At some point, in the best-conceived vehicles, style and utility come together. In this vehicle, both are unique. Bigness is validated by capacity and flexibility. It can even be set up for daily driving. Equipped properly, it could have the same standard of luxury one might expect to find in high-end pickups. Keyless entry, power windows, excellent sound system, and the added gadget value of air-brake buttons on the dash bring even more machismo to an interior that's top-notch.
Behind the driver's seat, the truck rides the way it looks. In the Sonoran desert, it felt entirely in command of a twisting, demanding track. It controlled roof-high dips and took the dirt straightaways without any complaints. Steering was also solid and responsive. It has the feel of a full-size pickup, but sitting as high as one does and looking out over that big hood, visibility is just about its greatest strength.
As a four-wheel-drive vehicle with a heavy-duty suspension, there's plenty of ground clearance. Standing outside, one notices the wheel wells are high, making the bigness of the truck look lighter than it drives. The 11R x 22.5 tires add enough visual weight to provide confidence in the truck's ability to cruise or gear down as necessary. The chrome stacks and other brightwork are reminiscent of bigger rigs. The 215-horsepower DT 466 diesel cranks out 540 lb-ft of torque between 1400 to 2100 rpm. True to its diesel heritage, the torque is constant throughout this band, providing excellent power at low rpm and a constant rather than peaky punch right to the top. An Allison five-speed automatic puts power to the wheels, although some may want to spec the optional manual transmission.
According to Larry Bull, this engine will provide great longevity to go with its performance. Like some other diesels, the sleeves can be replaced in frame, saving considerable expense and providing a second life when its lengthy first existence finally ends. The appeal of a pickup with Class 7 and 8 capacity makes International's 7300 4x4 a unique product. And its chassis flexibility gives it many lives beyond its engine's longevity. This truck can make money, get a crew to Baghdad, take a family to the racetrack or getaway in style, or allow a lone explorer to set off into the desert with a full 70 gallons of fuel and a bunk behind him.