In US, CAT sells only its CT660 vocational model, but in Australia its lineup includes two models namely the CT 610 and CT 630. Both Australian models were developed by NC2, a joint venture between Navistar and Caterpillar and you won’t need to be an expert to see that between CAT’s trucks and International’s models there is a strong resemblance.
While the CT660 has a totally fresh design the 610 model is based on the International DuraStar and TranStar models. These vehicles don’t share only the exterior design, but also the same interior and technologies. However, the CT610 isn’t powered by Cummins engines, as at its hart sits a 470 hp CAT engine. The CT610 is as versatile as its International siblings and was developed especially for regional haul applications.
In order to be more resistant to harsh working conditions and extreme temperatures, the Cat CT610 cab received a double-sided galvanized treatment.
The Cat CT610 features a pretty modern design characterized by fluid lines and aerodynamic surfaces. While 90 percent of its design is based on International’s DuraStar and TranStar models there are also a few unique design elements which set it apart from its donors.
The most striking difference is the radiator grille, which bares the CAT logo in its center. The CAT610’s grille also features a thick chromed border which gives the truck an aggressive appearance.
The rest remained mostly unchanged and the CT610 keeps the same nose shape and the sleek headlights which look fairly good and underline the dynamic lines of the vehicle.
The aerodynamic design of the truck is also enhanced by the oversized wheel arches which cope great with the sharp headlights and the wraparound bumper. The sloped bonnet and the raked windscreen also help the truck to keep the drag coefficient to as low as possible and also improve the straight road visibility.
To offer easy access to the engine, the three piece bonnet is made of a lightweight material and tilts open to a 90 degree angle.
Access inside is made pretty easy, as the steps are placed ergonomically and the handles will also help you climb all the way up in full safety. The interior looks pretty familiar, as the dashboard has the typical wraparound design which can be found at almost any truck in this class. The CT610’s dashboard is clutter free with all the switches grouped in logical use and everything being located within easy reach.
Frequent use controls such as the drive selectors and parking brake lever fall easily to the hand, whilst the main display binnacle’s round dials and electronic display panel offer concise information which can be read with a swift glance.
While the design looks pretty common with what you’ll find in International’s trucks, the fittings and plastics seem a bit better. The interior trim and finishes consist of a pleasing mixture of hard wearing black and grey hues, which are contrasted by the icy blue light of the instrument cluster.
In the International cabs we liked the design and comfort levels offered by the air suspended driver’s seat and we weren’t disappointed by the CT160 seats either. The multiple adjustments offered by these captain chairs, combined with the same level of movements in the steering wheel, allow the perfect driving position to be easily selected.
Talking about the steering wheel, it has the same design as the one found in International’s trucks, but it seems slightly better build and more refined.
The straight road visibility is top notch and you also have plenty of storage places available which include two large overhead storage bins, door pockets, driver storage/map pocket and coat hook.
Engines and performance
Powering the CT610 is the CAT C13 engine which develops a maximum output of 470 hp. The engine benefits of a higher compression ratio, higher cylinder pressure and series turbo charging which results in a smooth toque delivery of 2237Nm at 1200 rpm while the delivery of the 470 hp commences at 2100 rpm.
Needless to say the engine always felt willing and free revving during a host of different road situations. Running fully loaded the truck was well on top of the job and the ever punchy engine offered a proper acceleration even when we had to deal with hill climbs.
The 2007 compliant Cat C13 engines are engineered to offer the same fuel economy as EPA 2004 compliant engines. The power is perfectly kept in check by the standard Eaton Fuller 18-speed transmission which deals with any situation without problems and offers smooth shifts with perfectly choose gear ratios.
CAT said that laboratory tests and engine disassembly analyses indicate that Cat C13 engines are expected to have a B50 life of one million kilometers with Cat’s recommended maintenance.
The stopping power is assured by either hydraulic disc brakes with ABS or air brakes with ABS and ESP, both also available with optional traction control.
Ride and handling
The International CAT CT610 is fitted with spring parabolic taper leaf front suspension, while at the rear suspension is offered with a choice of single spring with variable rate or 4-spring multileaf configurations. There is also available a rear air suspension for both single and tandem axles.
Regardless of the suspension configuration you’ll chose, the CAT CT610 is able to deal with road bumps pretty well, as it can soak most of the vibrations without affecting the driver’s comfort.
On the other hand, on the highway the cabin could start to feel a bit noisy. Most of the noise will come from the engine, but it can also be heard some wind noise coming from the leading corner at the top of the cabin.
In the end, the general impression made by the truck is pretty good, as it can be considered a strong performer. The CT610 doesn’t bring anything new on the table, but CAT was always seen with good eyes by the truckers from all over the world and its engines are among the best in the business.
The engines are also pretty refined and will cope great with anything you’ll ask of them. The ride is pretty good too, but the cabin needed more attention as it’s less refined than the offerings of other trucks in the segment. The cab also needed a better sound isolation.