Last week I drove a Mack Pinnacle with the company’s newest engine rating, the MP8 505C+, which delivers 1,860 lb.-ft. of torque in every gear. You could call it the little engine that could. This 13-litre performs like a 15-litre and the new rating was custom-built for Canadian haulers, those needing maximum pulling power for heavy payloads and steep grades.

James Menzies tries to keep warm on a chilly November day.
James Menzies tries to keep warm on a chilly November day.

My drive was Nov. 18. If you live in Southern Ontario, you remember the day. It was the day winter came roaring in seemingly overnight. It was a blustery -19 C with the wind chill and you can tell by the photo that I was a little chilled. But hey, this is a Mack truck. It’s built to work in these conditions and worse.

I got the chance to deliver an actual load of blend aggregate from a James Dick Construction site to a Lafarge plant in Brampton. The payload was 32 metric tonnes, so it was a decent-sized load.

Here’s what I liked about the Mack Pinnacle with MP8 505C+:

  • Excellent pulling power
  • A surprisingly capable engine brake
  • The smooth mDrive automated manual transmission
  • Good sightlines and visibility over the hood
  • The modern-looking brushed nickel dash
  • A responsive engine that, especially when Performance mode is activated on the mDrive gets up to road speed quickly
  • A comfortable seat, and this goes for the fixed passenger-side seat as well
  • A quiet ride, especially for a day cab
  • The truck hauls ass

Yeah, I liked it. I’ve said before and I will repeat it here, the Mack Pinnacle is an underrated highway tractor. Its exterior styling is a little dated and that won’t change for 2015, but when it comes to comfort and drivability, this is a fantastic truck. And the MP8 505C+, when mated to the mDrive transmission, will challenge what you think you know about the limitations of a 13L engine in Canada’s most rigorous duty-cycles. You can read my full review, in which I go into far more detail on this truck, here.

mack pinnacle in pit 2

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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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