Find out what's new and different with next year's truck models.

Change" is the operative word for describing what's happening to truck manufacturing these days. Not only are new products poised to enter the market in 2001, but new companies are also emerging - the result of mergers and acquisitions in an industry that keeps consolidating.

One reason truck manufacturers are combining is to widen their product lines. This enables them to serve the entire industry, not just one or two select niches. The trend continued this year with Swedish truck maker Volvo buying French-owned Mack Trucks in April, followed by Canadian truck maker Western Star initiating merger talks with another party in June.

Despite the furious wheeling and dealing on the corporate level, truck manufacturers continue to roll out new and more advanced, customized and stylized products to meet a larger audience. International Truck & Engine Corp. will unveil a brand-new medium-duty truck design in February 2001 - the first model developed from its super-secret Next Generation Vehicle project. GMC overhauled and beefed up its HD Sierra pickup line for 2001 to compete better with Ford's popular Super Duty F-Series, which continues to expand.

Even the newest truck maker on the block, Bering Truck Corp., is putting the final touches on a wide range of Class 3 to 8 model enhancements as it prepares to open the doors of its brand-new U.S. plant this year.

Although the Fleet Owner editors have taken pains to assure all of the 2001 truck model information presented in this article is as comprehensive and accurate as possible, some 2001-model plans were not available at press time. In these cases, the editors present a glimpse of what's to come from those manufacturers down the road.

CLASS 1-2 Dodge: DaimlerChrysler's Dodge subsidiary is looking to expand its Big Red Truck concept into a production-line commercial vehicle. Fashioned from a Dodge Ram 3500 Quad Cab 4x4 pickup, the Big Red Truck is designed with an 11,000-pound maximum towing weight. The vehicle's 5.9-L Cummins engine is electronically controlled, fuel injected, intercooled and turbocharged. The engine provides 253 hp at 2,700 rpm, with 460 pounds-ft of torque at 1,400 rpm. The truck comes equipped with an automatic transmission, 18-in. raised aero roof and side engine exhausts that run under an integrated self-cleaning step. Cold air intakes are molded into the truck's modified hood. The vehicle also comes equipped with a fifth-wheel hitch, 16-in. oversize tires and integrated two-way mirrors.

Ford: The one major change in Ford's 2001 F-Series lineup is the introduction of an F-150 crew cab. Called the F-150 SuperCrew, the new 4-door model rides on a 139-in. wheelbase. And like all other light-duty F-Series, it comes with the 4.6-L Triton V8 standard engine, which sees a power increase this year to 240 hp. Other 2001 changes for all F-150 models include 4-wheel ABS as standard equipment and a new work truck option group.

Rated at 8,800 pounds GVW, the Super Duty F-250 will see only minor changes for 2001, including a power increase for the optional 7.3-L Power Stroke V8 diesel to 250 hp. A trailer towing package and 4-wheel ABS also become standard equipment on all trim levels of the 2001 Super Duty F-250. As in past model years, engine options for the lightest Super Duty will include the 5.4-L Triton V8 and 6.8-L Triton V10 as well as the Power Stroke diesel.

The Econoline E-Series van will continue with only minor changes in 2001. Commercial versions of the E-150, E-250 and E-350 will now come standard with a heavy-duty 78A battery and a passenger air bag. Ford will also add a new cargo insulation package with high-capacity air conditioning to Econoline options.

General Motors: The new model year sees General Motors filling out the GMC Sierra and Chevrolet Silverado lineup with new "HD" commercial models. Introduced in 1999 as the Sierra and Silverado 1500 1/2-ton full-size pickup, both models will now get 2500HD (3/4-ton) and 3500HD (1-ton) models with GVWs ranging up to 12,000 pounds. Although only preliminary details are available for the 2001 HD models, GM said they will be offered with the new Duramax 6.6-L turbodiesel jointly developed by GM and Isuzu, as well as the Allison 1000 Series 5-speed automatic transmission and ZF 6-speed manual transmission.

All three levels of the Sierra and Silverado will be available with regular, extended and crew cabs. In addition, GM will offer the HD models in both pickup and chassis cab configurations. Standard engines will be the 4300 V6 (200 hp) for the 1500, the 6000 V8 (310 hp) for the 2500HD and the 8100 V8 (340 hp) for the 3500HD. The 6-cyl. Duramax diesel produces 300 hp and a peak torque of 520 pounds-ft.

The one notable change for the Chevy Express and GMC Savanna full-size cargo vans and cutaway chassis is availability of the 8.1-L V8 engine. Both vans and cutaways are offered with GVW's ranging from 7,100 pounds to 12,000 pounds.

Toyota: Introduced last year as an all-new model, the Toyota Tundra is a full-size pickup developed specifically for the North American market and built in Indiana. Although details for 2001 were not available at press time, no major changes are expected.

The Tundra is offered in two versions: a regular cab with an 8-ft bed and a 4-door Access cab, which seats up to six and comes with a shorter 6.5-ft cargo bed. Both ride on a 128-in. wheelbase and are rated 6,050 pounds GVW. The Tundra's nominal payload is 1 ton and it offers towing capacity up to 7,200 pounds.

The standard engine for the Tundra is a 190-hp, 3.4-L V6 and an optional 32-valve double-overhead cam V8 produces 245 hp and a peak torque of 315 pounds-ft. A 4-speed automatic transmission is standard with both engines and a 5-speed manual is offered as an option with the V6.

Workhorse: Workhorse Custom Chassis offers both complete step vans, in 10,000-pound and 14,000-pound ratings and Class 1-2 commercial stripped chassis.

Workhorse FasTrack vans are appropriately named because the OEM says it can produce finished vehicles in just four weeks from receipt of an order (by standardizing on common models) - instead of the nine to 14 weeks usually needed when a dealer works with both a chassis maker and body builder. The step van line consists of four gasoline-powered models featuring aluminum bodies. Each carries a single warranty covering both chassis (three years/36,000 miles) and body (five years/50,000 miles), as well as free emergency roadside assistance for three years/36,000 miles.

The FT1260 has a 12-ft, 6-in. load space, 10,000 pound GVWR, 133-in. wheelbase and independent front suspension. The FT1460 has a 14-ft, 6-in. load space. You can order it either as a 10,000-pound-GVWR model with an independent front suspension or as a 14,000-pound-GVWR model with I-Beam front axle. Both have a 157-in. wheelbase. The FT1600 has a 16-ft load space and can be specified with a 10,000 pound GVWR with independent front suspension and 157-in. wheelbase or as a 14,000-pound I-beam model with 157-in. or 178-in. wheelbase. The FT1800 has an 18-ft load space, I-beam front axle, 14,000 pound GVWR and 178-in. wheelbase.

CLASS 3-5 Bering: Bering Truck Corp. currently offers the LD15, a user-friendly, fully loaded Class 4 truck equipped with a 6-cyl. 160-hp Detroit Diesel D-638 engine and a 4-speed Allison automatic transmission. The 14,510 pound GVW LD15 will be joined in 2001 with a low-cost Class 3 LD12, also equipped with an automatic transmission. Both the LD15 and LD12 are targeted primarily toward general/local delivery fleet users, including landscaping, moving, wholesale food delivery and retail lumber delivery businesses. Like all Bering trucks, the LD12 will retain a cabover chassis design. The LD Series features parabolic spring suspensions and hydraulic vacuum full-ABS front-disc brakes, as well as self-adjusting drum brakes on the rear axle.

Ford: Midrange models for Ford's Super-Duty F-Series commercial trucks will have only minor changes for 2001. Most notable are 4-wheel ABS and towing packages as standard equipment on all trim levels of the Super Duty F-350, F-450 and F-550.

The Super Duty F-350 is rated from 9,900 pounds to 12,500 pounds GVW and is available in a chassis cab as well as pickup model. The Super Duty F-450 has a 15,000-pound-GVW rating and the Super Duty F-550 can be specified with either a 17,500-pound or 19,000-pound rating. All are offered with regular, extended and crew cabs.

The standard engine for the midrange Super Duty platform is the 5.4-L Triton V8, which produces 235 hp and has a peak torque of 335 pounds-ft. Engine options include Ford's 6.8-L Triton V10 and 7.3-L Power Stroke V8 diesel, which gets a power boost to 250 hp in 2001. Other standard equipment includes a 4-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission and power disc brakes.

Freightliner: Freightliner LLC's Class 3-5 lineup starts with the MT-35 walk-in van chassis produced by Freightliner Custom Chassis Corp. Unchanged for 2001, the Class 3 unit is powered by a Cummins 130-hp B-Series 3.89-L diesel. Both Eaton Fuller manual and Allison automatic transmissions are available. You can order the chassis with wheelbases of 138 in., 158.8 in. and 178 in.

General Motors: New in the midrange for 2001 are the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra 3500HD pickups and 3600HD chassis cabs. The pickups are rated 11,400 pounds GVW and the chassis cabs are rated 12,000 pounds GVW. Both can be specified with regular, extended and crew cabs. The standard engine for the Class 3 conventional models is the all-new 8100 Vortec V8. GM also offers the new Duramax 6.6-L diesel as an option. Transmission options include the new Allison 1000 5-speed automatic and ZF 6-speed manual.

The cabover W-Series is essentially unchanged for 2001. The W3500 (12,000 pounds GVWR) and W4500 (14,500 pounds GVWR) are available with either the Vortec 5700 6-cyl. gasoline engine or 4.8-L 4-cyl. turbodiesel. The W5500 (17,950 pounds GVWR) comes only with the 4-cyl. diesel. Transmission options for the W-Series include 5-speed and 6-speed manuals, as well as 4-speed torque converter automatics.

New in 2000 and essentially unchanged for 2001 is the cabover WT5500. Combining the chassis from the W-Series with the heavier tiltcab from General Motors' T-Series, the WT5500 is available with 18,000-pound-GVW and 19,500-pound-GVW ratings. Powered by the 200 hp, 7.8-L Duramax diesel, you can order it with either a 6-speed manual transmission or 4-speed Allison AT automatic. There are five-wheel poundage choices ranging from 148 in. to 218 in.

Hino: Model-year 2001 trucks, including the Class 4 FA1517 and the Class 5 FB1817, made their debut at Hino Diesel Trucks (U.S.A.) dealerships from June to August of this year. The Class 4 has a GVW of 15,000 pounds, while the Class 5 is rated at 17,600 pounds. Both chassises have a 75-in. BBC and are powered by Hino's JO5C-TD 4-cyl. diesel engine, delivering 168 hp at 2,500 rpm. Five-speed, direct-drive transmissions are standard in both models. An Allison 4-speed automatic transmission is also an option. Cab features for Hino's Class 4 and 5 trucks are essentially the same as the 2000 models, including power windows, map pockets on both doors and lighted side mirrors.

Isuzu: American Isuzu Motors doesn't plan to make too many changes to its N-Series line of Class 3-5 trucks for 2001. The company will continue to promote several new designs that were introduced last year, including a gasoline-powered version that was added to the NPR model. The NPR line offers a GVW of 12,000 pounds and a GCW of 18,000 pounds, with a total box/payload weight of between 6,389 pounds and 6,720 pounds.

Isuzu will make minor changes to the NQR, a heavier N-Series diesel model introduced last year. This unit features a GVW of 17,950 pounds, with GCW up to 20,950 pounds. A 6-speed manual transmission is standard, while a 4-speed Aisin automatic is optional. The N-Series trucks have a 109-in. wheelbase and a 33.5-deg turning radius. The trucks sport two diesel engine options: a 4.75-L with 142 hp at 2,800 rpm and 275 pounds-ft of torque at 1,300 rpm; and a 4.8-L with 175 hp at 2,700 rpm and 347 pounds-ft of torque at 2,000 rpm.

Mitsubishi FUSO: Increased horsepower and automatic transmissions are the most noteworthy changes for Mitsubishi Fuso's midrange models in 2001. The company will also offer an unusual factory-installed mixer body in a Class 4 chassis.

In Class 3, the FE stays at 12,000 pounds GVW and the FE-HD at 13,500 pounds. Both are powered by the Mitsubishi 4D34-3AT3A diesel-rated at 145 hp with a peak torque of 275 pounds-ft. This year, the 4WD FG also gets a power upgrade to the same diesel, as well as an automatic transmission option for those who want to use the truck to plow snow. Its GVW remains unchanged at 12,000 pounds.

New for the 2001 Class 4 FE-SP is Mitsubishi's 6-cyl., 145-hp turbocharged diesel, which has a peak torque of 325 pounds-ft. The 14,500-pound-GVW truck also gets an automatic transmission option. And, for the first time, it will be available in California. Targeting the booming construction vocations, the FE-SP will also be available with a factory-installed 11/2-yd. capacity mixer body.

The Class 5 FH remains unchanged for 2001. It is rated at 17,995 pounds GVW.

Sterling: Sterling Truck Corp.'s Class 5 Acterra combines a 106-in.-BBC cab based on Sterling's heavy-duty L-Line model with a Business Class chassis from Freightliner. The 19,500-pound-GVW Acterra 5500 is offered only as a single-axle straight truck. Standard engine is the Mercedes-Benz MBE900 diesel. Optional engines include Cummins ISB and ISC, as well as Caterpillar 3126B diesels. The standard transmission is the Allison 1000 automatic. The truck features a standard setback front axle combined with a 50 deg wheel cut for maximum maneuverability.

UD TRUCKS: Designed to accommodate a variety of body types up to 24 ft long, UD offers five midrange models: the Class 3 UD1200, Class 4 UD1400 and the Class 5 UD1800CS (City Spec), UD1800HD and UD2000.

The UD1200 and UD1400 are standard with the Nissan Diesel FD46TA, a 4.6-L turbodiesel-rated at 145 hp and a 5-speed manual Nissan Diesel ME550C transmission. The UD1800CS and HD models are also standard with the FD46TA, uprated to 175 hp and a Nissan Diesel MHS61A 4-speed manual transmission or an optional Aisin fully automatic, 4-speed transmission, which is also offered for the UD1200 and UD1400. The UD2000 features a 6-cyl. FE6TA diesel engine rated at 225 hp paired with a Nissan Diesel MLS61B 6-speed overdrive manual transmission. Allison automatics are also available. The UD Class 3-5 product lineup offers a range of weight and wheelbase choices. The UD1200 (12,000 pound GVW) and UD1400 (14,250 pound GVW) are offered in 108.9-in., 131.9-in. and 149.4-in. wheelbases. Five wheelbase offerings from 137.4 in. to 191.7 in. are available for the UD1800CS and UD1800HD chassis, which are both rated at 17,995 pounds GVW. The UD2000 is rated at 19,500 pounds GVW and features an air-over-hydraulic braking system with ABS, as do the UD1800CS and UD1800HD models.

Workhorse: Workhorse Custom Chassis produces P-42 stripped chassis for commercial step vans in GVW ratings extending from 8,600 pounds to 16,000 pounds and wheelbases ranging from 110 in. to 178 in. The OEM also offers an integrated midrange step van rated 14,000 pounds GVWR.

You can order the chassis with gasoline or diesel engines. Gas options include the GM Vortec 4.3-L and 5.7-L engines. Also available is the GM Vortec 6.5-L diesel. A GM automatic transmission with electronic overdrive comes standard and a New Venture 5-speed manual with overdrive is optional. Both independent front suspensions and I-beam front axles are available, depending on GVWR selected.

Other standard chassis features include 4-wheel ABS brakes; Saginaw integral variable-ratio power steering; Dana 7,900-pound or 11,000-pound capacity rear axles; and an instrument cluster with tach and trip odometer, dual-note electric horn, tilt steering column with anti-theft locking and a custom steering wheel.

CLASS 6-7 Bering: Bering Truck Corp. will introduce its model-year 2001 MD33 Class 7 truck in both single- and tandem-axle configurations. The 33,000-pound-GVW MD33 will be targeted primarily toward refrigerated/food delivery fleets and oil/home fuel delivery operations. As far as its Class 6 line is concerned, Bering will add 5-speed automatic Allison 2400 Series transmissions for both its MD23 and MD26 models next year. A dock-height MD26 will also be introduced for 2001. Bering's MD series trucks currently feature 6-cyl., 215-hp Cummins ISB engines; 6-speed manual transmissions; parabolic spring suspensions; and air-over-hydraulic ABS all-drum, self-adjusting front and rear brakes.

Ford: Introduced as new models last year, the Class 6 Super Duty F-650 and Class 7 Super Duty F-750 will carry over essentially unchanged for 2001. The F-650 is rated 26,000 pounds GVW and the F-750 is available in 30,000-pounds-GVW and 33,000-pounds-GVW ratings. Both models are offered with regular, extended and crew cabs.

Diesel engine choices for the medium-duty Fords are the Cummins 5.9-L ISB (175 hp, 190 hp or 195 hp), Caterpillar 3126E (190 hp, 210 hp, 230 hp or 250 hp), or Ford 7.3-L Power Stroke (210 hp). Manual transmission choices include Eaton 5-speed, 6-speed and 7-speed models. Allison AT and MD torque converter automatics are also available.

Freightliner: Freightliner Trucks has no major changes slated for its Class 6 and up medium-duty lineup, which includes the Cargo FC70/FC80 low-cab-forward models and the Business Class FL60/FL70 trucks and tractors.

The latest feature offered on Business Class models is a new proprietary air suspension, the Freightliner Medium-Duty AirLiner. The suspension comes in 10,000-pound, 12,000-pound and 15,000-pound capacities. For applications requiring the softest possible ride, such as ambulances, optional accumulator tanks can be specified that effectively double the air volume of the system.

The AirLiner's standard ride height is 5.25 in. However, on 10,000-pound-capacity units, an extra-low, optional 3.5-in. ride height is available. According to Freightliner, the suspension's single-leaf design and optimized geometry provide inherent roll stiffness and maximum stability during acceleration, braking and cornering.

General Motors: GMC and Chevrolet have announced only minor changes for the 2001 models of their conventional C-Series and low-cab-forward T-Series medium-duty trucks.

There are four GMC/Chevrolet C-Series models: the C5500 (18,000 to 21,000 pounds GVWR), the C6500 (21,001 to 26,000 pounds GVWR), the C7500 (26,001 to 33,000 pound GVWR) and the tandem axle C8500 (33,001 to 61,000 pounds GVWR). This year, the standard engine for all C-Series trucks is the new Vortec 8100 V8 rated at either 210 hp or 270 hp. An optional Caterpillar 3126B is available in seven ratings ranging from 175 hp to 300 hp. Transmission choices include Eaton 5-speed, 6-speed and 7-speed manuals, as well as Allison AT, MT and MD electronically controlled automatics.

The cabover T-Series is also offered in four Class 5 through 8 models with similar GVW ratings. The standard engine is the Duramax 7800 diesel-rated at 200 hp; the Cat 3126B is also available in seven ratings ranging from 175 hp to 300 hp. An Isuzu 6-speed manual is the standard transmission for all T-Series models and new for 2001 is optional availability of the new Allison 2000 and 2400 Series automatic transmissions, as well as Allison MD models.

Hino: For model-year 2001, Hino Diesel Trucks (U.S.A.) is offering a clutch-booster option on its 6-cyl. SG trucks, the SG3320 and the SG3325 (252-hp models only), as well as a new longer 244.9-in. wheelbase option on both SG models. The SG chassis are both rated at 32,900 pounds GVW and each has a chassis weight of 10,115 pounds to 10,370 pounds. Both SG trucks are powered by Hino's J08C-TP 6-cyl. diesel engine, rated at 200 hp for the 3320 model or 252 hp for the SG3325.

The FE2620 model for 2001 is also available with two new wheelbase options, 148 in. and 168 in., still rated at 25,995 pounds GVW. The FD wheelbase options are the same as in the previous model year, but the weight rating has been given a boost to a full 23,000 pounds GVW.

All Class 6 and 7 Hino models now feature center seats and air-suspension driver seats as standard, as well as power windows. A 14-pin radio is designed to enable the addition of more radio speakers in the cab. Customers also have the option of adding a flywheel-mounted power takeoff to any model equipped with a manual transmission.

International: International Truck & Engine Corp. will unveil a completely new medium-duty product line in February of 2001 - the first segment of its Next Generation Vehicle (NGV) project. While details of International's new medium-duty trucks are a closely guarded secret, the company did say select dealers and customers have test-driven prototypes of the vehicles. International added that the new NGV medium-duty trucks will offer greater noise reduction in the cab, improved interior ergonomics for more driver comfort, more engine power and better electrical system integration.

International's medium-duty NGV trucks will completely replace its existing 4700 and 4900 models. Those trucks will be phased out in about six months once NGV production ramps up next year. International expects to be in a "dual build" situation, making new NGV medium-duty trucks as well as the 4700 and 4900 models for about one year. By 2004, the company expects to have invested some $900 million in the NGV project, which will result in new truck designs that will eventually replace all of its existing Class 6-8 products.

Isuzu: The F-Series is Isuzu's heaviest truck and the company plans a few minor changes to its lineup in 2001, including the FRR model introduced last year. The F-Series has a 28-ft body length option and features a steel ladder frame for extra durability. Four models now round out the F-Series line. The FRR has GVWs ranging from 18,000 pounds to 19,500 pounds. The FSR has a GVW of 23,100 pounds, while the FTR reaches a GVW of 25,950 pounds to 30,000 pounds. The heaviest of the lot is the FVR, with a GVW of 33,000 pounds. The FRR, FSR and FTR all sport 6-cyl., 7.8-L diesel engines with 200 hp at 2,400 rpm and 441 pounds-ft of torque at 1,500 rpm. The FVR's 7.8-L diesel cranks out 230 hp at 2,400 rpm and 506 pounds-ft of torque at 1,500 rpm.

Kenworth: The 2001 model year began in May for Kenworth Truck Co. One of the first product announcements for the new season was the availability of the K300 medium-duty cabover with a Class 6 or 7 rating. Wheelbase options for the K300 are between 169 in. and 236 in., allowing the chassis to be configured for a variety of straight truck applications. The powertrain includes the Cummins ISB engine, rated from 185 hp to 240 hp, matched with an Eaton Fuller 6-speed synchronized transmission or (beginning later in the summer) with a 6-speed Eaton Fuller AutoShiftCE or an Allison MD-series automatic.

A Dana Spicer front axle rated at 12,000 pounds and rear axles rated at 21,000 pounds are also standard, as are Eaton brakes and a Meritor WABCO 4-channel antilock braking system. A 10,000-pound front axle option is also scheduled to be available.

Other K300 options slated for availability in August include the self-adjusting Eaton Fuller SoloCE clutch, an exhaust brake and a single passenger seat with center storage console and cupholder.

Mack: Mack Trucks reports making no major revisions to its medium-duty Mid-Liner truck line. The Mid-Liner range consists of the MS Series cabover, which was revamped in the last model year and the CS Series conventional. MS Series trucks can be specified with factory-installed left-hand, right-hand or dual-steering configurations, as well as with a four-door crew cab. MS and CS Series units can be powered with either a 190-hp or 220-hp 6-cyl. turbodiesel. Both models offer a range of automatic and manual transmission choices.

Mitsubishi Fuso: Although there are no major chassis changes to report for 2001, Mitsubishi Fuso will add a factory-installed 4-yd capacity concrete mixer body option for its Class 6 FM-MR model. The FM-MR is rated at 25,995 pounds GVW, just below the commercial driver's license threshold. It is powered by a 7.5-L 6-cyl. Mitsubishi diesel producing 200 hp at 2,600 rpm.

Mitsubishi Fuso rounds out its 2001 Class 6 offerings with the FK, rated at 23,000 pounds GVW and providing a payload capacity up to 15,000 pounds. Class 7 models for 2001 include the FM-HR (30,000 pounds GVWR), the FM-SR (32,900 pounds GVWR) and the FM-SP (32,900 pounds GVWR). The FK, FM-HR and FM-SR are all powered by Mitsubishi's 200-hp 6-cyl. diesel, while the FM-SP has a 230-hp version of that engine. All Mitsubishi Fuso medium-duty models for 2001 come with ABS, daytime running lights and power windows as standard equipment.

Peterbilt: Peterbilt Motors Co. has added a new Class 6 truck to its medium-duty line. The Model 330 Peterbilt features an all-aluminum cab, a Caterpillar 3126B engine with 210 hp standard and optional ratings from 175 hp to 300 hp, a Dana Spicer I80S front axle rated at 8,000 pounds and a Dana Spicer 19060S rear axle rated at 18,000 pounds. A list of options for the new 330 will also be available, including Cummins engines, automatic and manual transmissions, variable wheelbases and three-person bench seating.

The popular Class 7 Model 330 has also been enhanced with a range of new features and options. It's now available with the Eaton Fuller AutoShift transmission in 6-speed, 7-speed and 10-speed configurations, or with the new crew cab - a 4-door, extended cab option designed particularly for municipal and emergency response vehicles. Interior enhancements include a new ergonomic steering wheel with a tilt steering column offered as standard equipment. The new medium-duty COE Model 270 went into production earlier this year.

Sterling: Sterling Truck Corp.'s new medium-duty line consists of the Acterra 6500 (26,000 pounds GVW); 7500 (33,000 pounds GVW; and the 8500 (64,000 pounds GVW). The 6500 is offered only as a single-axle truck while the 7500 comes as a single-axle truck or tractor and the 8500 as a single- or tandem-axle truck or tractor.

Each Acterra combines a 106-in.-BBC cab based on Sterling's Class 8 L-Line model with a Business Class chassis developed by sister company Freightliner Trucks. According to Sterling, an important Acterra design feature is its low cab height, which enhances driver comfort in P&D service and helps accommodate vocational equipment, such as truck-mounted cranes.

Standard Acterra power is the Mercedes-Benz MBE900 diesel, in either 4-cyl./4.3-L or 6-cyl./6.4-L versions producing from 150 hp to 280 hp. Optional engines include the Cat 3126B (ratings from 175 hp to 300 hp); Cummins ISB (175 hp to 275 hp); and Cummins ISC (250 hp to 350 hp). Transmission choices include 5-speed, 6-speed, 7-speed, 9-speed and 10-speed Eaton Fuller manual and Allison automatic transmissions.

All Acterra models boast a setback front axle and a 50 deg wheel cut for maximum maneuverability. The Class 8-size cab allows for a roomy interior, which can seat three persons if the 2+1 seating option is specified. Driver visibility benefits from slender A-pillars, an expansive windshield and large door windows that "drop down" in front to increase the viewing area.

UD Trucks: Depending on the model, medium-duty UD Trucks are designed to accommodate body lengths between 12 ft and 26 ft. All four models - the UD2300LP, rated at 23,000 pounds GVW; the UD2300DH, also rated at 23,000 pounds GVW; the UD2600, rated at 25,995 pounds GVW; and the UD3300, rated at 32,900 pounds GVW - are standard with Nissan Diesel FE6TA turbocharged, in-line, 6-cyl. diesel engines designed to deliver 225 hp and 492 pounds-ft of torque. Six-speed manual transmissions are standard; Allison automatics are optional. Except for the UD3300, all models are equipped with air-over-hydraulic braking systems and ABS. The UD3300 braking system is full air and also standard with ABS.

Western Star: The British Columbia-based Class 8 manufacturer wants to build Class 7 market share for its newest truck line, the Solar Series, which was unveiled just last October. Both models in this group, the 3742 SS and 3764 SS, will remain relatively unchanged for 2001. The 3742 SS is the lighter of the two, with a GVW range from 29,000 pounds to 41,000 pounds and a GCW limit of 64,000 pounds. The 4x2 axle configuration makes it ideal for dry van and flatbed operations. Wheelbase options for the 3742 SS are 223 in., 245 in. and 259 in.; a Caterpillar 3126B diesel with 210 hp to 300 hp is standard. The heavier 3764 SS, a twin rear axle model, features wheelbase options of 176 in. and 194 in.