August 8, 2014
If you’ve never been to the observation deck of the St. Louis Arch or the Space Needle in Seattle, the view is pretty incredible; not so much the scenery, but the fact that you can practically see forever.
Kenworth’s K370 – the company’s revamped cabover – could be added to that list. Sure it may lack the architectural significance of the other landmarks, but the truck’s giant windshield provides more than ample perspective on what lies ahead.
Previous generations of Kenworth’s cabovers have been little more than a gussied up DAF, outfitted to make them street legal in the U.S. The K370 still shares some strong exterior cosmetic features with DAF – namely its Euro 6 cab – but it’s certainly a NAFTA capable truck.
I recently took the K370 out for a test drive around Kenworth’s Chillicothe, Ohio assembly plant on a mixture of highway and surface streets, and aside from the visibility, there was plenty of other standout features.
The front air disk brakes had serious stopping power on the 218-inch wheelbase truck. I found the brakes very aggressive and responsive. In a rural delivery application, this truck would be traffic friendly in that regard. My test unit featured another stop-and-go friendly feature – an Allison 2100RDS 5-speed transmission with PTO Drive Gear. It had a very smooth, almost effortless automated shift.
From the front bumper to the back of cab is only 63.4 inches, leaving plenty of room for a large van body. The truck’s 55 degree wheel cut made navigation around town fairly simple regardless of the truck’s length.
The Dana Spicer P20060S 20K rear axles, paired with Hendrickson’s HAS210L 21K suspension held the dual rear wheels to the road well. There was no over-steer with the unloaded box.
One of the handiest features comes in the truck’s capabilities to haul people, not “stuff.” The truck features a two-man bench versus the more traditional dual captain seats, giving fleets the option to add a third person to a crew without adding an additional vehicle. The air brake has also been moved backward from the console with a locking collar, which prevents the middle person from bumping it with his or her knee and causing a traffic snafu.
The driver has a master display information module on the dash which provides data on fuel consumption, service inspections, oil level, trip information, time, fault codes and even an alarm clock.
The most Americanized thing on the truck is arguably the most important. The K370 featured a Paccar PX-7 engine with 250 horsepower and 660 foot pounds of torque. That was more than enough for a roughly 30 mile drive around central Ohio.
Cab vibration was minimal, as was noise.
Overall, the K370 was what you would expect from a work truck, but better than what you might expect from a cabover. It’s a more than capable work truck that is both driver and traffic friendly.