A look back at the trucks of 2023

January 18, 2024

Likely spurred by economic headwinds many carriers have faced for a year-plus, bundled with new truck production challenges that many OEMs are still digging themselves out from under (and a 2022 that was full of them), 2023 was certainly not a record breaker for new truck announcements and test drive opportunities. However, what the year lacked in quantity it made up for in quality.

The year looked promising. In March I was able to briefly hop behind the wheel of a truck I’ve been trying to drive for a few years: Nikola’s. Granted this was not the hydrogen version I was after, but the all battery electric truck was the first to go into production so I wasn’t turning the chance down.

In just a few weeks, Peterbilt will sunset its heralded Model 389. I think these long-nosed conventionals are the industry’s last link to the glory days of trucking; when trucking was cool and when Smokey was chasing Bandit. Fortunately the 389 is only going away to give way to the rise of the Model 589.

The 589 joins a regal trucking lineage: the 351, 379, 389 and the 359, the latter of which is still widely seen as the King of the Truckstop, and this lineup has remained one of the last vestiges trucking’s glory days – big, boxy, flashy, long-nose conventionals.