The Kenworth PowerTorque took on a 2,000km trip on the Bruce Highway from Brisbane to Mackay and return saw the T610 tested on a typical line-haul run. The prime mover was hitched to a 34-pallet curtainsider B-double with the combination sporting a fairly typical GCM of 55 tonnes. The truck was loaded northbound but returned to Brisbane empty.
The truck PowerTorque’s Paul Matthei was driving featured the 860mm Aero Roof Sleeper cab, it has a 3,710mm BBC dimension and a GCM rating of 97 tonnes.
Under the bonnet resides the venerable Cummins X15 Euro 5 engine that’s rated at 550hp complemented by 1,850lbft of torque. This is matched with an Eaton UltraShift Plus 18-speed automated manual transmission (AMT) with the shifter conveniently mounted on the right of the steering column, meaning there is absolutely no impediment for the driver when traversing from the seat to the bunk.
Standard safety kit includes Anti-Lock Braking (ABS), Drag Torque Control (DTC) and Automatic Traction Control (ATC), while optionally fitted equipment includes Hill Start Assist (HAS), Active Cruise Braking (ACB), Electronic Stability Program (ESP), Collision Mitigation with Active Emergency Braking (CMS with AEB) and Lane Departure Warning (LDW).
This was my first long distance drive of a T610 and initial impressions that strike me even before entering the cab are the fresh, modern appearance and the quality feel and sound of the cab components in operation.
For instance, the ergonomically optimised exterior door handle and nicely weighted door which has two conventional hinges are miles ahead of earlier models with their piano-hinged doors that often needed a jolt to get them to open – such was the design of the earlier cab where the door actually closed inside the door frame. In contrast, the T610’s doors open and close easily with a solid ‘thunk’ sound that one generally associates with (dare I say it) European luxury cars.
Once inside, the spaciousness of the cab, thanks to the extra width and height, is truly astonishing. Equally impressive is the panoramic forward and side views with minimal intrusion from the low-mount rear view mirrors.
Granted, the A-pillars are rather thick, but the single-piece windscreen is a revelation for this driver who is accustomed to the slightly obstructed view through split screens on Kenworths of yore.
In fact, the very first prime mover I cut my teeth on after starting my driving career in 1995 was a well-worn ’90 model T400 powered by a 300hp Cummins L10 driving through a nine-speed RoadRanger transmission.
It was a terrific truck to learn on, particularly on my first highway run from Sydney to Newcastle pulling a generously loaded 45foot tri-axle fridge pan. I was literally sweating bullets on the steep climb north of the Hawkesbury River, and praying I would make it to the top without missing a gear. Then there was the Mt White weigh station to contend with…
Curiously, despite the utter contrast between virtually every aspect of the old T400 and the new T610, I did discover one similarity during the test drive which gave me a flashback to my T400 driving days. To my mind, the sloping angle and rounded shape of the bonnet looking through the windscreen from the driver’s seat in both trucks are very similar.
That said, the Kenworth ‘Bug’ (hood ornament) on the T610 is not visible from the driver’s seat as it is in the T400, which is what I was taught to use for correct positioning of the truck on the road. Due to the narrow cab and inboard seating position of the T400, lining up the bug with the fog line ensures the correct road positioning.
Of course, this is unnecessary with this T610 tested on a typical line-haul run, because the driving position is closer to the right-hand extremity of the vehicle’s width.