IT WAS only a few months ago that I got to see the new Coronado 114 in the flesh at Freightliner's factory in North Carolina.
At that stage, the engineering team had finished the main game, which was adapting the cooling package to maintain the capacity of the truck to grow into the next level of emission controls while at the same time handling Australia's extraordinarily high ambient temperatures.
All with a smaller engine compartment and less room around the block.
Since then there's been some local work done on the truck, including a local bull bar design and the addition of an audio system (that I hope they upgrade).
Plus they also developed local chromed inserts for the cup holders.
At least they now hold cups instead of depositing coffee, choc milk, Coke and soup all over the floor with the slightest twitch of the steering wheel.
So the shortened Coronado has landed, and Freightliner's Australian team can hardly wait to get the truck in the hands of dealers and into key fleets for evaluation.
The reasons are pretty clear when you think of the way the spec has been set and aimed like a sniper's rifle at a corner of the market where Freightliner hasn't been able to offer a solution - until now.
The Coronado has been on the market only a relatively short time, and now with the key modifications to this version, the brand is set to spread its wings into the bigger-volume construction and distribution markets.
The 114 has an axle set forward to bring the front overhang down to just 756mm, which is even shorter than the cab-over Argosy's 1034mm. It's designed to suit the Australian Bridge Formula laws so that operators can enjoy maximum flexibility with trailers and maximum GVM.
A tight bumper to back of cab (BBC) of 114 inches (hence the name) sets the truck up for those truck and trailer dimensions that demand every scrap of payload per run, and Detroit Diesel's 560hp DD15 engine rounds off the equipment list.
As with its bigger brother, the 114 sports an ultra-large-capacity cooling package that brings a cab raised by 50mm to improve engine bay ventilation and reduce heat soak to the living space.
In fact the DD15's EGR emissions system generates the kind of heat that demands it. Dual steering boxes are also included, and dual cab-mounted exhausts set off the exterior styling and highlight the truck's US heritage.
Coronado 114 will suit the maximum GCM tipper and quad-dog operators, as well as single trailers, and B-double 34-pallet rigs up to 26 metres.
The new and shorter bonnet retains the original Coronado look but includes running changes such as moving the indicator lights into the headlight cluster.
The combination of shorter bonnet and raised cab makes the Coronado an easier prospect for general servicing and maintenance.
An in-cab battery seat option saves 20kg in tare weight and frees up critical chassis space. Seat belts are now integrated with the air seats.
New front cab mounts use a "pillow-block" design that is aimed at isolating road noise and dampening shock and vibration.
The dealers will offer a wide range of frames, inner frame reinforcements and wheelbases so that users can tailor their trucks to specific needs.
As usual, Coronado's wiring loom is numbered and colour-coded, and is bundled before being attached to the chassis frame.
The DD15 will be available in a range of power and torque settings, starting at 475hp and 1650Nm of torque, up to 560hp and 1850Nm of torque. Construction specialists will appreciate the whopping 595hp Jake-Brake that's part of the DD15 package.
An extended warranty option (EW2) offers a choice of five years or 1,000,000km, or 500,000-litre fuel burn, or 15,000 hours - take your pick.
EW2 covers injectors and turbos as well, a valuable addition for Aussie fuel and temperature conditions.
You can order Freightliner's own Airliner 106-tonne airbag suspension, or the TufTrac 6-rod steel version rated at 140 tonnes.
Overall, the spec results in a 24-tonne GVM and the option of either 80-tonne GCM for B-double use, or 106-tonne for road train applications.