EXPANDING THE BRAND | Truck Review-Kenworth adds the T360 and T410 to its truck portfolio

Kenworth adds the T360 and T410 to its truck portfolio – Brenton O’Connor reports. 

Change is on the menu at Kenworth Australia. Following on from the major overhaul of the K200, then the all-new wide cabin T610, the next stage in Kenworth’s product line-up overhaul is the all-new T360 and T410 models.

These all include Kenworth’s new 2.1-metre wide cabin that was first launched on the T610 back in December 2016. In addition to the new cabins, there have been considerable changes with simpler specifications and the introduction of new technology allowing Kenworth to provide trucks with the safety features demanded by many large fleets.

Brad May, Director of Sales and Marketing at PACCAR Australia, explains: “Development on the new T360 and T410 began 18 months ago, and started when the T610 with its 2.1-metre wide cab was launched. Further developments of the new platform allowed us to refine and enhance many key elements in line with our own research and development, as well as incorporating input and feedback from our broad customer base.”

The 2.1-metre wide cabin featuring on both the T360 and T410 provides improved driver ergonomics and comfort. A three-year redesign of the dashboard and instrumentation has resulted in switches and controls being positioned intuitively and visible at a glance.

For the driver, everything is now much easier and there’s no more fumbling for a rocker switch. The activation of cruise control and audio switching can be controlled directly from the steering wheel; but to the detriment of the latest-version ‘smart wheel’, it’s no longer possible to control the engine brake operation, which I feel is a real letdown. The automatic climate control system is excellent and is not something offered by its North American competitors. This allows the driver to ‘set and forget’ the desired temperature level rather than having to adjust the system through the day to find a comfortable temperature.

Apart from the new wide cabin, the biggest change for the T360 over its predecessor, the T359, is the engine, with the only power option being the Cummins ISL 9-litre engine, with ratings up to 400 hp (298 kW).

The T360 has been designed primarily as a vocational truck, rather than directly following the path of the T359 which was both a vocational rigid truck and a single-trailer prime mover when fitted with the Cummins ISM 11-litre.

The key advantages over its predecessor include a reduced tare weight and a shorter bumper-to-back-of-cab (BBC) measurement by four inches. These changes allow for increased body lengths, improved cabin access through better steps which are equally spaced and cascading, grab handles, wider door openings and, importantly for rigid work, a two-metre improvement in turning circle.

The launch evaluation drive programme included two T360 8x4s, the first being a typical agitator spec with an Allison automatic transmission, with an agitator unit fitted and ready to go to work.

The T360 looks more substantial than the T359, and the cabin access certainly made entry into the truck easier. Forward visibility is improved through the greater bonnet slope, and side vision improved by larger door windows.

Importantly for this role, where tare weight is critical and sleeper cabins are never optioned, is the greater cabin space for the driver’s personal belongings of a lunchbox and the like. The dash in its fleet trim spec is basic but functional, and still includes the automatic climate control.

Driving the truck was enjoyable as the ISL is a sweet engine to drive − lively yet smooth coupled with the Allison automatic. From a suspension perspective this model was fitted with Kenworth’s eight-bag rear suspension which provided a smooth ride.

The second T360 evaluated was also an 8×4 rigid, this time fitted with an alloy tipper body, in asphalt spec with three grain doors. In this application the transmission preference reverted to a traditional Eaton 18-speed constant mesh transmission. This was the first time I got to experience the air-assisted clutch in a Kenworth, and this proved very light to actuate compared to the heavy mechanical clutches typically found in a Kenworth.

The T410 is Kenworth’s weapon for the 12-to-13-litre engine market − primarily single trailer applications, truck-and-dog, PBS and lightweight B-double work.

Like the T360, the T410 is only offered with one engine and this time it’s the Paccar MX-13 engine with power ratings of 460 and 510 hp (343 and 380 kW). Previously the T409 was available with a Cummins X15; however, buyers still needing that horsepower will need to go to the T610 with its Cummins X15 unit taking power output up to 600 hp (447 kW).

A major change for the T410 over the MX-powered T409 is the electrical architecture. Previously the T409 ran a 24-volt electrical system on the engine, but for the T410 the system has been modified to allow for a simplified uniform 12-volt power supply across both the engine and the rest of the truck’s electrical architecture. The cooling packaging has been also updated. allowing for more efficient vehicle cooling.

Engine performance for the MX13 was impressive with a test gross weight near the legal limit of 46 tonnes, enabling the engine to show its ability to lug back in the rpm range and dig into its relatively flat torque curve.  Performance of the combined engine and exhaust brake was on par with the best for engines in this displacement class.

Transmission options also provide a wider choice. In addition to Eaton 18-speed manual and Ultra Shift is a 12-speed Paccar AMT twin countershaft gearbox. It offers many benefits typically found on European AMT transmissions including intelligent shifting, starting gears, skip shifting and load-based shifting. It’s also 90kg lighter in tare weight – critical for applications such as tipper-and-dog.

During our evaluation, the new PACCAR AMT transmission operated well with smart shift decisions. The stalk-mounted shift lever control was particularly well received for both engaging a gear and for manual upshifting and downshifting, plus its use for engine brake application. Around the Anglesea test track it performed well, and, unlike early versions of the Eaton AMT, there was no evidence of it being prone to rev out to high rpm in the lower gears before the driver had to manually intervene to get the truck moving through the gears.

The major downside of the transmission is the GCM rating – at a mere 50 tonnes, it means T410s specified with this transmission will be limited to single trailer and PBS three-axle dog combinations. This weight restriction applies as a result of North American weight limits of around 38-40 tonnes dictating global design for mass markets. Undoubtedly, this might affect the truck’s resale value and ability for the truck to be moved onto a different application if the job changes. A safer bet would be to specify the truck with either an Eaton 18-speed manual or UltraShfit PLUS, for reasons of maintaining higher resale values and to enable the truck to be allocated to higher gross weight work should the need arise.

Also debuted on the T410 was the Fusion vehicle safety system, which brings in a suite of safety features not typically seen on an American-bonneted truck. These include collision mitigation, adaptive cruise, lane departure warning and ESP.

When a drive programme takes place on a closed test track it becomes more academic to discuss the systems, as it is obviously not possible to test their actuation and effectiveness in a real-world situation. With these additions it will certainly make the vehicle attractive to fleet purchasers that look for this type of driver safety tech. That said, it’s worth noting that there is no availability of a driver’s airbag.

Compared to the T409, the T410 has a four-inch shorter BBC, allowing for better packaging when coupled with full-length trailers such as B-double fridge vans. Similar to the T360, door openings are wider thanks to the new cabin and there is a low cab floor height for easy entry and exit. Steps are also evenly spaced and there are well-positioned grab handles to make entry and exit safe.

Cabin interiors are either a fleet spec, which is black and features flat door trims, or the premium trip, which brings in wood grain dash panels and the more traditional pleated button trim in a range of colour choices.

As expected in an Australian-built Kenworth, the build quality is top-rate, with no rattles or squeaks witnessed during testing. For those looking for increased interior space over the standard dimensions available in the day cabin, Kenworth has released three sleeper cabins − a 600 mm aero, 760 mm mid-roof and an 860 mm aero sleeper cabin. Thanks to the new cabin design, the aero sleepers offer a fully integrated sleeper box design with walk-around ability.

Overall, the two new Kenworths update the product lineage in this country to offer vehicles that are more comfortable, more efficient and safer for transport operators. Furthermore, the new model structure simplifies the range, meaning one truck−one engine, rather than each model available with a range of engines. This allows Kenworth to target each truck at a separate sector of the industry, rather than trying to build a truck that suits every different application from rigid through to prime mover.

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