Kenworth’s T880 Pt 1: Road Test

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Kenworth introduced the T880 in March of 2013, and it would not be a stretch to say it took the industry by storm. In just six short months, orders for the new vocational platform overtook its worthy predecessor, the T800. In the heavy duty market, that’s quite remarkable. 
The T800 has been the mainstay of Kenworth’s vocation lineup for more than 20 years. It has been engineered into nearly every conceivable configuration, and for that reason, the T800 will be around for a while yet. The engineering teams at Kenworth still need time to get the T880 up to speed, so to speak. The T880 has some pretty big shoes to fill, but Kenworth says customer acceptance of the newer truck has been, “beyond expectations.”

The T880 can be configured for a very wide variety of applications, such as but certainly not limited to light-weight bulk tractor, dump truck, mixer, heavy hauler, refuse truck, logger and even a weight-saving line-haul tractor. Kenworth says the T880 is the most versatile vehicle to ever roll off its assembly line. 
The T800 was a true clean-sheet design and incorporates a number of the design innovations shared with the T680 highway tractor, including the stamped aluminum 2.1 meter wide cab (83 inches), triple-sealed doors on a revolutionary new hinge system, 116.5- and 122.5-inch bumper-to-back-of-cab measurement and much more. 

The Ultimate Test Drive crew visited Eaton Corporation’s Truck Proving Grounds in Marshall, Mich. to put a few different T880 models through their paces. We drove a mixer, two dump truck and heavy-haul tractor. One of the dumps, a truck chassis spec’d for Ohio, weighed out at 90,000 lb gross vehicle weight. That gave the MX-13 engine a good workout on the 20% off-road grades at Eaton’s proving grounds.
We put together a three-part series on the T880. Part 1 includes on road footage of the truck in a pretty tame environment; Part 2 features the truck on the rugged terrain at the Eaton track; and Part 3 is a walk-around highlighting some of the new engineering and driver comfort and safety features of the truck. 
If you need any more proof that the T880 is superstar in the making, it won the American Truck Dealers Association Truck of the Year award for 2015.

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Jim Park was a CDL driver and owner-operator from 1978 until 1998, when he began his second career as a trucking journalist. During that career transition, he hosted an overnight radio show on a Hamilton, Ontario radio station and later went on to anchor the trucking news in SiriusXM's Road Dog Trucking channel. Jim is a regular contributor to Today's Trucking and, and produces Focus On and On the Spot test drive videos.

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