New Medium-Duty Trucks Unveiled

We’re barely in the second quarter of 2021. Winter and spring of each new year often bring new vehicle launches and reveals. Peterbilt and Kenworth are next up on the list with each brand unveiling all-new medium-duty trucks, and we’re bringing you a sneak peek. From non-CDL trucks to heavier vocational trucks, both brands have you covered.

From Kenworth are completely new (from the ground up) models. The models include the Kenworth T180 (Class 5), T280 (Class 6), T380 (Class 7), and T480 (Class 8). I’ve already spent a little bit of time in these trucks already (more info on that next month!), so I can tell you confidently that you’ll appreciate some of the features and drivability of the new models. Kenworth’s design team brought some of its heavy-duty models’ best aspects and combined them with light-duty vehicle aspects. The result is a medium-duty truck that won’t tire out your drivers and helps them go easily from one jobsite to the next.

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Peterbilt brings us newly designed medium-duty trucks, too. The all-new Model 535 and Model 536 deliver the highest level of quality customers have come to expect from Peterbilt. Peterbilt also worked heavily with customers to ensure the Model 537 and Model 548 provide maximum versatility and rugged performance.


Kenworth’s T180 and T280 are best suited for landscape and delivery applications, whereas the T380 and T480 are perfect for utility, dump, and mixer applications. All trucks feature automatic temperature control as a standard feature—similar to those you’d see in a passenger vehicle. Drivers will also be introduced to a more tech-savvy instrument cluster. A 7-inch display gives drivers a view of critical information at a glance, and buttons on the steering wheel bring display control to their fingertips.


Peterbilt models saw similar updates. Each truck features safer, stair-style steps to get in and out the vehicle. The cabs are all 8-inches wider than previous generations, and they each feature 4.6 cu-ft of storage. Like the Kenworth, Peterbilt added a 7-inch display to the cluster where drivers can toggle through menus using buttons on the steering wheel. The display is fully integrated with the ADAS system (collision mitigation, lane departure warning) as well as the TPMS system. Other functions include a system check and trip summary.


With both brands being PACCAR brands, they share similar components as well. Both Peterbilt and Kenworth trucks feature the new PACCAR TX-8 automatic transmission. It provides a great power-to-weight ratio and features 2.5% fuel savings compared to competitive transmissions. The 8-speed transmission, when paired with a PACCAR PX-7 or PX-9 engine, is capable of a max torque rating of up to 1,000 lb-ft of torque and a 57,000-lb GCWR. The trucks are available with PACCAR’s PX-7 and PX-9 engines. The PX-7 offers 200 to 360 hp and 520 to 800 lb-ft of torque. The PX-9 offers 260 to 450 hp and 860 to 1,250 lb-ft of torque.

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