FOODSERVICE distribution, express package delivery, and construction are among the business sectors that Mack Trucks Inc hopes to attract with its new Freedom series of medium-duty cabover trucks. The Freedom replaces the Mid-Liner cabover and conventional lineup.
Like the Mid-Liner, the Freedom is being built in France by Renault RVI. It is marketed in Europe as the Renault Midlum. The US introduction was June 22 in Las Vegas, Nevada, and shipments of the Freedom already have begun.
The new Freedom series cabovers are available in four Class 6 and 7 models, which have been designated M, L, XL, and XXL. Each is available in one of two cab sizes — the Standard cab, with a 63-inch bumper-to-back-of-cab (BBC) length and the XTRA cab, with a 79-inch BBC.
Body builders will find Freedom series trucks highly accommodating. Bodies may be fitted to within inches of the cab, which is free of obstructions and provides for the tightest overall package in the industry. Electrical junctions at the end of the frame and battery box also are standard, as are two dedicated body builder rocker switches on the dash that are provided to promote electrical system integrity to the end-user.
The standard engine in the Freedom series is Mack's E3 engine rated at 210 horsepower. The 250-hp E3 is optional on the XL and XXL models. The six-cylinder E3 engine is certified in all 50 US states. Oil change interval for the E3 engine has been extended to 20,000 miles or every two years.
Manual and automatic transmissions are available with the Freedom. Eaton's six-speed FS5206A transmission is standard with all four Freedom models. The L and M models have a Mack RAR1751 drive axle, and the XL and XXL versions are standard with Mack's RAR230 drive axle.
Freedom series trucks are standard with Mack's V-MAC (Vehicle Management and Control) system. V-MAC provides fully electronic engine and vehicle management for optimum fuel economy and low-emissions levels. Customer programmable features consist of electronic road speed limiting and cruise control engine protection, idle shutdown, and engine rpm controls for both the electronic throttle and a PTO. Vehicles also are equipped with trip recorders to automatically and continually log trip and maintenance information.
With 17.5-inch wheels, the Class 6 M model has one of the lowest cab heights among medium-duty vehicles and allows for one-step cab entry. The vehicle has a very low loading height, which is ideal for those making retail and wholesale deliveries. The L (Class 6) and XL (Class 7) models include 19.5-inch wheels and two-step cab entry. The Class 7 XXL model features 22.5-inch wheels, two cab steps, and a standard frame height. Both the XL and XXL models are available in GVW ratings from 26,000 to 35,000 pounds.
According to Kevin Flaherty, Mack senior vice-president of sales, the effective BBC of the Mack Freedom series is the tightest in the industry, thereby providing a “highly compact vehicle package when Freedom trucks are equipped with bodies of any size or length.” In addition, wheel cuts have been maximized at 50 degrees to ensure tight turning with virtually any type of body.
Lower loading height was accomplished without sacrificing payload capacity and should help reduce operator fatigue. An additional benefit is enhanced stability due to a lower center of gravity.
Four-wheel disc brakes — combined with a new suspension system that combines parabolic springs, gas shocks, and stabilizer bars on the front and rear axles — are standard on all Freedom vehicles. This system provides progressive braking action to reduce stopping distance, resist brake fade, and ensure stability. Brake pads on Freedom vehicles can be replaced at a fraction of the labor hours required for S-cam brakes.
Freedom's doors open 90 degrees, and two grabhandles are mounted inside the cab. Optional driver-side step lights provide step well illumination at night.
Good visibility is another critical need for medium-duty truck operators, and the Mack Freedom series has a panoramic windshield and horizontal angle of vision of 90 degrees in front, 71.5 degrees to the left, and 26 degrees to the right. A lower door window in the passenger side is optional. Heated remote-controlled mirrors also are available.
The 79-inch XTRA Freedom cab offers an additional 16 inches of length and is available as an option on all models. It comes with a choice of two new interior designs — the Office cab and the Utility cab. The main feature of the Office cab is the center console, which consists of three sections. The lower section is a hanging folder file cabinet that was designed to handle standard folders. The upper section has space for a laptop computer and two separate 12-volt power ports. A slide-out desk in the center console provides a convenient work area.
The Freedom series standard cab offers numerous new features to promote driver productivity and comfort. Chief among these are storage areas that are conveniently located to accommodate anything from credit cards to a change of clothes.