MT. VERNON, WA. Members of the press had the opportunity to see for themselves how Kenworth Truck Company’s medium-duty trucks perform during a recent media event at the PACCAR Technical Center in Mt. Vernon, WA. Class 6 and 7 conventional models and cabovers demonstrated their ride and handling capabilities on the test track and on the highway.

“The Class 6 market continues to be better than the Class 5 market,” Doug Powell, medium-duty marketing manager for Kenworth, told the group during a later meeting at Kenworth’s Kirkland, WA headquarters. Class 5 is still popular for service truck applications, some construction and landscaping in particular.

“The Class 7 is very well-powered with the PACCAR PX-7 engine; the PX-9 is actually over-spec’d for a lot of applications,” Powell said. “The truck is also available with a massive variety of options.”

The K series cabover models, which were introduced last year, are beginning to gain some market momentum, he noted. Overall length, for instance, is becoming an issue in big cities. That makes the 63.4-inch BBC, which enable a 55-degree wheel cut a plus, so does the ability to fit more cargo space behind the cab.

The trend toward shorter hauls has made smaller sleepers and even daycabs more popular, according to Erik Johnson, Kenworth’s on-highway marketing manager, but that does not mean that drivers are ready to sacrifice comfort and amenities for efficiency. Changing driver demographics paired with the persistent driver turnover problem make it even more important than ever to make the truck cab a comfortable, enjoyable place to work.

On the heavy-duty side, watch for the official introduction of a new Kenworth T880 with a 52-inch sleeper later this year. The T880 and T680 will be doing a national tour, so you may have the opportunity to see them for yourself at an area dealership.