Photo courtesy of Navistar.
One of the biggest benefits of testing a vehicle at a proving ground is that it emboldens you to do things that you’d never expect to do in the real world. Case in point, I had the opportunity recently to take an International WorkStar 7300 4X4 off-roading at Navistar’s recently acquired New Carlisle, Ind., proving grounds.
This particular WorkStar 7300 was equipped with an Altec boom and the course was a muddy, hilly back road complete with tight turns and — did I mention — really steep hills.
Powered by a Cummins ISB 6.7L engine, which produces 260 hp and 660 lb.-ft. of torque, and matched to an Allison 3500 RDS, the WorkStar 7300 nimbly danced across the rough and ready course effortlessly.
The ride, aided by a 14,000-pound parabolic leave and 23,500-pound spring single vari-rate suspension, was surprisingly smooth and comfortable, helping me to concentrate on staying on the muddy road and watching out for any low-hanging branches on the rural course.
Photo by Chris Wolski.
The WorkStar 7300 gripped the course nicely on the flats, but the real test came near the end of the course when I was confronted with a pretty steep downgrade, which, after duly crossing myself, I drove ahead, and found there was no need to worry. The WorkStar 7300 continued gripping the ground as it drove down what seemed to me a vertical grade (probably more like 15 to 30 degrees) to the next obstacle, a very tight turn, which I was able to navigate without resorting to a three-point turn.
The cabin of the WorkStar is practical, yet comfortable, particularly considering that the vehicle will most likely be used by most fleets for off-road and less-than-ideal operations. The instrument cluster is primarily of the analog variety, and is nicely arranged, and the dials clearly visible and easily read.
What I liked most about the driving experience with the WorkStar 7300 was that during the entire time I was driving, I didn’t even notice the truck was upfit with a boom, which allowed me to focus on the task at hand: driving.