To start with, any new cab in the heavy truck sector is big news as the life cycle of a truck cab is much longer than that of car, for example.
The outgoing cab for the DAF XF originated back in the late 1980s. Sure it has had upgrades and new panels and extensions to the roof etc. but essentially the basic design remained the same.
DAF may be a more extreme example of a long-lasting cab design, but the cabs made by most truck manufacturers last more than ten years.
So, simply a new cab from DAF is big news.
The fact that this cab is the first for any European truck manufacturer to come out designed according to the revised legislation for overall lengths for trucks.
Simply put, this means that the trucks are allowed to be longer than they were previously.
Why Allow Longer Trucks?
The truck makers can make use of the extra length available to:
- Improve the aerodynamics of the truck
- Improve safety (for pedestrians including direct vision for the drivers)
- A better working environment for the driver – in other words, more space in the cab.
How Much Bigger are the New XF & XG Cabs?
The simple answer is 49 centimetres bigger – there is 160mm on the front end to help aerodynamics and pedestrian safety plus a whopping 330mm (over a foot) on the rear of the cab of the XG+.
This doesn’t mean that these new cabs manoeuvre like an American truck – they still have to meet the same turning circle requirements as the earlier regulations stipulated.
Is Bigger Better?
In the case of the new XF and XG cabs it would appear to be the case. As a result of the smoother shape and revised front end, the aerodynamic improvements have resulted in a reduction in drag of some 22%. Although to achieve these figures, an operator would have to fork out on the upgraded rear-view cameras that replace the mirrors – they are not standard on the DAF range unlike on the new Actros.
This reduction in drag plus some driveline improvements (3%) give an overall fuel saving of some 10% over the old XF model
Why Keep the XF Brand?
It may seem odd to launch a totally new truck and re-use the existing model name in addition to the new one. DAF tell us that the XF may still be the most appropriate cab for many markets worldwide that have yet to adopt the revised European standards and may still require the smaller cab.
At the moment, the new range is not available across the full range that the XF is currently available – when the XG is available across all weight and axle configurations, DAF may well decide to retire the XF model in the UK and Europe.
Interested in reading more? Check out the XG Launch blurb from DAF.