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Searching For Even More Fuel Economy

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In the early days of the development of the new DAF XG and XF models, and searching for even more fuel economy, they built a working prototype of a truck with a protruding nose, which wouldn’t have looked out of place on the front of a Japanese Bullet train.

This was quickly dismissed when tests revealed that the aerodynamic gains were barely any better than when using a subtle bulge. Other drawbacks included worse manoeuvrability, a higher production cost and a significant weight penalty.

The final design, which is used on the front of all three New Generation trucks, consists of a 160mm tapered protrusion. In addition to being more pedestrian friendly than a flat front, it boosts aerodynamics to the tune of 19 per cent, equating to a 6.3 per cent improvement in fuel economy compared with the current XF.

Although the current four-spoke steering wheel is carried over, the button groupings have changed, with all speed controls moving to the left, and infotainment buttons on the right. This is all part of DAF’s ‘hands on the wheel, eyes on the road’ philosophy.

It’s out with the old analogue dashboard, and in with a new 30cm digital version. It can be configured to either ‘modern’ or ‘classic’ modes, and provides drivers with as little or as much information as they require.

To the right of the driver (in left-hand-drive trucks) is a new 26cm infotainment screen, standard on all but poverty-spec vehicles. Although it is touchscreen, there’s a voice activation control, which DAF actively encourages the use of. From the driver’s seat, everything looks sleek and modern, the one exception being a pair of thick steering column-mounted stalks, which appear chunky and cumbersome in comparison.

DAF’s designers have put a huge amount of effort into improving visibility, and have definitely succeeded. I’ve never been in a long-haul truck with such a clear view of the road, both ahead and to the sides. The front wrap-around windscreen is 33 per cent larger than on current XF, and thanks to an impressively flat dashboard, you can see through most of it. The side windows are 15 per cent bigger, and the passenger windowsill is particularly low, providing a superb view towards the pavement.

Apparently DAF toyed with the idea of doing the same on the driver’s side, but then thought better of it. The decision was made to raise this side’s windowsill to a ‘normal’ level, providing drivers with added privacy, and a comfortable place to rest their arm (in addition to the seat-mounted armrest). A lower windowsill on this side wouldn’t have improved visibility anyway.

searching for even more fuel economy

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