Diesel News’ Europe Correspondent Brian Weatherley reports on the improved DAF Cabin on the latest Euro 6 XF and CF, launched in the European market. For DAF’s engineers at Eindhoven in The Netherlands, the watchword is with evolution, not revolution and their latest CF and XF proves it.
New CF and XF gain a face-lifted interior along with an updated night control panel by the bed plus an upgraded instrument and dashboard layout. But what are they like on the road? The answer, to use the pommie habit of emphasis through understatement, is rather good.
We tried out the new models in Holland and while it’s not a country famed for its contours we did manage to find the odd hill on our test route which included motorways and local roads. With the new 450hp rating on the MX-11 likely to appeal to European fleet operators, we first tried a CF 450FT ‘lightweight’ 4×2 prime mover hitched to a tri-axle tank trailer running at around 32-tonnes, somewhat below the normal 40 tonne EU limit, but enough to get a feel for it working.
We’ve always considered CF and XF to be ‘friendly’ trucks and the new models are no exception. And when we finally found a decent hill we were knocked-out by the torque back-up on the CF’s 450hp MX-11 six-pot. Its staying-power is very impressive indeed. Climbing at a steady 50km/h at around 1,050 and 1,000rpm it just kept going and going…and going.
And while other trucks with similar displacement diesels would be starting to shudder and shake, signalling it was time for a down-shift the MX-11 450 kept pulling without a murmur of complaint. Indeed, with the engine working hard interior noise levels were astonishingly low. And when we did want to TraXon swap cogs, it did so ultra-quick and very smoothly.
You can play a variety of different tunes on the auto box, switching from ‘Eco’ to ‘Power’ mode —or from auto to semi-auto or even full manual—and back again, at the touch of a button on the steering column stalk. The downhill speed control function also allows you to set your desired downhill speed and stick to it as the system automatically dials-in varying levels of engine braking (and from a gearbox retarder if one is specced) as required.
We next hopped into a 6×2 XF 530 FTG Super Space Cab with a tri-axle powder tanker in tow. With a lot more horses the ‘most powerful’ XF was inevitably quicker off the mark at lights and junctions and more adept at keeping up with the general traffic flows. Yet, while the lowest axle-ratio offered with the top-rated MX-13 engine is 2.53:1 the decent gear spread on TraXon and the extra 2600Nm of torque delivered between 1,000 and 1,460rpm meant our FTG still pulled down happily to a fuel-efficient 1,000rpm on motorway inclines holding a steady 80km/h.
On a nasty steep slip road leading up to the motorway we were again impressed by up-shift speeds from TraXon. Inside XF Super Space Cab it’s all tranquillity, and the ‘Exclusive’ trim option will certainly help retain its popularity with discerning long-haul wheelmen. Likewise, the interior changes in CF will keep fleet drivers more than happy.
Summing-up DAF’s new heavies we’d simply say they answer what a hell of a lot of top-weight truck operators are asking for in Europe―more fuel savings. And while the new 2017 CF and XF may take a while to appear down-under (production of the new models starts in the summer with RHD production coming out of Paccar’s Leyland assembly plant in the UK) if you’re the kind of operator that prefers evolution to revolution they’ll be worth waiting for.