Jump to: In the cab, Highlights, Specifications
This DAF CF 8-legger is that rare beast, finding approval from operator and driver, and it ticks the environmental boxes too.It’s not often you find an 8-legger that appeals to both gaffer and driver in equal measure, but that’s exactly what this DAF CF 450 FAD does.
“We wanted to make it as light as possible, while still appealing to the driver,” explains DAF’s UK product marketing manager James Turner, who specced it for the truck maker’s demonstration fleet. In other words, despite weighing just 11,750kg, absolutely no compromises have been made in terms of driver comfort, with all of the weight-saving measures taking place at the business end of the truck.
Turner opted for an Aliweld insulated aluminium body for the first time, but it’s unlikely to be the last. “We’ve been impressed with the level of service given, but also the quality of the product,” he says. The body is deep, compensating for the additional length of the sleeper cab, and matching the height of the cab in order to aid aerodynamics.
The truck is equipped with the 11-litre MX-11 engine, at its highest 450hp rating. This represents a 200kg saving over its 13-litre sibling. Other weight-saving measures include the fitting of Alcoa Dura-Brights, shod with lightweight Continental tyres. There are discs all round, and a 340-litre aluminium fuel tank. Turner could have saved even more weight with a 220-litre tank, but reckoned this would have been annoying for drivers.
In the cab:
A growing number of aggregate tipper customers are working further afield, hence the low-roof Sleeper Cab fitted to this truck. There’s plenty of space for a few nights away, with more-than adequate underbunk storage. The bed itself is a good size, with an impressively thick mattress.
We are impressed with the top-of-therange Xtra driver’s seat. In addition to being supremely comfortable, it’s heated and ventilated too.
The truck has a decent infotainment system, with built-in sat-nav. Although we choose to pair our phone by Bluetooth, it’s also possible to insert a SIM card into the truck instead. This is proving increasingly popular these days as a growing number of hauliers forbid drivers from carrying their mobile phones in the cab.
We are big fans of the latest generation of DAF CF. It’s such a comfortable, familiar, driver-friendly place to be, and even running unladen from Moreton C Cullimore’s Ashton Keynes site to a nearby quarry to collect a load, the ride is surprisingly good.
Relocating the speed controls to the steering wheel was a great move on DAF’s behalf, as it means drivers no longer need to take their eyes off the road. Instead of engaging the cruise control, we opt for the speed limiter, setting it at 45mph with a 5mph overrun. These days the limiter works in conjunction with Eco Roll, whereas in the previous generation it would only engage when cruise control was activated.
The truck is running on HVO biodiesel (hydrotreated vegetable oil). It’s been produced from vegetable fats and oils, and is a clean-burning, more environmentally friendly version of diesel that requires no modifications to the engine. Despite having lower well-to-wheel CO2 emissions than natural gas, and with today’s mix of power generation, electric too, unfortunately the fuel doesn’t benefit from a duty reduction. And despite cutting NOX and particulate emissions it won’t enable your pre-Euro-6 to avoid charges in the ULEZ and CAZs either. So, your reward for using it is purely environmental, and not financial.
Waiting to be loaded we turn off the engine, and try out the rest heat function instead. This pumps otherwise wasted warm air from the engine into the cab, and costs nothing to run. While we are sitting there DAF’s demo driver Mandy Wannerton shows us the optional tyre pressure monitoring system fitted to our truck. Blow-outs in tippers caused by under-inflated tyres are a big issue, so spotting potential problems can help lower running costs and improve safety.
Much to the shovel operator’s surprise, we are able to take 20 tonnes of gravel. Fully loaded the truck behaves impeccably, pulling exceptionally well for an 11-litre engine. It actually has the same level of torque as the previous generation 13-litre 460. The cab is impressively quiet, and we have to keep glancing down to confirm that we are really travelling at 50mph at 900rpm. These days you have to use your eyes, and not your ears, to drive a DAF CF.
Some 85% of DAF tippers are specified with the two-pedal TraXon gearbox, and we can understand why. It’s faultless both on- and off-road, and we only interfere in order to take a gear on the approach to a roundabout, ensuring that the engine brake keeps the rev-counter in the blue band. For those who want it, a 16-speed manual is available, but there is no cost saving by specifying it.
Whether you are operating it or driving it, in this specification the DAF CF makes an awful lot of sense.