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Peterbilt: 7 Most Popular Models (Differences Unveiled!)

Sure, Peterbilt is always part of the list when one thinks of the best semi truck brands. But when you think of buying a truck in that particular brand, the question of “which model” will first come to mind. 

It’s crucial to answer such a question because semi trucks are a significant investment, and no one wants to splurge a huge amount of money only to regret it later on.

In this article, let’s get to know some Peterbilt models to help you find the ones suitable for your budget and needs.

What are the Differences Between Peterbilt Models?

Most of the time, when Peterbilt releases new series of trucks, they are almost the same. They only vary in the interior and a minor upgrade on the features.

However, in 2012 up to the present, Peterbilt left their iconic design and introduced redesigned on-highway class vehicles.

Overall, the differences between Peterbilt models have something to do with the design, engine, and features. 


The first generation of the Peterbilts features a long nose styling with an emblem on the grille. In 2007, the production of the last model for its first generation had stopped.

The previous 1000 trucks it produced in the first generation were called the “Legacy Class Edition” to commemorate its classic design.

The next generation of Peterbilt started with the 579 models known as the “new era of class.”

The few truck models that came after the first generation, like the 389 or 388 model, are merely upgrades or replacements of the 377, 379, etc. 

From the 579 and the rest of the brand’s newer models, the design features a shorter hood that is usually mistaken as the Kenworth newer models. 

The design and technology of the 579 are five years in the making. Hence expect a more powerful engine, impressive fuel economy, and most importantly, comfortable vehicles.


The older Peterbilt models are equipped with the Cummins and Caterpillar engines.

While these two are powerful engines, the PACCAR engines of the newer models are more fuel-efficient and advanced, making the following generation models the most reliable trucks of the brand.


A lot of features have been upgraded in the newer models. From the headlights, material, dimensions, interior, built-in, and safety technology, the reliability of the newer models is incomparable to the older ones.

The newer models expect a more spacious sleeper cab, more comfortable seats, and an impressive digital display for entertainment and safety measures.

Besides that, the trucks are equipped with numerous safety technology such as aerodynamics, SmartNav, SmartLINQ, and a lot more.

What is the Difference Between Peterbilt 379 and 389?

The most apparent difference between Peterbilt 379 and 389 is that the latter is an upgrade of the former. So as an upgrade, expect it to have a more sleek design and advanced features.

To give you an overview of what you’re getting from each model, here’s a more detailed comparison:

FeaturesPeterbilt 379Peterbilt 389
Height13.5 ft.Around 12 to 13 ft.
Weight19,600 lbs. (full tank)21, 300 lbs (full tank)
Engine Weight2,890 lbs.2,600 lbs
Engine UsedDetroit Diesel, Cummins, Caterpillar, and many morePACCAR MX-13 and Cummins ISX
HeadlightsBasic headlightsSuperior headlight with aerodynamic feature
GaugeNoneDiesel Particulate Filter
DesignTraditional conventional Cab (similar to 1980s models)Iconic conventional all-aluminum cab

Peterbilt 389 is a good upgrade from the 379 models. It is longer, more technologically advanced, and luxurious-looking.

A brand new Peterbilt 389 will cost less than $200,000, and a used one is more or less $100,000. 

In contrast, the 379 model is less than $100,000 in the early 2000s. So as of today, the 379 has a more bargained price in the market.

The last time that Peterbilt has manufactured the 379 models was in 2007, so what you will mostly see in the market is a used one.

What is the Difference Between Peterbilt 388 and 389?

At first glance, it’s hard to find the differences between the 388 and 389. In terms of design, they are very similar. After all, 389 is only a renamed version of the 388.

Peterbilt has stopped producing the 388 in 2015. As such, you can no longer find brand-new 388 models from the company. 

The 389, however, is still in the market with continuous production. Hence, it’s no doubt that the 389 has more advanced features than the 388.

FeaturesPeterbilt 388Peterbilt 389
BBC Length123”131”
Exhaust locationOn top of the stepBehind the step
Height of the cab26”24”25
Engine UsedCummins ISXPACCAR MX-13 and Cummins ISX
HeadlightsBasic headlights with aerodynamic featureSuperior headlight with more aerodynamics

As you can see, there is not much difference between these models. The 389 is only an upgrade and more advanced.

It now has a 7-inch touch screen, a more comfortable sleeping cab, the latest technology, and many other features.

The 389 uses a PACCAR MX-13 engine which is one of the latest and powerful engine nowadays. Hence, in terms of performance, the 388 is a bit behind.

However, if you won’t mind their slight differences, the 388 is still a good and reliable truck.

Nowadays, a 2015 manufactured 388 model costs less than $100,000, while an older manufacturing date will cost less than $50,000.

What is the Difference Between Peterbilt 359 and 379?

In 1967, the classic Peterbilt 359 was introduced to the market, and production lasted for three decades.

At that time, it was the hottest big rig to own, and without this model, Peterbilt would not have been successful as they are today.

Moreover, the Peterbilt 379 was launched when the production of 359 had stopped. The 379 is the successor of 359. 

As successor, Peterbilt wanted 379 to be somewhat different from its older model. Some of the significant changes are the following:

FeaturesPeterbilt 359Peterbilt 379
DesignLong Hood with narrower cab and square headlampsSmaller hood with wider cab and rectangular headlamps
Engine Used500 Cummins but any engine can fit due to its large engine compartmentDetroit Diesel, Cummins, Caterpillar, and many more
HeadlightsBasic headlights mounted below the bracketBasic headlight mounted above the bracket
Fuel Tank29-inch diameter26-inch diameter
External PipeExternal Air Cleaner PipeNone
Step boxesSmall and not deepWide and deep

Overall, the differences of the Peterbilt 359 and 379 are more on designs, placement of its components, and dimension.

But it’s noteworthy that a 379 is a lot wider and bigger; hence a big guy driver will feel more comfortable and safer than the 359.

While these models are outdated and no longer available at Peterbilt, they made headlines in the truck industry.

They are both known to be the strongest competitors of the big rigs manufactured by other brands on their time.

What is the Difference Between Peterbilt 378 and 379?

From the design, the engine used, dimensions, number of exhausts, rear axles, type of suspension, transmission, and the like, the Peterbilt 378 and 379 share the same features.

They don’t have much difference because they are launched almost in the same year. The 378 was manufactured in 1986 while the 379 in 1987.

The production of these units was both discontinued in 2007.

Here are the few differences that you may notice in both trucks:

FeaturesPeterbilt 378Peterbilt 379
Hood MaterialFiberglass hoodAluminum hood
Sleeper CabLong noseShort nose

Considering their minor differences, it’s not a big deal whether you choose 379 over the 378 or vice versa.

You can rarely purchase them as brand new, so you can only buy used 378 and 379 models at a marked-down price.

What is the Difference Between Peterbilt 389 and 579?

Both the Peterbilt 389 and 579 are available as brand new from their manufacturer. Their production is still ongoing, and they remain one of Peterbilt’s best seller trucks. 

The 389 was launched in 2006, whilst the 579 was in 2009. That said, there’s no doubt that the latter model is more innovative in terms of design, features, and performance.

Nonetheless, it’s crucial to know their differences to know which one will suit your standard:

FeaturesPeterbilt 389Peterbilt 579
DesignClassic or Iconic Peterbilt stainless grill Design with the latest technologyModern/New Peterbilt all-aluminum design with the latest technology
Interior7-inch digital display screen sleeper sizes are 44-inch, 58-inch, 72-inch, 780inch lengths15-inch digital display screen sleeper sizes are 44-inch, 72-inch, 80-inch, and 84-inch
Safety TechnologyAir disc brakes standard for improved braking experienceLane keeping assist tenchologyAdaptive Cruise ControlLane Departure WarningAutomatic Emergency BrakingSide object Detection
Engine UsedPACCAR MX-13 and Cummins ISXAny PACCAR MX Series, PACCAR PX-9, Cummins X15 and 12N
Head lightsSuperior headlight with aerodynamic featureAdvance headlight with Epic Aero and Max Package
TechnologySmartNavSmartNav and SmartLINQ Remote Diagnostics
BumperAluminum and SteelMolded-in-color, Molded-painted, Steel painted, Steel Chromo

In general, the Peterbilt 579 is much better than the 389.

The 579 has incorporated many technologies to provide drivers a safer and comfortable experience, while the 389 is an upgrade of the classic Peterbilt trucks that we used to know.

The 579 model is a versatile truck for both owners and drivers. In exchange, though, this model comes with a higher price of at least $160,000 to $200,000.

The 389 models, however, cost more or less $100,000.

However, if the classic Peterbilt design matters to you, we suggest you go for the 389 models. At first glance, truck enthusiasts will quickly recognize that the vehicle is from Peterbilt. 

In contrast, the 579 is comparable to the Kenworths latest trucks. This model is not easily recognizable as Peterbilt because of its resemblance with other brands.

What is the Difference Between Peterbilt 367 and 389?

The Peterbilt 367 and 389 models are both heavy-duty trucks, but they are meant for different applications.

The Peterbilt 367 is categorized by the brand as a vocational truck. Hence, it is designed to endure long construction hours, dump, logging works, and other vocational applications.

The 389 model, however, is tagged as the on-highway truck. As such, this model will work better for delivering large cargoes, towing, and hauling.

Since their jobs are not alike, sure, they have a lot of differences. Let’s get to know them through the table below.

FeaturesPeterbilt 367Peterbilt 389
Vehicle TypeVocationalOn-Highway
DesignAll-Aluminum Cab with bulkhead style door and lamp seam constructionClassic Peterbilt stainless steel design
InteriorErgonomic Probilt Interior with premium materials and best-in-class visibility for driverAll aluminum interior with scratch and fading resistant material
Engine UsedPACCAR MX-12, Cummins ISX15 and ISX12PACCAR MX-13 and Cummins ISX
HeadlightsSuperior headlight with sloped hood and pod mounted headlampsSuperior headlight with aerodynamic feature
Battery BoxAluminum and SteelAluminum
BumperAluminum, Steel, Stainless steelAluminum and Steel

By looking at the comparisons, you can tell that Peterbilt 367 is more powerful than the 389 models. It’s reasonable, though, as it’s meant for a vocational purpose.

The 356 models are also made of more high-quality materials. It’s more durable and sturdy to withstand the rigors of vocational work.

Moreover, don’t let the classic 389 fool you. It may have a legendary Peterbilt design, but it’s a modern truck capable of doing extreme hauling activities.

All in all, they are equally impressive in their respective jobs, such as vocational and on-highway works.

What is the Difference Between Peterbilt 377 and 379?

While the Peterbilt 377 and 379 model are not in production, these two brands are one of the first limited editions of the company.

They are one of the best-sellers of their time and strong competitors of other brands as well.

Should you want to buy any of these trucks regardless of being left behind in terms of technology, you may want to know their few differences:

FeaturesPeterbilt 377Peterbilt 379
DesignLonger hood with bulk roof or topShorter hood with flat roof or top
Weight49,998 lbs48,000 lbs.
Engine UsedCaterpillar and DetroitDetroit Diesel, Cummins, Caterpillar, and many more

The product for the 377 models was discontinued in 2000 while the 379 in 2007. The only downside of this truck is that they are no longer capable of the latest engines and technology.

You can avail them for as low as $20,000-$30,000 for the 377 models and less than $50,000 for the 379 models.

If you have the budget, we suggest you buy the latest trucks available in Peterbilt today. They are said to be the most reliable trucks the brand has ever produced.

However, if you want to get some of their retired trucks, you can get better ones so long as you’re diligent in inspecting the same before splurging your money on them.

Make sure to act fast, as when these trucks are for sale, they are sold quickly because of their marked-down price.