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What's the Difference Between a Conventional Bonneted Truck and a Cab-Over Truck?

The whole cab in a COE truck is positioned directly above or over the engine and front axle

What is a Cab-Over Engine?

A cab-over engine (COE) is a truck design where the cab, or driver’s compartment, is situated directly above the engine . This design contrasts with conventional trucks, where the engine is positioned in front of the cab. Cab-over engine trucks are widely used in certain regions and for specific applications due to their unique characteristics and benefits.

Key Features of Cab-Over Engine Trucks

Examples of Cab-Over Engine Trucks

Advantages of Cab-Over Engine Trucks

Common Uses of Cab-Over Engine Trucks

In summary, a cab-over engine (COE) is a truck design where the cab is located above the engine, offering advantages in maneuverability, shorter overall vehicle length, and enhanced visibility. While there are benefits to this design, there are also some disadvantages, such as reduced ride comfort and safety concerns in the event of front-end collisions. Cab-over engine trucks are commonly used in urban delivery, construction, and industrial sites, with a greater presence in European and Asian markets.

What is a Conventional Truck?

A conventional truck is a type of truck design where the driver sits in a cab that is positioned behind the engine, with a long hood at the front of the vehicle. This design is common in North America and other regions where longer vehicle lengths are permissible.

Also known as bonneted trucks, these vehicles have the cab positioned behind the engine, resulting in a longer front end with a distinct hood or bonnet. It contrasts with the cab-over-engine (COE) design, where the cab is located above the engine. Bonneted trucks tend to be used in long-haul trucking.

Key Features of Conventional Trucks

Examples of Conventional Trucks

Advantages of Conventional Trucks

A conventional truck is a truck design where the cab is positioned behind the engine, resulting in a long hood at the front of the vehicle. This design offers benefits like a more comfortable ride, improved safety due to a crumple zone, and easier engine maintenance.

However, it has disadvantages such as reduced maneuverability, longer vehicle length, and visibility challenges due to the extended hood. Conventional trucks are commonly used in long-haul trucking, heavy-duty applications, and are popular in the North American market.

Cab-Over vs Conventional Truck

Choosing between a cab-over engine (COE) truck and a conventional truck depends on several factors, including application, maneuverability, safety, comfort, and regulatory requirements. Each type of truck has its advantages and disadvantages, making them suitable for different scenarios. Here’s a comparison to help determine which one might be better for your needs.

Cab-Over Engine (COE) Truck

A cab-over engine truck has the cab located above the engine, resulting in a more compact design with a shorter front end. While not necessarily called “European trucks,” but they are more commonly found in Europe and certain other regions like Asia and Australia. The design is known for its maneuverability.

Choosing the right truck in terms of comfort, sitting, and excellent visibility can have an impact on driver retention.

Advantages of Cab-Over Trucks

Disadvantages of Cab-Over Engines

Conventional Truck

A conventional truck has the cab behind the engine, creating a long hood at the front. This design is common in North America and is known for its comfort and safety features.

Advantages of Conventional Trucks

Disadvantages of Conventional Trucks

Which One's Better?

The choice between a cab-over and a conventional truck depends on your specific needs and operating environment.

Choose Cab-Overs If:

  • You need a compact, maneuverable truck for urban deliveries or confined spaces.

  • Much better visibility and ease of parking are important.

  • Length restrictions require shorter vehicles.

  • You’re operating in European or Asian markets where cab-over trucks are more common.

Choose Conventional If:

  • Comfort and ride quality are priorities.

  • Safety features like a crumple zone are important.

  • You need easy access to the engine for maintenance and repairs.

  • You’re operating in North America or areas where conventional trucks are more common.

COE trucks and conventional trucks differ significantly in terms of crash testing outcomes, trailer length capacity, dog box usage, and front wheel positioning:

Your choice between these two designs depends on factors such as safety, maneuverability, trailer length requirements, storage needs, and ride comfort. Each type has its advantages and is suitable for specific applications and environments.

In summary, cab-over trucks are better for maneuverability and compact design, making them suitable for urban environments and areas with length restrictions. Conventional trucks offer greater comfort, safety, and easier maintenance, making them ideal for long-haul trucking and heavy-duty applications. Your choice should depend on the specific requirements of your operations, including where and how the truck will be used.

When to Use Cab-Overs and Conventional Bonneted Trucks

Conventional trucks generally have more room for sleeper cabs compared to cab-over engine (COE) trucks. This is due to the design and layout of each type of truck. Let’s break down why conventional trucks typically offer more space for sleeper cabs and how cab-over trucks differ in this regard.

Conventional Trucks

Disadvantages of Conventional Trucks

Cab-Over Engine (COE) Trucks

In general, conventional trucks offer more room for sleeper cabs due to their longer wheelbase and cab design. They are better suited for long-haul trucking, where drivers need comfortable spaces for sleeping and resting. These trucks can accommodate larger beds and additional amenities, making them ideal for extended trips.

On the other hand, cabover trucks are designed for compactness and maneuverability, often at the expense of interior space. While some COE trucks do have sleeper cabs, they are typically smaller and less spacious compared to conventional trucks. This makes COE trucks more suitable for short-haul operations and urban environments, where larger sleeper cabs are not as necessary.

The key differences between new and older trucks in terms of COE and conventional designs revolve around safety, technology, emissions, comfort, and compliance with regulations.

Conventional Cab Truck vs Cab Over: Safety and Load Capacity

Load Capacity

Safety and Crumple Zones

Applications for Heavy Loads and More Freight

Conventional trucks are generally better suited for carrying heavy loads and more freight due to their longer wheelbase, enhanced stability, and safety features. The extended cab design allows for longer trailers and greater load capacity, making conventional trucks ideal for long-haul trucking and heavy-duty applications.

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