ALLENTOWN, Pa. – In outlining its new Anthem parkway tractor, Mack Trucks set out to challenge an effective truck must be formed like a “jam bean.”
Also, the Anthem, no doubt, will toss an alternate shadow on the ground than any of its rivals. The Anthem, as per Mack, will create 3% preferred mileage over the Pinnacle in a 70-inch sleeper design, and a 1.5% change as a day taxicab. This notwithstanding its expansive square headlights, numerous sharp edges, and striking, precise plan.
The much-anticipated truck was shown to dealers and truck press for the first time at an unveiling here Sept. 13. It looks nothing like the new models bro-brand Volvo introduced earlier this year, and has managed to capture the distinct styling befitting a Mack, in a package that the company says will be competitive in terms of fuel economy.
“Our main goal was to design something that looks like a Mack,” said Stu Russoli, on-highway product manager with Mack Trucks. “It’s gotta be bold, it’s gotta look like a Mack.”
The company spent five years designing the new Anthem, beginning the process with visits to truck stops, where designers traded meal vouchers for truck tours, to see exactly how drivers were living in and utilizing their trucks, regardless of make.
“We asked if we could go into their truck, look around, see how they lived,” Russoli recalled. “We needed to make it look like a Mack, that was our request to designers. It also needs to be aerodynamic, and then we go into driver comfort.”
Optional hood-mounted mirrors are placed on top of the hood, so they’re higher up, and also align with the side mirrors to minimize the disruption to airflow. A one-piece composite roof protects against leaks, but doesn’t allow for a skylight, something Russoli said was a frequent complaint from drivers who found them prone to leakage and to let in too much light at nighttime.
The larger 70-inch stand-up sleeper provides more interior headroom and living space for drivers. All lights on, and inside, the new Mack Anthem are LED, requiring less power draw and providing a whiter light. The LED headlights, Russoli said, provide 66% better brightness.
The hood takes 50% less effort to open, and uses a single point hood latch so drivers no longer have to circle to both sides of the hood to release latches. A three-piece hood and bumper, as well as breakaway hood and side mirrors, were designed to reduce replacement and repair costs.
Inside the cab, the dash was redesigned to put controls within closer reach of the driver. Eight switches have been moved to the steering wheel – but a base steering wheel without buttons is also available. The steering wheel is the industry’s first with a race car-inspired flat bottom, which was done for styling, but also to afford more belly room and to make it easier to slide in and out of the driver seat.
As part of the design process, Mack designers also visited used truck lots to see first-hand how trucks aged. They found issues such as worn rocker switches, which had become difficult or impossible to read. In the Anthem, switches have been laser-etched so the markings last.