Saturday, January 26, 2013

Taking A KW For A Spin

Earlier this week Ed and I went to take a new truck for a test drive - a
Kenworth T680.  After we went to look at the 180" sleeper, we were talking about getting a new truck to go with it.  Not because there's anything wrong with our truck, there isn't, but because of the new regulations that have to do with the environmental stuff.  Ed would love nothing more than to keep our truck, and we may still do that, but we'd have to modify it to meet the new regulations in 2014.  It's not a huge expense, but it's still an expense and the money may just be better suited in something newer. I wasn't sure I'd like the Kenworth because I thought the cab would be a lot smaller - when the nose of the truck is so narrow, you're sitting so close to each other, you can touch elbows - I like the roominess of our cab, so I was hesitant to try the Kenworth.  But I was surprised by the roominess.  We wouldn't get the condo sleeper shown in the photo, because we don't need the sleeper part.  We'd order a day cab with a long frame, and then ARI would just place the new sleeper on the frame.

I'm not in love with all the plastic they use in the interior construction, but I guess they have to reduce the overall weight somewhere.  I think they should use sturdier plastics and fabrics in the areas that get constant, daily use - it's a commercial vehicle, not something you go for a Sunday ride in - it needs to be durable so it'll last.   

The things I do like, for me, are purely aesthetic.  I don't care what the engine does, or what the fuel mileage is, although I know I'll hear about it and absorb what I can from Ed.  I am more interested in the function of the gadgets, buttons, gauges and dials that I'll be using.  I want to know where the trailer brake is located (on the steering column in this truck, which I love), how far I have to reach for the Jake brake, if the radio is in a convenient area, am I going to catch my purse strap on the air brake knobs like in our current truck?  I know there are women engineers, but it always seems men (and not truck driving men) must design these things, because they don't think of the needs of the driver who is actually sitting in the seat.

One thing I do like about this truck is the windshield - it's one full piece, not two like we have in our truck.  The view is entirely unobstructed and while I was driving, I was able to see everything beautifully - it kind of wraps around the sides ever so slightly, giving you a panorama that's unmatched.

I think I can get into having a new truck.  This one has the same transmission and shift pattern as ours, so I wouldn't have to learn something new in that respect.  And it has less guages on the dashboard, which is great, since I don't know what half of the ones on our dash even do.  Shhh, don't tell Ed. 

And it's really quiet.  I know that doesn't seem like much, but when you're driving 2,000 miles across the country, having a cab that muffles as much road noise as possible is a good thing.  Oh, and I like the doors - I thought of my grandfather when I closed the driver side door after I got out - they're really solid and closed with a nice, heavy, silent whoosh.  He would have liked it.

I think I need to take it for another test drive.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

2012: New York And Snow – My Two Favorite Things
2011: Doin’ The Math
2010: Well, Butter My Butt And Call Me A Biscuit
2009: I Even Have Time To Go On Strike
2008: Teaching Them Young
2007: You Gotta Be In It To Win It
2006: Cinema Stupido
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!


Gil said...

Are they still using plastic or is it carbon fiber? Have fun test driving some new trucks. Hope you don't settle for 'yellow Cab' yellow....

The Daily Rant said...

GIL: I know, the taxi cab yellow is kind of ugly, isn't it? We drove one that was shimmery brown with dark brown fenders. I like the two-tone, but I don't really like the brown. And I can't find the exterior colors anywhere. Maybe you can order it in whatever color you want. Plus, if we do this whole thing, they'd have to paint the sleeper to match too. I'm not exacly sure how all of that works, but I can assure you it won't be yellow.

Ed said the dashboard and other pieces on the interior are plastic. I was looking at the visors, for example. They have a little strap across them, you know, to put papers or a pen, and it was made of a plastic that if you put too many things under the strap part, over and over, it would eventually just rip. It was extremely cheap. I was very surprised. You think for the money they charge for these things, some of the components would be made better.

Anonymous said...

I'm planning to have that truck for my heavy haul business, because my friend told me that it can really pull heavy equipment easily. And based on this blog, it have lots of great features.