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CRUISING THE DESERT IN THE CAT CT680


Cat has rounded out its line of vocational trucks with the addition of the new CT680. It boasts the longest hood of the three available – the CT680, CT681 and CT680 – and might make a great truck for hauling around your Cat machinery. The classic-styled CT680 with its 124-inch BBC is available in two exterior designs; one for image-conscious operators who want easy reparability and another offering a no-frills look for those who are resigned to the fact their truck’s going to get banged up and couldn’t care less about the odd ding or scratch.

I like the dressed-up CT680L and that’s the one I drove while visiting Cat’s Tinaja Hills demonstration centre near Tucson, Arizona earlier this month. (Tucson – the city I spell incorrectly, every time, but not this time, Tucson, not this time)!

In addition to the introduction of a new truck, the third in the Cat family, came news a 15L will be available in the CT660 and CT680 sometime later this year. This is significant, since the vocational segment is one that, here in Canada at least, needs big 15L power. The CT 13 in the truck I drove, with its 475 hp and 1,700 lb.-ft. of torque was more than capable of handling the 22 tons of boulders we were pulling around in the wagon – even up an 18% grade in an impressive demonstration.

Still, for heavy-haul operators in Canada with our heavy payloads, the lack of a 15L within the Cat truck line has clearly limited the adoption rate of the truck. No details were released about what this 15L may look like; we were simply told to stay tuned for an announcement later this year. However, there’s only one potential engine partner, isn’t there? So the bigger question may be, will it be painted red or yellow?
The current engine offered in the Cat truck is a Cat CT 13, based on Navistar’s N13 but painted yellow and reprogrammed and recalibrated by Cat for vocational applications. The CT680 is a sharp looking truck and one that’s really nice to drive, with an automotive-inspired interior that’s been ruggedized for the realities of vocational trucking. Put a 15L in it and I think they may finally break through with this product.

Cat’s stated goal is to be the vocational truck supplier of choice among customers who currently own and operate other Cat equipment. Now with broader coverage of the segment and the impending arrival of a big bore 15L engine, they may well achieve that. Here’s my full review.

We drove this Cat CT680 with 28 tonnes of boulders in the Trail King trailer.

We drove this Cat CT680 with 28 tonnes of boulders in the Trail King trailer.


James Menzies

James Menzies

James Menzies is editor of Truck News magazine. He has been covering the Canadian trucking industry for more than 15 years and holds a CDL. Reach him at james@newcom.ca or follow him on Twitter at @JamesMenzies.
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