When you see truck reviews in trucking publications, they are usually written by desk jockies. Sure, they have a CDL, but they spend 90% of their life driving a desk/computer, 5% attending a seminar and 5% or less actually driving a truck. Even when they do drive them, it's generally under specific conditions set forth by the manufacturer on a test loop at a set weight. It's real world conditions, but, it's maybe not the real world that we all deal with daily. Hence, when my company got the chance to Demo this truck from Colo. Mack Sales and my boss handed me the keys, I was tickled and decided to write a review of the truck based on real world day to day driving, even if it's only 4.5 days, but nearly 2,000 miles. Including stop/go city traffic, flat out plains, and the Rockies.
This truck is a '12 Mack CXU613, 240" WB, 70" double bunk condo, Premium interior, chrome package, dual air ride high back swivel Captains chairs with fully air adjustable bolsters, lumbar, mid-back settings (no massage though), twin 150 tanks, dual exhaust, 505 hp MP8 engine, Mack's (and Volvo's) proprietary M-Drive fully automatic transmission. Yeah, yeah, most of you will stop reading when you see that, but please don't you might be surprised. Mack dropped the truck off with us on Oct. 5th and we had it until the morning of the 12th (today). Other than my boss, I've been the only driver of it.
My runs consisted of about 200 miles on Thursday the 6th, Denver to Fountain, Co. and back and a local pickup. A nice mix of freeways and surface streets. Friday the 7th, my run was Denver to Bridgeport, Ne. with one of our 3-axle chassis and a 20' container to pickup 45,000 lbs of beans and bring it back to Denver. Then, Sunday night, Monday and Tuesday was a run we do every two weeks for Raynor Garage Door. We take their loaded trailer and deliver to 7 stops in Southwestern and Western Colo. (inc. Alamosa, Farmington, NM., Durango, Montrose, Crested Butte, finishing with 2 stops in Grand Junction) and then back to Denver with the empty. Typically, I'll gross 52,000 lbs on this run, not overly heavy, but when it's a new truck, one your unfamiliar with, on roads that can be considered rather dangerous for semi's, it's something to keep in mind.
That said (let apologize for my crapp pics first) this is the truck as she sat first Tueday when I had to give the keys back and also before I headed out Sunday night.
Very Nice truck right. When your used to driving something with a 215" WB, those extra 25" makes a big difference and takes some getting used. One thing I will say for certain, I wish I would have had my camera on Thursday morning. From the exterior, when clean, this truck got lots of compliments and a lot of 2nd glances. While unloading Thursday morning in Fountain, I had probably 5 or 6 drivers come up and ask me about it, a few wanted to see the inside.
We'll get to this shortly
Sleeper from the outside in (yeah sorry they aren't the greatest
So let's get down to the nitty gritty. This truck has Mack's MP8 engine, 505 hp, DEF and DPF emissions.
For those who don't know, the part under the steps is particulate filter, the piece behind the step is the Urea injection/burn area (and yes it does get hot).
Now, by comparison. My usual tractor is an '09 with a 445 hp MP8 and the DPF unit. When mine goes into regen mode, there is a slight derate in power and you do occasionally notice a change in engine/exhaust pitch. With this truck, it did two partial regens, the only reason I knew it was because of a very subtle engine pitch when letting off the throttle, no loss of power. Very impressive, in fact it was in regen mode while climbing Red Mountain Pass on US 550. For those unfamiliar, the NB climb on Red Mtn. is about 3 miles of 7%, pretty much straight up with a few twists near the top. It pulled without issue. Not sure the capacity of that tank, but when they dropped it off Weds. it was about 1/4 full, the salesman came back later and filled it. When I left Thursday morning it was just under full, by the time I was done with it Tuesday night it was right at or just under 1/4 full again.
As for economy, my '09 is goverend at 76 mph and I do it as well, this truck, because it's a demo, is goverend at 65 on cruise, 68 on peddle. The run I did on Friday Denver to Bridgeport and back, I averaged 7.4 mpg empty heading out, but dropped the overall average back to 6.2 coming back loaded. Of course I was 80,300 lbs loaded and had a bit of a headwind on the way back. On my 2.5 day run, Denver to Alamosa Sunday night @52,000 lbs, I avg. 6.8 mph including going over La Veta Pass. On Monday, Alamosa to Farmington then up to Montrose, I avg. 6.7 mpg. On Tuesday, it was Montrose to Crested Butte and then back to Montrose for the trip to Grand Junction then back to Denver. For that entire drive, more than 400 miles, I avg. 7.1 mpg. One note, it was 20 deg. Sunday so the truck idled all night for heat, that definetly dropped the mpg since the computer factors it in. Monday night the truck was off because my company has me get a hotel room on that second night. About 6.8 mpg overall average for the run, with my usual truck, considering I'll run 75 mph, my mpg is about 5.5 mpg. overall.
This engine/transmission pulled the hills with ease, never worked up a sweat. One gripe that I had was the shift points. This combo is setup to really lug down low. The transmission is a 12 spd. M-Drive push button automatic, with R, N, D, and M modes. It has a performance setting which was locked out but I was able to read up on it. As well as +/- buttons for manual shifting. Couple of things on this. Whereas my truck is an autoshift with a clutch peddle, this truck has no clutch peddle. If I want to downshift or upshift my autoshift manually, I cannot be in D-mode, I have to be in H (manual) mode. With this setup, no such problem, several times I manually pressed the - button while in D and it downshifted without problem and then upshifted automatically when it felt it was ready, and generally it was fine.
The trans. is set to automatically downshift between 1,000 and 1100 rpms, waaaaay too low for the rockies, maybe that's fine for rolling hills. Even with all the HP and torque, when the RPM's would get below 1,300, the engine had a hard time "recovering" and getting back above 1300 on it's own, it should have been downshifting at 1250 but it didn't. I noticed this first while climbing La Veta Pass, I started the climb with the cruise control on @ 65mph in 12th gear. As the truck started to loose power on the climb, about the time it had dropped to 1200 rpms, I hit a spot where the climb leveled off and the truck should have accelerated, but it there wasn't anything there, it couldn't do it and wanted to stay between 1200 and 1250. I hit the - button and dropped it to 11th wherein the truck started to pull and in fact upshifted into 12th for a brief period before I dropped it back into 11th and put it in manual mode until I reached the summit. Yessir, that's right, 11th gear, 52,000 lbs climbing a 6.5% grade and it was pushing 1500 rpms so had it been in D mode it would have tried to upshift. Coming off the otherside, I put it in D-mode, turned the cruise off and ran it by peddle with high jakes.
The following day going over Wolf Creek Pass it was the same way, which was an annoyance, but I found that if I dropped it to 11th it would pull fine, then upshift on it's own to 12th. When it go to the point of where it really needed to downshift and it didn't I put it in manual mode and did it myself. Never dropped below 9th gear for the remainder of the climb, and even then that was because of the curves near the summit. I dropped off the other side alternating between 9th and 10th gears. Which brings us to the jakes.
This engine/trans setup has a very unique style of jakes:
The bottom row of switches controls the jakes and the hill hold assist. The button on the left is the on/off switch for the jakes, the middle button has three modes: latch, auto, Set-. To explain, latch mode works in either D or M, BUT only when the cruise control is turned off (the switch can be on but not engaged), Auto mode is just that, it's alway on, mostly in a medium setting, and it works either with the Cruise engaged or not engaged, Set- is basically hill descent mode, actually, it's pretty neat but with a quirk. My comment to my boss to share with Mack is that the jakes are too technical and really need to be simplified. On/Off switch and a three mode switch Set-/lo/hi, do away with the auto and latch modes, they are confusing unless you really have time to read the manual and understand them.
Now, as for Set-, this is very nice and works in either D or M mode. It's basically a cruise control for descending hills. The way it works is this, and I used it on Wolf Creek. As I started down, I slowed to about 37 mph, pressed the Set- button until Set Speed 37 mph showed on the digital display, at that point there's nothing else to do. I did hover my foot over the brake peddle though. Simply, the computer will use the jakes to slow the truck to about 3 mph below the set speed then release the jakes, when the truck reaches 1 mph above the set speed it begins applying the jakes again. Touching the brake peddle once will not cancel it, but if you hit the brakes more than once it will cancel it. Also, as I found out coming back to Denver on I-70 down Genesse Hill, it does not work in conjunction with the throttle which it should. I set it for 50 mph (I was empty) the computer slowed it to 47 mph and let off, the truck sped up to 51 and it happened again. However, about mid-way down Genesse the road goes from 7% to 2% for a brief stretch. Because of the leveling the truck dropped below 50, in fact it was getting close t 45 mph before I had to give it throttle to avoid being rearended. At that point, I decided it should work in conjunction with the throttle as well as the jakes and function as a true cruise control for hill descent also.
One thing I did notice with the Set- function, when I started down Wolf Creek, I was in manual mode and 9th gear, just to see what would happen, I hit the D button. The computer stayed in 9th gear and never attempted to upshift. Infact, at one point I hit the upshift button for 10th, it shifted, but never changed the Set- speed setting. It would not let me go to 11th while Set- was active, perhaps a good thing.
One thing I will now take issue with is my fellow drivers and this incessant whining that you can't back an automatic up gently. Really? Perhaps you need to either retire or be retrained. For the record, I backed into 7 loading docks with this truck, never once did I give myself whiplash, concussion or rattle my teeth loose. It's called gentle on the throttle. Each time I put it in reverse, I gave it a blip of throttle to get it moving and then basically let it idle backwards. If you touch the brakes too hard it will stop, but you can still feather the brakes just as you would the clutch/brakes on a manual or an autoshift. I went into it with a misconception based on comments on here.
Overall, I enjoyed this truck, I was pushing my boss to consider buying it or a similar one to it. In amongst the Demo paperwork, was a approx. value sheet for the insurance, it had this truck listed @ $150,000 in value. We guess probably about $10,000 above it's actual selling price. The 70" condo was very nice, on the right side was a closet down low with two storage cubbies above, on the left side was an opening for a fridge, with a drawer/work station above it, and two cubbies on top. There was also storage over the cab and under the lower bunk. It has a mix of LED and regular lighting (should have been all LED). The seats are very comfortable (which means I may get one for my truck) with a lot of settings.
It's heavy though, we didn't scale it full of fuel, but I filled the tanks Thursday night before heading to Bridgeport to load. I scaled empty at 35,526 lbs in Bridgeport, my '09 has twin 120 tanks, 215" wb, and a 56" lo-rise sleeper and I would have scaled at about 34,600 in similar situation. So almost 1,000 lbs heavier. Not to mention, this truck barely burned any fuel on that run, the guage had barely moved off F when I arrived, mine would have burned 1/8 tank on the same trip portion.
Lots of power
Very roomy and comfortable
Even with this long WB, it had good turning radius (and I get into some tight places on my 2.5 day run)
Very light and airy feeling
Definetly spec'd as an O/O truck and it would work well for one I think
Tech heavy, if your not tech savy to learn the techiness of the truck/trans/computer stay away. This combo has a couple of quirks that you pick up on quickly.
Heavy, door sticker shows 18,560 minimal fuel without driver, we guessed with full fuel about 19,500. Add chains and normal junk a driver would carry and very quickly it could hit 20,000 lbs. Put a headache rack, chains, straps, binders, etc. and you could hit 21,000 or 22,000 lbs.
It's not for an impatient driver, you can't expect to learn it in a couple of hours or even a day. It really takes a couple of days driving to fully get the hang of it.
If I missed anything, please ask, I'll try to answer. No, I don't know what the gearing was in the trans or the rear ends.
Truck Review: '12 Mack CXU w/ M-Drive Auto trans
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Hah, MACK MP8 is D13C made by Volvo powertraine and red color painted (like on Renault trucks, but they call volvo D13 - DXi13 engine, and it is really funnu they use the same engine and trannies all over the world but they call them differnt). DEF - SCR unit is made by Bosch and it is a sourse of many problems with Volvo Engines. So never let diesel be in SCR tank, else you change SCR unit (pump, control unit and direction valve are all in one box).
M-Drive is red colored volvo I-shift transmission. Yep, made by Volvo powertraine and imported to USA (but Volvo guys say they launched Volvo Powertraine plant in USA, but more a half of parts are imported).
Cab and sleeper are really good! it is not European cab on conventional chassis like with VN, it is really US cab. The only thing I see from Volvo in cabin is Instrumental cluster... Yeah, it looks different, but I can see similar display (but with blue light).
I have always liked the Mack dash layout and have heard nothing but good things about the I/M drive.
I have also heard that for o/o there is a new upgrade int. also available now with one piece windshield.
My biggest complaint on the macks is the sleeper, we cannot run a condo, but a midroof is fine. Problem that I have with Mack's midroof is that there just are not a lot of nooks and crannies for stuff. IMO Pro stars have the same problem.
I was in a new Cascadia a month ago, it had the 60" midroof XT I was really suprised at the storage available in that sleeper as we are running 75" sleepers.
Does Mack still offer the battery powered climate control system?
Very good report. I like to read up on new trucks, and like real world experiences. I've read too many from "pros" that fly in, drive a couple hundred miles on a set course, and pronounce the truck wonderful.
As far as the clutch working smooth, that must be a Mack/Volvo thing. Drive a Meritor or Eaton full auto, and you will get whiplash a few times, no matter how hard you try not to. The new trans may be better, as the newest full auto I have driven was an '07.The Challenger Thanks this.
its kinda hard to call the 12 heavier than the 09 you drive, longer frame rail, bigger bunk, (wonder if it has a pto or just a dummy switch), if it had mack rears it will be heavier. I bet it will drive even better once performance mode is enabled and the speed gov. is moved out 10mph
also on a side note I seen the MP 10 is being released in Australia 685hp 2300lbs of torque M drive is the only trans. option Fuller doesnt have one rated that high Mack manual tops out at 2100lbs
some more good things. Late D13 engines have no kid's desearses like D13A had. Cylinder head design was improved, injector is not so deep in head now and no exaust valve problem yet. And Volvo makes new thiker heat exchanger cover (right side of cyl. block) that do not leak. We had to change covers on new FH and VN trucks last year becouse cover was bent with bolts and truck lost some coolant when cold.
spoke with Mack today about it, they claim a weight with full tanks at 19,800 lbs. Since it has the gold dog on the hood, it's full Mack driveline, so they are heavier. Rought guess from talking to Mack today, with Meritor rear ends, single bunk, 120 tanks, and shave 25" off the frame, would bring the weight down to about 19,000 +/-
really, I cant understand what a reason to use Mack and Renault brands for Volvo engines and transmissions????
Are customers so dumb that they do not know that Volvo as owner of Mack/Renault use Volvo Powertrain! What a reason to paint D13 in red and call it Mack ore Renault engine?
It is not all, Volvo engines are used on Sisu trucks (yep with Primiun/Quantum cabine) and they call Volvo D13 engine DXi13 like on Renault!!!!
Hah, Paccar does the same with Class 5-7 trucks named KW and DAF LF. They use Cummins CRD engines (ISB,ISL) and they make valve cover for cummins engines with Paccar logo!!!!
Whom is that all for? Truck owners are not so dumb!
What are these illusions for? We all know that the last Mack engine was PLD engine, and all other engines are Volvo, and really there is no VMack ECM, it is Volvo ECM made by Motorolla!!! WHat diagnostic software is used for Volvo, Mack, Sisu, Renault??? Yes, VCADs Pro ore PTT/VTT/RTT - anyway TechTooll software!
Yep, I dont really understand the reason for this branding!!!!
OK, about DD15. This engine was really made with Mercedes Engeneers in the USA and was introdused in USA. In Europe it will be introduced in 2012, becouse Mercedes wants to sell all Actros MP3 with OM501/502 engines and all Axor trucks with OM457/460. But in Europe this engine will be sold as Mercedes OM471!
I cant understand what a reason for International call MAN D20 series engines Maxxforce???? Why not to call it EPA version of D28???
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