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The Driver’s Truck

By on November 1, 2018

A fusion of power, luxury, craftsmanship & traditional styling

At 131.5 inches from bumper to back-of-cab, the new Kenworth W990 establishes a bold presence among conventional trucks. It’s designed to maximize performance in linehaul, pickup and delivery, regional haul and heavy-haul operations. 

The W990’s design reflects the heritage of the company’s iconic W900 long-hood conventional model, introduced in the early 1960s, along with Kenworth’s K100 cabover.

The new Kenworth W990 “sets a powerful industry standard and captures the spirit of what trucking is all about,” said Mike Dozier, Kenworth general manager and PACCAR vice president.

PACCAR is a global technology leader in the design, manufacture and customer support of premium light-, medium- and heavy-duty trucks under the Kenworth, Peterbilt and DAF nameplates and advanced diesel engines.

The new model was introduced in a choreographed sequence, complete with stirring music, light show and some fireworks before the assembled customers, dealers and editors at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway on September 27th. 

“The presence, power and personal style wrapped in a world-class design redefines the long-hood conventional,” added Jonathan Duncan, Kenworth’s design director. 

Available in 52-inch and 76-inch mid-roof sleepers, 40-inch flattop and day cab configurations, the W990’s proprietary, standard PACCAR powertrain includes the MX-13 engine rated up to 510 hp and 1,850 lb-ft of torque; 12-speed automated transmission; and 40K tandem rear axles.

Wow Factor

W990 development began in earnest about three years ago, said Kurt Swihart, Kenworth’s marketing director. That was preceded by driver and technician research regarding styling, functionality and serviceability improvements. The company started with a clean slate to formulate ideas that blended tradition with new technology, and placed emphasis on things drivers would notice. “First and foremost, we wanted to design a truck that had a significant wow factor, signifying image, pride and freedom,” said Johnathan Duncan.

“We also knew that the W990 had to be a true driver’s truck. We wanted drivers to take pause at the end of a hard day, look over their shoulders and admire their rides. We wanted to reward drivers with the smoothest ride and the sharpest–looking trucks out there; trucks that make other drivers do a doubletake.

“To me, the two biggest W900 visuals are the grille and the hood, which have a bumper-to-back-of-cab length of 131.5-inches, 1.5 inches longer than its cousin, the W900L. The grille, which incorporates stainless steel, is really the face of the new W990. We maintained the traditional cathedral shape, and the inset surfaces at the top give the grille a refined, tailored look.

“The design team added a host of other elements, including hood-side features that complement the stainless steel air intakes. The team also paid close attention to the shape of the side air intake reflections in the hood side surfaces. In some colors, the intakes look twice as deep.

While the truck surely stands out, on the inside it conveys a special attitude as well. “Behind the wheel, the driver’s view over the hood is a huge part of the W990’s appeal,” Duncan said. “It’s really one of the keys to the success of this design. The powerful wind-split (the raised center section on the hood top) is designed to accentuate the length of the hood, and the dynamic shape reflects the powerful engine underneath. The side air intakes wrap over the top of the hood so that they are visible from the driver’s seat. All of this creates a strong visual impact from behind the wheel.”

Feeling good about the ride is one thing, but enjoying the ride is another, he added. “The interior of the W990 follows that of our flagship T680 with all the room, dash layout and sleeper amenities, but we went one step further by designing the Limited Edition interior package.”

Spectacular Interior

Built on the proven and popular 2.1-meter cab platform—used in the Kenworth T680 aerodynamic tractor and T880 vocational model—the W990 features the latest in technology, plus numerous driver comfort features and amenities. They include the Limited Edition cab and sleeper interior and the premium W990 Driver’s Studio package that creates a “luxurious home-on-the-road living experience,” Duncan noted.

The W990 Limited Edition interior comes in midnight black with glossy Ravenwood door and dash trim accents. This special interior features rich black leather, embroidered W990 logo, Royal Blue double-stitched diamond door pads, and black leather-wrapped steering wheel with Royal Blue stitching. The driver and passenger seats have charcoal suede inserts and perforated leather with Royal Blue backing. The Kenworth NAV+HD seven-inch, color in-dash display provides access to features such as truck-specific navigation, roadside assistance, vehicle data, hands-free calling, audio controls, blind-spot camera inputs, and the Internet. The W990 has a standard Kenworth TruckTech+ remote diagnostics system.

The W990 Driver’s Studio includes a 180-degree swivel passenger seat, rotating table for two people, drawer-style refrigerator, and convenient microwave space. Entertainment is provided by a premium audio package with 320-watt amp, 10-inch subwoofer and eight speakers. A swivel mount holds up to a 28-inch flat screen TV, and optional EpicVue pre-wiring is available for satellite TV. A full-size wardrobe, multiple drawers and a large space under the lower bunk provide excellent storage. An 1,800-watt inverter includes a shore power connection and four standard 120-volt sleeper outlets. Well-placed LED lighting illuminates the sleeper. 


Knowing that the owners and drivers of the new Kenworth W990 will want to add their own special touches, Duncan said a special effort was made to involve PACCAR Parts early in the design process. “We worked together to create aftermarket enhancements, like a special LED lighting package and stainless trim pieces. We feel individual W990 drivers will want to customize these trucks to really be able to call them their own. Personally, I’m really looking forward to seeing what drivers end up doing with them. I feel like we’ve given them a great place to start.”

Road Tour & Video

The new Kenworth W990 is starring in two Road Tours slated to visit 20 Kenworth dealerships in the United States and Canada through November 16. Check the schedule at kenworth.com/media/55266/w990-tour.pdf.

You can also take a look at Kenworth’s new W990 long-hood conventional in action at youtube.com/KenworthTruckCo. Filmed on location in the rugged, picturesque countryside of Northern Arizona and Monument Valley, Utah, the video begins by introducing the freedom and control of life on the road. It then highlights the W990’s contours and chrome accents, comfort, functionality and lifestyle features of the Limited Edition interior, and the driver-focused smooth ride.

About Warren Eulgen

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