Freightliner Coronado: Elegant Newcomer

Coronado styling meshes two extremes: the beefed-up look of the Classic XL tempered by old-fashioned grace.

The hood is true Freightliner – big, squared and sloped toward the nose, with an aerodynamic masculinity. The details add graceful lines that merge with the strength of the basic design to create a classy look. The bolt-on fenders are separate from the hood and flow into the round, dual headlight and turn signal housing in a way reminiscent of old American luxury cars that sport running boards and rumble seats. Chrome abounds. Cab-mounted stacks complete the picture.

In a test drive, the Coronado sported a Detroit Diesel 575 and Eaton Fuller’s 13-speed with 3.73 gears. It pulled like Patty’s pigtails coming up from the Columbia River Gorge toward the plateau and Mt. Hood. Freightliner says the 575 Detroit, properly equipped, should get about 6 mpg.

The Coronado sits atop a Century platform, but there is no obvious similarity beyond that. The 70-inch mid-roof sleeper has the great advantage of accommodating a standing driver. It offers much the same comfort as the high-rise in less space.

You get far more visibility over the hood than in the Classic, a characteristic carried through by the mirror design. Rear visibility is only slightly decreased by the cab-mounted stacks when backing left. The doors close with a reassuring thud and admit no breezes. The standard Ezy Rider seat is extremely comfortable and adjustable. The offset gear shift performs smoothly and does not pull back into the armrest – a common occurrence in some trucks.

The 50-degree wheel cut is a vast improvement over that of nearly all long hoods, and the steering is sound. The new leaf-and-a-half front suspension and the Airliner rear suspension contribute to a general solidness, a characteristic of the truck in general.

Since this is a relatively new truck, it’s not known if its resale value will be proportional to its premium price. What is known is that this truck is a classic looker and rides the way it handles, with an ease that reflects attention to engineering details.

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