The International brand has a history of almost 100 years behind it and even since the beginning it was concentrated on trucks development. The TerraStar is one of the smallest trucks built by the US manufacturer and it was designed for specific medium duty missions with a GVWR of 16,001-19,500 lbs.
The truck costs around $45,000 and features the most spacious cockpit in its class being available in both Day and Crew cab configurations. The International TerraStar is equipped with a 300 hp power MaxxForce V8 engine and the only no-hassle emissions technology available on the market which makes one of the most efficient trucks in the business.
The TerraStar keeps the same design language of the International trucks featuring a conventional cab with oversized front wheel arches. The cabin is strongly build and is ready to endure tough conditions without problems, while the strong chassis is also suited for a wide range of jobs.
As most trucks in the segment the overall design isn’t something to rave about, as the engineers were focused more on the functionality. The long nose features a vertical chromed grille which gives the truck an imposing stance, while the swept back headlights look pretty modern and add a dose of dynamism to an otherwise utilitarian appearance.
The cabin was designed to offer easy repairs and easy access to engine compartment for routine service and scheduled maintenance. The fenders are also made of three pieces for independent repair in case of an accident, while the sealed beam bulbs are also easy to replace.
You need to make only one step to hop inside the cabin, while the door openings are also pretty generous and permit you to have easy access. The cab is carried over from the Durastar model and shares a lot of elements with it. Though, this is not exactly a good thing, as the overall design is pretty rudimentary and the cabin remained mostly utilitarian.
You are also treated with cloth captain buckets and a cavernous center console. The dashboard is annoyingly simple while the materials are rock hard. Luckily the fittings look pretty solid and cope well with the rugged character of the truck, while the flat floor is also a big advantage that can’t be found at many trucks in the business.
The front seats can accommodate up to three people and offer proper back and lateral support while the driver’s seat is available with optional air suspension and can be adjusted according to your wishes. As most of the trucks in the segment the steering wheel is also adjustable for both reach and rake and it will be easy to find a good driving position. Once you’ve settled in comfortably you’ll be rewarded with a great road visibility which is best in its class.
Unfortunately, we can’t say many good things about the instrument cluster as it is a bit too cluttered for our tastes and can act as a distraction. On the other hand, we don’t have any complains about the storage places as the truck is among the best at this department. Besides the classical dash cubby holes and the door pockets the vehicle also features a big glove box and overhead dash pockets.
The International TerraStar is also available with the Diamond Logic electrical system, one of the most advanced electrical multiplexing architectures available in commercial trucks. Diamond Logic maximizes ease of body integration and helps deliver a number of smart, customizable features for added convenience and safety—such as automated pre-trip inspections, headlights on with wipers, interlocks, programmable switches and more depending on the application.
Engines and transmissions
The International TerraStar is equipped with the new MaxxForce 7 V8 engine which develops a maximum output of 300 hp @ 2600 rpm with 660 ft. lb. 1600 – 2200 rpm of torque. International has enhanced the MaxxForce 7 to meet 2010 emissions standards with MaxxForce Advanced EGR which is an in-cylinder exhaust-gas recirculation system that doesn’t require diesel exhaust fluid for selective catalytic reduction of nitrogen oxides.
Compared with other engines in the class the dual sequential turbocharged MaxxForce is a bit sluggish and doesn’t feel too comfortable when it needs to deal with hills or sloped roads especially when is fully loaded.
Instead the engine features 5 shots per cycle capability and delivers a good fuel economy, quiet operation, low emissions, and also permits after‐treatment control without downstream injection. The diesel unit is pretty smooth too and even if it’s acceleration feels a bit sluggish it is able to do heavy jobs without quitting.
The engine is bolted with a compacted graphite iron cylinder block which is stronger and lighter than the conventional gray iron blocks, hence improving the truck’s payload capacity.
The vehicle is mated on an Allison 1000 6 speed automatic transmission which is also used by other truck manufacturers. The transmission is faultless and offers smooth shifts with well choose momentum.
The Allison Optimized transmission package also delivers a good balance between power, performance, reliability and fuel economy, and comes with a 5-year unlimited mile warranty. The transmission features Shift Energy Management (SEM), which provides better engine/transmission integration to achieve optimum shift quality, greater powertrain durability and improved vehicle performance. Moreover, the gearbox also comes fitted with a Load-Based Shift Scheduling (LBSS) system, which automatically selects between “economy” and “performance” shift schedules based on the vehicle’s actual payload and the grade on which it is operating. Also for improved efficiency the transmission features an Automatic “neutral” function which automatically shifts to neutral for improved performance.
Ride and suspensions
The suspension setup is pretty good and the front axle can go down as low as 6000 - 7000 pounds, while the rear suspension can support between 10000-15000 pounds. The International TerraStar is also easy to operate on the city streets, thanks to its narrow dimensions and the capable steering which makes it pretty agile for a mid-weight truck. Moreover, the truck’s distance from the front bumper to the back of its cab has a length of only 107-inch which also enhances the maneuverability even in the tightest work environments.
We don’t have any complains about the stopping power either, as the TRW disc brakes and the ABS can deal effortless with most of the situations.
Launched initially with only with a 4x2 powertrain, the International TerraStar is now also available with a 4x4 option being suited for a wide range of commercial duties. The truck is solidly built and its chassis can be used for a lot of heavy tasks as the truck is fitted with capable suspensions and has a rigged character. We also like the cabin which is the biggest in the segment and despite the dated design the good overall ergonomy is worth to be mentioned.
The V8 engine may not be as lively as other units in the segment, but it has a good towing capacity and it is pretty efficient and lightweight. Moreover, the Optimized Alison transmission is also up to the task and copes well with the utilitarian nature of the truck, being available with a lot of useful features which help the driver to get the job done without incidents.
Video: International TerraStar