A friend of mine is a great movie and music fan. He knows all the pivotal series and their most important episodes that have been aired from the 1960s until this moment, as well as most important movies. He adores music, from Mozart to Black Key’s latest album, although he most often returns to progressive rock, Delta blues and Southern rock, sometimes even trucking music. The problem we usually have in tastes and attitudes is his subjectiveness. He will never tell you that your taste is bad, but he what he will try to do is continually claiming why “his” music is better. Nevertheless, he never explicitly says it is better because he listens to it, but you can read it quite clearly between the lines.
Don’t touch my Freightliner
The other day we had an argument over the last Presidential elections. Although he is not a Republican, he was so opinionated that some of Obama’s decisions, like Medicaid and the withdrawal of the troops from Iraq were mistakes and that maybe it would be better if someone else had moved into the West Wing. While that heating argument was on, we saw a TV commercial for the 2013 Freightliner Coronado and he, being biased as he usually is, started claiming that Freightliner is a great manufacturer but Mack is greater and his uncle, who had been driving Mack trucks for 30 years, had always claimed that Mack holds the trucking throne.
That statement just woke up a germ of opposition inside my brain, what lead to a three-hour trucking debate. I tried to prove my pal that he couldn’t judge the trucking industry on the basis of his uncle’s experience, because we could immediately find a Peterbilt or a Freightliner fan who could swear their trucks are the best. After a while, we got tired and the arguing zeal simply faded out. However, I did not give up and finally decided to make a review of Freightliner models for this week’s issue of this blog. Although I am aware that it will not change my Frank’s mind, it will help me feel easier and unloaded (argumentation-wise).
I see the Freightliner rising
Last week we wrote about the origins and development of Freightliner Corporation and its later merging with Daimler-Benz AG, which is now Daimler Trucks North America LLC. The story about the beginnings of Freightliner, Mack Trucks and Peterbilt really is a great narrative of human innovativeness, initiative, vision and persistence. All the three pillars of American trucking industry, i.e. Jack Mack, T.A. Peterman and Leland James, were ambitious and bold people, just as many other who have contributed to our economy.
What makes Freightliner different is the fact that it did develop slowly and did not touch the stars in its first years but had a slow and constant rise. The turning point definitely was the moment when Daimler-Benz AG invested in Freightliner at the beginning of the 1980s and from that moment Freightliner has been on a steady winning streak.
Coronado – Freightliner’s Crown
The Original Coronado is a real jewel on the Freightliner’s crown (corona meaning crown in Latin), since it is one of the best and most wanted heavy duty trucks that Freightliner offers. It is a real beast in terms of power, because its bowels can cope with most massive Class 8 engines there are on the market, being an unmatched leader in the engine power. The engines that are put in Coronado can drive at up to 550 horsepower, which in combination with an aerodynamic cab and meticulously designed comfortable suspensions secure perfect driving conditions for every trucker.
The engine options you have for the Coronado are Detroit Diesel DD15 and Cummins ISX. The DD15 engine includes the EGR system, in line with strict gas emission regulations, and that engine was created for long haul tasks, which is why it most often has between 450 and 550 horse power. The maximum torque capacity varies from 1500 to 1850 lb.
The Cummins ISX engine has an improved fuel injection system and even more advanced EGR regulation. This engine also includes a special SCR technology for better fuel economy and lower gas emissions. Its horse power rates go up to 600 hp and the maximum torque about 2050 lb.
In accordance with sophisticated standards, Coronado’s engine box is made of aluminum so its lightweight but muscular design only adds to its driving performances.
Coronado also boasts with spacious interior and the cab. It is luxuriously equipped and meant to be a real comfy den for its drivers.
Discover Freightliner Columbia
Second but not silver comes Freightliner Columbia, as a long lasting truck, famous for its careful engineering and tradition. It follows the guidelines how to look traditional but sophisticated and reliable for the 21st century. The Columbia brings an ergonomic and snug cab, with a wraparound state of the art dashboard, with all the modern instruments you might need. They all have strong back lights, so you will always see everything you need on the spur of the moment. What makes Columbia even more comfortable and adjusting is the leveled-to-detail air conditioning and heating system, which is especially necessary when driving in extreme conditions, such as deserts or iced roads.
Columbia has been here for a long time and its drivers know what to expect. It offers genuine durability and comfort in the competition of nowadays trucks. Its ergonomic design diminishes the wind resistance, ups the aerodynamics of the truck and thus increases the fuel efficiency. The material it is made of is largely aluminum, which makes it lighter, resulting in larger payload capacity. Like all other Freightliner trucks, Columbia is always personalized and adapted to each and every individual buyer.
Freightliner Argosy – Passes Everywhere
Being a leader in the cabover truck design, the Argosy is an agile and lively truck, ideal for tight spaces, like small crossroads or docks with narrow or badly designed access roads, where its maneuverability comes to light and makes it easy for driver to avoid obstacles and other vehicles. When talking about such delicate driving situations, it is important to stress the visibility you have form the driving cab, especially thanks to the width of the windshield.
Apart from great visual performances you have when driving the Argosy, this model also offers a lot of space for the driver in the cabin, both while driving and while taking a rest. The cab is large and comfortable and it can be easily transformed into a small living room or bedroom. The Argosy brings the Raised Roof model, too with the height of 110″, so if you are a basketball player who could not resist the call of the road and began trucking, this might be just the perfect option for you. However, if you are a regular trucking John Doe, it will just help you feel comfy and tall.
Freightliner Condor Flies
As you might have noticed, Freightliner really invests a lot of time and money in comfort features in all of its modern models and wants its drivers to feel that they have a lot of space and various features of comfort at their disposal. The Freightliner Condor is not an exception. The cab space of this model is just another proof how much care Freightliner takes about its customers and drivers.
Everybody who tried driving a truck knows how exhausting and tiring hours spent in a truck can be. Your eyes start itching, your back hurting and the whole body starts feeling weak and flabby.
The Condor, just as its name says, makes you feel as if you are flying and there is no feeling of tightness or discomfort. The Condor is, similar to the Argosy, suitable for narrow intersections and tight approach roads to docks or ports, due to its perfect wheel cut and a wide windshield, aided with side windows. The large area cab covered with glass does make the Condor a fantastic delivery vehicle, great for the urban environment.
To avoid making the Condor a trucking mannequin, it has great engine and driving performances, as well. It usually comes with two engine options, namely Caterpillar and Cummins. The Caterpillar 3126 engine has the electronic control and its capacity is 7.2L, while its top output ranges from 175 to 300 horse power.
The Cummins engine is a little bit sturdier and bolder than Caterpillar but at the same time more robust and it develops from 300 to 350 horse power.
In combination with these two engine models, the Condor most often offers the Allison transmission, which has proven to be reliable and long lasting set for maintaining this model’s performances on a high level.
Freightliner FLD SD
Acronyms usually hide demanding and mysterious organizations and tasks. CIA, KGB, FBI all give an impression of thorough and laborious work.
Well, Freightliner FLD SD is, as its name might tell us, meant for difficult conditions and extreme surroundings. Similar to the abovementioned models, the FLD SD has lightweight aluminum cab, which reduces instability and noise that truckers might be faced with. It also adds to the aerodynamics of the truck and makes it more fuel economical.
This model comes in various engine options and it can show off with up to 550 hp, together with 1850 pounds of torque, which is not, opposite to the Argosy and Condor, for narrow urban environment, but for wide open space and suitable for loading and unloading at plants outside cities. The FLD SD is made with a lot of care for drivers’ comfort and safety, just like all other Freightliner models. However, being so robust it is most similar to the Coronado, since both models were created for heavy tasks and hard work. Thanks to its special axle design the FLD SD can transport heaviest load with ease, guaranteeing maximum security for the driver.
After all these Freightliner models and their features, the friend of mine from the beginning of the story has not changed his mind yet, but he did tell me that he did not know how great models and long tradition Freightliner has. Well, it is a futile job to reeducate grown-ups but if there is anything we can do, it is trying. And persistence always gives result. Leland James knew it very well.