It was in July 2020 with the all-new medium duty Mack MD Series due for US production, that the pandemic pushed the whole process back many weeks. In a virtual press conference Mack announced the production start-up of the medium duty MD, its first medium duty truck since the end of production of the Mack Freedom in 2002.
Unlike the previous Freedom, which was a medium duty cabover based on the Club of Four cab used by Renault, Magirus-Deutz, DAF and Volvo in other markets in the ‘70s, the MD is a short-bonnet conventional that uses the heavy duty cab from the Anthem/Granite trucks.
With the Mack MD Series due for US production, the new products are targeted at two-axle trucking applications requiring dry van/refrigerated, stake/flatbed, dump and tank truck vocations. The MD6 at under 26,000 pounds (12 tonnes) does not require a North American Commercial Driver’s License to operate for non-hazardous payloads. The MD7 will run up to a GVM of 15 tonnes.
Both MD models are equipped with an inline six-cylinder Cummins B6.7 engine, with up to 300 hp and 660 lb.-ft torque. Introduced last year, B6.7 got a five per cent power boost and a 31 per cent increase in peak torque than prior EGR-equipped models.
The engine is mated to an Allison 2500HS six-speed transmission and Meritor axles. This transmission is standard in the MD with no manual option. A heavier-duty Allison 2500RDS is available for applications needing a PTO.
Base models get a steel spring suspension but Mack’s Maxlite air suspension is available and also available is Mack’s Maxlite cab air suspension. The wheels are a standard 22.5-inches but 19.5-inch wheels are available for applications that need additional body height. With the 22.5-inch wheels the MD can back onto any standard-height loading dock.
The trucks’ chassis are durable, yet lightweight (7mm thickness for the MD6 and 8mm thickness for the MD7) and are constructed to an industry standard 34-inch frame width using 120,000 psi steel rails, significantly higher than the more usual 80,000 psi.
The cab is aimed at drivers and includes reduced step-up height for ease of entry suitable for pick-up-and-delivery vehicles and a short bonnet for better forward visibility. Inside, an ergonomic wraparound dash, the tilt/telescopic steering column and the flat-bottomed wheel first seen on the Anthem, and driver air-ride seat. Despite the short BBC, there’s sufficient legroom to be able to fit three-across seating.
The MD Series is available in 4×2 configurations, the MD6 and MD7 models are claimed to feature a sharp wheel cut of 53 degrees for enhanced manoeuvrability for tough urban settings. In its styling, the MD has followed the theme established with the introduction of the latest highway and heavy Anthem model as a basis for the grille and hood design.