A new model has been introduced to the Western Star range in the US. The new 5700 XE has a new swept back aerodynamic design to improve fuel consumption. As yet, the Penske organisation in Australia, which imports the Western Star, has made no comment about whether this model could eventually make it onto Australian roads.
The truck market in North America has shown a great appetite, in recent years, for a truck designed to minimise fuel consumption. Lighter mass, improved drag coefficients and low friction drive lines have become the order of the day. Heavy duty market leader the Freightliner Cascadia and its nearest rival, the International Prostar, have achieved high sales numbers on their aerodynamic performance, low cruising rpm and, resulting low fuel use.
Now, Western Star has entered the game. Admittedly, the 5700 XE still has the large distinctive front grille, but the rest of the bonnet and cabin design show how much time the designers spent working in the wind tunnel in Portland, Oregon.
For US operators looking to save on fuel the most economical spec of the new model features an integrated Detroit power train. This uses a DD15 engine rated at just 400 hp and 1750 ft lb of torque. This links up to the Detroit DT12 transmission, which is the US adaptation of the Mercedes Benz 12 speed AMT sold in Europe. This is all controlled by Detroit’s Intelligent Powertrain Management and drives through Detroit rear axles with tall diffs to ensure lower rpm levels at cruising speed.
For those who are looking for more performance, at the expense of some of the fuel saving gains, the truck will be offered with both DD 15 and DD 16 engines, up to 600 hp for the North American market. The DT 12 transmission is standard, but other more conventional options will be available.
Speculation as to whether this model will make it to our shores will revolve around the preferences of the Australian truck buyer and the image the Western Star has in this country. The Star’s uncompromising, upright and rugged style is one of its main strengths. Perhaps a swept back modern styling will appeal to a different segment of the market.