 189-in. wheelbase option for the Class 5 360.
www.sterlingtrucks.com

UD TRUCKS

The big news from UD Trucks for the 2008 model year is the addition of a new “low-profile” model — the UD 2600 LP — to the lineup. This 26,000-lb GVW option is designed for fleets working in tight urban areas.

Furthermore, UD 1800 through 3300 chassis will now have the option of being spec'd with factory-installed air suspensions.

All UD models will have 12V power outlets in the cabs, so operators can charge and use cell phones and laptops while on the go. Highway rib tires are now standard for all positions, replacing the heavier lug tires that were standard on rear wheels, although customers can still request lug tires on the rear wheels.

Dual convex side view mirrors are standard, with heated versions available as an option. Factory-installed back-up alarms are also now standard equipment on all UD vehicles, not only to boost safety, but also to make the upfitter's job easier. Tensile steel frames, which were previously an option, are now standard as well.
www.udtrucks.com

WORKHORSE CUSTOM CHASSIS

New from Workhorse Custom Chassis Corp. for 2008 is the W62 chassis, available in 19,500- and 23,500-lb GVWR models. Initially, they will be gasoline powered, equipped with the GM 8.1L Vortec V-8 engine mated to a 5-speed Allison 1000HS (for 19,500-lb GVWR) or 2200HS (for 23,500 lb GVWR) transmission. The Vortec V-8 produces 310 hp and 455 lb-ft of torque. A diesel version powered by International's MaxxForce 5 V-6 will be available this summer. Wheelbase choices are 157 in., 178 in., 190 in., 208 in., and 218 in.

The W62 incorporates a number of features developed for the Workhorse W42, including Meritor Quadraulic brakes with WABCO 4-channel ABS. The W62 also has two-leaf parabolic springs coupled with premium gas shock absorbers for a smoother ride.

ZF Servocom 8095 variable ratio power steering makes turning easier, while the truck's dashboard sports a new information display within the instrument cluster. A tilt steering column and standard 15.5-in. steering wheel, cruise control, and brake-transmission-shift interlock round out the W62's interior features.
www.wccc.com