Peterbilt revamps a classic, but stays true to roots with new Model 589

At a time when electric vehicles are getting most of the headlines, Peterbilt has assured customers that the long hood conventional is here to stay for the foreseeable future, with the launch of the Model 589.

The 589 will replace the Model 389 traditional-styled truck. Much of the styling that made the 389 popular – cab-mounted mirrors, pod-style headlights, dual stacks and external air cleaners – were retained, but a wider 2.1-meter cab gives drivers an extra eight inches of room. This makes a big difference when walking into the sleeper or storing gear in a day cab.

Thousands of dealers and customers gathered at Texas Motor Speedway May 9 to see the curtains pulled off the new truck, and then the following day driving it on the track. A Pride & Class show’n’shine was held outside the track, bringing together more than 200 Peterbilt show and working trucks.

Classic truck and Model 589
(Photo: Peterbilt)

Customer consultations

Jason Skoog, Peterbilt general manager and Paccar vice-president, said those same enthusiasts were consulted in the design of the 589.

“Distinction, customization, and connection to the heritage were things they most valued,” he said.

The update standardizes the Peterbilt Class 8 line cab at 2.1 meters, and also completes a full product line refresh. Skoog said the truck maker now boasts the newest cabs in the industry, across its Class 8 and medium-duty lines.

“We’re all out of trucks to refresh,” he said.

Pod-style headlights and daytime running lights built into the fender are a couple of the stylish features on the Model 589. (Photo: James Menzies)

The 389 that is being replaced was introduced in 2006 and 110,000 have since been sold. There was an uptick in sales last year, Skoog said, perhaps due to whispers it was being discontinued. But fans of the 389 will be happy with the familiarity of the 589, as well as the extra space.

“We kept the classic exterior and upgraded the driver experience and amenities,” explained Jake Montero, assistant general manager – sales and marketing with Peterbilt. Modern features like predictive cruise control and tire pressure monitoring help drivers achieve good fuel economy while maintaining classic styling.

The cab-mounted mirrors are heated and motorized, and sleek daytime running lights are built into the fenders. The Model 589 brings back the rectangular pattern design within the stainless grille with bright aluminum surround. The cab and hood are also aluminum, saving weight, and simplifying repairs. Dents can often be taken out with a rubber mallet.

“The beauty about aluminum is, that damage won’t put you down on the side of the road,” said chief engineer Scott Newhouse. “We spent a lot of time talking to customers to understand the core values of the truck, and the aluminum hood was one of those things.”

The 15-inch diameter external air cleaners not only contribute to the classic appearance of the truck, but also make serviceability easier. A quarter turn of the top reveals the air filter that can be easily swapped out without opening the hood. Another throwback to classic-styled trucks are the dual 7-inch stacks.

Model 589
Model 589 (Photo: James Menzies)

The cooling module is the same as in the 389, so transitioning to the new model is easy. Cab-mounted mirrors eliminate concerns about water entering the door through the mirror’s connections.

Power options include the Paccar MX-13 and Cummins X15, the latter being popular among power-hungry severe service customers. A full complement of manual and automated manual transmissions from Paccar, Eaton and the Cummins-Eaton JV are available.

The interior has been completely redesigned to improve driver comfort. Visibility was improved by 50%, Newhouse said, and everything from the color selections to materials was chosen to exude luxury. Even the pedal package was upgraded for greater comfort.

The cab is quiet, something Newhouse attributes to the aluminum construction that adds both durability and noise abatement. The interior has LED lighting throughout, and space for a 22-inch TV and 42-inch mattress.

Model 589 Legendary
The 589 Legendary. (Photo: James Menzies)

Legendary version

Customers wanting even greater distinction on the highway can choose a Legendary package that pays homage to Peterbilt’s history. It includes a Peterbilt script on the side of the hood as well as brightwork on the polished fenders and rockers.

Additional features include leather-grain seats with script logo in the headrest and unique stitching and badging on the door pad and dash. The first 589 to be built will be numbered, making them sought after by collectors.

“It would not surprise me if this becomes the core spec’,” Skoog said of the Legendary version.

Orders for the new 589 and 589 Legendary will be taken beginning in August, with production set to begin in January 2024. The 389 will be discontinued to make way for the new model.

A video showing the unveiling of the 589 can be seen below:

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