When it comes time to expand your work truck fleet, cab and chassis manufacturers offer a variety of rigs to help you get more jobs done

With an uptick in energy exploration across the fruited plain, contractors serving the gas, oil and mining industries are on the constant lookout to add new trucks to their hardworking fleets. When you’re shopping for a few new rigs, the question is always asked: Do I stick with the last brand I bought or do I try another cab and chassis and compare performance and reliability?

There are good answers on both sides of the argument as old as the internal combustion engine itself. One the one hand, if you stick with the tried-and-true … and remain brand loyal, you basically know what you’re getting and you’re familiar with common maintenance issues. But on the other hand, if you try something new, you might find you prefer the drivability, features and reliability of the new brand.

If it’s time to look around for a new rig, we’re here to get you off to a good start. Here’s a quick rundown of the latest models and features being promoted by medium-duty cab and chassis manufacturers. If you find any of the new models intriguing, we provide a link to the manufacturer’s Web site, where you can learn more. Happy tire-kicking.

Ford F-750

The 37,000-pound GVWR, medium-duty F-750 from Ford, available in regular, super and crew cab models, features an ISB Cummins (6.7 liter) ultra-low sulfur turbo diesel engine with choice of Allison automatic, Eaton UltraShift or Fuller and Spicer manual transmissions. Delivering up to 360 hp at 2,800 rpm and 800 lb-ft of torque at 1,800 rpm, the F-750 has a curb weight of 8,862 pounds (XLT model). Wheel base (choice of 33 lengths) ranges from 146 to 281 inches. Ford offers 14 cab-to-axle lengths and four chassis heights. Air conditioning and full power ABS brakes are standard. Air-ride seats are available with all hydraulic brake models. Options include power windows, locks and CD/MP3 player. www.ford.com.

International ProStar+

Powered by the urea-free 11- or 13-liter MaxxForce diesel engine, the ProStar+ from International delivers up to 475 hp and 1,700 lb-ft of torque. Rated up to 37,000 pounds GVW, the ProStar+ has a gross combination weight of up to 110,000 pounds. Up to 7 percent more fuel efficient than its closest competitor according to TMC Type IV tests, transmission choices include the Eaton Fuller 10-, 13-, 15- and 18-speed manual; 10- and 18-speed Eaton Fuller AutoShift manual and the 10-speed Eaton Fuller UltraShift fully automated manual. The optional MaxxForce engine brake by Jacobs offers 351 to 398 of braking horsepower at 1,900 to 2,100 rpm for the MaxxForce 11 and up to 470 of braking horsepower for the MaxxForce 13. www.internationaltrucks.com.

Freightliner Business Class M2 106V

Featuring a front engine PTO and front frame extensions, the Business Class M2 106V from Freightliner is engineered for customization. Recent enhancements include a larger radiator, new hood and improved headlight system. The 1,200-square-inch radiator can accommodate up to 380 hp with automatic transmission and up to 80,000 pounds GVW. The radiator is mounted to the engine and sits above the top of the frame, allowing the PTO shaft to run below the radiator. Composite headlights feature reflectors with halogen bulbs, an upgrade over previous sealed beam headlights. The blend-air engine air intake system pulls air from under and outside the hood, providing ventilation when snow and debris might otherwise restrict flow. Styling updates include an aluminum cab, fiberglass hood and redesigned front fenders. Other standard features include the Cummins ISC diesel engine, torque ratings to 1,050 lb-ft and leaf-spring suspension. Transmission choices include Eaton Fuller manual (6-, 9-, 10-, 11-speed) and Allison automatic. www.freightlinertrucks.com.

Kenworth T440

The T440 from Kenworth is available as a straight truck or tractor in GVW ratings from 33,000 to 68,000 pounds. Featuring a set-back front axle, tight turning radius and optional automatic transmission, it offers the 260 hp PACCAR PX-8 engine with 660 lb-ft of torque as standard equipment. A 350 hp PX-8 with 1,000 lb-ft of torque and 380 hp Cummins ISL are available. The Eaton Fuller FR013210C 10-speed transmission is standard with 11- and 13-speed Eaton Fuller manual and 5- and 6-speed Allison automatics available. The aluminum cab features an aerodynamic hood. Options include factory installed PTOs, keyless entry, heated mirrors and heavy-duty crossmembers. www.kenworth.com.

Mack Pinnacle

The Pinnacle Series from Mack Trucks features the MP7 and MP8 engine with EconoBoost intelligent torque management system that initiates at 1,300 rpm after four seconds of full throttle in the transmission’s top two gears, opening up another 200 lb-ft of torque for as long as needed. The system disengages once the driver lifts off the throttle. The driveline torque drops to negative when a hill is crested. Mack also rolled out its mDRIVE automated manual transmission this year, offering 12 forward and four reverse speeds. Available in direct drive or overdrive, it has a torque capacity of 1,920 lb-ft. The driver interacts with the transmission through a dash-mounted control panel containing manual input and hold shift buttons. www.macktrucks.com.

Western Star 4900 FA and SA

The 4900 FA and SA, 109-inch BBC model from Western Star features the Allison 3000 RDS transmission and Detroit Diesel DD13 engine. Engineered for durability and maneuverability, updates include underhood air cleaner with inside/outside air and dash controls and 6-gallon DEF tank with increased clearance on the back of the cab. The 4900 is available with a 12,000- to 20,000-pound front axle and 21,000- to 46,000-pound rear axle. The DD13 engine delivers up to 450 hp, 1,650 lb-ft of torque and incorporates Detroit Diesel BlueTec SCR technology. www.westernstartrucks.com.

Hino 338

The 33,000-pound GVW Hino 338 for 2011 has a 260 hp, 8-liter J08E-VB diesel engine delivering 660 lb-ft of torque at 1,500 rpm. The 6-speed Eaton FS6406A transmission is standard. Options include the Allison 3000 RDS, Allison 2500 RDS and Eaton FS6406B. A 12,000-pound front axle and 21,000-pound rear axle are standard. Air-ride suspension and engine idle shutdown are optional. www.hino.com.

Peterbilt 348

The model 348 from Peterbilt, featuring optional all-wheel drive, is powered by a PACCAR PX-8 engine that offers up to 380 hp and can be mated to a Fuller manual (6-, 9-, 10-, 11-speed), Fuller automated (10-speed), Fuller hybrid (6-speed) or Allison automatic (4-, 5-, 6-speed) transmission. Available in either truck or tractor configuration, the 348 has a GVW of 35,000 to 56,000 pounds. Other features include an all-aluminum cab and Metton hood that tilts open 90 degrees. Side window visibility also has been increased 17 percent. www.peterbilt.com.

Volvo VNL Daycab

The VNL Daycab from Volvo Trucks North America features the I-Shift, 12-speed, two-pedal, automated manual transmission. Designed to integrate with Volvo’s D11, D13 and D16 engines, the I-Shift monitors changes in grade, vehicle speed, torque demand, and weight and air resistance. The D13 diesel engine is offered as standard equipment, delivering up to 485 hp and 1,650 lb-ft of torque. Cab features include air suspension, ergonomic seats and 50-degree wheel cut for tight turning radius and maneuverability. www.volvotrucks.us.com.

Mitsubishi Fuso FM330

The 32,900-pound GVW, cab-forward FM330 from Mitsubishi Fuso is powered by a Fuso 6M60 7.5-liter 243 hp, 6-cylinder turbocharged diesel mated to an Allison electronic 6-speed OD automatic transmission or optional Fuso 6-speed manual. The 2010 model has an 11,905-pound capacity front axle and 22,485-pound rear axle. Minimum curb weight is 10,625 pounds and turning radius is 28.5 feet. Air conditioning is standard on the FM330 that is 8 percent quieter than previous models. It also features adjustable seating and Comfort Wave dashboard. www.mitfuso.com. GOMC

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