MAIN TEST – You get what you pay get lots

In Tests7 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineJune 20, 2018

You get what you pay for…you get lots

“The thing I really like about the Euros is the stuff that comes as standard,” said Will Gundesen. “The things that come with this as part of a package that you don‘t get on the others, the fridge and all that stuff.”

Photo: ‘Give me clarity!‘ Okay. There you go. If that‘s confusing you need a therapist, not a better truck.

Yes, if you‘re given an XF105 to drive and you can find much to whinge about upon entering the good abode you‘re just one of those people who would likely find fault with anything. It‘s a very different world from the CF. You‘d imagine it to simply be a higher version, and in many ways – fit, finish, basic look – it is, but it‘s also not. How confusing is that? Quite a bit we‘re guessing.

It‘s a big cabover so there‘s a fourstep climb to get in that‘s well lit at night with no issues around grab handles etc. Elevation does a lot for a truck and the CF had a very fleet feel. If getting in and out a zillion times a day is your sentence then it‘s the one, no doubt. But if driving a zillion clicks a day is your groove and getting in and out doesn‘t feature often then it‘s got to be the XF. Like the Actros, Arocs, Globetrotter etc, you could live in here, easily.

It‘s not a totally flat floor, there‘s a hump of about 140mm, but in the Super Space cab there‘s a full 2.1m of clear standing room and enough storage in the overheads, under the bunks, and outside cab lockers (accessible from the inside) to accommodate a livein couple. There are two bunks in the Gundesen truck and Gary‘s tried them both, saying the upper is every bit as comfy as the lower. Between the seats and under the bunks are the pull-out storage drawer and the 42-litre fridge.

Photos: Twin bunks, huge standing room, fridge, storage, and a pull-out table. Warm, almost opulent. Maybe a heap of DAF cabs dotted around the joint is the affordable housing solution? 

Fit and finish-wise DAF have nailed it, with something we‘ve referred to before – serviceable luxury. Heavy plastics, vinyls and rubbers in mid-tones make for high wear and fast, easy cleaning, exactly what‘s needed at the end of a week. And best of all it‘s not a dust trap like so many of the Japanese trucks can be. Unlike them it‘s light on nooks and crannies. It‘s a big easy-clean cube outside and in. The DAF dash is a no-nonsense efficient affair finished with a silver alloy look behind controls and instruments. Central in the main instrument binnacle is a data screen with information under vehicle information, service, trip info and settings chapters, and you toggle through with a big knob on the dash.

The left wand has wipers and dip and right the auxiliary brake/paddle shifter. There‘s a wrap and central console separating driver and passenger that houses a pull-out table, and there‘s some switchgear on the face of the console which is a bit out of the way considering there‘s a couple of storage slides in the dash wrap. I‘d have thought having things like a hazard switch on the main dash was a higher priority. A typical Euro, it lacks flamboyance but all works extremely well and is an exceptionally easy place to spend the day.

The end is nigh…
Obviously the current XF and CF‘s days here are numbered, with replacements carrying the model designates XF and CF (go figure) having been available in Europe for some time. The new trucks are Euro 6 specced and devilishly handsome. With Euro 6 not expected to be mandated here for four or five years there‘s no hurry in that regard, however with the FH Volvo, MAN D38 and more recently Merc‘s new range all here and in place, the cavalry for Scania and DAF can‘t come soon enough. We asked Southpac‘s general sales manager Richard Smart when we might expect to see the new model. “We are in the early stages of testing and defining the exact specifications to suit New Zealand. We are different from other Euros in that we don‘t sell a blueprinted Euro for export; we build what we need to suit the environment they work in. So we will do some in-country testing later this year to determine the exact driveline, shift patterns, ratios etc. for our customers and then launch to market once we have finished that.” Exciting times, and it won‘t be a second too soon. While the DAFs still have much to offer, their looks are starting to date ever so slightly, especially when compared with some of the competition, and certainly their own latest model. All that aside, there‘s no doubt it is still very hip to be square.

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