It’s not unusual for a truck maker to introduce a new model to customers via a comprehensive North America-wide road trip. What was unusual, however, about the Canadian leg of the Kenworth T700/Paccar MX Road Tour was that the truck being showcased was a fleet-owned unit, piloted by a company driver.
The Kenworth T700 that stopped at about a dozen Canadian Kenworth dealers in recent weeks was decked out in Challenger Motor Freight livery and driven by long-time Challenger driver John Greathead.
While it was refreshing to speak to an independent driver about his impressions of the truck and engine, he was no less enthusiastic about the new products than had he been working for Kenworth itself. In fact, he joked that he may have sold a few T700s just in speaking to drivers along the way.
“It’s the quietest truck I’ve ever driven,” he told Motortruck Fleet Executive. “As far as torque and engine braking go, it works great.”
Greathead was called upon to take the T700 on its inaugural run from Toronto to Richmond, B.C., pulling a load weighing about 30,000 lbs. Greathead said he averaged 8.1 mpg on that journey.
“It gets consistently excellent fuel mileage,” he said. “I’ve driven just about everything that’s ever been developed for an engine and this thing works just great. It has lots of torque, the engine brake works fine and I’ve never gotten the fuel economy that I’ve gotten with this right out of the box.”
Greathead often takes the longest of long hauls that Challenger offers, staying on the road for two to three weeks at a time, so it’s little wonder he appreciated the spacious interior of the T700.
“It’s quite large inside,” he said. “You can’t reach the passenger seat from a sitting position. There’s lots of room and lots of storage. Teams, I think, would love this truck.”
Unless Challenger has more T700s on order, its teams may have to wait a while. Greathead said he has been promised the new T700 will be his dedicated ride for the foreseeable future.
“That was part of the deal,” he said. “I gave up a truck I really liked, so they said I could keep it. Somebody had to drive it, right?”
Fleet Executive caught up with Greathead at the Concord stop on the T700/Paccar MX tour at Toronto Kenworth Sept. 24.
According to company officials, the truck and engine were well-received everywhere they went.
The Canadian tour began at Inland Kenworth in Langley, B.C., where sales manager Ray Cotton said, “More than 100 customers came to our open house and there was a good feeling in the air about both these new products.”
In Calgary, GreatWest Kenworth showcased the T700 during a tour date that coincided with the dealer’s 40th anniversary celebrations.
“We had close to 300 customers on-hand and we dovetailed the tour with a vendor fair and anniversary celebration luncheon,” said Jeff Storwick, co-president of Great West Kenworth.
At Edmonton Kenworth -Northside, about 250 customers came out to see the T700 and Paccar MX.
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