Mack has enjoyed great success with its mDrive automated manual transmission, standardizing it in the Pinnacle on-highway truck and enjoying about a 50% take rate on that product. Customers who have been asking for this product to be put into the Granite and Titan by Mack for heavy-haul and vocational applications have had to wait, but that waiting is now over.

The mDrive HD is now available and standard in both trucks, but it’s not the same mDrive you’ll find in the Pinnacle. It has been reinforced for the punishing realities of these segments. Gears have been hardened. Synchronizers reinforced. It’s a truly heavy-duty automated manual.

I had the chance to drive a Mack Granite with the mDrive HD in Allentown, Pa. a few weeks ago and came away impressed with not only how the transmission performed on the road, but also the features that have been built into it to address situations that will arise off-highway as well.

These include Grade Gripper, Power Launch and Rock Free. Each of these functions will prove vital in construction applications. You can more about how they work in my full product review here.

Another thing that merits mentioning here is the superb performance of the PowerLeash engine brake. The max-brake button on the mDrive, when pressed, prompts the transmission to drop a grade and employs full engine braking power. It’s an incredibly useful and effective tool when hauling heavy loads or descending grades of any kind.

The Mack Granite taken on our drive.
The Mack Granite taken on our drive.
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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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