MOUNT VERNON, Wash. – Peterbilt recently hosted more than 100 customers at the Paccar Technical Center here to show off its new UltraLoft sleeper and other offerings.
But it was a Model 567 decked out in a “cowboy” spec’ that stole the show. The 567 was dressed up in an oversize chrome bumper, dual stacks, a menacing “Legendary Gray” paint scheme and an interior to match, including leather seats with red stitching. It’s the kind of truck that makes you want to lower the seat, turn up the radio, sit back and peer out over the large hood to relish the driving experience. It’s a truck that would be right at home in Western Canada.
The 510 horses under the hood gave the truck ample power to pull a fully loaded trailer on the test track, getting up to speed quickly, but was remarkably quiet at cruise. The Paccar MX-13 engine was paired with the Paccar 12-speed automated transmission (AMT) and the truck had a 58-inch bunk, sufficient for short overnight trips.
But while the styling of the 567 was hard not to like, most customers at the demonstration were more likely to order the Model 579 for their businesses. The 579 EPIQ is an ultra-fuel-efficient spec’ designed for linehaul, though a day cab I drove would serve as a nicely appointed, luxurious even, regional haul tractor. It came with heated and cooled seats. The MX-13 engine put out 455 hp and 1,650 lb.-ft. of torque and was mated to the familiar 12-speed Paccar AMT.
The day cab was spec’d with the EPIQ package, even though it’s likely to be running regional where fuel savings from aero enhancements may be somewhat muted. An interesting feature was a collapsible roof fairing.
The UltraLoft sleeper has put Peterbilt into new markets with new customers. Wesley Slavin, on-highway product marketing manager with Peterbilt, explained the truck was inspired by the efforts fleets were going to in order to attract and retain drivers. Driver lounges at fleet terminals including everything from showers and laundry facilities, to big screen TVs and games, are making the home terminal a more comfortable place to visit.
Slavin said Peterbilt wanted to ensure drivers are equally comfortable when they go out on the road. The UltraLoft gives them a spacious, well-designed living quarters. It’s an open design – not closed off by large pillars at the entrance – giving it an even airier feel. It’s ideal for team drivers, or those who carry lots of supplies and stay out on the road for extended trips.
The arrival of the UltraLoft has landed Peterbilt new business with fleets who required a larger sleeper, and it has boosted the company’s sleeper-to-day cab ratio to levels not seen in quite some time, Slavin said.
Customers driving the truck at the Technical Center were clearly impressed by the new sleeper. I drove a 579 with an 80-inch UltraLoft sleeper in “Legendary Red” paint. It was a sharp looking truck and an ideal home away from home for the professional driver. Like the day cab, this truck had a Paccar MX-13 engine with 455 hp and 1,650 lb.-ft. of torque as well as the 12-speed Paccar AMT.
The Paccar transmission was developed by Eaton and programmed for optimum performance with the MX-13 transmission. Integration was a frequently mentioned theme during the event, and was on display in each of the trucks that were available to drive. In addition to driving opportunities, visiting customers sat in on educational sessions covering different aspects of Peterbilt’s product offerings.