The International DuraStar is a medium duty truck introduced by the company in 2002 and is available in three variants, the 4100, 4300 and 4400. All three models share the same chassis, but they have different engines, axles and payload capacities.
Thanks to a wide range of configurations, the truck has a highly versatile character and can be used for a wide variety of applications such as emergency services, towing, flatbed truck or a cargo box truck.
Since its launch, the truck was continuously improved and today comes in 4x4, 4x4 and 6x4 axle configurations with GVWR (gross vehicle weight ratings) ranging between 23.500-60.000 lbs. The International DuraStar is also available in both rigid or tractor configuration and is priced from $75,000.
Most medium duty trucks don’t attract much attention, but the DuraStar commands a surprising amount of ogling, courtesy of its aerodynamic shape and the sharp headlights.
The front end’s design is pretty catchy and the stainless steel grille dominates the long nose and gels well with the rest of the truck. We also like the aerodynamically shaped bumper which blends seamlessly with the front fascia adding a strange dose of dynamism which is rarely seen in this class. There is also available a 4 inch bumper extension which reduces grill and hood damage caused by minor bumps.
To keep the engine cool, the shiny bumper is also fitted with a “smiley” air intake which was split in three sections. For extra ventilation for the engine, there are two sharp air intakes mounted on the sides of the bonnet.
For enhanced versatility, the International DuraStar is offered with a choice of three cab configuration including the Day cab, the Extended Cab and the Crew Cab. All cabins feature a sloped hood and a swept-back, curved windshield design which offer a commanding view of the road and good visibility.
Compared to the modern exterior design, the interior looks a bit disappointing. The dashboard design isn’t something to rave about as the style was sacrificed for functionality. Like most trucks of its type, the DuraStar isn’t blessed with high-end interior materials either. What you get instead is a typical array of hard plastics and inhospitable touchpoints, hence you won’t find much to get excited about in the cabin.
Luckily, the controls are straight-forward and ergonomically friendlybut, the build quality is a bit poor compared with other trucks in the segment and the fittings needed more attention.
On the other hand, we find the instrument cluster fairly attractive and pretty well organized, yet we’re still not totally convinced by the combination of yellow back-light and the red needles chosen for the round gauges, as it is a bit disturbing especially during the night.
We also find the two spoke steering wheel a bit dated for today’s standards but at least is fitted with a few useful controls and also comes with tilt and telescoping adjustments which permit you to easy find a comfortable driving position.
Talking about driving position, the seats aren’t the best in the business, and could’ve come with more side support. On the other hand they offer a proper back support and can be adjusted pretty easy according to your wishes.
You also have plenty of head-, shoulder- and leg-room available, as the DuraStar features one of the most spacious cabs in its class. Though, there aren’t too many storage places around the cabin, but we like the easily accessible cup holders which pop out from the dashboard.
The truck is equipped with International ’s Diamond Logic electrical system with pre-programmed features like pre-trip inspections, headlights on with wipers and safety interlocks. While the Diamond Logic sounds good on paper, many truckers complained about its reliability and various malfunctions.
Engines and transmissions
The International DuraStar is available with MaxxForce 7, MaxxForce 9, and MaxxForce DT diesel engines which come with a wide range of horsepower options.
The MaxxForce DT engine was designed for both on and off highway applications with eight different model ratings that offer 215-300 hp and 560-860 lb.-ft. of torque. Thanks to its automatic and manual driveline options, the engine is suited to a wide range of vocational applications.
The MaxxForce DT features a dual sequential, free-wheel turbocharger and a performant cooling system for a better boost and response. A primary turbo responds quickly for immediate take-off at low engine speeds while the larger, secondary turbo provides peak power at higher speeds and on steep grades offering superior performances in almost every situation.
For an enhanced fuel economy, the engine uses a high pressure common rail system and an advanced air management system. The MaxxForce DT is available with an optional engine brake built by Jacobs which provides lower braking power and extends the life of the service brakes.
There is also a hybrid version available which has the capability to provide fuel savings between 30% -40% on standard in-city pickup and delivery applications. Moreover, the fuel efficiency can be increased to more than 60% in utility-type applications, when the engine can be shut off letting only the electric power to operate the truck.
The engines can be mated on different manual, automated or automatic gearboxes including Eaton-Fuller, UltraShift and Allison units.
International DuraStar Engines specifications
|MaxxForce DT||230@2200||620 @1300|
|MaxxForce DT||230@2200||660 @1300|
|MaxxForce DT||245@2200||660 @1300|
|MaxxForce DT||260@2200||660 @1300|
|MaxxForce DT||270 @2200||860 @1300|
|MaxxForce DT||285@2200||860 @1300|
|MaxxForce DT||300 @2200||860 @1300|
|MaxxForce 9||300 @2000||860@1200|
|MaxxForce 9||315 @2000||950 @1200|
|MaxxForce 9||330 @2000||950 @1200|
Ride and suspensions
The International DuraStar is fitted with spring parabolic taper leaf front suspension with a capacity of 8,000 – 14,600 lb., while at the rear suspension is offered with a choice of single spring with variable rate or 4-spring multileaf configurations with a capacity of up to 34,000 lb. There is also available an IROS rear air suspension for the single and tandem axles.
As most trucks in the segment, the ride is more on the bumpy side, but it gets better when there is some load put at the back. The steering is pretty good and despite its lack of significant feedback is fairly sharp and responsive.
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.
The International DuraStar features an attractive exterior design and has a highly versatile character with various axle, suspensions and cab configurations. The truck’s engines are fairly strong and can deal with almost everything you’ll throw at them. The DuraStar is also pretty cheap to maintain and features one of the biggest cabin in its class. On the other hand, the ride isn’t the best in the business and the truck’s reliability can’t be compared with Freightliner ’s trucks.