Test Drive

Photos and Story by Steve Sturgess | June 01, 2012

Mack Pinnacle axle-back

Frame: Mack, 266-by-90-by-8 mm

Gauges are well-organized, fitting within the arc of the wheel.

Engine: Mack MP8 505C 13-liter, 505 hp, 1,760 lb.-ft. torque

Engine brake: Mack Powerleash

Transmission: Mack mDrive tMD 12AO automated mechanical 12-speed overdrive

Wheelbase: 233 inches

Front axle: 12,000-pound dual taper-leaf suspension

Rear axle: Mack S40C, 40,000 pounds, 3.25:1 ratio

Suspension: Mack 40,000-pound air-ride

Fifth wheel: Fontaine air slide

Seats: Mack proprietary Ultra-Leather

Interior: Grand Touring

Other: Mack 70-inch mid-rise sleeper; roof fairing, skirts, side extenders; exterior sun visor; heated, motorized mirrors; 160-amp alternator; Borg Warner on/off fan clutch; gear reduction starter; Davco 482 fuel/water separator

Cab comfort

The Pinnacle has good driver’s seat travel and an adjustable steering column, so it’s easy to set the driving position to the pedals and get the wheel just right. So it really is a cruise with the transmission dropping gears on the long climbs — sometimes one, sometimes two, almost never three — as the Mack MP8 really gets down and goes.

The driver display is a triumph. Gauges are clear and neatly organized around the steering wheel. Moreover, the column control stalk has only an up/down rocker, and the enter and escape buttons.

I had assumed, because the control stalk was the same as Volvo’s, that the rest of the system would be too, but it’s an entirely different interface and it’s even easier to use than Volvo’s.

Leather seats sit nicely far apart. Even with armrests, there’s a full 14 inches of walk-through to the sleeper. However, because the center console stack has big cup holders, a handy shelf and a large storage bin, the seats have to be pushed back when standing up from either seat.

There’s the usual storage in the header and rather stylishly trimmed door pockets. The cab floor had a thick, fitted-rubber mat that no doubt contributed to the low noise levels in this Pinnacle. I spent no time in the sleeper, but the shelves would accommodate duffels and sleeping bags fitted high on each side with a provision on the passenger side for a television and other electronics. Beneath this is a wardrobe, and there’s copious storage under the bunk. One great interior feature is back-of-cab access via the driver-side steps.

Contributing Editor Steve Sturgess has covered trucking, automotive and related fields for more than 30 years.

OverdriveOnline.com strives to maintain an open forum for reader opinions. Click here to read our comment policy.