New Kenworth T680 10-speed Automatic The Good And The Bad

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Harvey C.'s Comment
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My son Jay started driving a 2018 T680 this week with his new employer and a solution to the shelf obstructing closet height mentioned by Farmerbob1 and ChickieMonster (above) was easily resolved and he is going to try it out without the shelf. The shelf needs to lifted up on the left side first (hit it from underneath with your hand a couple of times) where two rubber fittings (marked with A in the photo) accept two pegs from the bottom of the shelf and then the two wedges of the shelf on the right side slide out easily from two holes on the right (marked with B in the photo).

He had driven a Cascadia for 8 months and likes the T680 better overall but only has 1,200 miles of experience with it. He didn't have a bunk heater before or an APU or inverter so that helps sway him somewhat, probably. He says it backs up faster than he likes.


Auxiliary Power Unit

On tractor trailers, and APU is a small diesel engine that powers a heat and air conditioning unit while charging the truck's main batteries at the same time. This allows the driver to remain comfortable in the cab and have access to electric power without running the main truck engine.

Having an APU helps save money in fuel costs and saves wear and tear on the main engine, though they tend to be expensive to install and maintain. Therefore only a very small percentage of the trucks on the road today come equipped with an APU.

Harvey C.'s Comment
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Nion M.'s Comment
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Big thanks to Farmerbob1 for the review on the Kenworth T680 Automatic. Here’s my quick take:

The lurching sounds like a bit of a pain, especially with a heavy load. It’s one of those quirks that seems to pop up more than we’d like.

Storage space is a sore spot, huh? It’s always a juggle finding places for all our stuff. Might have to get creative with organizing solutions.

But hey, that fuel efficiency sounds pretty sweet. Saving on gas is always a win in my book.

And less stress in city driving? That’s a big thumbs up. Anything that makes the drive smoother is a plus in my world.

So, it's a bit of give-and-take with the T680. Those miles per gallon and easier rides are tempting, but it’s a bummer about the storage and that lurching issue. Drive safe out there!

Catch you on the flip side!

I had been driving a 2015 Freightliner Cascadia eight speed manual for six months since I went solo, but wanted to try an automatic.

Sooo... I asked about it, and there was a 2016 Kenworth T680 10-speed Automatic available.

I decided to try it.

The bad:

Sleeper storage space is horrible compared to the Freightliner. It's even bad compared to the T680's my two trainers had.

Accessible storage in the cab, reachable from the driver's seat, is absolutely miserable compared to the Freightliner.

The arrangement of the cupholders is disgusting. The two cupholders are on the far side of the automatic shift lever. This means that when I put my cupholder mount for my smartphone in either cupholder spot, I cannot use the other, due to the shift lever or the smartphone mount blocking the empty cupholder. Fortunately, the odds-and-ends hole on the drivers side of the shift lever is just big enough that I can jam a 20oz soda bottle in it.

There is only one light switch for the sleeper, not the four that the Freightliner had. All or nothing.

When I sleep, I have to put my CPAP machine on the 5-gallon bucket I keep in the sleeper, because the sleeper controls are on the opposite side from the desk, and the shelf near the sleeper controls is only wide enough to be a step, not a storage place. When I am not sleeping, I have to disconnect and store the CPAP machine, as there is nowhere to permanently store it where it can be used, and doesn't risk being damaged.

The damn truck lurches like a drunken sailor when trying to back with a heavy load, meaning I have to be super careful when backing.

Acceleration from a stop is very slow when loaded. The automatic shifts low gears much slower than I can float them.

The Good:

The desk is much bigger than the Cascadia's desk. I can actually put my laptop on it, AND have room for a drink, and a mouse too!

Despite slow loaded acceleration, city driving is much less stressful. I can pay more attention to what is around me, and less attention to shifting.

The fuel mileage isn't something that impacts me directly as a company driver, but I'll comment on it anyway, because it is one of very few things I like about the truck. I drove 850 miles from Dallas, TX to Ft. Collins, CO with 43,000 in the box. Then deadheaded 420 miles to Liberal, KS and have driven 800 more miles to Potts Camp, MS with 42000 in the box. My MPG for all 2070 miles? 9.3 MPG.


The takeaway? There's nothing critically bad about the new truck, but I'm still going to try to pick up a Freightliner Automatic in 90 days when I get back to the yard. And before I switch trucks again, I am going to make sure it has intelligently designed storage space, unlike this T680 Automatic.


To drive with an empty trailer. After delivering your load you will deadhead to a shipper to pick up your next load.


Constant Positive Airway Pressure

CPAP is a breathing assist device which is worn over the mouth or nose. It provides nighttime relief for individuals who suffer from Sleep Apnea.


Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
PJ's Comment
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For folks in auto’s having the lurching problem in reverse. Manually put it in high range reverse, volvo called it reverse 2. Solves the issue.

BK's Comment
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For folks in auto’s having the lurching problem in reverse. Manually put it in high range reverse, volvo called it reverse 2. Solves the issue.

PJ, that’s a great tip. I have this issue in my 2022 Fright-liner. I have a delivery today with a tight dock, so I should be able to use your tip right away. Thanks.

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