Freightliner Trucks has a long and storied history going back to its founding in 1929. The name “Freightliner” comes from Consolidated Freightways, which decided to start manufacturing trucks. It ran as Freightliner Corporation from 1942 through 1981, when it sold to Daimler AG. Through some restructuring and rebranding, it became part of Daimler Truck, a subsidiary of Daimler Truck North America. Headquartered in Portland, Oregon, the Freightliner Truck line has been North America’s most popular commercial truck (by units sold) for most of the last 30 years.
Note that model years and the actual year that trucks are built are often different. Most times, the model year is one year from the manufacturing date. The next model years typically come out in February or March of the previous year. This means a truck built in April 2022 is typically a 2023 model year. The years given here are model years, not the year the truck manufactured.
Our data stems from our Diesel VIN decoder, which decodes millions of VINs yearly. This data is analyzed to re-create the same model years the trucks manufactured.
The other essential item is that we do not include gliders in our year ranges. Gliders are trucks built either without engines or with remanufactured engines. This was a loophole around emission-related truck engines for several years before it was closed by the government, and gliders were no longer allowed.
Freightliner also makes a variety of empty chassis trucks through a company called Freightliner Custom Chassis. These are for motorhomes, bread trucks, integrated step vans, and other uses. We will not be covering those or special applications such as military and bus. This blog post covers the regular use of commercial trucks over the last 30 years.
Freightliner 108SD, 114SD, & 122SD
First available for the model year 2012, the Freightliner truck 108SD and Freightliner truck 114SD was the new entry to the severe duty lineup. The 108SD had a 108″ bumper to back-of-cab, while the 114SD had a 114″ bumper to back-of-cab. This complemented the Coronado SD model, which was released two years ago. The Freightliner 122SD would replace the Coronado SD with the model year 2016. The Freightliner 122SD carried the big bore engines such as the Detroit Diesel DD13, DD15 & DD16, along with the Cummins ISX15 and later X15.
These trucks were built for the class 7 & 8 markets and meant to fill the hole Sterling Trucks had left (Which Freightliner owned and closed several years prior). Customers could order Cummins medium-duty engines, such as the ISC or ISL, along with the Detroit Diesel DD13 for more significant horsepower. These trucks are still available as of the date of this post.
As a replacement for the Freightliner FLB cab-over, the Freightliner Argosy came out first with the model year 2000. It would be produced for roughly 20 years ending in 2020. It was the last standing cab-over style truck sold in North America until recently, with Nikola importing the Iveco truck to rebrand as Nikola with electric power. Between low demand and redesigning the truck to meet the new engine requirements, the truck was technically last produced for North American operations with the model year 2007, as the following years were either all gliders or exported out of the United States.
The Freightliner Cascadia replaced the Freightliner Century truck starting with the model year 2001. The Freightliner Cascadia is still sold today and has been the best-selling fleet truck since it debuted. It is available in various configurations, including day cabs and sleepers ranging from 48″ to 72″. The Freightliner Cascadia went through numerous revisions through the years.
The first was the 2018 model year, when the exterior received new chassis fairings and longer cab extenders. The hood changed slightly along with a more dominant grill. Inside the vehicle, the truck upgraded with LED lights, new sleeper features such as collapsible table and seats, a telescopic ladder to the top bunk, and other features. Safety has always been a big deal to Freightliner, and the Detroit Diesel Assurance safety features could also be ordered.
Starting in 2020, a sub-model, the eCascadia, was introduced as an all-electric option. While customers were testing the Freightliner eCascadia over the last couple of years, Freightliner opened the order books starting for the model year 2022.
Freightliner Century Class
Beginning with the model year 1997, the Century Class released to replace the aging FLD series as the truck of choice for over-the-road fleets. The truck was later renamed the Century Class S/T with the model year 2000, which stood for Safety and Technology. This new package added driver-side airbags and a better driver seatbelt system. The Freightliner Century Class was the flagship of Freightliner Trucks when the FLD ended production in 2001.
The Freightliner Century Class was a popular truck throughout its lifespan, which ended in the model year 2011, even though the Cascadia was selling simultaneously along with the Columbia. Freightliner pivoted and marketed the Freightliner Century Class as more of an owner-operator truck instead of a fleet version. While it didn’t spark the emotion of a long-nose Peterbilt, its purpose was to help the owner-operator with fuel economy and comfort.
The Freightliner Columbia was a popular truck of its time, first being available to customers in the model year 2001. It last manufactured for the model year 2011. The Freightliner Columbia was one of its era’s most popular fleet trucks, priced accordingly. It was the low-end spectrum for trucks that fleets could purchase at the lowest price point in most cases, while the Cascadia was on the other end with better quality and more features. The truck released during the era when you could get a CAT, Cummins, or Detroit engine installed, so you’ll see many different configurations driving around. The truck had a variety of day cab and sleeper configurations available.
The Freightliner Condor is a class 8 low cab forward (LCF) vehicle for construction market applications. It had a 68″ bumper to back-of-cab, and you can order with a single or dual drive axle. Available with the model year 2002, it had a short life span ending production in the 2006 model year (Presumably because it would require a redesign to meet new emission standards). The truck aimed directly at Mack Trucks with its introduction since Mack has been so dominant in the LCF market, especially with refuse operations.
Debuting with the model year 2003, the Freightliner Coronado was a combination of traditional design elements with comfort features. It was aimed towards the upper end of the owner-operators and featured a unique air intake mounted on the side of the hood. It also had a well-designed hood, fender, and headlight assemblies that gave it a unique look. The truck was available in sleeper or day cab setups, but production ended with the model year 2016.
Freightliner FL-Series (FL50, FL60, FL70, & FL80)
The Freightliner FL-Series was the full range of medium-duty trucks offered by Freightliner from 1991 through 2002 when the Freightliner M2 would eventually replace it. Like most other manufacturers, the trucks were designed for one specific class of trucks but could often be customized up or down to the next. Freightliner later coined this series of trucks as the “Business Class” lineup. The trucks all shared the same cab but released for different applications. For example, the FL50 could only display a single drive axle like the others; you could have a dual configuration.
- FL50 = Primarily class 5 but could also be built up to class 6; they manufactured from 1996 to 2005.
- FL60 = Primarily a class 6 truck, buyers could build them up to a class 7. The Freightliner FL70 manufactured from 1991 to 2005.
- FL70 = Designed as a class 7 truck, it could be ordered as a class 6 or 8. The truck manufactured from 1991 to 2005.
- FL80 = Designed as a “baby” class 8 truck, it could also be built as a class 7. The Freightliner FL80 manufactured from 1991 to 2005.
The Freightliner FL106, released for the model year 1991, used the same cab and hood as the other FL-Series of the time. This truck was more set up as a regional/city type truck but could come as a tractor or a truck (no 5th wheel). These trucks had smaller engines, such as the 90s models typically having the Detroit Diesel Series 50, which was only an 8.5L engine. Late models in the early 2000s started to include the Caterpillar C10 & C12 and the MBE4000 engine. The truck was last manufactured for the model year 2004. Essentially this truck was a small step up from FL80.
The Freightliner FL112 is the big brother of the Freightliner 106. This truck featured a more extended bumper to back-of-cab at 112″ vs. the 106″. It also had a different-looking headlight assembly and hood. The FL112 is the class 8 model of the line, as it used the same cab as the others in the FL-series. This truck was more designed as a straight truck to put equipment on but could also be ordered in a 5th wheel configuration. These were class 8 trucks with engines in the 10L to 13L range, such as the Caterpillar C12, MBE4000, Caterpillar C10, and Cummins ISM. They were manufactured from 1991 through 2004.
Freightliner FLD Series (FLD112, FLD120, & FLD Classic)
The Freightliner FLD series has its started around 1987. They first came out with the 112″ and 120″ bumper-to-back cab models, aptly named the FLD112 and FLD120. Both were class 8 trucks and the company’s first push into aerodynamic long-haul-minded trucks. The FLD112 featured smaller engines such as the Cummins M11 and Caterpillar C10 and C12. The FLD120 had the larger engines from Detroit (Series 60) and Cummins (N14).
The FLD112 was last manufactured for the model year 2003, while the FLD120 had a longer lifespan, stopping after the model year 2010. The FLD120 could also be ordered as a setback or set forward axle, which would change the shape of the hood and headlight assembly. Both units had a severe duty option as well.
Using the same cab as the FLD112 & FLD120, the FLD Classic released in the model year 1991. The only difference was the hood and air cleaners, which gave it a new look positioned more towards owner-operators.
Freightliner FLD132 (Classic XL)
Often confused with the Freightliner FLD Classis, the Freightliner FLD132 is better known as the Freightliner Classic XL. First available in the model year 1997, the Freightliner Classic XL has a massive 132″ bumper to back-of-cab, giving it that complete owner-operator feels. You’d see these trucks with dual chrome stacks, dual air cleaners, and many chrome accessories. These trucks also had the classic big bore engines such as the Detroit Diesel Series 60 and Caterpillar C15. The truck last produced for the 2009 model year.
Freightliner M2 Series
Replacing the old FL-Series Business Class with the model year 2003, the Freightliner M2 Business Class would become the best-selling medium-duty truck. Initially available in 106″ and 112″ bumper-to-back cab options, Freightliner released the 100″ version for the 2004 model year. The Freightliner M2 still exists today, but only as the 106″ option along with the new electric model called the eM2.
The Freightliner M2 can be purchased in class 5 through 8 configurations. The options for configuration are almost endless with the M2, and it also came with new technology at the time, including its chassis ECU and multiplex wiring. This allowed bodybuilders and installers to customize features never seen before and improve repair and diagnostic time. The truck also became available in a 154″ bumper-to-back cab setup with a crew cab configuration.
We love hearing our customer’s stories and thoughts about the various Freightliner Truck models produced in the last 30 years, so make sure to leave a comment!
Diesel Laptops does offer a vast range of diagnostic tools, repair information, parts information, and training classes to help you quickly and efficiently diagnose and repair all of the Freightliner Trucks we have listed. Let us see how we can help you save both time and money!
|Model||Year Started||Year Ended||Weight Class|
|108SD||2012||Current||Class 7 & 8|
|114SD||2012||Current||Class 7 & 8|
|Century Class||1997||2011||Class 8|
|FL50||1996||2005||Class 5 & 6|
|FL60||1992||2005||Class 6 & 7|
|FL70||1991||2005||Class 6, 7 & 8|
|FL80||1991||2005||Class 7 & 8|
|FL106||1991||2004||Class 7 & 8|
|FLD120 Classic||1991||2009||Class 8|
|FLD132 (Classic XL)||1997||2009||Class 8|
|M2 Business Class||2003||Current||Class 5, 6, 7 & 8|
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I’m curious to know why you don’t list the Argosy as a class 8. I own a 2009 left hand drive tractor that, yes, is a glider, but definitely a class 8 truck. And an awful lot of the right hand drive tractors running around places like Australia, New Zealand , etc. are called prime movers because they are pulling road trains.
I worked at the factory where the Argosy was built, to me it has always been seen and listed as a class 8 vehicle. The last Argosy was built around December of 2021 for the export market.