Secret weapon: why DAF trucks are among the best in the world
DAF CF fad works 480 10×4
Ergonomics are excellent, as is the quality of finishing materials
The dashboard provides the driver with comprehensive information
DAF FA LF 210 4×2
DAF SF 480 8×2 fax
Due to a difficult test, we were able to test the models of the car manufacturer from the Netherlands in various environments – from public roads to sand pits
I have had a truck and bus driver license for a long time, but the experience of driving on public roads for such vehicles has so far been limited to studying GAZ-54 and LiAZ-667. During the rare "load" test drives went to the relevant technology, but always only indoors, where a license is required. And here I am in the south of Spain, not far from Malaga, in front of me is a huge DAF XF 480 FTT 6×4 truck tractor with a heavy trailer, and now I have to drive. And any closed premises from the parking lot go onto the road along which a large number of other cars are moving. And this road is very narrow…
The XF 480 truck is equipped with a 12.9-liter diesel engine equipped with a variable geometry turbocharger that develops 483 hp. with. and a maximum torque of 2500 Nm. Transmission 12-speed, fortunately, automated. The fact that multi-gear manual transmissions and their halves is no easy task. "Automatic" has different options – according to the type of traffic you can activate in the "basic" mode "off-road driving", "cargo transport and transportation of liquid substances". There are also fast switching and excitation modes.
I opened the heavy door, covering all the steps except the first one, grab the handrails and climb inside. Sit in a Super Air seat with air suspension and electric adjustments for everything, including the tilt of the entire seat. At first, she crouches under my weight, but the next second, the pneumatic lifts it up again. The chair is gorgeous, I would take it home! The steering wheel is adjustable in height and angle, so it’s easy for me to find a comfortable fit. Electrically adjust the rear view mirror – primary and secondary, reflecting what is happening on the sides at the bottom. Another mirror is mounted on the upper right corner of the windshield for viewing under the nose of the tractor. Adjust the ventilation temperature and automatic climate control.
In general, they settled into the cabin quickly, because the ergonomics are excellent. In addition, the vehicle’s new intelligent electronic systems allow individual switch locations to be selected based on driver preference. There is no need to talk about various cup holders, and containers for things and documents – they are in abundance here. The amount of interior space that the XF has is unparalleled by its competitors, allowing for wider bunk beds, where, by the way, you can also control the climate system. I note excellent finishing materials, with soft plastic at the top of the front panel and a stunning lighting system with adjustable brightness and several modes for movement and rest.
The passenger seat now has an instructor who explains how to play with the electronic parking brake and engage "drive". However, the latter is difficult, since the gearbox encoder is in front of me. Another order concerns the right stalk, engine control brake and retarder (retarder built into the gearbox). It can be used to slow a car down without fear of overheating the main braking system. Here and now, it’s time to go.
Elephant in pointe shoes
Move, release the brake pedal. it requires quite hard, but gently press the accelerator pedal. The car starts moving slowly. Press the accelerator pedal harder, the engine raises its voice, but there is no burst of acceleration, the instructor tells me to slow down and calmly wait until the car picks up speed. Turns slowly in second gear after a while, but needs to slow down before entering the road. It takes a long time to get approved. Leave a large margin on the right so as not to hook the trailer behind. The slow speed increase will start again.
The track is narrow, winding, and at the intersection with oncoming cars with dimensions, you need to look carefully. In sharp turns, the car takes up the entire roadway, so sometimes you have to stop and wait until the passage is free. A special "joy" is the siding with trucks and wagons – there is no way out of the roadside, and the branches of the trees grow along the way and whip the cab. But, oddly enough, no problem, I do not feel like driving a tractor all my life, and even begin to enjoy the process. Because the size felt great!
The huge wheel is pretty easy, while the informative one is great. That is, I clearly understand the angle of the wheels, which is doubly important when a huge tractor-trailer is on the way. Visibility is equally important, and this is also good, thanks to the many mirrors with which I monitored the behavior of the trailer in the corners so as not to demolish the Stern roadside poles. And, of course, not to mention the brakes – the pedal is light, with a lot of feedback and a small course that allows you to precisely control braking.
Go to the local motorway. The car is allowed for trucks at 85 km/h. you can turn on the cruise control, but i still want to do everything myself. On long climbs, the speed drops slowly, even with the accelerator pedal pressed to the floor, and when the engine speed drops to 1000 rpm, the automatic transmission shifts into a lower gear and the truck starts to accelerate. On long descents, the main thing is to use the brake, it is not mandatory. It is much easier to pull the right hand stalk lever and turn on the brake motor. If the pull is even harder for him to come to the aid of the retarder. At the same time, the tractor gradually slows down, and in a particular case, on the descent, it simply does not pick up speed, which is what I need now.
The cab is suspended by 4 air suspension points, swaying slightly on a flat road. On occasional large pits, heavy whooping cough with the wheels down, but the driver and passenger almost never comes, because in addition to the cab, its suspension and chassis, pneumatic seats successfully dampen residual vibrations. And silence! At cruising speed it does not make noise, but the wind in the huge mirrors. If I were a truck driver, I could not have dreamed of a better job.
After a trip to the DAF HF model, I switched to a slightly smaller kf 480 8×2 fax. It doesn’t have a trailer, but it does have a built-in crane. The CF Series has the same chassis as the XF, but a lower and narrower cab, making sizing even easier. And later I checked all the "small" FA LF 210 4×2 loaded from a mobile excavator. After the "mastodon" that XF and CF, he felt almost like a passenger car – I easily switched to it, even on a narrow mountain serpentine. I then entered the acting career while I was still driving other DAF models and found their amazing off-road qualities. In short, the Dutch method was good in all operating conditions, which was to be proven.