In superseding the T359, the new Kenworth T360 goes to another level of the vocational workhorse it has been for the last few years. This is what Kenworth do best, come up with a model, run with it for a few years and then refine and refine until it is suited for an application.
This is the case for the T360, which has developed from the original T350 from earlier this century. The truck was originally designed to fit into the tight dimensional rules around heavy rigid trucks, where a short bumper to back of cab (BBC) and a set-forward axle will enable operators to
maximise load space or body space whilst retaining high GCM allowances.
One of the more successful adaptations of this design has been the 8×4 and 10×4 versions of this model. In the T360 we see the truck become a flexible platform for twin steer rigid operation, utilising the nine-litre Cummins ISL with a choice of transmissions in behind.
“What we wanted to do in developing the T360 was to take the T359 and improve upon it, says Brad May, Director Sales and Marketing Paccar Australia. “Improve manoeuvrability, improve tare weight and increase flexibility with a better BBC to improve options with bodies. Visibility is important when running around in an urban environment and drivers are getting in and out of trucks a lot.”
Steering geometry has improved and there is close to a two metre improvement in turning circle. Paccar can no longer offer the Cummins ISM engine, and will only offer the nine-litre ISL across the range. With a lighter engine and an improved cooling system with an aluminium core, the front axle weight is 100kg lower than its predecessor.
Moving the new cabin forward has allowed a four inch (100mm) reduction in BBC. Even this small improvement allows for more flexible body placement, or shorter wheelbases. A smaller cooling package and the resulting steeper bonnet angle has also improved vision at the front of the truck.
Apart from the wider opening doors, particularly important for vocational drivers hopping in and out of the cab, is step design. The new steps have a ‘maximised angle inboard’, the steps are set back further as the driver climb aboard, more like a staircase and less like a ladder. The top step is also much larger and safer, as a result.
The 2.1 metre wide cab in as an integral part of the core Kenworth range now and it brings a lot of plusses for the driver. We have become used to tight cabs with space limitations in Kenworths of the past, but now the brand can offer space comfort and a consistent cabin, up and down the range.
While Kenworth T360 goes to another level, at the same time the company have been careful not to move too far from that traditional KW look. There are the visual cues we have got used to and the overall feel is definitely Kenworth, but also definitely more modern. Some traditionalists may turn their nose up at the modernisation, but others will appreciate the quieter cab, extra room, better visibility and improved safety options.
To this end there are two trim options. One is more in the old style with plenty of gauges and switches, while the other is a pared down fleet option at a lower price point. The modern electronics also bring a greater choice of interior design, as gauges can be placed anywhere and the seven inch LCD screens can be optioned and configured as required.
The introduction of these new models means the Kenworth brand has a modern state-of-the-art truck throughout its main range, apart from in cabover. Of course, it will continue with these outliers in terms of cabovers, the very top of the range and road train prime movers, models like the K200, T659, T909, T509 have a specific market and are not set to change anytime soon.
Of course, the K200 and the T909 are popular sellers, but Brad says there are no concrete plans to launch any replacement any time soon. However, modernisation must be on the drawing board for these two, at least. As usual, the Paccar organisation will play its cards very close to its chest and the K200 and T909 are too important to be tinkered with lightly.
However, for now a truck buyer looking for anything from a heavy-duty rigid with a nine-litre engine all the way up to a road train prime mover with a 15-litre engine has the option of going the next step with a modern conventional Kenworth truck.