Article reproduced courtesy of Trucksales.com.au (March 2023).
DAF XF 530 Super Space Cab: Review
DAF’s XF Super Space Cab is the top of the range in the DAF lineup. It’s a versatile and comfortable truck that would suit a whole range of applications.
The latest in the DAF heavy-duty range was launched back in 2020, unfortunately just in time for the pandemic. At that time, we got a brief drive of the trucks on the test track at Mount Cotton in Queensland, and we followed that up with a proper on-road drive of the CF, the workhorse of the range.
Recently though, we got our hands on an example of the top-spec XF Super Space Cab for a leisurely drive out of the big Kenworth DAF dealership in Derrimut in Melbourne’s west.
The XF is powered by the PACCAR MX-13 that’s rated to 530hp and a maximum 2600Nm of torque that’s produced from a low 900 to 1125rpm. Transmission is ZF’s TraXon 16-speed automated manual which is a top gearbox that we experienced in our test of the CF.
It’s interesting to note here that the TraXon gearbox has four reverse gears as well as manoeuvring modes in both forward and reverse.
Shifting to a different reverse gear is done using the right-hand stalk, and the gearbox will automatically shift to different reverse gear. Shifting to a different reverse gear is done using the stalk switch and at a sufficient speed.
To get into manoeuvring mode, you select the tortoise on the selector, in manoeuvring mode only R1 can be selected. The TraXon gearbox also has a Hill Start Aid which is activated by a switch on the dash.
At the launch of this model we were told that the new DAF trucks were 10 to 12 per cent more economical than the truck they replaced and this was achieved through engine ‘down-speeding’ which is lowering the engine revs through the use of the new transmission and giving he trucks longer-legged diff ratios.
Consequently, it’s running a 3.09m diff ratio.
The Super Space Cab is, as the name suggests, very spacious. The floor is nearly flat so you can stand up and walk around inside without hitting your head. Our truck was fitted with the double bunks for two-up driving and when not in use, the top bunk can be folded up to give more room to the lower bunk.
If you opt for a single-bunk only, the top bunk becomes a shelf for storing spare clothes or other personal items.
Between the seats there are two drawers, one of which is a fridge and the other is for dry storage.
There’s more storage above the windscreen, and there’s more than enough for a couple of days away.
The main bunk is a full two metres long and around 800mm wide so there’s plenty of room for a good night’s sleep. There is also a reading light in the bunk and access to the heating system that directs heat from the engine to keep your cabin warm.
The driver’s seat is a beauty featuring plenty of adjustment as well as heating and cooling functions. From here, the view is commanding. The large, deep windscreen is aided by narrow A pillars, and peripheral vision is helped by well-designed wing mirrors which also offer excellent rear vision.
In front of the driver, the big speedo and tacho flank a central screen that can give the driver all manner of information, even the weights on each axle – it’s very trick and quite easy to use. Within the screen you can customise the Driver Performance Assistance (DPA) feature that offers constant feedback to the driver of his/her driving style. It’s effectively positioned so the driver can easily see how the driving is affecting fuel consumption.
The info screen is controlled by a quite intuitive circular mouse-type pad to the left of the steering column. The column itself is multi-adjustable so it’s easy to get a comfortable position with a commanding view of the road.
The steering wheel itself has buttons on either side – the left for the stereo and phone and the right for cruise control and speed limiter.
The dash wraps around the driver and the audio unit is in this section along with ancillary switches like the lane departure warning, hill-start aid, diff locks, hazard flashers, DPF, ASR and the transmission selector.
These switches are customisable so that you can have the switches that you use the most exactly where you want them.
The heating and air-conditioning control panel is low on this section too. It’s pretty simple and easy to use but I reckon I’d like to have it a bit higher and easier to reach.
Like all the European trucks these days, the DAF is stacked full of safety features. It has driver and passenger air bags, AEB, stability control lane departure warning, and a neat side blind-spot camera that gives the driver a view down the left-hand side of the truck if you’re turning or changing lanes. This is displayed in the A/V screen when you put on the left indicator.
Along with the DAF’s excellent disc braking system, this model has gone to a three-stage retarder that operated on the right-hand stalk. The new MX Engine Brake, as it’s called, offers up to 360kW of retardation in the MX-13. It’s a compression braking system, its three stages offering additional braking force from two, four or all six cylinders.
Used wisely, the MX Engine Brake can all but pull the truck up in city going, and it’s hand on the highway too.
On the Road
Having experienced the DAF trucks at the launch of this model back in 2020 and doing the review of the CF in December of that year, I had a pretty good grounding of the DAF range.
A quick check of all the lights can be done with the button on the key fob and a walkaround confirmed that we were all set to go.
Climbing into the cab, it all became familiar once again as the layouts of the driver’s environment differs little save, of course, for the high roof and some more luxurious appointments of the XF Super Space Cab.
I know I say this a lot about these European trucks, but I have to mention it again, they are so quiet.
I reckon if I’d have had the air-conditioning fan on ‘3’ it would have been the loudest sound in the cabin as we cruised out of Melbourne toward Ballarat. These trucks are so well insulated that it’s like driving a passenger car – and a good one – in terms of decibels.
Vision from the driver’s seat is great, as we’ve mentioned, and I did get to use the side camera a few times which comes in handy when turning left in built-up areas.
The DAFs are manoeuvrable too. The light and direct steering makes getting around tight streets a breeze. The vision, manoeuvrability and comfort make them an ideal urban truck.
But that doesn’t take away from their ability out on the highway. I found slipping along at 1300rpm at 100km/h in the XF just a delight. Admittedly, we didn’t have much of a load on, but I have driven these loaded and they’re certainly no slouch, but lightly laden they get along beautifully.
DAF has taken a while to catch on in this country, but its acceptance and reputation is gaining pace. Sure, it’s not anywhere near as popular as it is in the Europe where it’s one of the most popular trucks on the road. In fact, this model was voted International Truck of the Year soon after its European launch in 2018.
DAF Trucks might be new to a some here in Australia, but they have a hard-won reputation for competitive pricing and strong reliability, so some owner/operators are catching on.
The DAFs are comfortable, packed with all the safety gear, they are easy to drive and very sure-footed on the road. Put simply, you get a lot of capability and a lot of truck for your money.
Engine: MX-13 530
Capacity: 12.9 litres
Max Power: 530hp at 1600rpm
Max Torque: 2600Nm at 900 to 1125rpm
Exhaust emission: Euro 6
Transmission: ZF TraXon 16-speed automated manual
Axle ratio: 3.09
Max front: 7100kg
Max rear: 18,100kg
Brakes: Ventilated discs front and rear, dual circuit air system with electronic control, ABS
Fuel tanks: Aluminium, 600 litre and 400 litre
Safety: Adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, advanced emergency braking, stability control, protective cab suspension and construction, driver airbag, seatbelt pretensioners, LED lights.