Peterbilt’s new medium-duty models complete product line overhaul

Peterbilt has completely revamped its medium-duty truck line with the launch of four new models ranging from Classes 5 to Baby 8.

Jason Skoog, Peterbilt general manager and Paccar vice-president said Peterbilt first entered the medium-duty market in 1995 with the Model 330 and earned a modest 1.5% market share. It has since grown its share of the segment to a new record 10.9% last year, and has sold more than 100,000 medium-duty trucks in the U.S. and Canada since 2010. Those trucks are built at its Ste.-Therese, Que., assembly plant.

The Models 535 and 536. (Photo: Peterbilt)

The new Model 535 is a Class 5 truck that can be driven by non-CDL holders and is well suited to the lease and rental markets, the company said during an online reveal April 7. The Class 6 Model 536 is also suitable for daily rentals, leasing, and also light vocational work, Skoog said.

The new models feature an eight-inch wider 2.1-meter cab, with a floor height of 40.5 inches and a roof height of 74 inches. The wider cab more comfortably seats three adults, Skoog noted, and ingress and egress is improved thanks to the lower cab height, three inches closer to the ground.

New self-closing doors feature larger windows for better visibility. The Models 535 and 536 can be ordered with two hood lengths, two roof heights, composite and steel bumpers, and multiple fuel and DEF tank configurations.

A new instrument cluster with seven-inch digital display. (Photo: Peterbilt)

A new instrument cluster features a seven-inch customizable digital display, which Peterbilt claims is the largest in the segment.

On the heavier end of the spectrum are the Class 7 Model 537 and Class 8 Model 548, which will replace the Models 347 and 348. Enhancements include a new fixed grille and vocational three-piece Metton-constructed hood. An aerodynamic hood can also be selected for better visibility.

The 537 and 548 also feature a 2.1-meter cab, which offers 4.6 cubic feet of storage space.

Skoog said the new models – coupled with a recently redesigned New Model 579 – represent the truck maker’s “most comprehensive update to our lineup in our 81-year history.

Scott Newhouse, Peterbilt’s chief engineer, said customer and driver feedback was sought and taken into consideration when the trucks were designed over a five-year process. Peterbilt examined how drivers interact with the truck, and Newhouse noted a city delivery driver can get in and out of the truck as many as 60 times in a day. That inspired the lower floor height and wider door openings.

Also new to all four models is a Paccar TX-8 automatic transmission, paired to updated Paccar PX engines. The eight-speed automatic can detect changes in road grade, vehicle acceleration, torque demand, weight and engine load to keep the truck in the most fuel-efficient gear, the company claims.

It says the new transmission delivers “automotive-like shifting” with up to 5% better fuel economy than previously available models.

Other features include: auto park lock, which engages the parking brake if a driver forgets; a twin torsional damper for earlier first gear lock-up for smoother shifts and faster acceleration; and a combined mechatronic unit and transmission control unit for easier service.

Updates to the PX engines offer longer oil and fuel filter service intervals and improved fuel economy, the company said. The PX-9 offers higher torque ratings in the 260, 350, and 360 hp configurations and lower torque drop-off speed.

Meanwhile the company is rebranding its existing 12-speed transmission to the TX-12, while the Paccar 40K drive axle is being renamed the Paccar DX-40, and the 20K front axle the FX-20, all in an effort to streamline branding.           

“Our family of proprietary components is growing to deliver even more benefits for our customers,” said Skoog. “Future components will continue the trend of integrated efficiency and performance across more segments of the market.”

The new trucks are available for order now and will begin rolling off the assembly lines in Ste.-Therese in July.

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James Menzies is editor of Today's Trucking. He has been covering the Canadian trucking industry for more than 20 years and holds a CDL. Reach him at or follow him on Twitter at @JamesMenzies.

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