Medium-duty trucks are the workhorses of the work truck fleet industry.  -  Photo: Freightliner

Medium-duty trucks are the workhorses of the work truck fleet industry.

Photo: Freightliner

Medium-duty trucks are the heart of many fleet operations. Several manufacturers share what’s new for the 2009 model-year, with lists of vocational opportunities.

Chevrolet & GMC Series

General Motors’ 2009 medium-duty lineup includes the Chevrolet Kodiak and GMC TopKick series, in addition to the T-Series and W-Series offered in both makes.

The Kodiak and GMC Topkick’s C4500 and C5500 continue to provide commercial customers a large selection of wheelbases, Regular or Crew Cab, and gasoline or diesel engines. Allison 6-speed transmissions are standard for all models.

The C6500/C7500/C8500 trucks remain the workhorses of the lineup, with up to 63,000 lb. GVWR. Regular Cab, Crew Cab (with room for up to six occupants) and Chassis Cab configurations are available.

On both makes, the T-Series’ cab-forward design offers the ruggedness of a medium-duty truck with visibility, maneuverability, and engine service access.

GM’s most notable updates for the 2009 medium-duty lineup are featured on the W-Series. The 2009 W-Series delivers Clean Idle certification for W4500, W5500, and W5500 HD models, with greater comfort and convenience, enhanced safety, and up-front bolder styling.

All 2009 W4500, W5500, and W5500 HD models are 50-state emission-certified and may idle for more than five minutes without having to shut down.

For improved appearance and durability, the 2009 Chevrolet W-Series is equipped with new seat stain-resistant seat covers.

Additional W-Series product improvements for 2009 include a factory-installed limited-slip differential for safer operation in severe weather, front suspension modifications for improved ride quality and driver comfort, improved speed-limiting calibration and additional programmable features for the power take off (PTO) operation, a vertical exhaust that resolves body mounting issues in applications where a horizontal diesel particulate filter is not advisable, and a chrome grille.

Dodge 4500 & 5500 Chassis Cabs

Introduced as all-new product offerings for the 2008-MY, the 2009-MY Dodge 4500 and 5500 Chassis Cabs have additional innovative features, more power, and better fuel efficiency.

Trailer tow capacity was increased for 2009, and the GCWR was increased to 26,000 lbs. on the 5500 Series.

Two powertrain options are available: the 6.7L Cummins diesel in a 6-speed manual or automatic, available with an optional remote start. New premium fleet options include daytime running lights, power eight-way driver seat, power equipment group, security alarm, uConnect hands-free communication system, and MyGIG multimedia infortainment system with Bluetooth technology.

Dodge has also added an ambulance prep package on all 4500 and 5500 models. 

Ford F-650 & F-750

The F-650 Super Duty and F-750 Super Duty have been significantly refreshed for the 2009-MY.

Updates to the medium-duty trucks include increased GVWR to 37,000 lbs., a 281-inch wheelbase Regular Cab (mid-2009 MY), available end-of-frame exhaust, Cummins vertical exhaust, and a temporary-mount battery box.

An Eaton-Fuller UltraShift 6-speed, fully automatic overdrive transmission has been added, and engines are California Air Resource Board (CARB)-rated.

Interior updates include an available overhead gauge cluster with oil temp and hour meter (Allison transmission only) and an XLT standard passenger seat with integral headrest, two-man forward “dump” feature, and bolster improvements.


Freightliner intends to build upon the success of the initial M2e hybrid production with expanded configurations and applications in 2009. The Eaton parallel electric hybrid system continues to be available in the M2e chassis with the Cummins ISB engine, but will have added capacity to 40,000-lb. GVW trucks as well as delivery tractor applications up to 55,000 lb. GCW when used in diminishing load applications such as beverage and food distribution. Additionally, the hybrid system can be equipped with an optional 5kW auxiliary power generator to power a variety of body equipment.

Two primary hybrid configurations will be available depending on use. The city delivery hybrid system provides fuel economy and

emission benefits in stop-and-go delivery environments, while the utility hybrid system provides the added benefit of engine-off PTO operation (ePTO).

International CityStar & DuraStar Models 

For 2009, International continues to offer the CityStar and DuraStar models in its medium-duty lineup. The International CityStar low-cab forward chassis delivers bigger payloads, greater maneuverability, and best-in-class horsepower and torque. The International DuraStar conventional chassis features innovations that improve fuel economy, increase uptime, and extend service intervals.

The International CityStar CF500 offers a 16,000-lb. GVW rating, while the

CityStar CF600 offers 17,999-lb. and 19,500-lb. GVW ratings. The International DuraStar Series works for a number of fleet applications. Its breakaway mirrors and three-piece hood allow easy part replacement and repair; an integrated powertrain provides smooth integration, less downtime, drive efficiencies, and strong performance; and the optional electronic power take off (ePTO) keeps the engine off during stationary work, reducing noise pollution. Engine choices include a 6.4L V-8 MaxxForce diesel or 7.6L 16 wet-sleeve Maxx-Force DT diesel. Redesigned for 2008-MY, both engines offer 9-13 percent improvement in fuel efficiency.

DuraStar’s Diamond Logic system reduces wiring by 40 percent, minimizing breakdowns. The system is fully programmable with special safety interlocks and self-diagnostics. An optional 44-inch Crew Cab or 26-inch Extended Cab comfortably accommodates up to six people.

The DuraStar biodiesel-approved hybrid can improve fuel economy up to 60 percent, while reducing harmful emissions.

Isuzu N-Series

The 2009 Isuzu N-Series lineup of low cab forward trucks include new features to increase driver productivity, enhance fuel economy, and reduce emissions.

The N-Series is offered with an overhead cam 5.2L 4H turbocharged, intercooled, diesel engine. The engine is mated to an Aisin heavy-duty, 6-speed automatic transmission with double overdrive. A Vortec 6.0L V-8 gasoline engine is also available on the NPR, NPR HD, and Crew Cab models.

Front suspensions, spring rates, steering, and cab mount brushings have been tuned for more comfort, and a new optional limited slip differential evenly distributes torque to wheels. Additional wheelbases are offered as well.

All Isuzu trucks are 50-state “Clean Idle Certified.”

Kenworth T170, T270 & T370

Kenworth’s lineup of medium-duty trucks for 2009 includes the T170 (Class 5), T270 (Class 6), and T370 (Class 7). Kenworth will also enter production on new fuel-efficient, diesel-electric medium-duty hybrids (T370 and T270 models) this year.

The Kenworth hybrids use an integral transmission-mounted motor/generator; frame-mounted 340-volt, lithium-ion battery pack; and dedicated power management system. Advanced powertrain controls monitor driving conditions and automatically select the ideal power mode, switching among electric-only, combined diesel and electric, and diesel-only power modes. Regenerative braking stores electricity and uses it for acceleration, assisting the diesel engine. The hybrid system is monitored through a dash display, with constant screen updates on system status.

The Kenworth T270 and T370 hybrids use a PACCAR PX-6 engine rated from 200 to 300 hp and 520 to 620 lb.-ft. of torque and an Eaton 6-speed Ultra-Shift transmission. Halogen projector low-beam headlamps provide 30-percent more light down the road and three times longer life than sealed beam headlamps.

The hood is made of sheet-molded composite (SMC) for enhanced fit and finish, with a hood assist device and 90-degree hood tilt opening. A one-piece chrome or painted bumper and Metton quarter fenders provide additional durability and impact resistance.

Interior features include an ergonomically- friendly, wrap-around instrument panel with large, easy-to-read, glare-free gauges.

New front and rear suspensions are available on Kenworth’s medium-duty truck models. The latest addition to Kenworth’s suspension family, the 21,000-lb. AG210L single-axle rear suspension is an economical choice for Kenworth’s Class 6 and Class 7 conventional models. 

Mitsubishi Fuso

For 2009, Mitsubishi Fuso Truck of America’s medium-duty trucks’ looks and features remain unchanged from MY-2008.

Introduced earlier this year, the Class 3 FE125 — a medium-duty vehicle in the Fuso lineup — offers a 12,500-lb. GVWR. The FE125 uses the same basic chassis and same cab configuration as its heavy-duty Class 4 and Class 5 siblings. Made from steel with 51,200 psi yield strength, it is built to last in tough work conditions.

Additional features include vacuum-serve assist, hydraulic-type, dual-caliper disc brakes at all wheels, plus nodular cast-iron spring brackets, sintered bronze bushing, and laminated leaf springs with shock absorbers, and front and rear stabilizer bar.

Both the FE125 (12,500 lb. GVWR/Class 3) and FE145 (14,500 lb. GVWR/Class 4) now come with an Aisin electronic 6-speed overdrive (OD) automatic transmission (AT) as standard equipment. The FE180 (17,995 lb. GVWR/Class 5) also features the Aisin electronic 6-speed OD automatic as standard, but also offers a Mitsubishi 6-speed overdrive manual transmission as an option.

On all FE models, the shift lever is mounted on the dash, and the parking brake is mounted between the seats, so the floor is free of obstacles, providing more center-seat leg room and allowing the driver to easily exit from the curbside door.

Sterling Acterra

Workhorse Custom Chassis Sterling Truck Corporation, the only OEM to design, manufacture, and distribute a full line of Class 3-8 commercial vehicles, continues to provide custom-built trucks for medium-duty applications in 2009. The Sterling Acterra, with a Class 5-8 operating range, handles like a pickup, but has the strength of a solid work tool, featuring power, cab room, visibility, and ease of operation. With a wide range of frame and suspension choices and a variety of fuel tanks, the Acterra offers the cost-saving fuel economy of the latest diesel technology from Cummins and Mercedes-Benz.

The Acterra Crew Cab is 15-inches longer on the inside than the standard Acterra, and the flat floor and concave roof provide ample head and leg room. There’s plenty of interior room for storage and even a bunk. A standard cab air suspension helps ensure smooth starting and stopping, while optional air ride driver and passenger seats and full-width, three-person rear bench seats help guarantee comfort for the driver and crew.

Workhorse Custom Chassis 

For 2009, Workhorse packages a number of recent improvements with a new look for walk-in trucks to provide a comprehensive set of options available for medium-duty trucks.

Features include a sophisticated power take-off (PTO) option integrated into the chassis frame that provides any combination of electrical, pneumatic, and hydraulic portable power.

The PTO will be offered with the new 4.5L MaxxForce 5 diesel engine option for Workhorse’s 19,500-lb. and 23,500-lb. GVWR platforms.

In addition, Workhorse is the only chassis manufacturer to provide a gasoline option (GM Vortec engines) for the 19,500-lb. and 23,500-lb. GVWR walk-in platforms.

Originally posted on Work Truck Online