A Short and Sweet Guide to 2016 Class 8 Trucks
It’s quite possible that this is the best time in history for truck makers. The transportation industry is exploding, and trucking companies are looking left and right for more rigs to add to their fleets. Experts predict that this year, Class 8 truck sales should exceed 300,000 ― and even more if companies can find employees to drive them.
This sudden prosperity has encouraged competition among truck manufacturers, which means this year’s models boast some of the best features ever seen. To help companies find the best trucks for their fleets, here is a simple guide to the best models available in 2016.
Almost every year since 2010, Volvo’s Class 8s have received improvements to aerodynamics, fuel efficiency, and performance, making them some of the highest-tech tractors around. Volvo’s D13 engine is already the best-selling heavy-duty engine in the world, and the company continues to take giant strides toward lighter, faster, and better trucks; for example, Volvo hopes to make a substantial shift toward using dimethyl ether (DME) as fuel in the very near future.
The VNL series includes a wide range of cabs, from premium sleepers to daycab models, all of which are surpassingly comfortable, making buying used Volvo trucks the best move for comfort and drivability. Perhaps the most widely applicable model is the VNL 430, which contains a humble sleeping space but manages day trips well, too. However, it is difficult to beat the near-luxury of the VNL 780, which boasts a high roof for more than 371 cubic feet of living space.
A 2016Peterbilt isn’t cheap. In fact, brand-new Peterbilts are always well above the average price for a big rig. Still, the truck’s classic look and feel is unbeatable for many truckers who can’t imagine hitting the roads without their Peters.
Peterbilt has a wide and varied series of Class 8s. The most popular (and most timeless) model is the Peterbilt 379, which despite its traditional appearance, contains a number of useful technological advances, such as a series of air ride systems that make driving even the roughest roads feel as smooth as butter. Peterbilt’s newest model, the Peterbilt 579, has more advanced aerodynamics than other trucks in the series, allowing it to perform better than other Peters on the highway.
The first choice among many owner-operators, Kenworth trucks are constructed with the help of experienced truckers, which means most of their models contain outstanding features that other manufacturers never consider. Like Peterbilts, Kenworths boast a classic look, giving their owners a sense of pride for their vehicles.
Overall, Kenworth’s 2016 Class 8 line-up is difficult to beat. For smaller jobs, the T660 and T800 are strong and reliable, and many drivers prefer them for their customizable driver information center, which keeps truckers safe and on-time. However, inside and out, the legendary W900 series ― including the limited-edition ICON 900 model ― is beautiful and powerful, with a luxurious cab that provides unprecedented views of the road ahead.
Mack isn’t exactly a flashy brand of heavy-duty trucks, like others on this list, but to some drivers, that’s precisely what makes Mack desirable. Instead of adding plush amenities to the cab, Mack focuses on improving the power and performance of its vehicles ― to astounding effect.
Though Mack continues to make its trucks lighter and lighter, its 2016 line contains some of the strongest rigs on the road. Titan by Mack features a MP10 engine with 605 horsepower, which is record-breaking for the company and proves the truck’s name is well-earned. Even their less accomplished models are steadfast and sturdy; the Mack Pinnacle makes for an excellent fleet vehicle, boasting enhanced electronics for better logistics.
Freightliners tend to be the affordable option within Class 8. However, in this case, “affordable” doesn’t mean cheap. Owners and operators tend to cherish their hardwearing Freightliners for their low maintenance costs, which is a significant plus.
Freightliner’s most popular heavy-duty model is unquestionably the Cascadia. Every year, the manufacturer improves on Cascadia’s design, focusing on making the truck lighter and more aerodynamic so owners can increase payload without decreasing efficiency. The new Cascadia Evolution promises to be the most fuel-efficient truck on the road ― and since Daimler’s famous SuperTruck borrowed elements of the Cascadia Evolution to reach an astounding 12 miles per gallon, the Evolution might just deliver on its promise.