Among the improvements that Ford made to the MY-2016 F-650/F-750 is a clean cab-to-axle to...

Among the improvements that Ford made to the MY-2016 F-650/F-750 is a clean cab-to-axle to better position the gasoline and DEF tanks. 

Photo: Ford

Today’s vocational truck market offers a solution for virtually every fleet need from traditional delivery to food service trucks to field operations above the Arctic Circle, and everything in between. In addition to designs made for upfitting, today’s vocational trucks have higher and bigger payload capacities, and are easier to maintain. Diesel and bi-fuel options give fleet managers the dual benefits of better TCO and increased sustainability.

Across the board, today’s medium-duty trucks give fleets operational flexibility to meet the needs of their customers with more sophisticated options that increase the functionality of their products, the comfort of drivers, and the ease of maintenance. Following are a representative sampling of some of the newest vocational trucks available or soon-to-be available on the market.  

Ford F-650/F-750

Featuring a clean cab-to-axle, Ford’s all-new MY-2016 F-650/F-750 will be available in spring 2015. The new trucks are designed to meet a number of vocational needs.

The MY-2016 F-650/F-750 will be offered in three factory cab styles — Regular Cab, SuperCab, and Crew Cab — and three models: straight frame, dock height, and a new dedicated tractor model for heavy towing.

Under the hood, the F-650/F-750 will feature a 6.7L Power Stroke V-8 diesel or 6.8L V-10 gasoline engine, and a medium-duty 6-speed TorqShift automatic transmission. The commericial-grade 6-speed transmission with available power takeoff can be used to run accessories in the field, such as a dump body, crane, or other vocational equipment.

The MY-2016 F-650/F-750 also received new styling, including an all-new mesh grille to improve airflow for optimal cooling performance. Available PowerScope trailer tow mirrors feature large standard and spotter mirrors with a segment-exclusive power telescoping and folding design. The area behind the cab was redesigned to more easily accommodate custom work bodies, such as tow and dump truck bodies. Auxiliary components such as the diesel exhaust fluid tank and standard fuel tank are now located under the cab instead of behind it on the frame, making customization easier and reducing costs and order-to-delivery times, according to Ford.

Ram Heavy Duty

Touted as the “King of Capability,” the 2014 Ram 3500 Heavy Duty comes standard with the 5.7L HEMI V-8, delivering 383 hp at 5,600 rpm and 400 lb.-ft. of torque. For more power, customers can order the all-new 6.4L HEMI, which delivers 410 hp at 5,600 rpm and 429 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,000 rpm and features variable-valve timing with Fuel Saver cylinder deactivation. The 6.7L Cummins High-Output Turbo Diesel, which produces 385 hp at 2,800 rpm and 850 lb.-ft. of torque, is also available for those who favor diesel and desire the ability to tow 30,000 pounds.

The Ram 3500 Heavy Duty also features the industry-exclusive Ram Active Air intake system, which draws cooler air from the front of the vehicle when the intake system senses extreme heat. The system also engages at high altitudes for improved throttle response in low oxygen environments.

In colder climates, the system pulls air from an under-hood inlet to clear packed snow or water. The 2014 Ram 3500 also boasts a best-in-class GCWR when the 11.8-inch rear axle is matched with the high-output diesel engine option. A rear air suspension option is offered featuring automatic load leveling, and improved ride and handling, according to the automaker.

GMC 2500HD Sierra

Taking vocational applications to the extreme, Delta Leasing operates its fleet of 400 GMC 2500HD Sierra models 250 miles north of the Arctic Circle in Prudhoe Bay, Alaska. The company provides vehicle service for oil field support companies operating in the area.

The 2015 Sierra HD, features a fully redesigned exterior and interior, more storage compartments, and more plug-ins for electronic devices. The 2015 Sierra HD features extensive use of high-strength steel in the cab structure, boxed frame rails, and major frame cross-members.

Powered by a Vortec 6.0L gasoline V-8 with variable valve timing, matched to a Hydra-Matic 6L90 6-speed automatic transmission as standard. It is also available with a 6.0L bi-fuel compressed natural gas (CNG)/gasoline engine or with a Duramax 6.6L diesel and Allison 1000 6-speed automatic transmission.

The Sierra HD has a maximum payload of up to 4,306 pounds, maximum conventional towing rating of up to 14,500 pounds, and maximum fifth-wheel towing of 17,900 pounds.

To operate in the breath-chilling extremes of Prudhoe Bay, where the mercury often dips far below freezing, Delta Leasing had to permanently winterize the fleet to keep it moving, including adding arctic fluids, arctic power steering lines, oil pan heater, transmission pan heater, and equipping them with Goodyear Duratrac tires, according to GM.

Kenworth T880

Ready to haul anything from gravel, cement, refuse or heavy equipment, the Kenworth T880 Vocational Truck was constructed with vocational customers in mind. The T880 is powered by the PACCAR MX-13 engine, which is rated up to 500 hp and 1,850 lb.-ft. of torque and provides a lightweight, fuel-efficient engine that can haul more than 100,000 lbs.

The T880 can be ordered with a 116.5-inch BBC hood optimized for the PACCAR MX-13 engine or with the 122.5-inch BBC hood.

According to the manufacturer, the T880 is constructed with Kenworth’s 2.1-meter wide, stamped aluminum cab, which is robotically assembled, and features a panoramic windshield for enhanced visibility, quiet cab with triple-sealed and robust doors, five-piece Metton hood for reduced repair time, air-assisted hydraulic clutch, complex reflector headlamps, improved maneuverability, and new lightweight, factory-installed lift axles.

The T880 is available with five new, factory-installed and lightweight Watson & Chalin lift axles, including a 10,000-pound offering for the first time and a 20,000-pound version with a 200-pound weight savings. Also offered are new steering gears for improved steering feedback and increased wheelcut for greater maneuverability.

Mitsubishi Fuso Canter FE130

Mitsubishi Fuso Truck of America, Inc., recently introduced its new Canter FE130 work truck. The truckmaker’s entry into the Class 3 segment boosts GVWR and body/payload capacity by 700 pounds over the previous FE125 model.

The FE130 will feature a long-wheelbase option, which was introduced in the fall of 2013 on the FE125. The 20-foot body has expanded the ability for fleets transport high-bulk items.

Since the FE130 has a GVWR of 13,200 pounds as compared to the FE125 model’s 12,500 pounds, fleets will have additional flexibility to transport heavier as well as bulkier items and reducing transportation costs, according to the truckmaker.

To simplify daily checks, the company will be relocating the engine oil dipstick to the driver side and position it it to allow the oil to be checked without tipping the cab, which is intended to improve maintenance. In addition, the DEF tank cap color has been changed to a bright blue to reduce the risk of something other than diesel emissions fluid being added to the DEF tank.

Isuzu NRR

The Isuzu NRR offers fleets a number of vocational options, including landscaping, transport, and food trucks. The Class 5 cab-over-engine truck has a 19,500 pound GVWR and a maximum payload of 12,838 pounds.

The NRR comes standard with an 5.2L Isuzu 4KH1-TC turbocharged intercooled diesel matched to an Aisin A465 6-speed automatic transmission. The engine is equipped with electronic high-pressure common-rail direct injection and a water-cooled EGR system.

All 2014 Isuzu diesel models meet EPA 2010 and California Air Resources Board HD-OBD emissions standards and are clean-idle certified, according to the truckmaker. NRR models, as with all Isuzu N-Series trucks, are equipped with selective catalytic reduction (SCR) technology with diesel exhaust fluid. The N-Series also features a multi-information display, which monitors vehicle functions. Basic maintenance can be done without the need to tilt the cab.

Hino 258ALP

The low profile makes the Hino 258ALP an ideal chassis for applications with heavy loading and...

The low profile makes the Hino 258ALP an ideal chassis for applications with heavy loading and unloading lower to the ground. 

Photo: Hino

Tipping the scales at 25,500 pounds, the Hino 258ALP model separates itself from the company’s other Class 6 offerings with 19.5-inch tires for a lower overall profile.

“This makes it an ideal chassis for applications requiring heavy loading and unloading in tight spaces being lower to the ground,” said Adrian Ratza, marketing manager for Hino. “This model is well suited for towing and also the portable restroom industry.”

The 258ALP features the Hino J08 engine, rated at 220 hp and 520 lb.-ft. torque. As with all Hino engines, the J08 is approved for use with up to B-20 biodiesel and meets emission requirements without the use of credits.

It comes equipped standard with an Allison 2200RDS transmission.
The chassis comes equipped with an 80,000 PSI frame and is designed with maneuverability in mind. The steering gear from TRW is designed specifically for Hino and provides a tight wheel cut of 55 degrees. All MY-14 and newer Hino Trucks are also standard with a clean cab-to-axle giving flexibility for more upfit options.

International DuraStar

The recent addition of the Cummins ISB 6.7L engine will give

International’s vocational...

The recent addition of the Cummins ISB 6.7L engine will give
International’s vocational customers the choice of another proven and capable engine. 

Photo: International

Navistar continues to invest in its medium-duty product lines by expanding vehicle enhancements and powertrain choices on its International brand vocational truck models, which includes the 2014 DuraStar. According to the manufacturer, the recent addition of the Cummins ISB 6.7L engine will give its vocational customers the choice of another proven and capable engine.

The DuraStar also features Navistar’s Diamond Logic electrical system now available with vocational feature bundles, which are categorized by usage and body integration such as dry van, dump, and utility. Diamond Logic also offers nearly 200 factory available body integration and driver efficiency features, as well as the ability to customize a number of other vehicle functions. Navistar also recently expanded its transmission offerings on the Durastar by adding availability of the Allison 3000 Series transmission.