SECTOR Heavy truck  GVW 44.0 tonnes  ENGINE 12.-litre Euro-VI, 410, 460 and 510hp

New trucks don’t appear that often, thanks to the high cost/low volume nature of the business compared with cars. Cabs tend to have a life of between 10 and 15 years, simply because they are they most expensive element of the vehicle. For the new XF, available in Spring 2013, Daf has carried out an intensive modification of the large cab that it has used since 1987.

Power comes from the Euro-VI version of the 12.9-litre PACCAR MX engine, originally developed by Daf’s engineering team in the Netherlands. Power outputs of 410hp, 460hp and 510hp will be offered. The engine designers have been able to draw on the experience of parent company PACCAR in North America, whose brands Peterbilt and Kenworth have supplied over 30,000 trucks fitted with the US EPA ‘10 compliant versions of the engine.

Underneath cab and engine, Daf has developed a new chassis, re-designed to accommodate the new components required by the Euro-VI legislation. For instance the cooling module of radiator and intercooler needs a surface area 30% larger than before. 

To accommodate this, the cab floor had to be raised and redesigned at the front end to fit around the radiator. The cab suspension has been redesigned and the frame, cab floor and firewall have been stiffened, helping to reduce interior cab noise by 2dBA. Safety has also been improved in the process.

H7 headlamps may be standard, but Daf claims a first for trucks in offering LED headlamps as an option. Cornering lights are also an option. Headlamp bulbs can now be changed without tilting the cab.

Aerodynamics have come in for attention too, with revised corner air deflectors concealing some of the cab access steps behind the closed cab doors. Mudguards, side skirts and side fenders have also been redesigned with aerodynamics in mind. The roof air deflector weighs some 25kg less than before and as an option, the spoiler height can be adjusted mechanically from ground level to match the trailer height.

Inside the cab Daf claims over 1,000 litres of storage space and 2,250mm of standing headroom. Seat options include a split backrest at shoulder height, with two stage ventilation and heating. Daf has redesigned the dashboard to incorporate a 5-inch TFT screen, which provides information in 32 languages about vehicle and engine functions. Daf’s Driver Performance Assistant is also incorporated. It gives feedback to drivers on how efficiently they are driving and offers tips on improvement.

The first impression, once under way is of the very low noise levels inside the cab. Road noise is virtually absent and engine noise very subdued, which is impressive considering it is right underneath the cab. 

A 12-speed manual gearbox is standard, but some markets are likely to specify the 12-speed automated AS-Tronic transmission. Where the AS-Tronic is fitted, the vehicle will also be equipped with EcoRoll. On gentle downhill gradients the system will automatically select neutral, where braking is not required. When selected, EcoRoll is signalled on the information screen in front of the driver. It is said to provide fuel consumption savings of between 0.5 and 1.0%. 

The AS-Tronic transmission is also equipped with a quick gear change function for the most commonly used gearshifts between 11 and 12. The shift is speeded up by keeping the clutch engaged and reducing the torque interruption.

Verdict

Low noise levels inside the cab make for a relaxed driving environment and the detailed changes help to keep the cab up to date. The new XF looks like a good proposition.