New on-highway truck model offers improved fuel efficiency, driver comfort
A big reveal needs a big opening, and Mack Trucks did just that Monday night as it officially unveiled its first new highway tractor since 2005 in front of dealers and media at the PPL Center in Allentown, PA, not far from the Macungie factory that will build the new model.
“There are days that are extremely special, and today is one of those days,” Martin Lundstedt, CEO of the Volvo Group said, in opening remarks. “It’s like Christmas Day … and you want to share it with the whole family.”
For Mack, though, the new truck isn’t just a new truck, it is an anthem for the Mack brand and for America. Fittingly, and with the help of country music star Steve Moakler who wrote and performed a song for the audience about the truck called Born Ready, Mack unveiled its Anthem.
The Anthem is an axle forward model (the company will continue to sell the axle back Pinnacle model) and will be available in three configurations – day cab, 48-inch flat top sleeper or 70-inch “stand-up” sleeper. Jonathan Randall, senior vice president of North American sales for Mack, told FreightWaves additional sleeper models between the 48-inch and 70-inch will be available in the future. The truck is available for order later this week and will enter production in January, he said.
“I predict when truckers get a view of these new trucks, your phones will be ringing and you will be hearing from customers you haven’t heard from in years,” Denny Slagle, president of Mack Trucks, told the dealers in attendance.
“We are not here for participation trophies, we are here to win,” Randall told the crowd, just before the truck was rolled out.
John Walsh, vice president of global marketing and brand management, ran through some of the key features of the truck, including its distinctive grille “with the Mack word mark, big and bold.”
“Make no mistake, this is the right highway truck for North America,” he said. “Everything in the Anthem from the outside in and the inside out was built for business and built for drivers.”
The 70-inch sleeper is Mack’s first sleeper that allows a driver over 6 feet tall to stand at the wheel and walk to the back of the sleeper without the need to duck. It achieves 3% greater fuel efficiency than a current Mack model running GHG 17 Mack MP engines. The day cab gets 1.5% better fuel efficiency, Walsh said. Engineers redesigned the roof and chassis fairings, mirror covers, and front bumper and air dam to more easily cut through the wind, and a new one-box treatment all contributed to the fuel efficiency improvement.
“Proving that a fuel-efficient truck doesn’t have to look like a jellybean,” Walsh added.
All the lighting inside and out is LED and the outside profile of the vehicle is more aerodynamic, including redesigned hood mirrors. A three-piece hood features “automotive-style” release latch located in the grille, making lifting the hood that much easier and the redesigned three-piece bumper allows for easy replacement of damaged parts.
On the inside, Walsh said Mack took feedback from drivers to create an “interior designed for drivers by drivers.” There are 3 trim levels
Gauges on the instrument panel have been positioned higher for better driver visibility, while HVAC controls and the Mack mDrive automated manual transmission (AMT) shift pad have been relocated closer to the driver’s fingertips. All switches for additional truck functions like cruise control, PTOs and traction control now feature laser etching to help maintain markings over the long life of the vehicle.
Inspired by racecar controls, a new flat-bottom steering wheel provides improved dash visibility, as well as easier ingress and egress, the company said. The new steering wheel also contains illuminated controls for cruise control, Bluetooth and the audio system.
Behind the steering wheel, Mack’s Co-Pilot display has been updated with a new 5-inch, full-color screen for improved visibility and more intuitive navigation. Co-Pilot provides drivers with a convenient way to monitor vehicle information, including engine and oil temperatures, trip odometers, aftertreatment status, tire pressures and more. A Pre-Trip Assistant guides drivers through inspection points and includes a single person exterior light inspection mode.
Anthem models are available with a new information and entertainment option featuring a 7-inch touchscreen display giving drivers safe access to Apple CarPlay, satellite radio, weather band radio and TomTom truck navigation. Optional comfort features include a television prep kit that can accommodate up to a 24-inch flat screen and a drawer-style refrigerator mounted on the passenger side.
There are 30 combinations of seating available from Sears Seats and the doghouse has been redesigned to make maintenance easier.
The 70-inch sleeper offers 35% more space, up to 27 cubic feet of storage, either a single or double bunk, and tilt-open windows with built in shades to prevent rain from entering the vehicle.
For power, the tractor features either Mack’s MP7 or MP8 engine, with the MP7 offering 435 horsepower and 1,560 lbs.-ft. of torque and the MP8 offering up to 505 horsepower and 1,860 lbs.-ft. Mack’s downspeeding SuperEconodyne packages are available as well. Available exclusively with SuperEconodyne is the Mack MP8-TC engine, which features turbo compounding to capture and convert waste energy from the exhaust into mechanical energy that is fed back to the engine. The turbo compounding system feeds up to 50 additional horsepower back to the crankshaft, enabling additional performance while improving fuel efficiency.
The truck features the 12-speed Mack mDrive automated manual transmission as standard. The mDrive HD is an option.
The Bendix Wingman Fusion system is standard. Wingman Fusion is a camera- and radar-based driver assistance solution, providing collision mitigation, adaptive cruise control and lane departure warning.
Mack Connect is one of the Mack Uptime features of the vehicles. With Mack Connect, current and future services will be structured under connected support, connected business and connected driving, the company said. Using predictive analytics and connective technologies, Mack Connect turns data produced by the truck, the driver and the service process into insights and actions, resulting in superior support and service to Mack customers.
The truck also features Mack GuardDog Connect, which proactively monitors truck performance on Mack models, is Mack’s integrated telematics service, and the Mack Over the Air, which allows for remote updates of software and other parameters.