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G&R News Figure Concious DAF

When it comes to selecting the right power and torque outputs for the ideal transport solution, very often the answer comes down to finding the right horses for the intended courses.

The DAF CF with its more compact cab dimensions than its big brother, the XF105, has previously been rated for rigid or single trailer, local or country work with 460 hp. This left the decision of making the move to the larger XF with its high power and torque rating dependent on whether the application was likely to include B-double and line-haul work. The CF85 DAF has proven its worth as a good aroundtown or intrastate prime mover, or solid reliable rigid. It’s also made a name for itself as the basis for the concrete pumping market, with 8×4 and 10×4 rigid models.

The CF85 DAF has proven its worth as a good aroundtown or intrastate prime mover, or solid reliable rigid. It’s also made a name for itself as the basis for the concrete pumping market, with 8×4 and 10×4 rigid models. Now, with a power increase, the CF 85 takes on a new dimension in ability.

In addition to the MX13 engine rated at 460 hp (340 kW) and 1700 lb-ft (2300 Nm), operators may now option up to the same rating as the XF with a power and torque increase
that takes the MX13 engine out to 510 hp (375 kW) and 1850 lb-ft (2500 Nm). Put simply, you get the benefit of the lower weight 13-litre MX engine at power and torque outputs that rival the lower end of the 15-litre market.

The low cab height, easy access and egress, and manoeuvrability of the CF85 are all things that make it a good candidate for multi-drop and PUD work, whether it
be in rigid or semi configuration. Excellent vision, with the aid of electrically adjusted and heated mirrors (both the main and the spotter mirrors), also adds to the appeal. A
quiet and comfortable cab is just as important during a day around town as it is out on the highway, and while it may be a little noisier than the XF, the CF delivers on both
counts. In fact, the interior offers all the goodies found in the XF, including a slide out fridge and sunroof as standard. The dash, controls and layout are identical, and while it
may take a little extra effort to climb in, the bed is also very close to that in the XF, albeit 60 mm narrower.

Underneath the cab, the 510 hp CF85 is not just similar to the XF, but virtually identical. The entire driveline is the same, with the MX13 driving through a ZF-AS Tronic AMT transmission and Meritor rear diffs. A slightly different diff ratio is used on the CF, to make life easier in the stop/start traffic around town.

Kenworth Airglide 400 eight-bag air suspension is fitted under the rear, with 7500 kg rated parabolic springs fitted up front. Disc brakes on the steer combine with drums on the drive axles to bring it to a stop, with EBS and ABS fitted as standard, and hill-start aid and traction control also feature on the spec sheet.

The standard wheelbase is also the same, but, strangely enough, the CF85 only carries 770 litres of fuel against the XF’s 1000 litres. This has more to do with the chassis layout, and the location of the air tanks and batteries. A smaller AdBlue tank also hints at the local or intrastate intentions of the CF. That being said, fuel and AdBlue packaging is easily changed to suit individual needs, if the chassis space allows.

So, basically, the CF85 510 is a big truck wrapped in a little cab, with all the capability of the XF, including a rating of up to 70 tonnes GCM. This leads into the conversation about the new opportunities for the CF, which are many and varied. As mentioned above, the PBS truck and dog market could be a great domain for the CF, with its light tare weight, standard safety equipment and manoeuvrability.

The CF85 could also be very popular in the car carrier market, with the ability to pull a B-double and fit an extra car over the roof. Volvo has made big inroads into this market lately with the FM, but the price difference between it and the CF could see more operators swinging over to the Dutch brand. Line haul, B-double changeovers would also suit this truck down to the ground, with enough fuel for a night away, good driver environment and the efficiency of the MX13 putting forward a pretty good case.

On a recent drive aboard the CF 85 510, towing a single trailer loaded just shy of 35 tonnes gross, the truck demonstrated good manners under a variety of conditions.
The drive route took in some hilly country, highways, freeways and local suburban roads, with the CF taking it all in its stride.

Even on a very blustery day, it returned 2.3 km/l on a route that was chosen specifically to test the gearing and pulling power.

It would seem that a change of turbo and programming has really brought the CF85 to life, allowing operators to exploit its full potential. While it’s unlikely it will ever replace the XF, the CF does offer the same performance, and could well take some of its big brother’s market share in those jobs that don’t require a driver to spend more than the odd night sleeping in the truck. The interesting thing will be to see how its competitors respond, including Scania, which does not yet offer 500 hp under the P-Series cab. Volvo has an option, but, again, pricing might see the competition in this segment really heat up.

So it would seem that DAF has broken stereotype in terms of small trucks only having small horsepower figures. The CF85 is no longer a small truck – it’s actually a small cab sitting atop a big truck chassis and driveline.


Article reproduced with permission from Gilbert & Roach Huntingwood. Original article published in G&R News Gilbert & Roach Huntingwood July 2017

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