During a 2,000km round trip driving a Kenworth T610 prime mover pulling a B-double curtainsider, PowerTorque’s Paul Matthei had plenty of time to thoroughly evaluate the unit, whether Kenworth is narrowing the gap.
Experiencing the two day drive of the Kenworth T610, it is easy to come to the conclusion that this truck represents a quantum leap over its predecessor. Following on from the extremely competent and highly regarded T609, it is the latest iteration of a concept dating back into the ’70s and early Kenworth models in Australia.
In many respects the W900SAR could be considered the forerunner to the aerodynamically efficient T600 and T400 models which appeared in the late ‘80s and have subsequently evolved into the current T610 and T410 (both of which are sold in either standard or SAR iterations) of today.
The launch of the revolutionary T600 in 1987 was touted as the biggest new truck launch Paccar had undertaken to date in Australia. While its then unconventional slippery shape led to polarised opinions from truck operators and earned it the nickname “Anteater”, there was no denying that the curvaceous tapered snout contributed to exceptionally good fuel efficiency on highway runs.
Subsequent iterations of the T600 entailed the T601 launched in 1996, the T604 in the early 2000s and the T609 in 2012. Then came the T610 launched in early 2017 and this model has proven to be a game changer in terms of bringing the Kenworth conventional into a whole new era.
The reasons for this are that the T610 is the first clean-sheet conventional design since the W900SAR and is also by far the most capital-intensive model Paccar has produced in Australia. It reportedly cost around $20 million to bring from concept to market ready.
The foundational difference between the T610 and its forerunners in the T6 family is the 2.1-metre width cab which is 270mm wider than the previous cab. This along with the sleeper cab’s internal height, enabling the driver to stand up from the seat and walk to the bunk, make the interior a spacious workplace and demonstating Kenworth is narrowing the gap.
Other benefits of the T610’s cab compared with its predecessor from an interior perspective include significantly (claimed to be 30 per cent) better driver’s left leg and foot space.
Meanwhile, exterior benefits, particularly useful for technicians during service and repair procedures, include enhanced access to the rear of the engine and a straight shaft connecting the steering wheel to the steering box.
The new cab architecture actually originated in the USA where it was initially used in the Kenworth T680 and Peterbilt 579 models as part of a US$400 million Paccar development program a little over a decade ago.
Local development of the cab to meet our necessary durability standards included the unique-to-Australia firewall and floor panels as well as suitably beefed-up dash underpinnings.
Importantly for B-double, A-double and other length-critical operations, the T610 day cab model features a compact bumper to back of cab (BBC) dimension of 112 inches which is actually four inches less than that of the T409.