LAS VEGAS, Nev. – Freightliner picked an appropriate place to demonstrate the capabilities of several of its vocational trucks at a recent ride-and-drive.
There were plenty of potholes, some stop-and-go traffic and of course some desert sand and gravel along the short route near the company’s Las Vegas, Nev. dealership.
Truck West had the chance to get up close and personal with two of the company’s vocational offerings – the Business Class M2 106V and its brawnier cousin, the M2 112V.
The Business Class M2 hasn’t always been associated with vocational applications – it was first introduced as a medium-duty P&D truck.
However, its tight turning radius and large, one-piece windshield provided benefits that are as important off road as they are in tight urban areas and Freightliner introduced the V (for vocational) versions of the truck in 2004.
The M2 106V provided for the ride-and-drive was spec’d as an asphalt spreader although it could just as easily have been fitted with a water tank, flat deck, or light dump body.
Because it will spend most of its life travelling at speeds of five to 10 miles per hour while spreading hot tar, this particular M2 106V was geared low.
It may not have boasted high top-end speed, but with the Allison automatic transmission and Cat C-7 engine, the truck attained reasonable speeds with ease and shifted seamlessly between gears.
The most noticeable features were the excellent visibility provided by its expansive 2,500 sq. in., one-piece windshield. This was further enhanced by a slightly sloped hood.
The visibility was equally impressive on the next truck we took for a spin – the M2 112V with a BBC measurement of 112-inches. This particular unit had a flat deck carrying a load of lumber attached to it, but it had already been sold to a snowplow operator in New York State (a testament to the truck’s versatility).
The M2 112V had a Cat C-13 engine with 410 hp under the hood and a 10-speed Eaton manual transmission.
The most interesting feature on the M2 112V was the hood access hatch – a new option from Freightliner. The hatch allows a driver to access fluids and other key components through a hatch on the side of the hood.
It allows the driver to perform maintenance or pre-trip inspections without lifting the entire hood – a convenient feature on a truck that will soon be equipped with a plow on the front end.
Returning to the tight Freightliner parking lot, we made what seemed like an impossibly tight 360-degree turn, demonstrating the truck’s impressive turning radius – a key consideration in any vocational application.
Richard Pettier, marketing manager of Freightliner’s vocational truck segment, said the M2’s all aluminum cab offers increased strength and corrosion resistance when compared to similar trucks on the market (not to mention weight savings).
He said the M2 vocational line has been popular in the refuse and sweeper applications but its wide array of options make it a versatile truck that’s continuously winning over customers in other segments as well.