Kenworth has a history of over 40 years on the Australian market and one of its best sold models was the K100. Over the years, the truck received continuous upgrades and the K100 evolved in the K200 model which is currently the only cab-over heavy duty model in Kenworth ’s lineup.
The truck is offered with a choice of three cab versions and is powered by a Cummins ISC engine which develops between 485hp – 600 hp. For maximum flexibility, there are also available three axle configurations including 6x4, 8x4 and 10x6 models. Kenworth’s K200 truck can be built to a variety of wheelbases with components mounted on the frame to suit different needs.
The latest generation K200 keeps the overall shape of the old K100, but there are a few radical modifications which were made to keep the model on the same line with today’s trends.
Firstly the radiator grille is bigger and now features an oval shape. To respect Kenworth ’s design language, the grille is split in two sections and features a chromed border which gives the truck a touch of class.
There are also twin headlights which are placed above the metallic bumper, flanking the huge radiator grille. The bumper features a pretty rudimentary design, but its able to endure the arduous conditions of heavy duty jobs.
You’ll find access inside the cab a bit oppressive due to the high grand clearance and the vertical arrangement of the steps. Once inside however, the K200 offers a surprising amount of space with a great ergonomy that was much improved over the previous generations.
Though, there is another story with the build quality which still lefts much to be desired. The plastics are also part of the third class and Kenworth still has problems with the interior design which looks dated for our days.
On the other hand, one of our favorite features of the K200 is the optional soft plush finish vinyl in the traditional studded pattern, available in a range of different trim colours.
The wrap around instrument panel features a strategically placed warning light cluster designed to provide the driver with all the required warning devices and signals at a quick glance within the same dash location.
The cabin is pretty flexible and Kenworth’s engineers have also paid maximum attention to its practicality, hence the overhead console includes a storage locker and the provision for a dealer fitted GPS navigation or other information displays.
Thanks to a low engine tunnel, the cab floor is almost flat and in the high roof cab you can stay upright without having any problems with head room.
While the old truck had some problems with the driving position and road visibility, there is a totally new story with the latest model. The seats are much improved and due to a raise driving position and a redesigned dash and windshield, the straight road visibility is finally at par with the European cab-over models. Moreover, the windshield is available in either one piece or two piece configurations allowing you to choose your favorite version for your needs. The door is also intelligently designed and offers an excellent field of vision from the driving position on both sides and into the rear view mirrors.
The seats aren’t the most comfortable units in this class, but they come with a wide range of adjustments which will permit you to find a satisfactory driving position. If needed, the steering wheel can be also ordered with optional adjustments for reach and rake.
At the back, the sleeper cabs feature a wide and convenient bunk which is pretty comfortable and has an ergonomic design. To offer easy access to the sleeping area, the gear lever can be folded away. Under the bunk there is space for two 30 litre fridges or storage drawers which are placed within easy reach of the driver.
Engines and performance
At the heart of the Kenworth K200 is the Cummins ISX range of engines which develop between 485-600 hp with a maximum torque of 2050 lb-ft. The ISX engines are fitted with a VGT turbocharger and Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) technology for improved fuel efficiency and less impact on the environment. The ISX also offers the best-in-class engine brake with a braking horsepower of up to 600 bhp.
One of the most significant upgrades made for the Kenworth K200 was the introduction of the Eaton “Ultrashift plus” automated transmission. The two-pedal transmission delivers significant improvements in performance and low speed maneuverability with its Electronic Clutch Actuation (ECA).
The new transmission makes the driver’s life easier as it requires only minimum manual interventions and can deal with any driving situations pretty good, extracting the proper amount of power from the engine.
Kenworth K200 Engines Specifications
|ISX15 600||600||1850 @ 1200|
|ISX15 550||550||2050 @ 1200|
|ISX15 525||525||1850 @ 1200|
|ISX15 500||500||1850 @ 1200|
|ISX15 485||485||1850 @ 1200|
Ride and handling
The new K200 uses the same front suspension and cab mounts as its predecessor, but it comes with an all new cab configuration and engine position which work together to improve the ride. While the old model could’ve been unable to offer a proper ride on uneven terrains, the new one can absorb most of the road bumps without any problems and keeps the driver’s comfort to a relatively good level.
The steering is very close to what you’ll find at the European models. The truck has good road manners with the body roll kept in check and pretty accurate turnings. At high speeds there is also only a minimum level of adjustments required to keep the vehicle on a straight line. Moreover the Kenworth K200 is also available with twin steer axles which make it perfect for some specialized applications such as mining or logging.
The Kenworth K200 is has evolved pretty well compared to its previous generations. The company took into consideration today’s trucking standards and has come with important upgrades that keep the truck among the most wanted models in its class.
Despite its relatively poor built quality and the dated design, the cabin has a pretty good ergonomy and is comfortable even for a long run. The Cummins ISX engines continue to keep the standards high when it comes to power outputs and toque levels, and we also like the improved ride.