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Peterbilt rolls out medium-duty lineup

Phil Hall, Peterbilt medium-duty marketing manager, used those very phrases to introduce the red oval brand’s new medium-duty lineup to a half-dozen truck editors. That was just before we were to get behind the wheel for a few demo-drive laps in some new trucks on the infield course at the Texas Motor Speedway.

The medium-duty truck market has evolved—and the new Peterbilt lineup is designed to meet the growing demand from the pickup and delivery segment and truck rental and leasing companies. According to Phil Hall, Peterbilt medium-duty marketing manager, trucks built to suit specialty applications serving the construction industry were a little too narrow for the changing market so the company took a fresh approach based on “human-centered design.”

“What we were very good at was the quantitative processes: We were good at sightlines, step heights, visibility studies, weights, analytics,” Hall said. “So, we went to the source of the key information—that is the drivers, the customers. And we sat with them, we drove with them; we spent days with them doing their job to understand how they perform it.”

As a result, the new Peterbilt medium-duty truck has keen attention to details like headlights, kickplates, steps and handrails. The color and texture of the material on the interior door panels is specially selected to not show dirt because drivers dislike working in an grimy environment. Even the edge on the dash is designed to keep objects from slipping into the front air vents.

The new trucks give a stylistic nod to the newly redesigned Model 579, but Hall emphasized that the new medium-duty trucks are not scaled-down versions of the Class 8 flagship.

A couple of unloaded laps around the infield course at the Texas Motor Speedway showed the potential of these new trucks. The Paccar PX-7 engine paired with the new Paccar TX-8 automatic transmission showed power but the cab was quiet and the ride smooth.