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Western Star 49X: Built for a severe life but doesn’t drive like it (With Video)

Not exactly the ride of the family SUV, but far less harsh than one might expect

The Western Star 49X checks all the boxes for a heavy-haul vocational truck. It drives much better. (Photo: Daimler Trucks North America)

The engineers and designers of the Western Star 49X talked to workers in rock quarries and oil fields and timber haulers to learn what they wanted in a vocational work truck. Those boxes are checked. What they won’t expect is to be able to hold a normal conversation inside the cab.

The massive 49X won’t be confused with the family SUV for ride and handling. But the harsh ride and noise one might expect in such a beast of a truck is largely missing. An isolated hood suspension and side mirrors built into the doors all but eliminate vibration in driving. 

If you don’t look back — and you should look back —  you might not realize you are towing 180,000 pounds of construction equipment on a flatbed. 

Or that there is 40,000 pounds of gravel in the dump body. 

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Alan Adler

Alan Adler is an award-winning journalist who worked for The Associated Press and the Detroit Free Press. He also spent two decades in domestic and international media relations and executive communications with General Motors.