After driving a Kenworth T610 prime mover, pulling a B-double curtainsider, PowerTorque found the T610 has improved in almost every respect, over its predecessors. Negotiating Brisbane traffic and then heading north and up to highway speed, the overall performance and dynamics of the T610 proved to be exemplary.
During the entire trip the Eaton UltraShift transmission continues to impress as it intuitively and smoothly shifts up and down at precisely the right times. PowerTorque’s Paul Matthei had absolutely no need to shift manually at any time and the way it downshifts to initiate Active Cruise Braking when the Active Cruise Control is engaged to keep speed in check on downgrades is very welcome.
Interior noise level is remarkably muted and the loudest noise one hears is the ‘beep-beep’ of the Lane Departure Warning reminding one to stay fully focussed on keeping the truck ideally positioned in the lane.
Not that this is a difficult task, given the superbly direct and beautifully weighted power steering which gives the impression the truck is riding on rails. No doubt the straight steering shaft that is now possible due to the wider cab plays its part in this dramatic improvement.
Another aspect of this truck that is light years ahead of its predecessors is the dash and instrument layout. Putting it bluntly, the gauges on previous Kenworths, and even current ones such as the K200 cab-over, look like they belong in the ‘80s. In stark contrast, the T610 has a fresh, modern instrument layout with clearly labelled and easily read gauges.
I particularly appreciate the stacked arrangement of the gauges either side of the speedo and tacho, meaning all can be easily viewed without the need for eyes to divert from the straight-ahead position.
Another feature that continues to impress over the, at times, less than ideal road surface of the Bruce Highway is the ride comfort. Granted it’s not quite as smooth as European cab-overs, but it is certainly a generation ahead of earlier model Kenworths. No doubt the excellent air suspended driver’s chair plays its part here also.
As the drive draws to a close, it’s time to check fuel consumption, which the on-board computer calculates at an average 39.9 l/100km (7.07mpg). This is achieved with the vehicle loaded to 55 tonnes GCM for 1,000km from Brisbane to Mackay and returning to Brisbane empty. As the run was intended to replicate a ‘real world’ line-haul trip, no special effort was made to maximise fuel economy.
As I reflect on the trip upon my return, it strikes me that the T610 has improved in almost every respect over its predecessor. All of these improvements add up to a more comfortable, quieter, safer and ultimately less tiring drive, particularly on long hauls such as the one just completed.
Sure, the T610 might still have a little way to go before it can match the comfort and refinement of European cab overs, but by crikey the gap has narrowed.