Kenworth unleashes the W990

LAS VEGAS, Nev. – Kenworth Trucks unveiled its new W990 Sept. 27 at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, which was touted as “a driver’s truck” and added to the company’s longest running model in its portfolio.

“The replacement of the W900, that’s a special place,” said Mike Dozier, Kenworth general manager and Paccar vice-president, during the launch. “A lot of passion, a lot of pride has gone into what we think is a very special product.”

Kenworth W990.

Available in a day cab, 40-inch flat top, and 52-inch, and 76-inch mid-roof sleeper configuration, the W990 is designed for line haul, pickup and delivery, regional haul, and heavy haul operations.

The truck comes standard with the proprietary Paccar powertrain, the MX-13 engine, 510hp and 1,850lbs.-ft. of torque.

With a 12-speed Paccar automated transmission and 40K tandem rear axles, the W990 is built on the 2.1-meter cab platform, which is also used for the T680 and T880 models.

Kenworth W990.

Driver comfort was a focal point when designing the W990. Special features include the limited edition cab and sleeper interior and the driver’s studio package of premium options that create a “home on the road” for the driver.

“Anything we can do to help them feel more comfortable, feel a sense of pride…that’s what we’re doing today,” said Dozier. “We are passionate about our products, our customers that depend on them, and the drivers that operate them. We know that there are many customers and drivers out there who share our passion. The Kenworth W990 represents the pride, image and freedom of trucking, and captures the spirit of what trucking is all about.”

Mike Dozier, Kenworth general manager and Paccar vice-president, introduces the W990 in Las Vegas Sept. 27.

On the exterior, the two biggest visuals on the W990 are the hood and grille designs, with a “long hood” measuring 131.5 inches from bumper to the back of the cab.

“The grille is really the face of the new W990,” said Jonathan Duncan, Kenworth’s design director. “Incorporating stainless steel was important. It had to be pure Kenworth and it needed to be instantly recognizable as the top-of-the-line. We maintained the traditional cathedral shape to the grille and the inset surfaces at the top to give it a refined tailored look. That powerful center spear signifies this is part of the new generation of Kenworth trucks and the tapered grille spears are there for a classic touch. It’s elegant, beautiful, and full of brawn.”

Duncan said the inside of the truck boasts as much attitude as its exterior.

“Behind the wheel, the driver’s view over the hood is a huge part of the appeal of the W990,” he said. “It’s really one of the keys to the success of this design. The powerful wind-split (the raised center section on the hood top) is designed to accentuate the length of the hood and the dynamic shape reflects the powerful engine underneath. The side air intakes wrap over the top of the hood so that they are visible from the driver’s seat. All of this creates a strong visual impact from behind the wheel.”

During the unveiling, Duncan said the W990’s dynamic shape helps the driver connect with the road.

“We wanted to reward the drivers with sharpest truck and the view of the road,” said Duncan. “The world’s best drivers deserve and expect no less, and we had to give it to them.”

Oculus Transport, a Calgary, Alta.-based carrier, started purchasing Kenworth trucks in 2011, and has stuck with the brand ever since.

“We stand out with our long hoods and bright orange paint scheme,” said Cory Heck, vice-president of assets and equipment for Oculus. “We stick to our roots, and have pride in ownership. Image is so important to us and the Kenworth W900L, and now W990, support that image perfectly. When drivers are required to dwell in their truck, it is important that they feel rested and comfortable. I know that our equipment helps with driver retention, and we’ve seen our drivers turn up their nose at offers from other companies with lesser equipment. That really tells you something.”

Purchasing its trucks through Inland Kenworth – Fort St. John, B.C., Oculus’ W990 is spec’d with the Paccar MX-13 engine with 510hp and an Eaton UltraShift, 18-speed transmission.

“Everyone loves the Paccar MX engine around here,” said Heck. “They’ve proven very reliable in our other trucks, plus they’re giving us better fuel economy numbers. The W990 with Paccar MX-13 engines is a great combination for us.”

The truck comes standard with Kenworth’s TruckTech+ remote diagnostics system, and a Nav+HD seven-inch display provides access to various additional features, such as navigation, roadside assistance, vehicle data, hands-free calling, and the Internet.

Kenworth will show off the W990 on its upcoming North American road tour, which begins Oct. 10 in Atlanta.

“Kenworth’s long-hood conventional is the enduring symbol of North American trucking for professional drivers, owner-operators and fleets. The new Kenworth W990 builds upon that strong legacy by delivering the significant, next-step evolution wrapped in traditional styling, craftsmanship, luxury and power,” said Kevin Baney, Kenworth assistant general manager for sales and marketing. “During the two Kenworth Road Tours, we’re bringing four Kenworth W990s out on the road for the world of trucking to see and experience.”

In November, the tour will make several Canadian stops, including Montreal Nov. 2, Grand Prairie, Alta., Nov. 8, and Leduc, Alta., the following day.

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A university graduate with a degree in English, I have worked in the media and trucking industries as a writer, editor, and now as western bureau chief of Today's Trucking and I have several years of management experience in journalism, as well as hospitality, but am first and foremost a writer, both professionally and in my personal life, having completed two fiction novels.

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  • Congratulations! Looks more like an international 9900 than an international 9900 does!
    Dropped the ball on this one KW

  • Junk!!! Looks like an International Hood Cascadia and Western Star had a baby and let me tell you that’s an ugly damn kid don’t reinvent the wheel the W900 is one of the best trucks on the road. Fire the designer that came up with that!!!


  • I don’t like it. It looks like a cross between a peterbilt and freightliner. With sprinkles of Kenworth in it. They need to go back and look at the reason we fell in love with these trucks. Sad what they did to them just sad. I will buy older kw900’s.

  • Thankfully – Kenworth and Peterbilt are the only manufacturer who has maintained the original “conventional” appearance within the boundries of complying to 21st. century aero dynamics. Most of todays tractors are similar to cars “they all look alike” !

    • Which is probably why they were getting behind in the market. When you have your competitors offering these spacious cabs and all you’re gonna need to step your game up, hence the T680. Especially when the larger fleet companies are listening to their drivers who want to be comfortable while being on the road. The T700 made an effort at doing that, just don’t know how if it was successful. I thought it was too wide. At least Kenworth and Peterbilt are still making their conventional style trucks along with their next generation models.

      • The 680 is a great truck. The W990 will be the same. All the complainers wont have to worry about getting one,or I should say, KW wont have to worry about the complainers not buying one, because KW is sold out for all of next year. So don’t worry all you people that prefer pour fuel economy and a rougher ride.

  • personally I kind of think it looks like a western star got together with an international they mated and this is the result.
    And it is bad

  • The truck’s a mixture of the W9, T680/T880 and the T880S. It would be in the same category as the Freightliner Coronado, International 9900 and whichever Western Star people think it favors. I see the T680 and T880 mid roof sleeper and cab in the truck with the hood favoring the W9 and the grille is a cross between the W9 and T680/T880 and the headlights and fenders from the T880S. They tried keeping some of the traditional characteristics along with some new ideas. I’d drive it for sure!

  • I think it would look a lot better with a pair of external air filters on each side of the hood. If you are buying this truck fuel mileage is not your first goal anyway. Also I cannot believe in this age they engineered a totally new truck with incandescent headlights and turn signals. Kind of tacky for their top of the line truck.

    • Kinda like what Australia Kenworth designers did with the T610. It uses the 2.meter cab and has the external air cleaners. It actually a sharp looking truck.

  • I know my dad is rolling over in the grave right now, after seeing this pathetic excuse for a highway tractor. So much for ‘The Worlds Best’.

  • Disappointed the day of the American truck driver is gone just like the sleekness of the W900 is gone what a shame at least to my knowledge Peterbuilt still has the same look I’ve been driving over 40 yrs Kenworth you really dropped the iron ball on the old school truck drivers Thanks a lot

  • Not impressed. Just when I’m ready to upgrade to a w900 you go and change it without asking. Now im not sure what I’m looking at to be honest. The w900 wasn’t broken so please tell me what made you think you needed to fix it. Now listen to me NOW. The change was made without asking me. So lets just bring back the w900 without asking me and will get along just fine. Got it! Good . Lets get back to work. I’ll forgive you this time.

  • I have a fleet of T800/W900 and recently bought a T880 and W990. I will never buy another, the interior is a downgrade, the whole cab seems cheap. The nav system/UI is embarrassingly poor, like a $10 Amazon Chinese tablet. Seats are downgraded. Important functions like checking engine hours are buried in the menu. Stereo is horrible. The only improvement is in steering cut and a wider cab. Continue cost cutting and lose your loyal customers, KW.

  • Need to order one ,which dealer can I go too ,full faring for 13,6 box cabinets on back wall all around curtains,themaking,565hp 13 speed or 18auto,76in sleeper,loaded up