When talking about top-rated trucks in the USA, there are certain brands that always make the top of the list. But, when it comes to choosing the one model that you call your favorite, there are just too many factors to consider. While on the road, your vehicle is your workplace, your home, and your best friend. So, it is understood you’ll put serious thought into choosing the right one for you.

In this blog, we’ll try to support you in solving this dilemma by discussing our favorite trucks for lease owners and owner-operators.

Freightliner Cascadia Evolution

Top-Rated Trucks in the USA - Freightliner Cascadia Evolution

Freightliner Trucks is a truck manufacturer from the USA that operates as a division of Daimler Trucks North America. Their flagship products are the heavy-duty class 8 diesel trucks they offer. Freightliner is currently the most popular semi-truck among drivers in the United States, with about 19k trucks sold per year.

They are typically less expensive to buy and operate than Peterbilts and Kenworths, which also adds to their popularity.

One of their most beautiful and capable models is the Freightliner Cascadia Evolution. It can haul up to 80,000 pounds. Its engine has the strength of some 350 to 505 horses and up to 1,750 pound-feet of twist.

It can be used for regional distribution, bulk hauls, and for temperature-controlled loads.

Kenworth T680

Kenworth T680Kenworth is a manufacturer of medium and heavy-duty Class 8 trucks based in Kirkland, Washington. Kenworths are made by PACCAR, the same parent company that makes Peterbilts.

These vehicles are made of materials that are somewhat heavier than Peterbilt trucks. This of course has a slightly negative impact on fuel efficiency. On the positive side, truckers love it because of the stable and powerful feeling it gives them during the hauls.

Kenworth builds new models in consultation with experienced drivers, so this is a great advantage as they involve the group they cater to. The driving experience is crucial to them: “The Kenworth T680 employs a suite of technologies and design features that elevate the driving experience to new heights of safety, efficiency and satisfaction.” (Source: Kenworth)

Another great feature of Kenworth T680 is that includes predictive cruise control, predictive neutral coast ability, Driver Rewards, and 11 or 13 L engines with a 12-speed automatic transmission.

Peterbilt 389

Top-Rated Trucks in the USA - Peterbilt 389

No list of top-rated trucks is complete without the iconic Peterbilt vehicles.

Peterbilt Motors Company is an American truck manufacturer founded in 1939. They are known for their medium and heavy-duty trucks. Peterbilt has the reputation of the iconic American truck, often dubbed the Harley Davidson of the trucking world.

Made with aluminum bodies, their trucks are lighter and more fuel-efficient than their Kenworth counterparts, although they might not be your first choice if you’re hauling heavy loads.

Peterbilt 389 is another great semi that comes with some exciting features. It comes with a GPS of its own that assists drivers with finding the best routes to take for their truck based on the size.

“Under the hood, the 389 boasts the latest in engine technology with the PACCAR MX-13. The advanced design and lightweight materials help save up to 4% in fuel economy, as well as 150 pounds in weight compared to EPA 2013.” (Source: Peterbilt)

Another bonus of Peterbilt 389 are air discs rather than drum brakes, for a whole another level of stopping power.

International LT Series

International LT Series

International Trucks is an American company that produces medium-duty trucks, heavy-duty trucks, and severe-service trucks. They were founded in 1902, and have a network of nearly 1,000 dealer outlets in the United States, Canada, Brazil, and Mexico.

Inspired by truckers’ needs, The International LT Series is a perfect semi-truck for long hauls, especially because of the amazing level of comfort it offers to the drivers.
This is one of the main reasons they will appear in every list of top-rated trucks.

In the market, there are two engine versions: The International A26 with 400-475 hp and up to 1750 lb.-ft. torque; or the Cummins X15 that produces 400-565 hp and up to 2,050 lb.-ft. torque.

“With intuitive controls, enhanced visibility, a quiet cab, critical information at your fingertips, and dozens of other smart features, the LT® Series delivers on keeping a driver comfortable and in control over the long haul.” (Source: International)

Volvo VNL 860

Top-Rated Trucks in the USA - Volvo VNL 860Volvo Trucks is amongst the leading heavy truck and engine manufacturers in the world. They maintain a strong dealer network as well as great support and service programs. They come from the same parent company that manufactures Mack trucks, so you can be confident you are getting a quality ride if you choose one of their trucks.

“Our flagship model, the high-roof VNL 860, builds on Volvo’s foundation of fuel efficiency, driver productivity, safety, and uptime. The upgraded 77-inch sleeper has plenty of space, storage, and amenities to let team drivers feel at home, away from home.” (Source: Volvo)

It features the I-Shift transmission, and a choice of two engine trims – Cummins X15, or Volvo D13.


While it’s no surprise that a Freightliner takes the first prize, each of the entries has its merits and can be argued for a higher spot in the list of top-rated trucks. At the end of the day, a personal choice of a favorite comes down to individual preferences and driving needs. And, of course, the loyalty to a specific brand, that truckers are well known for having. What is the most important factor for you when deciding on purchasing a new truck? Which one is your ultimate favorite?

If you liked this article, be sure to check out our post on Best Trucker Apps for 2021.