Truck makers are not waiting for the general economy to pick up steam or truck freight to come roaring back to roll out new commercial truck models for the North American market — far from it. Even after last year’s bumper crop of new model introductions, most OEMs are bringing out either all-new or heavily updated models for 2011.

The biggest flurry of activity extends across Class 1-7 vehicles. Along with all-new models and new powertrain options, the big news here runs from a light-/medium-duty all-electric truck introduced by International to the arrival of a brand-new commercial van line from Nissan. Every OEM up in Class 8 except two has either rolled out a new truck or has extensively updated one model or another.

No matter if your fleet runs light, medium, or heavy trucks — and whether it hauls freight or performs one service or another — start here on your way to kicking some tires and taking a spin or two, because trucking is slowly but surely already on the road back.

Light-Duty

Ford

The big news from Ford for the 2011 model year is the introduction of an all-electric version of its Transit Connect cargo van. The Transit Connect Electric uses a Force Drive electric powertrain manufactured and integrated by specialty upfitter Azure Dynamics.

Ford says its Transit Connect Electric is well suited for commercial fleets that travel predictable, short-range routes with frequent stop-and-go driving in urban and suburban environments and access to a central location for daily recharging. The vehicle accelerates at a rate similar to its gasoline-powered twin and has a top speed of 75 mph and range of up to 80 mi. on a full charge. The gas-powered version has a Duratec 2.0-l dual-overhead cam I-4 engine mated to a 4-speed transmission that delivers a 22 city/25 highway mpg rating.

The Transit Connect Electric, equipped with a liquid-cooled 28-kWh lithium-ion battery pack, can be recharged with either a standard 120V outlet or the preferred 240V charge station installed at the user’s base of operations for optimal recharging in 6 to 8 hr.

Although there are significant differences between the Transit Connect Electric and the gas-powered version, there are many things in common, such as 135 cu ft of cargo volume with 59.1 in. of floor-to-ceiling load height and 47.8 in. of load width between the wheel arches; load length of 72.6 in.; split rear cargo doors that open at a standard 180°, or an optionally available 255°; and power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering that allows a 39-ft curb-to-curb turning circle for maneuverability in tight urban spaces.

On the pickup side of the ledger, not much is changing on the 2011 F-150. The truck is equipped with a 5.4-L 3-valve engine rated at up to 320 hp and 390 lb-ft of torque. It is mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission. The F-150 is available in 2WD, all-wheel drive, and 4WD high configurations.

www.ford.com

General Motors

Big changes have been made to General Motors’ 2011 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickup truck models, along with major enhancements to GM’s Duramax diesel engine that will be felt across the company’s light truck line, which includes the Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana cargo vans.

For starters, the new 2011 model-year Silverado and Sierra pickups are touted to offer 11% better fuel economy along with increased horsepower, torque, towing capacity, and payload than the models they replace.

Both get new fully boxed steel frames for a variety of body, cab, and powertrain configurations, along with 20,000 lb of towing capacity and 6,335 lb of payload capacity.

The standard engine for both pickup lines is the Vortec 6.0-l small-block gasoline V8 producing 322 hp and 380 lb-ft of torque married to a Hydra-Matic 6L90 6-speed automatic transmission. A redesigned and optional 6.6-L Duramax diesel engine, cranking out 335 hp and 685 lb-ft of torque, features a selective catalytic reduction system to control exhaust emissions in line with 2010 regulations.

A 36-gal fuel tank gives Silverado and Sierra pickups an estimated operating range of more than 680 highway mi., which translates to roughly 18.8 mpg.

The Duramax is also B20 compatible, allowing operators to use a blended fuel made from 20% biodiesel and 80% regular diesel while not only staying compliant with 2010 emissions standards, but also maintaining its 5-yr/100,000-mi. warranty coverage.

To make the Duramax and its fuel system compatible with B20, Gary Arvan, chief engineer for the Duramax diesel, says some seals and gasket materials were upgraded to withstand the ester content of biodiesel. This included an upgraded fuel filter that includes a coalescing element to improve the separation of water that may be present in the fuel because biodiesel can attract and absorb water. Additional heating of the fuel circuit was added to reduce the chance of fuel gelling or waxing that could plug filters.

Both the new 2011 Silverado and Sierra are built on a completely new chassis that boasts 60% all-new parts. An independent front suspension offers a 25% increased front axle weight rating, and there is a wider asymmetrical rear-leaf suspension, with all single rear wheel models equipped with GM’s StabiliTrak roll-stability control system, even the 1-ton versions. Four-wheel drive (4WD) models will all be rated for snowplow capability, including 4WD crew-cab configurations.

The same Duramax diesel engine option will be available in the Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana vans as well, though the refueling location for the diesel exhaust fluid (DEF), which is sprayed by the SCR system into the exhaust stream to reduce emissions, will be different. The DEF refueling port for the vans is nestled right next to the one for diesel fuel, whereas in the pickups, the DEF filling port is against the engine firewall under the hood.

Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana cargo vans are also getting several new options, including a 5-yr/100,000-mi. transferable powertrain limited warranty.

An extended wheelbase increases the cargo space of both van models from 225.1 to 261.6 cu ft. The Vortec 4.8-L V6 is standard on Express and Savana cargo van models. It provides 280 hp and 296 lb-ft of torque to handle payloads of up to 3,058 lb with the regular wheelbase version and 2,848 lb on the extended wheelbase model.

The Express and Savana cargo models also come standard with a Hydra-Matic 6L90 6-speed automatic transmission and revised rear axles to help improve low-rpm torque, highway fuel economy, and overall drivability.

www.gm.com

Honda

The 2011 model year may be the end of the road for Honda’s unique “unibody” Ridgeline pickup truck. Refreshed for the 2009 model year, the 2010 version of the Ridgeline pickup only featured minor changes — and even fewer changes are going to occur for the 2011 model year, largely just paint and trim packages.

The Ridgeline represented Honda’s first step into the light truck market back in 2005, a step quickly followed by its small Pilot sport utility vehicle. The Ridgeline’s “unibody” design is what attracted the attention of the commercial fleet market, combining a light-duty pickup and 4-person cab in a single body package as opposed to the “body-on-frame” design used by almost every other light truck manufacturer.

That initially helped the Ridgeline exceed its 50,000 unit per year sales target (50,193 units in 2006). Recently, however, sales dropped steeply to 33,875 units in 2008 and then to 16,464 last year.

The 4-door, 5-passenger Ridgeline remains built on a closed-box, unibody frame powered by a 250-hp, 3.5-l VTEC V6 engine that achieves ratings of 15 city/20 highway mpg.

A 5-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission plus a Variable Torque Management 4WD system (VTM-4) are standard features on the Ridgeline, along with a fully independent suspension with MacPherson struts in the front and a multi-link suspension design in the rear, contributing to a smooth ride and responsive handling.

Standard equipment for towing includes an integrated tow hitch, transmission oil coolers, heavy-duty brakes, dual radiator fans, and a wiring harness for a 7-pin trailer hookup (prewiring only on the RT model). All models are rated for a maximum tow capacity of 5,000 lb.

Designed for 1,546 lb of total vehicle payload, the Ridge­line also features a vehicle stability assist (VSA) system with active yaw control to monitor lateral stability by integrating traction control, 4WD, antilock braking, throttle control, and stability control functions.

http://www.honda.com

International

Navistar rolled out an all-electric truck this year that spans the light-/medium-duty markets with plans to improve it further for the 2011 model year. The Class 2-3 eStar is produced through the Navistar-Modec EV Alliance, a joint venture between Navistar and Modec Limited of the United Kingdom. It has a top speed of about 50 mph and operating range of 100 mi. per charge.

The eStar has a GVWR of 12,100 lb with a payload capacity of 4,000 lb. The front axle is rated at 5,730 lb with a rear axle rating of 7,053 lb. The electrohydraulic power-assisted steering provides a turning radius of 36 ft.

There is no engine and no transmission, so the eStar has no tailpipe emissions or tailpipe for that matter. It features a low floor for easy loading/unloading; and a low center of gravity, thanks to the below-frame, rail-mounted battery system. A huge windshield offers nearly 180° of visibility, which gives drivers a better view of the area ahead of the truck, while a backup camera and unique mirror systems offer improved side and front-of-bumper views.

The eStar comes standard with antilock brakes and a regenerative braking system to help charge the battery during operation through the onboard charger. Full recharging through a Level 2 recharging system can be completed in approximately 8 hr or the batteries can be traded out in less than 20 min. The truck is designed to easily accommodate changes to batteries or energy storage options, making it “future-proof” as new technologies become available. The vehicle itself is almost entirely recyclable when its work life is finished, Navistar says.

Some changes and enhancements to the truck scheduled for 2011 include the transition to the SAE J1772 EVSE (electric vehicle supply equipment) charger connector system, and the addition of air conditioning. According to Navistar, trucks delivered in 2010 will be retrofit to include these and other enhancements.

www.estar-ev.com

Mercedes-Benz

The biggest changes to the 2011 model Sprinter cargo van don’t directly involve the vehicle; rather, they affect the sales and support structure surrounding the popular vehicle.

Introduced to North America as a Freightliner model in 2001, the European-designed and built Sprinter then was sold under the Dodge brand in 2003 as part of Daimler AG’s ownership stake in Chrysler. With Daimler’s sale of Chrysler in 2009, the Sprinter agreement lapsed, and Daimler moved marketing and distribution responsibility to its Mercedes-Benz (MB) U.S. division as of January.

In terms of vehicle changes, MB-USA added a shuttle van model to Sprinter’s existing cargo van, passenger van, and cab-chassis models. The shuttle model will be offered with four seating configurations for up to 16 passengers for airport, commuter, hotel, and paratransit shuttle applications.

MB-USA also reduced sticker prices on the Sprinter between 5.3% and 6.3%, despite the addition of selective catalytic reduction (SCR) technology to meet new U.S. diesel emissions requirements. The switch to SCR, which all Daimler groups market under the BlueTec brand name, also improved the power ratings of the V6 diesel engine, boosting its ratings to 188 hp at 3,800 rpm from 154 hp, with peak torque climbing to 325 lb-ft between 1,400 rpm and 2,400 rpm, up from its previous level of 285 lb-ft.

The Sprinter remains available in three lengths (233, 273, and 289 in.) and two wheelbases (144 and 170 in.) plus three roof heights, including an 84-in. -high “Mega” option.

Maximum cargo capacity, which tops out at 600 cu ft GVW ratings, are offered up to 11,030 lb for both van and cab-chassis versions. A V6 gasoline engine mated to a 5-speed automatic transmission is optional.

www.mbsprinterusa.com

Nissan

Brand new to the light-duty market are the 2011 Nissan NV1500, NV2500 HD, and NV3500 HD full-size vans. They will be available with a choice of 4.0-L V6 or 5.6-L V8 engines and in two body styles: standard roof and high roof (NV2500 HD and NV3500 HD only).

The cargo area of the NV provides a 120.7-in. floor length and 70.3-in. maximum cargo floor width. NV standard roof models offer a maximum 55.4-in. cargo area height. The high roof offers a maximum of 76.5-in. cargo room height.

Along with wide door openings, the NV offers room between the wheelhouses to accommodate standard plywood, drywall sheets, or pallets. There is also a range of cargo area tie-down rings and ample cargo area lighting.

The NV was also designed to accommodate aftermarket outfitting and modifications. For example, the roof rack mounting brackets are designed for installing various rack systems without piercing holes in the roof, which can lead to corrosion and water leaks.

A full-length cargo area inner panel protects the outer walls from dents and dings from the inside. Multiple weld-nut attachment points for shelving and racks require no sheet metal drilling. The NV’s nearly vertical sidewalls maximize the usable cargo space to accommodate common aftermarket storage systems as well as a bulkhead behind the driver.

Key driver-comfort features include wider front doors; supportive bucket seating with extensive adjustability; large armrests and a truck-like driving position with ample leg and foot room; and a removable center console.

http://www.nissancommercialvehicles.com

RAM Trucks

The newly reborn Chrysler Group LLC aims to take a big swing at the lighter end of the U.S. commercial truck market over the next several years in part by upgrading its 2011 model-year heavy-duty pickups while eliminating the Dodge Dakota light pickup — part of an attempt to increase Chrysler’s annual sales of commercial trucks some 50% by 2014.

The intensified focus on commercial trucks is part of a sweeping 5-yr growth plan unveiled by the OEM’s new owner, Italy’s Fiat SpA. Part of Chrysler’s strategy includes slicing its truck products off from the rest of its Dodge division, placing them into a separate division called “Ram Trucks.”

By 2014, Chrysler expects to have replaced almost three-quarters of its current engine lineup for this segment to improve overall fuel efficiency. Part of this will include offering a Fiat engine.

For its Ram Heavy Duty pickups, a crew-cab model was added for the 2010 model year and will be carried over into 2011. Improved suspension tuning and new C-pillar hydromounts were added to the Ram’s hydroformed, fully boxed frame. A coil-spring suspension setup is used up-front, while the multi-leaf spring design is maintained in the rear for heavy-duty capability. Front and rear shocks and springs are tuned for optimum ride quality and capability.

Powertrain choices include an optional 6.7-L Cummins diesel engine, which produces 350 hp at 3,000 rpm and 650 lb-ft of torque at 1,500 rpm; and a standard 5.7-L Hemi V8 gasoline engine, delivering 383 hp at 5,600 rpm and 400 lb-ft of torque at 4,000 rpm. The redesigned 5.7-L Hemi offers a spate of
improved technologies, including variable-valve timing; increased compression ratio; active intake manifold with long runners for low-end torque and short runners for high-rpm power; improved cylinder head port flow efficiency; and reduced-restriction exhaust and induction systems.

The Ram 2500 and 3500 pickups offer a standard exhaust brake for diesel-equipped models to help reduce brake fade, prolong brake life, and provide confidence and safety when hauling heavy loads on downhill grades.

Ram pickups boast an increased GVWR on 2500 4WD crew-cab diesel models of 9,600 lb from 9,000 lb, with increased GCWR of 24,500 lb, up from 24,000 lb, on 3500 dually models with diesel engine and automatic transmission. With the Max Tow Package, GCWR increases to 25,400 lb.

www.ramtrucks.com

Toyota

Upgrades made to all 2010 Toyota Tundra full-size pickups are going to carry over to the 2011 model year, including the 4.6-L i-Force V8 engine and two vehicle packages: the Tundra Platinum and Tundra Work Truck.

The engine is available on all models and features a double overhead cam aluminum alloy head with dual independent variable-valve timing that is “intelligent” (VVT-i) in order to achieve the best fuel economy. It offers 310 hp, 327 lb-ft of torque, and an estimated 15 mpg city and 20 mpg highway on 2WD models. Like Tundra’s optional 5.7-L i-Force V8 engine, the 4.6-L is mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission.

The Tundra Work Truck package is aimed at commercial truck buyers or those who otherwise require a tough no-frills truck with exceptional cargo and towing capacity.

These “specialized” trucks include vinyl seating and rubber flooring and will be available in “regular” and “double cab” configurations with a V6 or one of two V8 engines, including Tundra’s 5.7-L 381-hp V8 with a towing capability of up to 10,800-lb. Tundra models equipped with the Work Truck package will carry a price adjustment less than the truck’s standard MSRP, though that depends on the model.

For buyers looking for a high level of refinement, the Platinum package is available on CrewMax Limited models equipped with the 5.7-L V8 and Flex Fuel powertrains. The package contains an assortment of luxury features, such as heated and ventilated seats, sunroof, and wood grain trim.

The Tundra continues to be offered in three wheelbases: 126.8 in. for regular cab/standard bed models;
145.7 in. for regular cab/long bed, double cab/standard bed and CrewMax models; and a massive 164.6 in. for double cab/long bed models.

www.toyota.com

Medium-Duty

Ford

The new 2011 model-year F-Series Super Duty truck is going to offer a host of new enhancements, including the Ford-designed and built 6.7-L Power Stroke V8 turbodiesel rated at 390 hp and 735 lb-ft of torque, to replace diesel engines of the same name formerly supplied by Navistar.

Ed Waszczenko, Ford’s lead engine durability engineer, notes that B20 biodiesel compatibility is being added for the 2011 model year, meaning the engine can be operated on a blend of 20% biodiesel and 80% regular petroleum diesel. According to Waszczenko, Ford’s turbodiesel boasts an average 18% improvement in fuel economy for pickup models and up to 25% improvement for chassis cabs versus 2010 Super Duty models.

The engine and aftertreatment system also meets the new 2010 federal emissions requirements for oxides of nitrogen (NOx) by using a selective catalytic reduction (SCR) system with diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) supplied by Terra Environmental Technologies (TET) under Ford’s Motorcraft brand name.

In addition, Waszczenko says models equipped with Ford’s new 6.2-L V8 gasoline engines will crank out 385 hp and 405 lb-ft of torque, some 85 more horsepower, and 40 lb-ft more torque than the OEM’s current 5.4-L V8 gas engine. They will deliver an average 15% fuel economy improvement over the OEM’s comparable 2010 models.

Also noteworthy is that Ford has increased the towing capability of the 2011 Super Duty to 26,400 lb on chassis cabs and 24,400 lb on pickups. Payload capability has been boosted to 12,711 lb on chassis cabs and 6,520 lb on pickups.

Each of Ford’s new engines is mated to the all-new 6R140 heavy-duty TorqShift 6-speed automatic transmission, which has been optimized for the increased torque of the new diesel engine and the higher speeds of the gas engine. The transmission features SelectShift Automatic capability, with segment-exclusive “live drive” power take off (PTO) available for diesels.

Ford is also adding its Trailer Sway Control (TSC) system as a Super Duty option. It is integrated with Advance­Trac with Roll Stability Control and is now standard on all single rear wheel (SRW) configurations.

The AdvanceTrac control module uses additional software to monitor the truck’s motion when a trailer is attached. TSC can determine from the yaw motion of the truck if the trailer is swaying and take measures, such as applying precise braking or reducing engine torque, to help reduce the trailer sway.

Other new safety features include: hill start assist, which applies brakes to prevent rollback; hill descent control, which uses the accelerator and brake to set and hold a selected speed; electronic locking differential, which provides maximum traction by forcing the rear wheels to turn at the same speed; and tire pressure monitoring systems, which are a standard feature on all SRW models. www.ford.com

Freightliner

Freightliner Trucks has made several improvements to its medium-duty Business Class M2 106V model, including making it compliant with 2010 EPA engine emissions regs. The truck is designed for medium- to heavy-duty vocational applications that require a front engine PTO or front frame extensions, such as those needed in refuse collection, snow plowing, crane and utility operations.

The M2 106V features a 1,200-sq-in. radiator that can accommodate up to 380 hp with an automatic transmission and up to 80,000 lb GVW. Increased cooling and reliability are also aspects of the improved radiator, which is mounted to the engine above the top of the frame. This also allows a front-engine PTO shaft to run below the radiator.

The truck boasts a composite headlight system that features complex reflectors with easy-to-replace halogen bulbs stocked at both auto and truck supply stores. The new Blend-Air intake system pulls air from under and outside the hood, which helps the stream of air when it may otherwise be restricted due to debris.

Front frame rail extensions are now integrated with the vehicle, rather than bolted on, allowing for a constant resistance bending moment from the front of the frame extension to the end of the rail, according to the OEM. Available in lengths of 6 in. and 24 in. , the rail extensions come standard, and Freightliner says they provide a solid mounting point for pumps, winches, and plows.

The exterior of the M2 106V has been updated as well. A new fiberglass hood with restyled front fenders joins a non-corrosive aluminum cab to offer what Freightliner terms a “contemporary look.” The OEM notes that low step-in heights with slip-resistant dual steps, large door openings, and strategically placed grab handles add to driver comfort, as do flexible seating options.

The OEM has announced no major changes to any of its other medium-duty Business Class truck models.

http://www.freightlinertrucks.com

FCCC

Some new changes are in store for 2011 walk-in van chassis models offered by Freightliner Custom Chassis Corp. (FCCC).

For starters, FCCC is now offering a gasoline engine-powered chassis to the commercial vehicle industry for its MT-45 and MT-55 walk-in van chassis platform. FCCC says its engineers designed the new gasoline-engine option chassis to provide similar core benefits of the MT-45 and MT-55, including the same outstanding reliability, durability, serviceability and performance that
customers expect from an FCCC chassis.

Equipped with a standard Allison 1000/2000 Series transmission and General Motors 6.0-L V8 engine, the gasoline-powered chassis features up to 320 hp. Ideal for pickup-and-delivery applications, the chassis has a GVWR of 14,500 to 23,000 lb. The MT-45 and MT-55’s steel straight-rail chassis frame reduces flex and bowing to minimize chassis stress while carrying heavy payloads.

Along with gasoline- and diesel-powered chassis, FCCC offers compressed natural gas (CNG) and a hybrid-electric vehicle (HEV) chassis, with plans to offer full production of the hydraulic hybrid vehicle (HHV) chassis in the fourth quarter of 2010 for the walk-in van market segment.

Another new feature for the 2011 model year is a 3-yr/50,000-mi. extended service warranty on all chassis in FCCC’s walk-in van product line. The new warranty will cover the entire FCCC walk-in van product line, including the popular MT-45 chassis and alternative-power chassis, like the new all-electric chassis and the hybrid-electric chassis. The warranty coverage will go into effect immediately for all chassis powered by 2010-compliant engines.

Finally, a new multi-year, long-term agreement forged between FCCC’s parent company, Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA), and Allison Transmission makes Allison the exclusive automatic transmission provider for all DTNA product lines, including FCCC’s walk-in van chassis. Allison will also work in conjunction with engines from DTNA’s sister company, Detroit Diesel Corp., to improve upon engine/transmission integration in areas such as fuel efficiency and future product offerings.

www.freightlinerchassis.com

Hino

Hino is rolling out specialized chassis configurations for specific medium-duty market segments in 2011, as well as re-introducing a cab over engine (COE) hybrid truck, 2010-compliant engines, and new financing options for customers.

In response to strong demand by body manufacturers and customers, Hino says it’s making available an ambulance-specific version of its 2011 model-year 258ALP Class 6 chassis. Rated at 25,550-lb GVW, the chassis comes equipped with the company’s proprietary 4-cyl. J08E Series 8-L diesel engine producing 220 hp with 520 lb-ft of torque. Hino also offers a 6-cyl. J08E version cranking out 260 hp and 585 lb-ft of torque, alongside a smaller 4-cyl. J05D-TF model producing 175 hp and 376 lb-ft of torque.

Hino says the ambulance cab and chassis are designed for maximum maneuverability and reliable performance with ample power for the stressful demands required by the emergency rescue market. The vehicle will feature a new suspension from Hendrickson, allowing for the frame height to be in the 28-in. range required in the ambulance industry.

This truck, like all of Hino’s new models, is equipped with the OEM’s selective catalytic reduction (SCR) emissions control system so it can meet stringent 2010 EPA exhaust emissions regulations. The company added that the diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) tank on its trucks accommodates 4.7 gal, allowing the vehicle to travel as many as 2,500 mi. per tank.

All told, Hino continues to offer seven distinct chassis models in Class 6 and 7. For Class 6, the company offers the 238, 258ALP, 258LP, 268, and 268A chassis models, along with the 338 and 338CT Class 7 models.

Hino is also introducing its light-duty diesel hybrid COE truck to the United States for the first time; a truck with a gross vehicle weight rating of 14,500 lb and a 16-ft van body. Hino says it expects to offer its next-generation hybrid Class 4 and 5 COE trucks in the United States on a wider basis in the near future.

Finally, Hino has entered into an agreement with Hitachi Capital America Corp. to expand its commercial financing options. In addition to Hino’s financial partner, Toyota Financial Services, Hino’s dealers and customers now have access to Hitachi Capital America Corp.’s retail and wholesale financing offerings.

www.hino.com

International

Navistar Inc.’s new midrange International truck model is the Class 4-5 TerraStar. The OEM says the truck boasts a wide range of “commercial duty” features, including Navistar’s MaxxForce 7 V8 diesel and the “largest, roomiest cab available.”

The 6.4-l engine produces 300 hp while delivering 660 lb-ft of torque. The engine’s compacted graphite iron (CGI) block is said to offer high strength without added weight. In the TerraStar, it is mated with an Allison 1000 automatic transmission to optimize its power output.

The truck meets 2010 emissions regulations with Navistar’s Advanced EGR emissions technology.

Other key TerraStar features include best-in-class visibility (28% more than the market leader); an industry-best 107-in. BBC length, and 44-ft curb-to-curb turning radius to offer outstanding maneuverability in even the tightest work environments; a true commercial-duty truck cab with 30% more cab interior space than the market leader to allow plenty of room for three adults to fit comfortably in the front seat; optional extended cab or crew-cab configurations; a commercial-style tiltaway hood that provides unobstructed access to the engine compartment; International’s Diamond Logic multiplex electrical system for ease of body integration that helps deliver a number of smart, customizable features, such as automated pretrip inspections, headlights on with wipers, interlocks, and programmable switches for added convenience and safety. The TerraStar will initially be available with a 2WD drivetrain while a 4WD version is planned for next year. According to Navistar, the MaxxForce 7 will also power all standard-cab models of International DuraStar Class 6-7 trucks. For those medium-duty models, four available ratings will range from 220 to 300 hp and 560 to 660 lb-ft of torque.

http://www.internationaltrucks.com

Isuzu

Wasting no time recovering from the dissolution of its longtime partnership with General Motors when GM shuttered its medium-duty division last year, Isuzu Commercial Truck of America is launching a new vehicle for the 2011 model year: the N-Series NPR Eco-Max.

The 12,000-lb. GVWR Eco-Max is a low-cab-forward truck offering up to 20% improved fuel economy and increased payload capacity compared to previous NPR models, Isuzu says. It’s powered by Isuzu’s next-generation 4JJ1-TC diesel engine; a turbocharged 4-cyl., 3-L engine delivering 150 hp and 282 lb-ft of torque that’s operated globally in Isuzu’s N-Series models for the last five years. Isuzu says its 4J engine is compliant with EPA 2010 emissions rules as well as CARB OBD requirements. It offers a B10 biodiesel engine rating and maintains a life rating of 310,000 mi., which means 90% of these engines should reach this mileage before needing an overhaul. The engine is mated to an Aisin heavy-duty, 6-speed automatic transmission with double overdrive and lockup power take off (PTO) function.

Due to its broad torque curve, power density and transmission, the Eco-Max has shown better hill climbing ability than the model it replaces. It’s also up to 170 lb lighter, so it offers increased payload capacity.

The cab is the same size as the previous NPR and offers three-across seating, with wheelbase choices of 110 in., 134 in., and 151 in. to accommodate bodies up to 16 ft in length.

Isuzu is also launching the NPR-HD (14,500-lb GVWR), NQR (17,950 lb GVWR) and NRR (19,500-lb GVWR) models. These higher GVWR N-Series models will be powered by a heavily revised version of the 4HK1-TC 5.2-L engine first introduced in the 2005 model year. For 2011, the 4HK features increased power output (from 205 hp to 210 hp with an automatic transmission, and from 175 hp to 190 hp with manual transmission) and up to 8% better fuel economy. Like the 4JJ1-TC engine, this engine is both EPA 2010 and CARB HD-OBD emissions compliant.

www.isuzucv.com

Kenworth

Kenworth Truck Co.’s newest medium-duty model is the T440. Its GVW rating ranges from a heavy Class 7 vehicle at 33,000 lb up to a light Class 8 at 68,000 lb. It is offered as a truck or tractor and is aimed at various vocational, regional, P&D, and municipal applications.

Standard power is the 2010 Paccar PX-8 engine, rated to 350 hp and 1,000 lb-ft of torque. An optional 9-L 2010 Cummins ISL engine is rated to 380 hp and 1,300 lb-ft of torque. Emergency fire truck ratings are available on both engines. The T440 offers 6-, 9-, 10-, 11- and 13-speed manual and 5- and 6-speed automatic transmissions. Specs also include 12,000-lb to 22,000-lb rated front axles; 21,000-lb to 30,000-lb rated single rear axles; and 40,000-lb to 46,000-lb rated tandem rear axles.

The T440 can also be ordered to run on compressed natural gas (CNG) or liquefied natural gas (LNG), powered by the Cummins Westport ISL G engine. Rated at 320 hp and 1,000 lb-ft of torque, the ISL G is 2010 EPA-compliant without the use of selective catalytic reduction (SCR) or a diesel particulate filter.

Kenworth points out that the T440’s modern styling features an aerodynamic sloped hood for enhanced forward visibility, a tapered channel bumper, and best-in-class forward lighting with halogen projector headlamps as standard equipment. An aluminum or 3-piece aerodynamic bumper and high-intensity discharge lighting are available as options.

The T440 uses the same multiplexed dash installed in Kenworth’s Class 8 trucks with a large panel for convenient installation of body controls and gauges. The Kenworth Driver Information Center is standard in the T440. The OEM’s Extended Day Cab, which is optional, provides an additional 6 in. of length and 5 in. of cab height compared to Kenworth’s traditional day cab.

www.kenworth.com

Mitsubishi

The biggest change for Mitsubishi Fuso Truck of America’s (MFTA) 2011 models is the selective catalytic reduction (SCR) system being added to all of its diesel-powered vehicles so they comply with EPA 2010 exhaust emissions regulations.

The full line of MFTA commercial trucks includes its Class 3 (12,500-lb GVWR) through Class 5 (17,995-lb GVWR) Canter FE and FG models, as well as its Class 6 (25,995 lb GVWR) FK and Class 7 (32,900-lb GVWR) FM models. All are powered by fuel-injected, turbocharged diesel engines and come with automatic transmissions as standard equipment.

All of the trucks will use engines equipped with Blue­Tec technology developed by MFTA and its parent company, Germany’s Daimler AG. MFTA is a subsidiary of Mitsubishi Fuso Truck and Bus Corp. of Kawasaki, Japan, which is part of the Daimler Trucks division of Daimler AG.

The BlueTec system consists of components already introduced to meet EPA’s 2007 emissions regulations — diesel particulate filter and diesel oxidation catalyst — plus SCR catalyst and diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) tank, doser, and control module. During operation, the DEF doser atomizes and sprays small, carefully regulated amounts of diesel exhaust fluid into the exhaust stream. Once in the SCR catalyst, oxides of nitrogen (NOx) in the exhaust gas react with the DEF to form water and nitrogen.

A DEF gauge is integrated into the instrument panel to allow the driver to monitor DEF tank level. In addition, onboard diagnostics will monitor the function of the emissions system. According to Leighton Good, manager of product and applications, with BlueTec technology, the amount of exhaust gas recirculation can actually be reduced, thus improving engine efficiency. Moreover, the regeneration interval of the DPF is extended, requiring less fuel to burn off the soot collected by the filter. In the end, the combination of these technologies results in improved fuel economy compared to EPA 2007-compliant engines with comparable ratings, says Good.

MFTA also noted that its 2011 models retain several warranty options, with base 3-yr/unlimited mileage bumper-to-bumper coverage along with either a 5-yr/175,000-mi. limited powertrain warranty on Canter FE/FG models or a 5-yr/250,000-mi. limited powertrain warranty for its FK/FM models. MFTA’s Canter FE and FG trucks retain door-mounted split rearview mirrors introduced as standard equipment for the 2010 model year. Previously an option, these split mirrors provide a large, flat upper surface combined with a smaller, convex lower surface.

www.mitfuso.com

Peterbilt

Peterbilt Motors Co. has launched the Model 337 as its new medium-duty flagship and has also rolled out another midrange truck, the Model 347. Both new Petes boast improved visibility, a multiplexed electrical system, and a redesigned HVAC with higher output, according to the OEM.

The Model 337, which replaces the Model 335, offers GVWs ranging from 26,000 lb to 33,000 lb. It is powered either by the 6.7-L Paccar PX-6 diesel (240 hp to 325 hp) or the 8.3-L Paccar PX-8 (240 hp to 360 hp). The Model 337 can also be ordered with a diesel-electric hybrid powertrain. The Model 347, which replaces the Model 340, is available as either a truck or tractor. Its GVWRs start at 35,000 lb, and power is supplied by the PX-8.

Common to both models is an all-aluminum cab derived from Pete’s heavy-duty line. It features a lower cab-door belt line, which the OEM says improves side sight lines by 17%. The cab also has a larger rear window and improved forward visibility. Inside, there’s an all-new dashboard with an integrated driver information display and multiplexed electronics with a J1939 bus for access to vehicle diagnostic and operational information.

Peterbilt is also making available optional all-wheel drive (AWD) for the 337 and Class 7 Model 348 truck. The OEM notes AWD is aimed at vocational customers needing enhanced off-road versatility and maneuverability.

Power for the 337 AWD comes from the Paccar PX-6 engine with a horsepower rating of up to 325 and up to 750 lb-ft of torque. Specs include the choice of an Eaton Fuller manual or an Allison automatic transmission. The Model 337 AWD has a GVW starting at 29,000-lb, and Pete notes that a “strong steel frame and multiple available axle ratings support off-road confidence and enable an easy transition to urban streets.”

The Model 348 AWD has a 108-in. BBC and is available with 12,000-lb to 16,000-lb front axle ratings. It is powered by the Paccar PX-6 engine, which the OEM says offers the highest horsepower to weight ratio in the industry. Peterbilt notes the Model 348 AWD has “optional capacity ratings to suit almost any vocation.”

www.peterbilt.com

RAM Trucks

A retooled Ram chassis cab is the big news from Chrysler for the 2011 model year. That new cab adds to the complement of options buyers have available to them for 2011. The truck is available in three weight classes (3500, 4500, and 5500), three trim levels (ST, SLT and Laramie), four cab-to-axle lengths (60 in., 84 in., 108 in., and 120 in.), plus a choice of 2WD or 4WD.

All Ram chassis cab models are available in two cab styles, including regular cab and the all-new, full-size crew cab. They’re also available with two powertrains: a 383 hp 5.7-L Hemi (3500 only) producing 400 lb-ft of torque and a 305 hp 6.7-L Cummins turbodiesel generating 610 lb-ft of torque that is also approved for B20, a fuel blend of 20% biodiesel mixed with 80% petroleum diesel.

The Ram chassis cab also comes with three transmission options: a 6-speed manual (diesel only), 5-speed automatic (gasoline only), and 6-speed automatic (diesel only).

The 2011 chassis cab features a 50,000 psi high-strength steel frame with advanced torsional rigidity and stiffness. A coil-spring suspension system is in front with a multi-leaf spring design in the rear for heavy-duty capability. Front and rear shocks and springs are tuned for optimum ride quality and capability. Also standard on diesel-equipped 3500, 4500, and 5500 models is an exhaust brake to reduce brake fade, prolong brake life, and provide confidence and safety when hauling heavy loads. Additionally, the new models are equipped with larger front and rear brakes — 390 mm — with an integrated antilock brake system to both increase brake life and braking stability.

An available integrated trailer brake control provides better driver control in towing situations, with the trailer brake control information conveniently displayed in the electronic vehicle information center — a standard feature on diesel models and available as an option on gasoline models.

Ram’s automatic transmissions for the chassis cab include electronic range select, which enables the driver to manually limit the highest available transmission gear. This allows manual upshifts and downshifts based on road speed and engine speed for improved drivability when towing. Tow/haul mode is available on both 5-speed and 6-speed automatic transmissions.

The 2011 Ram chassis cab lineup also includes new styling, offering a tougher, more capable look with improved aerodynamics, fit, and finish. To accommodate the cooling requirements of the 6.7-L Cummins Turbo Diesel engine, the grille is enlarged over the light-duty application.

Inside, the new 2011 Ram chassis cab offers an abundance of amenities, including standard power windows, locks, and mirrors on crew-cab models.

Ram’s Uconnect Web feature provides high-speed data transfer and flexibility by combining WiFi and 3G cellular for a new level of wireless connectivity. The system transforms the vehicle into a “hot spot” for instant access to websites, e-mail, and more.

www.ramtrucks.com

UD Trucks

A new name and a host of big changes to its trucks define the 2011 model year for UD Trucks North America (UDNA), formerly known as Nissan Diesel America.

The name change to UDNA is part of a branding strategy being implemented to complement the recent name change of its Japan-based parent firm from Nissan Diesel Motor Co. to UD Trucks Corp. The parent of UD Trucks Corp. is Sweden’s Volvo Group.

Headquartered in Irving, Texas, UDNA serves as the U.S. distributor for the UD Trucks line of medium-duty diesel trucks manufactured by UD Trucks Corp. in Japan.

Along with the name change, a new “brand identity strategy” will incorporate a redesigned logo and service mark, as well as plans for new dealership brand identification.

The company also notes that its 2011 model trucks are equipped with selective catalytic reduction based on the EATS (Exhaust After-Treatment System) technology package in order to comply with emissions regulations.

The 2011 models also feature a new cab and driver environment, along with a 7-L GH7 diesel engine, which was jointly developed by UD Trucks Corp. and Volvo Powertrain Development. The vehicles offer customers a variety of transmission options, including the Allison 3000 Series automatic, says Greg Herdzina, sales manager for the UD Trucks brand at Chicago Mack of Summit, Ill.

www.udtrucksna.com

Workhorse

Workhorse Custom Chassis, a Navistar company, this month will launch production of its W62 chassis powered with the GM Vortec 6.0-L gasoline engine. The engine replaces the Vortec 8.1-L gasoline engine and is “expected to deliver upward of 20% better fuel economy than the previous engine,” says marketing manager Bill Walmsley.

According to Workhorse, the engine uses variable valve timing (VVT) that enables the powertrain to take advantage of late intake valve closing for greater efficiency.

“VVT allows a previously unattainable mix of low-rpm, even torque delivery over a broad range of engine speeds, and free-breathing high-rev horsepower,” Walmsley says. “The cam phaser maximizes engine performance for given demands and conditions. At idle, the cam is moved to an advanced position, allowing exceptionally smooth idling.

“Under other operating demands,” he continues, “the phaser adjusts to deliver optimal valve timing for performance, drivability and fuel economy. At high rpm, it might retard timing to maximize airflow through the engine and increase horsepower. At low rpm, it advances timing to increase torque. Under a light load, it can retard timing at all engine speeds to improve fuel economy. It also provides another effective tool for controlling exhaust emissions because it manages valve overlap at optimum levels and eliminates the need for an exhaust gas recirculation system.”

Workhorse mates the 6.0-L powerplant to the Allison 1000 HS automatic transmission. The W62 chassis GVWRs range from 19,500 lb to 23,500 lb. Later this year, the W62 will be offered with an EPA 2010-compliant International MaxxForce 7 diesel.

“Our 2010 W42 chassis is already in production with the new GM Vortec 4.8-L gasoline engine, also with variable valve timing and extended maintenance intervals,” says Walmsley. “The 4.8-L gas engine is now mated to the new GM Hydra-Matic 6L90 6-speed automatic transmission, which replaces the previous 4-speed 4L80E.­”

http://www.workhorse.com