Review of The Peterbilt 386:
A top fuel efficient big rig truck

The Peterbilt 386 Model of Class 8 highway truck is another aerodynamic entry into the market of big rig trucks.

The manufacturer has tried to retain the classic Peterbilt styling and looks, but blend it with aerodynamic features. The 386 is considered a hybrid model.

The 386 Pete, sports a more narrow cab configuration and the bunk styles are much the same as those offered on the Peterbilt 389.

The cab is quite light in weight, well-sealed and quiet, as one would expect from a Pete.

It can be ordered with a variety of Unibilt bunks, which can of course be customized to suit.

The 386 ride is exceptionally smooth, as is it's turning radius, due to the set-back axle in front. Visibility is also very good.

Combined with Paccar's new engine, it has a good working combination without excessive fuel consumption or extra weight, when properly spec'ed.

There are optional bunk fairing packages available as well, exhaust can be routed up behind the bunk or left to a muffler underneath, saving the expense and air drag of a 'behind the cab' stack and muffler system.

2013 386 Peterbilt
2012 386 Peterbilt

Pete could have done better

One of the features that always distinguished Peterbilt trucks from all the other highway trucks, was the beautifully appointed cab and bunk. Here is where the Peterbilt 386, falls short..... I think Peterbilt could have done better.

However, one thing I did like about the cab, is that the switches were within a comfortable reach.

The amount of storage seems to be sufficient, but the quality isn't quite up to 'snuff'. The use of cheap looking plastic in the interior, is in abundance on the dash, the switches and the doors.

Although the 386 Pete model comes in 3 choices of interior styles, the models I looked at, all had those 'cheap looking tupperware style' clothing drawers in the bunk. The Kenworth trucks, the big competitor in this class of truck, had far better interior quality and looks, than the Pete.

Look good or save money?

For those looking for the fuel savings, such as fleets and some owner operators, the  Peterbilt 386 has been a popular choice.

But those truckers who want the long lean look of the true classic Pete large car, forget it. This model isn't for you. Some truckers don't mind the more rounded lines of this Peterbilt model.

All in all, when it comes to looks. Ideally, every trucker wants a truck with that cool, long hood look and good fuel econony. But, that's not often a combination easily found.

However, if you drive it 'right', it's possible to get decent fuel mileage out of a long hood model. Some experienced owner operators, with the right engine, just the right settings, specs etc., can manage to get some good results, even with a long hood model truck.

But as a rule, if you're looking to save some serious money on fuel, it seems as though one must abandon that classic big hood look. The 386 Pete may be a good choice.

If you can't bear to drive something that doesn't have an extended hood, then be prepared to pay out more $$ at the fuel pumps. Just drive it like a 'little old lady', to keep your fuel costs as low as possible.

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