Review and Comparisons of the OEMs: Peterbilt Vs. Kenworth Vs. Freightliner, etc.


When it comes to the trucking industry, there are a handful of big names that people commonly compare to each other. Take a closer look at some of them before deciding which type of truck you want to drive or which company to work for.


Freightliner is known in the trucking industry for offering a variety of trucks for any job grade. You can choose heavy- or medium-duty trucks or on-highway ones. There is an equally vast selection of cab sizes to choose from. The brand also does well with design, price, and efficiency. This combination and the range of trucks help Freightliner appeal to both owner-operators and fleet owners, as does its 75-year history.

In terms of efficiency, Freightliner designs its trucks with aerodynamics in mind. This gives your gas mileage a nice boost. If you want to conserve fuel further and reduce your carbon footprint, Freightliner also offers natural gas fueling for some of its models.

Another highlight of a Freightliner truck is its interior. As of 2016, all Freightliner trucks have 50% less cab noise. That reduction makes a significant difference with the long days that truckers spend on the road. As a bonus, drivers also appreciate the cab space in general.


Kenworth has more than 90 years of experience in the trucking industry, making it easy to be comfortable in their trucks. Owner-operators consistently rate their Kenworth vehicles highly. This is likely since part of the Kenworth design team is made up of experienced truckers.

Their Class 8 trucks tend to have the latest computer technology inside, along with an appealing exterior. That exterior features clean lines and a long nose.

Taking a closer look at the technology, you will find the Google applications and navigation built-in. The interface is intuitive, thanks to its similarity to smartphones. Other technology includes the web-based diagnostics tool in Kenworth trucks.

For those who need severe-duty trucks, Kenworth stands out, thanks to its options. Many have better load capacities than the competitors. They are also designed to work well with construction loads that are extremely heavy.

Kenworth is also one of the brands that tend to have fewer mechanical issues. This helps keep your truck on the road, reducing downtime that costs you money. If you have a problem, you get to take advantage of its wider dealership network as both Kenworth and Peterbilt are PACCAR brands. PACCAR dealerships are known to have shorter wait times for appointments compared to other brands.


While Kenworth trucks are popular, they still have some downsides, especially when compared to other trucks. One of these is the fact that other trucks offer better aerodynamics. That can affect your driving experience and fuel economy. The fact that Kenworth trucks tend to be heavier than the competition also hurts their efficiency. That lack of competitive efficiency makes Kenworth models more popular for owner-operators who only have a single truck than companies with fleets.


Mack is perhaps the most recognized of the OEMs in trucking and has more than a century of experience. The brand is known for driver safety, horsepower, and its array of capabilities.

Driver safety features are one of the big highlights of Mack trucks. For example, the “guard dog” feature lets the driver know about any faulty codes. It also diagnoses errors. There is also OneCall Roadside Assistance.

Mack also does a great job with interior noise reduction, thanks to sound-deadening walls. As mentioned earlier, this is a critical feature for drivers who spend hours on end in the cab.

Those in search of alternative fuel can choose a Mack truck that works with natural gas. Additionally, Mack worked closely with the EPA to exceed its emissions standards.


Peterbilt has almost 80 years of experience in engineering and manufacturing Class 8 trucks. The company does a great job at delivering design, safety, and efficiency. This combination makes it popular for both fleets and owner-operators.

The fuel economy of Peterbilt trucks is one of their high points. In fact, this is one of the few OEMs to offer a hybrid electric engine, and they offer more than one.

Peterbilt trucks also feature an aluminum body that is nice and light. This helps the trucks deliver great fuel efficiency.

The sleeper cabs are nice and cool, thanks to a brushless fan and remote condenser. Those cabs are also spacious enough for drivers on longer routes.

The trucks use Smartlinq remote diagnostics to help spot issues and keep drivers safe and the truck functional. Peterbilt also has a Driver Performance Assistant that gives real-time feedback. That feature is helpful for less experienced drivers.

Like Kenworth, Peterbilt is known for manufacturing trucks that have fewer mechanical issues.

Another high point is the lifespan of Peterbilt trucks. You will pay a bit more for them upfront, but they will be around for much longer than the competitors’ trucks. You get what you pay for and save yourself the hassle of having to buy a new truck. That longevity also translates into a better resale value from Peterbilt trucks than others.


Like any other OEM, Peterbilt trucks do have their flaws. The lineup does not include many heavy-duty models, meaning that most truckers who haul heavy loads will turn to a different brand.


Volvo specializes in trucks designed for on-highway use, so few drivers turn to them for heavy- or medium-duty trucks. The OEM is known for creating elegant and functional trucks.

Truckers on long hauls appreciate the extreme comfort of the sleeper cabins in Volvos. These are great for owner-operators or fleet managers, as they are comfortable enough to let drivers skip the hotel room.

The cabins of Volvo trucks also tend to be well-insulated, keeping out the noise to reduce distractions. This insulation also conserves energy.

Volvo trucks also have remote diagnostics via the Premium Tech Tool, a Windows-based app. It connects your computer and your truck, letting you easily diagnose problems.