2015 Trucks Report
Global van designs prominent next year
With the commercial truck market showing continued signs of strength in the past year, several manufacturers brought new models to market for 2015. In particular, cargo vans with global-friendly designs were popular among the debuts. After a late start last year, Ford ramped up sales of its all-new Transit full-size van, while Chrysler Group LLC’s Ram Trucks division got an early start on 2015 by unveiling its mid-size ProMaster City van, brought over from its new parent company, Fiat S.p.A.
Not to be left out of the van party, Chevrolet joined in on the global theme by sourcing its 2015 City Express mid-size van from Nissan, with a re-badged version of that brand’s NV200 van.
Elsewhere in the trucks business, many of the other new product announcements had themes trending toward smaller, lighter and more efficient vehicles.
Here’s a look at the highlights for 2015:
2015 Chevrolet City Express
After exiting the mid-size van market in 2005 and the minivan market in 2009, Chevrolet returns to the smaller end of the van spectrum with the 2015 City Express van. Based largely on the Nissan NV200, the City Express van does sport some obligatory Chevrolet branding, but apart from that, the two vans are identically spec’ed. The City Express — offered in LS and LT trims — will be distributed through Chevrolet’s network of 3,200 dealers.
“As the newest member of the Chevrolet Express family of vans, the 2015 City Express offers a smaller, more-efficient choice for businesses that don’t need the cargo volume or other capabilities of a full-size van,” said General Motors Fleet and Commercial Vice President Ed Peper in a statement. “It is an easy-to-maneuver van that makes the most of its compact dimensions with clever features, allowing business owners to maximize its space — and their resources — with a vehicle sized just right for their needs.”
2015 Ford Transit
After a late-season start last year, the all-new Transit van joins Ford’s 2015 lineup of commercial vehicles, offering three body lengths, two wheelbases and three roof heights — in cargo-van, passenger-wagon, chassis-cab and cutaway-body styles.
The Transit’s standard 3.5-liter EcoBoost gas engine delivers the power needed to carry product or tow a trailer, with a torque rating of 400 pound-feet. The Transit’s 3.7-liter V6 engine will be available with a compressed natural gas/liquid propane gas prep kit and also is engineered for optimal performance with E85 flex-fuel capability. An all-new 3.2-liter Power Stroke five-cylinder common-rail turbo-diesel engine, based on Ford’s Duratorq global engine architecture, also is available. Each engine is paired with a six-speed automatic transmission for efficient rear-wheel-drive operation.
The high-roof Transit van features 81.5 inches of interior cargo height — enough headroom for a person 6-foot-4-inches tall to stand upright in the cargo area. The medium-roof model can accommodate up to 72 inches of cargo height, while the low-roof model has nearly 56 inches of cargo height to provide an ideal combination of payload management, upfit readiness and overhead clearance, the company says.
The Transit provides up to 487.3 cubic feet of cargo capacity, accessible through rear doors that can open up to 270 degrees for easy loading and unloading. The interior has been developed for easy upfit of racks, bins, shelving and other cargo storage and hauling solutions.
The Transit’s front suspension consists of subframe-mounted MacPherson struts and a stabilizer bar for smoother, flatter cornering, the company says. This is combined with progressive rear leaf-springs and heavy-duty gas-charged shock absorbers for well-controlled ride quality, regardless of load status.
Freightliner M2 106 and M2 112
Available with multiple cab configurations supporting a wide-range of bodies and chassis-mounted equipment, the Freightliner M2 106 and M2 112 trucks offer flexibility, visibility and maneuverability. The M2 models perform well in tight spots, with wheel cuts up to 55 degrees, set-back front axles and swept-back bumpers, the company says. Designed for ease of upfit and customization options, the M2 models feature proven powertrain options, a durable chassis and a strong dealer network.
Navistar recently announced that it will offer the Tremec 10-speed manual transmission in its International ProStar models equipped with the company’s 13-liter engine. Tremec offers a wide range of high torque-to-weight ratios designed for weight-sensitive regional and urban applications.
“Tremec transmissions are not only known in the automotive industry for a wide variety of high-performance cars, but Tremec components are used in transmissions throughout the commercial transportation industry,” said Navistar General Manager Jodi Presswood in a statement.
Navistar will offer four Tremec transmission options paired with the company’s 13-liter engine, available with 370-450 horsepower and 1,350-1,700 pound-feet of torque for line-haul and regional applications in the United States and Canada. The company also offers Tremec transmissions as an option on ProStar models equipped with the Cummins ISX15 engine.
Key features and benefits of the Tremec transmissions include an “Optilube” system with an internal lube pump and pressurized distribution system to ensure adequate lubrication at all times; smooth shifting; high torque-to-weight ratio; as well as deep first and reverse gears for low-speed maneuverability.
Isuzu recently introduced the latest addition to its range of N-Series diesel trucks: the NPR-XD. With a gross vehicle weight (GVW) rating of 16,000 pounds, the NPR-XD bridges the gap between the NPR-HD at 14,500 pounds and the 17,950-pound NQR.
“This new diesel model meets a number of vocational applications and requirements that previously might have required moving from an NPR-HD up to the NQR,” said Isuzu Executive Vice President Shaun Skinner in a statement. “Now, the NPR-XD offers more payload capacity at an even more competitive price.”
The NPR-XD standard cab will be available in 109- to 176-inch wheelbases with a body/payload allowance ranging from 9,281 to 9,490 pounds. The NPR-XD crew cab will be available in 150- and 176-inch wheelbases with a body/payload allowance ranging from 8,711 to 8,779 pounds. All NPR-XDs will offer 19.5-inch wheels, 225/70R-19.5F 12-ply low-rolling-resistance tires, a front-axle weight rating of 6,630 pounds, and a rear-axle rating of 11,020 pounds.
Every NPR-XD will be powered by the Isuzu 4HK1-TC 5.2-liter turbocharged diesel engine mated to a six-speed automatic transmission, delivering 215 horsepower and 452 pound-feet of torque. The engine carries a B10 durability rating of 310,000 miles, meaning that 90 percent of engines should reach that mileage before requiring an overhaul, the company says.
Kenworth K270 and K370
Designed for pickup and delivery applications where tight turning and a shorter overall length are required, Kenworth’s K270 and K370 cabover models feature extensive new exterior and interior enhancements. New additions to the Kenworth K270 and K370 cabovers include a fresh exterior, new dash and gauge cluster, front air disc brakes, electronic braking module, Allison 6-speed transmission, push-button control shifter, and Dana rear axles.
“Truck operators running medium-duty conven-tional trucks in metropolitan areas are considering cabovers because of a better turning radius, extra payload room, and changing urban length laws,” said Kenworth Marketing Manager Doug Powell in a statement. “Compared to a typical medium-duty conventional [truck], the K270 and K370 offer up to a 30 percent better curb-to-curb turning radius, a 63.4-inch BBC with an extra 45 inches of payload room, and a 35-foot overall length, which is rapidly becoming the new norm in major cities.”
The K270 and K370 cabovers come standard with a 6.7-liter Paccar PX-7 engine rated at 220 horsepower and 520 pound-feet of torque and an Allison 2100HS five-speed transmission. A newly available seating option features single-driver and passenger seats with a large storage console in between.
Available with wheelbases ranging from 142 to 242 inches in 12-inch increments, the Kenworth K270 and K370 cabovers can accommodate bodies from 16 to 28 feet. A large 2,500-square-inch wraparound windshield combines with large side windows to give optimum visibility, the company says.
2015 Mitsubishi Canter FE130
Mitsubishi Fuso recently announced that its 2015 Canter FE130 now is available with a Supreme FiberPanel HoneyComb dry van body that trims nearly 1,000 pounds, compared with the previous FE130 model, and as much as 1,600 pounds, compared with its primary competitor, equipped with a standard body.
The 2015 Canter FE130’s lightweight design provides a body/payload capacity of up to 7,975 pounds — a 700-pound body/payload advantage over the 2014 Canter FE125 it replaces, as well as a 1,308-pound advantage over its primary competitor, the company says. When the new lightweight Supreme body is installed on the FE130, that trims an additional 288 pounds off, compared with a traditional FRP body of equal size.
Although the new FiberPanel body is lightweight, its fiberglass-reinforced, gel-coated honeycomb construction gives it both strength and durability. The FiberPanel HoneyComb body is available in 12-, 14- and 16-foot lengths, with 96 inches of width and interior heights of 85, 91 or 97 inches.
2015 Nissan NV200 Compact Cargo
Now in its third year of production, the 2015 Nissan NV200 Compact Cargo van offers high cargo volume capacity in a small exterior package.
Unique for North America, the NV200 Compact Cargo body is extended 7.9 inches compared with the models sold in other global markets. Designed to be highly maneuverable in traffic or when negotiating parking spaces, the NV200 offers a 36.7-foot curb-to-curb turning diameter, the company says.
The combination of a 115.2-inch wheelbase with 186.3 inches in overall length, along with a compact drivetrain and rear suspension, provides 82.8 inches of cargo area length, 54.8 inches of cargo area width — with 48 inches between the rear wheel wells — and 53 inches of cargo area height. With a low cargo-floor liftover height of 21.1 inches and its tall roofline, the NV200 offers a large cargo capacity of 122.7 cubic feet, capable of carrying an estimated 1,480 pounds.
The tall rear doors have a 40/60-split design, with the larger door on the right side for easy access from a sidewalk. The left side door is shorter, reducing its potential intrusion into the street when open, helping lower the risk of accidents because of passing vehicles. Both rear doors feature dual opening positions of 90 and 180 degrees. The side and rear doors are available with either a panel configuration or privacy glass.
Added cargo flexibility is provided by the 20 standard integrated, reinforced cargo-mounting points, which allow installation of racks and shelves without drilling into the sidewalls, and six available floor-mounted cargo hooks in the cargo area. Six exterior roof rack mounting points also come standard.
The 2015 NV200 features an efficient 2.0-liter 16-valve double overhead camshaft (DOHC) four-cylinder engine rated at 131 horsepower and 139 pound-feet of torque. The engine is matched with a next-generation Xtronic transmission, delivering fuel economy of 24 mpg in the city, 26 mpg on the highway and 25 mpg combined.
The NV200 suspension utilizes independent struts and a stabilizer bar in front and a leaf-spring design in the rear. Front disc/rear drum brakes with an anti-lock braking system (ABS), electronic brake force distribution (EBD) and brake assist are standard, along with electric-power-assisted steering.
The driver-focused cockpit features a six-way adjustable driver’s seat designed for durability with outboard vinyl wear patches, and the passenger’s seat has a four-way adjustable design.
The passenger seat folds down to serve as a worktop or lunch table, or to extend the cargo space for hauling longer items. The durable 15-by-13-inch tray built into the seatback can fit most laptops and includes a penholder for use as a desk. Power windows with auto up/down are standard, as is a 12-volt power outlet on the instrument panel. An additional 12-volt power point in the rear of the center console is available.
Key enhancements to the NV200 for the 2015 model year include the addition of a rear sonar option, an optional sliding door glass package, a revised HD alternator, and an improved wide-angle convex spotter mirror.
Peterbilt Model 220
Peterbilt’s newest truck — the cabover Model 220 — is designed especially for use in local and urban pickup-and-delivery applications, the company says. The medium-duty truck is available in both Class 6 and 7 configurations and is powered by the Paccar PX-7 engine with up to 260 horsepower and 660 pound-feet of torque. It comes standard with an automatic Allison transmission with a push-button shifter for easy operation.
The redesigned interior has an automotive feel with gauges and switches that are easy to see and reach. The Model 220 also comes standard with a driver performance assistant. The assistant promotes positive driving habits by monitoring numerous vehicle systems to provide feedback through a scoring system that rewards practices to reduce fuel use and minimize, for instance, excessive acceleration and unnecessary hard braking.
The Model 220 can accommodate bodies ranging from 16 to 28 feet and is available with a bumper-to-bumper length as short as 35 feet so that it can comply with even the strictest municipal length laws. The vehicle’s curb-to-curb turning radius is reduced by 16 percent compared with typical conventional-cab models. Even at the shortest wheelbase, the Model 220 features an additional 45 inches of payload room. An optional clear frame rail package offers up to 10 inches of additional frame rail space, compared with previous models, to accommodate a wider range of bodies and to facilitate easier body installation.
Peterbilt Model 337
For fleets preferring conventional-cab trucks, Peterbilt’s Class 7 Model 337 is a proven workhorse in beverage distribution. It is available as a truck or tractor with a GVW up to 33,000 pounds, powered by either the Paccar PX-7 (up to 360 horsepower) or Paccar PX-9 (up to 380 horsepower) engines. Both engines provide high power-to-weight ratios, with optimum fuel efficiency, performance and uptime.
The Model 337 interior is ergonomically designed for operator comfort and productivity. Drivers will benefit from the cab’s panoramic view, and nighttime visibility is improved with high-intensity forward lighting. The Model 337 also is highly maneuverable with a 50-degree wheel cut to take on congested, urban delivery routes.
Peterbilt Model 579
The Peterbilt Model 579 can be spec’ed in a day-cab configuration for local or regional beverage distribution, or with a range of detachable sleepers for longer routes. With its aerodynamic styling, optional fairings and APEX and EPIQ fuel efficiency packages, it is the most fuel-efficient truck Peterbilt has ever offered, the company says.
The APEX package is an optimized drivetrain that pairs the Paccar MX-13 engine with the Fuller Advantage automated transmission and can result in up to a 4 percent improvement in fuel economy. The new, enhanced EPIQ package can improve fuel economy by up to 14 percent through a complete fairing system, the APEX drivetrain and other fuel-saving technologies.
The Model 579 can be spec’ed with a BBC of either 117 or 123 inches and a GVW rating from 33,000 pounds to 60,600 pounds. Three engines are available — the Paccar MX-13 (380 to 500 horsepower), the Cummins ISX12 (310 to 425 horsepower) and the Cummins ISX15 (400 to 600 horsepower).
The Model 579 also is available in a compressed natural gas (CNG) configuration with the Cummins Westport ISX12 G engine providing up to 400 horsepower and 1,450 pound-feet of torque. Manual, automated and automatic transmissions are available as are a wide range of suspensions and axles.
The SmartNav system provides real-time vehicle monitoring, a truck-specific navigation system, hands-free Bluetooth connectivity, voice recognition and a fully integrated audio system. Safety features include standard front air disc brakes.
2015 Ram ProMaster City
The 2015 ProMaster City is Ram’s newest addition to its commercial vehicle lineup, contributing to the brand’s expanding van segment with numerous functional elements tied directly to commercial user demands.
Joining the full-size Ram ProMaster and Ram C/V minivan as a Class 1 offering, the ProMaster City van will compete with compact commercial and passenger vans in payload capacity, cargo area, performance and fuel economy.
“As businesses strive for lower costs, the demand for a smaller, more efficient van has increased, and Ram Commercial is answering the bell with the all-new ProMaster City,” said Ram Trucks President Bob Hegbloom in a statement. “Years ago, the selection of delivery and cargo vehicles was limited, and those offerings didn’t focus on cost of ownership. Today all of that has changed with the recent introduction of the full-size Ram ProMaster and the now the Ram ProMaster City.”
For the ProMaster City, Ram Trucks is tapping into Fiat Professional. Based on the successful Fiat Doblò, the ProMaster City will incorporate familiar Ram Trucks design elements and offer features, systems and powertrains preferred by North American customers.
Ram Trucks engineers subjected the front-wheel-drive van to the full spectrum of severe-duty use expected of commercial vehicles in North America. The lessons from millions of combined development miles make the ProMaster City more robust, durable, functional, comfortable and cost effective, the company says.
The ProMaster City’s work credentials start with a steel unibody design that helps minimize curb-weight, contributing to a payload capability of 1,883 pounds. The cargo space of 48.4 inches between the rear wheel wells provides an extra margin of capacity so that pallets can be loaded quickly and easily. Above the wheel wells, side panels that are located almost
vertical to the wheel wells provide 60.4 inches of cargo width, which combined with an interior roof height of 51.8 inches results in 131.7 cubic feet of cargo volume. The cargo floor measures 87.2 inches in length, and is fitted with standard tie-downs to secure cargo in place.
Each side of the ProMaster City is fitted with a 26-inch-wide sliding door to access the cargo compartment, and the rear is fitted with 60/40 split swing doors. The larger rear door opens toward the driver’s side of the van, making it easy to access larger cargo items without blocking the path to the curb side of the van, the company says. Both rear doors initially open 90 degrees, and, for dock loading, can open to 180 degrees with a release button on the door latch.
The tucked front-wheel-drive packaging allows for a short hood, providing a better vantage point of the front corners. This is useful when maneuverability is important to fleet operators. The ProMaster City’s front and rear bumpers also run high on the body to keep functional lighting out of danger, resulting in reduced repair costs and downtime, it adds.
The ProMaster City is available in both passenger and cargo configurations, each in two trim levels. The cargo version is available with or without side/rear windows.
The ProMaster City’s front axle uses a proven MacPherson strut suspension, tuned for rougher North American roads and payload demands. In a departure from the rear suspensions typically used on vans, the ProMaster City upgrades to an independent, coil-sprung bi-link rear suspension that increases driving comfort, enhances stability, and ensures maximum safety characteristics in all load situations.
The front-wheel-drive configuration of the ProMaster City provides several benefits compared with typical rear-wheel-drive configurations. Fewer mechanical parts result in less weight, lower maintenance costs, enhanced mechanical efficiencies, and enhanced fuel efficiency. Handling is more predictable in emergency maneuvers because of reduced over/under-steer, the company notes. Traction in rain, mud and snow is enhanced as a result of the engine weight being situated over the drive wheels. Payload capacity also is increased due to lighter overall vehicle weight.
The centerpiece of the ProMaster City’s powertrain is its nine-speed automatic transmission. Leveraging its wide gear-ratio spread and 3.73:1 final-drive ratio, the advanced-technology transmission and well-matched engine are combined to deliver the kind of acceleration required of nimble delivery vans: 0-30 mph in an estimated 3.7 seconds and 0-60 mph in an estimated 9.8 seconds, the company says. As a result of optimized gear-ratio steps, the transmission provides a balance of power, comfort and fuel economy.
The ProMaster City is powered by the 2.4-liter Tigershark I-4 engine, which delivers 178 horsepower and 174 pound-feet of torque. Unique engine accessory drives tighten the ProMaster City’s grip on fuel efficiency. “Smart alternator management” and a variable A/C compressor tap the most efficient times to initiate a duty cycle. By reducing the need for full-capacity accessory cycles, engine load is decreased, giving efficiency a boost. Load reduction also translates into overall performance.
The ProMaster City offers 34 active and passive safety and security features, including an available ParkView backup camera and ParkSense audible warning, which is useful when maneuvering in urban areas. The standard electronic stability control (ESC) system assists the driver in maintaining control under demanding or adverse conditions, such as wet, snow-covered or icy roads, tight turns and evasive maneuvers.
2015 Toyota Tundra
After a major redesign for the 2014 model year, the Toyota Tundra pickup comes back with more upgrades for 2015, including standard V8 power across the board and an available spray-in bed liner.
The Tundra offers three cab styles: a two-door Regular Cab, a four-door Double Cab, and the four-door CrewMax. Tundra Regular Cab models come exclusively with an 8.1-foot long-bed configuration, while the Double Cab models are offered in both 6.5-foot standard-bed or 8.1-foot long-bed configurations. The CrewMax comes with a 5.5-foot short bed. All beds are 22.2 inches deep.
The front and rear bumpers, which were new in the 2014 redesign, use three-piece construction for lower replacement costs, the company says. The newly available spray-in bed liner also adds value. The easy-lower-and-lift tailgate lowers slowly with no slam, can easily be removed when necessary, and comes standard with a lock feature to help prevent theft.
For 2015, the Tundra comes standard with the 4.6-liter i-Force V8 engine rated at 310 horsepower and 327 pound-feet of torque. A 5.7-liter i-Force V8 engine with 381 horsepower and 401 pound-feet of torque also is available. The 5.7-liter engine is offered in both gasoline and Flex Fuel variants. Both engines feature an aluminum cylinder block and DOHCs with four valves per cylinder. Both engine choices are mated with a six-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission and rear-wheel drive, with an optional four-wheel drive.
With an available towing package, the Tundra now offers a maximum towing capacity of 10,500 pounds, because of a one-piece towing receiver integrated into the frame prior to bed installation. The tow package also upgrades the Tundra’s engine and transmission oil coolers, as well as adds a heavy-duty battery and alternator. Tundra models equipped with the 5.7-liter V8 engine and towing package also will offer an integrated trailer brake controller.
The Tundra interior features large knobs that can be operated while wearing work gloves, a console that offers multiple storage areas, and gauges grouped in a clear, easy-to-see design, the company says. Double Cab and CrewMax models are available with bench or bucket seats for the front row. Double Cab and CrewMax rear seats can be folded up for additional cargo carrying capability.
For 2015, the Tundra now offers a blind spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert, which detects vehicles not visible using mirrors alone. The cross-traffic alert feature warns drivers of cross traffic via indicator lights in side-view mirrors and a warning buzzer.
Adapting to the pace of the North American alternative-fuel market, Volvo Trucks recently announced that it has put a hold on its plans to launch its own compression-ignition liquefied natural gas (LNG) engine for North America. Field testing of Volvo’s diMethyl ether (DME)-powered vehicles will continue, and it will continue to offer spark-ignited natural gas engines in its VNM and VNL models.
Citing modest development of the natural gas infrastructure needed to support long-haul trucking in the past year, Volvo is confident that the needs of customers in the primary markets for natural gas vehicles — regional-haul and dedicated routes — are being met with the company’s current natural gas lineup.
Volvo Trucks continues to believe that DME, which can be produced from natural gas, holds promise as a heavy-truck fuel. Customer field tests of DME-powered vehicles will continue, but the company has decided not to establish a commercialization date as it continues monitoring market and stakeholder interest in the fuel.
Western Star 5700XE
Western Star recently unveiled its all-new 5700XE, a Class 8 on-highway truck that is ideal for small to medium fleets in distribution, refrigerated and long-haul applications. The 5700XE features a 126-inch BBC cab with a set-back axle and is available in a range of lightweight sleeper configurations.
“The 5700XE builds on proven aerodynamic technologies from parent company Daimler Trucks North America and adds edgy styling to set it apart from other trucks,” said Western Star Marketing Director Ann Demitruk in a statement.
Features such as an aerodynamic hood, roof, chassis and cab fairings reduce drag and increase efficiency. Additional performance features include a new sweptback four-piece bumper with an under-bumper valance that contributes to aerodynamic efficiency; new halogen headlights that are optimized for aerodynamic performance and excellent visibility; roof and cab fairings that sweep back for tighter trailer gap and help direct air flow over and around the trailer; and optional chassis side fairings that reduce drag by up to 6 percent while still providing easy access to batteries and the DEF tank, the company says.
The 5700XE can be spec’ed with the Detroit DD15 engine, which features a proprietary asymmetric turbocharger and next-generation amplified common rail fuel system, delivering improved fuel efficiency and lower total cost of ownership, while providing the power drivers demand. Alternatively, the 5700XE also can be spec’ed with the Detroit DD16 engine, with up to 600 horsepower, or the Detroit DD13 engine for weight-conscious applications. The truck comes standard with the Detroit DT12 automated manual transmission.
Inside the corrosion-resistant lightweight steel cab, a new adjustable steering column and steering wheel has been incorporated, featuring integrated controls that help maintain focus on the road ahead. A well-appointed and sound-resistant sleeper further contributes to the truck’s quiet and comfortable ride.