Building on the excellent reputation for fuel efficiency, reliability and driver comfort the current Euro 6 product range has earned in Europe, DAF has developed a new generation of CF and XF trucks offering the best possible solutions for both the customer and the driver.
As Export & Freight’s Garfield Harrison reports from Valkenburg in the Netherlands, those are the words of Preston Feight, DAF Trucks president. We were invited along not only to put the new models through their paces, but to discover if those words ring true.
DAF, of course, have a long history of achieving powerful results in everything they do, and having spent some time behind the wheel of several CF and XF models on the roads around the city of Valkenburg in the southeastern Dutch province of Limburg, we came away with some lasting impressions – and all good.
The new CF and XF trucks, which are entering production this summer, really are a driver’s dream and space here does not permit us to sing their praises in any great detail, but where do we start?
Our first impressions came as we got up close and personal with the trucks ahead of our drive around several selected test routes.
The new models certainly have an unmistakeable exterior that includes the attractive aluminium-look accents on the new sun visor and the bumper. The CF now has chrome strips on the grille, just like the XF, which now has an aluminium-look grille mesh for an even more exclusive appearance.
Both models also have a redesigned DAF name plate with new contours, which are the perfect match for the lines of the cab. The name “DAF” is picked out in relief with subtle chrome edging around the three letters. The new XF also has an attractive logo plate above the top step, which is a real eye catcher whenever you climb into the cabin.
Once inside, the wow factor just shoots up another notch. DAF have certainly not held back in delivering a cab that just oozes quality, comfort and practicability.
New warm and tasteful colours on the dashboard, seats, curtains, mattresses, side and back walls give the interior a beautiful appearance in which every driver can appreciate the luxury and richness. A leather steering wheel is standard on the luxurious CF and XF versions.
Both ranges feature a completely new automatic HVAC system which is very easy to operate. The system also contributes to the best fuel efficiency as the new smart controlled air-conditioning system consumes less energy by cooling the air down only as much as is needed to reach the desired temperature. Intelligent control of the evaporator is also used to avoid unnecessary air cooling.
The instrument panel has been redesigned with new characters for a more modern and attractive appearance and enhanced clarity. The enhanced Driver Information Panel includes a tachograph countdown, displaying remaining driving and resting times.
This contributes to enhanced comfort and efficiency, as do the driver configurable switches (MUX), which allow the driver to position dashboard switches according to his/her preference. MUX-switches also allow optimal positioning of controls and switches for the operation of the superstructure or components like aggregates and crane leg supports.
Drivers will also benefit from the new interior light switch, positioned in the central part of the dashboard, while DAF’s great sliding table and unmatched storage space remain untouched. The new interior light switch stands out in user-friendliness with possibilities of dimming for ‘night drive’ and ‘relax’ modes. All speed related functions, including cruise control, predictive cruise control and adaptive cruise control are perfectly and logically grouped at the right side of the steering wheel.
So, how do the new models perform out on the open road? It didn’t take us long to find out. The trucks virtually drive themselves!
Among the noteworthy innovations is the operation of the cruise control in hilly terrain. Here, dynamic cruise not only ensures gentle torque build-up, but also guarantees a faster torque build-up on steep gradients, to keep the speed as high as possible without compromising fuel efficiency.
Eco Roll and Predictive Cruise Control have also been optimised. In the past, the truck would simply have decelerated just before the top of an incline. Now, the transmission of the new CF and XF is placed in neutral whenever the momentum of the truck is sufficient to push the combination over the crest with the help of the kinetic energy. This significantly increases the rolling distances of the truck and, on international transport routes, can actually more than double the EcoRoll percentage.
The newly-developed PACCAR MX-11 and MX-13 engines are coupled as standard with the latest generation of TraXon automated transmissions and newly-developed, highly efficient rear axles. They deliver their maximum torque from 900 rpm, without compromising on performance. As a result, the engines in the new DAF CF and DAF XF operate at around 1,000 rpm at cruising speed.
To ensure plenty of tractive effort and a high level of driving comfort, even at the new, lower speeds, the torque on all new engines has been increased by 50 Nm to 200 Nm, depending on the engine rating. DAF also uses ‘Multi Torque’ in the new generation DAF CF and DAF XF, which maximises the efficiency of the driveline in the highest gear. Thanks to Multi Torque, an extra 100 Nm to 150 Nm is available in the highest gear, meaning the truck can continue to drive in this gear for as much as possible. This minimises fuel consumption and maximises flexibility.
What else can we draw to your attention? Oh, yes. DAF say the new trucks will deliver up to an amazing 7% lower fuel consumption. Not to be sneezed at! But like we said, our report is not the whole story. If and when the opportunity presents itself in the not too distant future to put the new trucks to the test yourself, you may just get the whole picture, and you shouldn’t be disappointed.