Big Rigs was invited to the Australian launch of the new DAF truck range.
Big Rigs was invited to the Australian launch of the new DAF truck range.

New-gen DAF Trucks land in Australia

Firstly, no, these trucks are not a replacement for the enduring Kenworth cabover offering, the K200.

PACCAR now produces DAF Trucks at their Bayswater plant near Melbourne and with a new generation of DAF cabover trucks landing locally some people may have been putting two and two together and believing the new offering was here to take the place of the local legend.

I've been assured by PACCAR representatives however that isn't the case and really we shouldn't be surprised about the operation being protective of the K200 - it's one of their best-selling products.

What we have here instead is a new player in the keenly-fought Euro truck war and early evidence seems to show that DAF now has the product to really take the fight up to their rivals.

The new-generation DAF Trucks sold in Australia will be a mix of locally produced and imported vehicles and there are two model designations - XF and CF.

They land locally with the coveted International Truck of the Year trophy (2018) in the cabinet and about 100,000 units have already been handed over to customers in other parts of the globe.

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New DAF Truck range: Big Rigs attended the launch of the new DAF Truck range
New DAF Truck range: Big Rigs attended the launch of the new DAF Truck range

Big Rigs was invited along to the Australian launch of the new DAF Truck range and we got a steer of the new offerings at the Mount Cotton Driver Training facility south of Brisbane.

Before we get into those initial impressions of the new truck, let's first take a look at some of their key attributes.

Firstly, the styling. DAF products throughout the years kept to a fairly consistent, rather horizontally focused exterior cab design and this did set the brand apart for other makes.

The look now is more mainstream European and while that might be either a good or not so good thing in your opinion, the major redesign does help deliver improved aerodynamics.

Underneath the cab, there are two PACCAR MX engines - the MX-11 and a redesigned version of the MX-13, both Euro 6 rated.

Power ratings range from 367hp to 530hp, while peak power now comes online at lower RPMs. That means PACCAR was able to select lower rear axle ratios "without compromising performance".

The new-generation DAF Trucks sold in Australia will be a mix of locally produced and imported vehicles and there are two model designations - XF and CF.

 

A new significantly larger cooling system features and this, according to PACCAR engineers, gets fan engagement down below 50 per cent.

They didn't stop there - the new DAF Trucks also benefit from redesigned turbos and fuel injection systems, while fuel economy is also assisted through the use of variable pumps that only use as much energy as required.

Last, and certainly not least, DAF has also introduced the new ZF TraXon automated gearbox as standard across the range.

Putting all that together, PACCAR believes operators can enjoy around 10 per cent better fuel economy, compared to the superseded trucks, and they believe AdBlue consumption will be very similar to the Euro 5 offerings.

Drivers will welcome a significantly improved exhaust brake in the new trucks, and safety has also been boosted with the DAF offerings now featuring the latest active and passive safety systems such as Autonomous Emergency Braking and Stability Control, all standard.

Turn left in the new DAF Trucks and a cab-mounted camera instantly gives you a look at what might be sitting in your blind spot on the infotainment screen.

While another safety system, which might not be quite as cutting-edge but potentially just as handy to have in the event of a collision, is what DAF Trucks calls the 'Tin Can' system.

Essentially, the system utilizes a pivot point cab mount that can allow the cab to shift and better absorb the impact should something go terribly wrong.

The designers also shifted the mirror location back away from the front of the truck on the XF series and this, along with larger windows, is said to have greatly improved driver vision.

On the inside, there's a new driver infotainment system, redesigned dashboard, upgraded sound absorption, and an improved heating and airconditioning system too.

A new interior lighting system also features and this was designed to help make life inside the cab more relaxing both when on the road and when stopped for a break. The new system even features a dimming function and that's an often overlooked convenience.

For those familiar with DAF Trucks the dashboard retains the familiar, quite handy, upper and lower storage/desk areas and this is good to see.

PACCAR believes operators can enjoy around 10 per cent better fuel economy, compared to the superseded trucks, and they believe AdBlue consumption will be very similar to the Euro 5 offerings
PACCAR believes operators can enjoy around 10 per cent better fuel economy, compared to the superseded trucks, and they believe AdBlue consumption will be very similar to the Euro 5 offerings

While if you find one of the switches on the dashboard just isn't in the right place for you, simply remove it and shift it to a different spot on the dash and it will work like magic. That's clever.

As mentioned, we got to sample the new trucks at Mount Cotton and that means it was a somewhat artificial experience, in saying that I was pretty impressed with what I saw, heard and felt.

Hauling single trailer loads of 42-tonnes around the track I was particularly impressed by three important elements - interior noise, steering, and the transmission.

The new DAF offerings are as quiet as any truck I've ever driven, in fact, they're almost eerily quiet! The steering is nicely weighted with little free-play off centre, and these trucks are very maneuverable too.

The new ZF box is a clear winner, says our test driver.
The new ZF box is a clear winner, says our test driver.

While the new ZF box is a clear winner. Smooth and nicely responsive when tackling an upward incline, I think the gearbox alone could sway some buyers to the new kid on the block.

Other nice touches like the steering wheel audio and Bluetooth controls, big and easy to read gauges, handy driver info screen and the better than adequate three-stage exhaust brake are the icing on the cake.

DAF Trucks might not be the first name that comes to mind when considering a new truck, however you should do yourself a favor and take a look at these new offerings - they appear at first glance to tick most of the important boxes.

 

New-Gen DAF XF Specifications:

•Engine (MX-13): 530hp/2,600Nm (from 1,000 rpm)

•Transmission: ZF TraXon 16-speed automated

•B rakes: Disc front and rear

•Cab Options: Comfort Cab/Space Cab/Super Space Cab

•Suspension: (Front) 7,100kg parabolic leaf springs (Rear) 9,050kg

•GVM: 25,200kg

•GCM: 70,000kg

 

New-Gen DAF CF Specifications:

•Engine (MX-11): 367hp/1,900Nm, 408hp/2,100Nm or 449hp/2,300Nm (all from 900 rpm)

•Engine (MX-13): 480hp/2,500Nm (from 900rpm)

•Engine (MX-13): 530hp/2,600Nm (from 1,000 rpm)

•Transmission: ZF TraXon 12-speed and 16-speed automated

•Brakes: Disc front and rear

•Cab Options: Day Cab/Sleeper Cab/Space Cab

•Suspension: (Front) 7,100kg parabolic leaf springs (Rear) 9,050kg

•GVM: 25,200kg

•GCM: 70,000kg