Mack’s big dog: Titan primed to meet toughest challenges of construction rebound
If you went into a lab and boiled down everything Mack Trucks has learned over the past 114 years from every battlefield, jobsite, dam and highway that have seen its trucks, you’d probably come away with a truck like the 2014 Titan By Mack.
This is Mack’s heavy-haul/severe-service big dog: A beast of a truck with a 265-inch wheelbase, a 44,000-pound Mack S440 rear axle and a 605-horsepower Mack MP10 diesel engine. In an age where Mack is known as an aerodynamic and fuel economy leader, the Titan is a throwback to an age when trucks got their work done through brute force.
Titan isn’t really new. Mack debuted the model in 2006, just in time to watch the economy crash and take the construction sector with it. Since then, the company hasn’t done much to promote the truck, preferring to wait until the business environment improved. Today, housing starts are up, and oilfield work is going like gangbusters, so when I called Mack about getting behind the wheel of a Titan at its home base in Allentown, Pa., the company was happy to oblige.
For a good indicator of Titan’s toughness, you need only look to the Australian Outback, where the truck is a popular pick for pulling roadtrains across barren desert. So it was a good bet that my test truck was more than up to hauling a flatbed of concrete barricades that brought us to 80,000 pounds.
Stu Russoli, Mack’s product manager for vocational market segments, said my test Titan was spec’d for Texas oilfield work with a longer wheelbase, high horsepower, 52-inch axle spacing, the company’s 18-speed manual transmission and Rawhide interior package.
Despite the truck’s size, visibility from the driver’s seat was extremely good. The cab height, combined with some artful engineering, extended visibility to the front of the truck over the long-nosed hood required to create room for the MP10.
Russoli picked a fairly demanding route over the Blue Ridge Mountains for our drive. Thanks to the generous 2,060 foot-pounds of torque and 605 on-demand horses, the truck effortlessly accelerated and pulled tough mountain grades. On the downslope, the MP10’s PowerLeash engine brake easily held the fully loaded rig at my desired speed with minimal braking.
Considering my test Titan’s size and the long oilfield flatbed behind it, in-town maneuvering took a bit of patience, but the deep front-axle wheel cuts and the excellent side and rear views helped tremendously in heavy traffic and tight surroundings.
On the open road, Titan handled like a much smaller truck. While it’s not unusual for a truck this size pulling a heavy load to wander around at highway speeds, this Titan did no such thing. It was extremely docile at cruise speeds, with precise, smooth handling.
My Titan featured 17-inch front air disc brakes that provided more than enough sure stopping power on demand. The truck never felt like it was in danger of getting away, even with its whopper payload.
In the cab, the slate gray Rawhide interior with button-tuck upholstery contrasted well with the brushed aluminum dash and door facings. Ergonomically, the truck was very comfortable thanks to the Mack air suspension seat, well-designed armrests, convenient control placements and infinitely adjustable steering wheel.
Large gauges provided critical information at a quick glance, while Mack’s dash-mounted driver information center provided a wealth of in-depth vehicle intelligence, including instant mpg numbers and driver “sweet spot” coaching to help ensure consistent fuel economy performance.
If your job description calls for tough hauls, tough terrain or both, Titan By Mack is more than up to doing the dirty work.
Video log: Walk-around of the Mack Titan