Big. Powerful. Trucks. Those three words can be an interest, a hobby, or your livelihood. Are you only used to seeing them on the road in the lane beside you, or are you behind the wheel of big rigs from sunup to sundown? When the layman thinks of a big truck, he might only picture the long-haul. But big trucks are the backbone of our society in more ways than freight transport.
Big trucks carry construction equipment. They haul gravel, dirt, sand. Big trucks transport concrete to a worksite. Thousands of businesses and hundreds of thousands workers rely on their work trucks to get them and their equipment to their jobs each day, night, and even weekends. It’s time big, powerful trucks get the respect they deserve.
Big, powerful trucks have a long history of being a workhorse. Occasionally you’ll see the long-haul driver’s show horse with the flashy lights, the custom paint job with the teeth on its grille, and the smoke stacks coated in a blinding chrome. But for the most part, a work truck’s purpose is to take the beating, receive a daily coat of dust, dirt, grime, and then do it all again the next day. Some of the best shops might wash their trucks at least once a week, but not all shops are among the best.
Yet there’s been a shift in truck appearance. Owners are leaning toward trucks that give them a fleet full of eye-catchers—after all, the truck is a rolling advertisement in itself. In my travels as a work truck editor, I’ve heard several owners say they choose a Mack truck for several reasons, but they ALL say the Mack look plays a part. But just because it gets an A in the appearance department doesn’t mean it isn’t also built to work and work hard.
A TRUE CLASS 8
I’ve written about the Mack Granite in the past. That was before I ever stood beside one in any place other than a trade show floor, before I sat in the cab of one, and definitely before I’d ever driven one. I was impressed by its stats and looks, but I never had a first-hand experience to go by. However, that all changed recently, and I’m happy to report back.
The Granite might not look Class 8. It doesn’t have a tall, beefy grille like Mack’s long-haul Anthem, it isn’t built with an aerodynamic roof fairing, and it’s used as a platform, not a tractor. But despite its looks, a Mack Granite is a true Class 8 truck. It’s a three-points-of-contact, CDL-required, 92,000-plus-lb-GVW kind of truck. It’s built not only to haul like many of its Class 8 brothers, but also to work hard. It’s a platform of productivity, rugged and capable.
MWS editor, Jade Brasher, after her first Mack Granite test drive.
Because I don’t have my CDL, I was only allowed to drive it on a closed track. However, the track wasn’t for beginners. The majority involved in the drive event were experienced CDL holders who have driven countless trucks throughout their careers, therefore the gravel-only track consisted of turns, straightaways, a steep incline requiring quick braking at the bottom, and for dramatic effect, the coordinators of the event had an intense rain shower flown in (well, not exactly; no one controls the weather, that’s why it poured relentlessly). But the combination of the course and the rain created a great opportunity to experience the truck’s maneuverability and handling in less-than-ideal conditions.
So what did I think? At first I was a little intimidated. The owners of the truck were watching us, and the everyday driver of the particular truck I drove was in the cab with me. But once I buckled in and drove a bit, I just wanted to go faster. The Mack Granite features axle forward and axle back configurations as well as a tight turning radius, all in the name of improved maneuverability. After all, these trucks are meant for work, not just driving. They need to be able to get to any jobsite, remote or urban.
I was carrying two unloaded dumps behind me, and I had to think twice before I took a turn too quickly because the truck handled them so well—and honestly, I’m not surprised. The Granite features the MP7 11-L or MP8 13-L engine. The 11-L pumps out 325 to 405 hp and 1,200 to 1,560 lb-ft of torque, while the 13-L kicks 415 to 505 hp and 1,460 to 1,860 lb-ft of torque. The truck I drove had an automatic Allison transmission, but the Granite is available with a manual Eaton-Fuller and Mack’s very own automated manual mDrive HD.
Two Mack Granite trucks cruising through the closed track in the rain.
I’ve heard complaints about the level of comfort in Mack trucks since I’ve been in the industry. But Mack redesigned the cab of the Granite a few years ago, and I heard very few complaints about comfort from our crew of test drivers. The cab sits high above the ground and in conjunction with the sloped hood and large windows, drivers experience great visibility. Although I was on a closed track, there were still obstacles and other trucks to keep an eye on, and I had no issue viewing my surroundings. While in the cab of the Granite, I did not use any auxiliary controls, but had there been a need, they were in close reach. Mack designed the cluster and dash layout to improve visibility, readability, and accessibility. A 5-inch display behind the steering wheel gives drivers all the information they need in one area. At a quick glance, drivers know their speed, engine temperature, and additional performance information.
BIG & POWERFUL
Big. Powerful. Truck. That’s the Mack Granite for you. The Granite is best suited for dump, mixers, and snow plow applications—you know, the tough jobs. The tough job applications are the unsung heroes of the Class 8 industry. When it comes to Class 8, the layman may think only of the long-haul industry, but you know who does the tough work, and you need a tough truck to help you do it more efficiently and productively.
You can’t go wrong with the Granite when it comes to construction work. Its heavy-duty crossmembers and galvanized steel cab offer a strong foundation, both engine options allow you to get the work done, and its transmission options make driving more effortless. It was engineered for improved maneuverability around jobsites, and its redesigned interior aids in a driver/operator’s productivity. For controls at your fingertips and a cockpit that won’t have you aching all day, the Granite delivers. And let’s not forget the shift in demand for trucks that work hard and look good while doing so. Big. Powerful. Beautiful.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jade Brasher is the editor of Modern WorkTruck Solutions magazine. A graduate of The University of Alabama, Jade resides in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and enjoys writing about her town, travel, and of course, work trucks. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Find out more about the Mack Granite, visit www.macktrucks.com.
MODERN WORKTRUCK SOLUTIONS:
OCTOBER 2019 ISSUE
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