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Truck Drivers WorldWide

Truck Cabs

Truck Cabs

The cabin or cab of a truck is an enclosed space in a truck where the driver is seated. Modern long-haul trucks cabs usually feature air conditioning, a good sound system, and ergonomic seats (often air-suspended).

A sleeper (or sleeper berth or bunk) is a compartment attached to the cab where the driver can rest while not driving, sometimes seen in semi-trailer trucks. They can range from a simple 2 to 4 foot (0.6 to 1.2 m) bunk to a 12 foot (3.7 m) apartment-on-wheels. There are a few possible cab configurations:

  • Cab over engine (COE) or flat nose, where the driver is seated on top of the front axle and the engine. The front doors are typically in front of and above the front tires. This design is almost ubiquitous in Europe, where overall truck lengths are strictly regulated. They were common in the United States, but lost prominence when permitted length was extended in the early 1980s. To access the engine, the whole cab tilts forward, earning this design the name of tilt-cab. This type of cab is especially suited to the delivery conditions in Europe where many roads follow the layout of much more ancient path and trackways which require the additional turning capability of the cab over engine type. The operating conditions of these vehicles tend to be cooler than the conventional cab design and so the increased engine surface area used for cooling in hotter climates is not required.
Access to a COE cab is commonly by steps forward of the front tires.
  • Conventional cabs are the most common in North America and Australia. The driver is seated behind the engine, as in most passenger cars or pickup trucks. Conventionals are further divided into large car and aerodynamic designs. A "large car" or "long nose" is a conventional truck with a long (6 to 8 foot (1.8 to 2.4 m) or more) hood. With their very square shapes, these trucks experience a lot of wind resistance and typically consume more fuel. They also provide somewhat poorer visibility than their aerodynamic or COE counterparts. By contrast, Aerodynamic cabs are very streamlined, with a sloped hood and other features to lower drag. The front doors are in back of (and mostly above) the front tires.
Access to a conventional cabin is commonly by steps at or near the fuel tank(s) in back of the front tires.
  • Cab beside engine designs also exist, but are rather rare.
  • Slang terms
    • Tiltin' Hilton or flying coffin - Cab-over with a sleeper berth.
    • Anteater - Specifically refers to the Kenworth T600, an aerodynamically-designed tractor whose nose resembles an anteater.
    • Large car - A conventional cab with a large square hood, such as the Peterbilt 379 or the Kenworth W900.


Kenworth upgrades conventional cabs

One of the highlights at PACCAR World will be the new ergonomically-designed cab interior, which will be introduced to Kenworth’s entire conventional truck range from May this year.

The new cab will be on show in a cut-away cab exhibit, and it will also feature in all six Kenworth bonneted trucks on display.

Kenworth’s conventional cab has undergone a major upgrade – both inside and out. It includes a host of innovations which greatly improve driver comfort, safety and productivity.

The new Business Class interior is decked out in fresh, contemporary colour schemes and styling. It includes Kenworth’s Smart Wheel steering wheel with finger-tip controls, a curved dash and overhead console, and a privacy curtain; all of which make a more roomy, functional driver environment.

Full-length grab rails provide safer entry and exit from the vehicle, by enabling three-point contact to be maintained at all time.

Andrew Hadjikakou says the new conventional cab and Business Class interior is the result of two years research and development, and takes cues from Kenworth’s K200 cab-over interior, which received rave reviews from customers following its recent interior upgrade.

“We were overwhelmed by the positive response to the K200’s new interior. Operators were impressed with the driver-friendly innovations and overall spaciousness and comfort. That feedback inspired us to go one step further with the cabs in our conventional trucks.”

Andrew said the first challenge was developing an identical cab across the conventional range, not only in look and feel but also dimension. The end result provided a bonus for customers of the T359, T659 and C509 models. The new, uniform cab is larger than their previous cabs.

“The new T359 cab has a higher ceiling and more depth. This provides more head space and room for seat adjustment which will benefit larger drivers. The T659 and the C509 cabs also have more seat room and a curved windscreen, which is now standard across the conventional truck range,” he explained.

The first thing you notice inside the cab is the ergonomically-designed dash and overhead console which curves around the driver. This improves visibility and provides easier access to all instruments and information displays.

Andrew says Kenworth rethought the entire layout, repositioning frequently-used equipment closer to the driver and less-used items further away. Radios and auxiliary switches have also been moved from the overhead console to improve driver safety.

“We have relocated items from the console, so that they are easier to reach. This has allowed us to make room for more storage areas in the console but, most importantly, it reduced distraction and improved the field of vision” Andrew explained.

At the centre of the dash is a fully-functional Smart Wheel with buttons on the wheel for conveniently controlling vital operating functions, including the truck’s engine brake, cruise control and high-beam headlights.

All electronic service components, HVAC and electrical circuitry have been relocated behind a new panel in front of the passenger seat. This provides better access, and makes repairs and maintenance easier.

Another thoughtful addition is an interior privacy curtain which wraps around the entire windscreen and both door windows. Made from heavy-duty vinyl, the curtain provides complete privacy for changing or sleeping. It also enhances the cab’s living space by visually separating it from the outside world. This makes it more comfortable for relaxing, watching TV or attending to paperwork.

Kenworth’s new Business Class interior comes complete with bright, contemporary colours which open up the driver environment, making it feel even more spacious. The trim is durable vinyl that is easy to clean and maintain.

Andrew says Kenworth’s fully-appointed Business Class cab interior offers benefits for fleet operators as well.

“The new cab enables fleet owners, with more than one Kenworth model, to have a uniform look and feel to the cabs. This allows them to standardise their workshop processes and practices, making servicing and repairs more efficient. Also, having a common interior with all essential equipment in the same place, means fleet drivers who switch from one model to another, will have a dramatically reduced learning curve,” he explained.

Kenworths fitted with the new conventional cab and Business Class interior can be ordered at the show, with trucks available from May.


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