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Kenworth T680 Next Gen

The T680 Next Gen from Kenworth

Kenworth introduces the T680 Next Gen which they believe is perfected for the road ahead.

T680 Next Gen Has a Bold Innovative Design

When you look at this new model, the first thing you notice is the aerodynamic design. According to Kenworth, it is “the most highly evolved aerodynamic long-haul tractor Kenworth has ever engineered.”

The next striking feature of this truck that got our attention is the optimized powertrain with an efficient, fully-integrated solution from PACCAR which boasts up to 6% fuel economy over previous models.

Finally, the added smart technology clearly makes the driving experience more intuitive, safer, and less fatiguing for the driver, and when you combine that with a “world-class cabin reminiscent of the finest automobiles” the Kenworth T680 Next Gen is a serious contender for commercial fleets who want to upgrade.

T680 Next Gen Has Sleek Aerodynamic Styling

The T680 was first introduced in 2012. Joe Adams, Chief Engineer at Kenworth said, “In 2012, we launched the T680 which set the standard for an on-highway truck model. Since then we’ve been innovating and we’re going to set the standard again (with the T680 Next Gen).”

One of the areas that Kenworth focused on was aerodynamics. “The challenge for the development team for the Next Generation T680, was to take the work we did on the original T680, the truck that really set the standard, and improve upon the aerodynamics”, said Jonathan Duncan, Design Director at Kenworth.

The T680 Next Gen definitely has taken another big jump raising the standard in the industry. Kenworth has created a high-functioning machine that performs very well and boasts up to 6% fuel economy benefit over previous models which in part is due to enhanced aerodynamics.

It isn’t just the hood and cab design that is providing improved aerodynamics. The added 28-inch side extenders allow seamless airflow off of the cab, the sleeper, and onto the trailer. By decreasing the trailer gap it improves the aerodynamics but these extenders do not limit trailer access because they have an opening fairing extension that allows drivers to move it out of the way.

Engine / Powertrain Specifications

In addition to the aerodynamics, the T680 Next Gen comes standard with the following engine and powertrain which contributes to the 6% fuel economy over previous models.

  • EPA 2021 PACCAR MX-13 Engine
    • 12.9 Liter
    • 405-510 HP
    • 1,550 – 1,850 lb-ft of Torque
  • TruckTech+ Remote Diagnostics
  • TruckTech+ Over-The-Air Update Capable
Kenworth T680 Next Gen Powertrain

Exhaust / Aftertreatment

  • RH Under Fairing DPF/SCR with Horizontal Tailpipe
  • DEF Tank – 21 Usable Gallons

High Visibility LED Side Turn Indicators, Best-in-Class LED Headlamps

Kenworth has also introduced all-new LED side turn indicators which provide great visibility. This indicator is located down the back edge of the front fender. This location makes sure that motorists, especially motorcyclists and passenger cars, coming up alongside the truck can see that the truck is making a turn.

The new LED headlamp design is optional. They boast best-in-class forward light performance with a signature nighttime and daytime-running-light feature. The light is bright and clear which will illuminate the road at nighttime making it safer for drivers and other motorists.

These headlights come equipped with heaters to control condensation, fogging, and ice accumulation which historically was a problem for LED headlamps.

15″ Customizable Digital Display

Like many of us, we seldom use all of the features on our devices and in our vehicles. This was something that Steve Jahns, UX/Ergonomics Design Lead noticed. He explains, “When we started the project we really wanted to first take the time to observe the way people were using our current instrumentation system and learn from that. We were seeing that drivers weren’t necessarily using the level of depth that is in typical instrumentation.”

15″ Digital Display

The new completely glass cockpit provides drivers with everything they need to see, exactly when they need to see it. The display is customizable and drivers can minimize and maximize gauges. This enhances safety and allows drivers to respond to any changing environments or operational issues as they occur.

Next Gen Smart Wheel

The new 15″ digital display is paired with an all-new Next Gen Smart Wheel which has the features for controlling the digital display, cruise control, and other integrated features.

The main concern is that drivers are able to keep their hands on the wheel at all times.

Distracted driving accounts for a huge amount of collisions and deaths on our highways and the Kenworth Next Gen Smart Wheel is set up so that it is easy for the driver to control all the features safely.

Final Thoughts on the T680 Next Gen

This is a beautiful truck, many of the comments we have heard are summed up this way, “this is the truck I have been dreaming of owning.”

From a parts perspective, all of this enhanced technology is not going to be cheap to maintain and replace when there are problems. The headlights, hood, and aerodynamic features alone will be very expensive to repair and replace compared to older models but the savings in fuel economy and the impact on driver satisfaction are clearly going to make this truck a winner for commercial fleets and owner-operators.

For more notable PACCAR models from 2021 check out this article.

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Author: Jamie Irvine

Jamie Irvine is the host of The Heavy-Duty Parts Report and a consultant that works with manufacturers, distributors, and SaaS companies serving the heavy-duty truck parts industry.

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