Dave Whyte knows trucks better than most. He is a former columnist for Owner-Driver and Power Torque Magazine’s current Road Test Editor which has enabled him to test and review literally dozens of American and European heavy-duty models.
Dave has also been a full-time driver for the past 14 years. In 2007, he launched his own business – Whyte’s Transport – in Kyneton, Central Victoria. He started as an owner-driver, carting a wide range of products regionally and interstate. In 2012, he secured a long-term contract with CEVA Vehicle Logistics, which required him to purchase a new prime mover.
“Given my background, I knew immediately which trucks could do the job,” Dave said. “I needed an efficient workhorse suitable for interstate B double work. I wanted a truck that was comfortable and easy to drive, with a cab that was spacious enough to live in for a week at a time. It also needed to meet strict specifications to enable it to fit under the specialized trailers associated with the job.
“When I went to Kenworth and DAF of Melbourne, I found everything I needed. DAF had just introduced its top-of-the-range XF105, which I hadn’t reviewed. It had all the features I was looking for, the price was right, and the service we received from Dean Blair at Kenworth and DAF of Melbourne was exceptional” he added.
The multi award-winning XF105 has the power and reliability to handle a variety of long-haul, heavy-duty applications, from tanker operations to interstate distribution, and it has the maneuverability to negotiate urban environments with ease. Like all DAFs in the local range, the XF105 has been modified to even better manage Australia’s unique operations and taxing environments.
Dave said the biggest surprise was DAF’s value for money – no other truck got close to it on price.
“The XF105 is a well-appointed truck and offers many standard features other models consider as options. Having considered the specifications, standard inclusions and delivery time, the XF105 was at the top of the list, but I was really sold on it after the test-drive. From an engineering and application viewpoint, the XF105 was the perfect truck for the job. DAF’s value for money was the cherry on top,” he said.
Dave took possession of his XF105 prime mover in April 2012. Rated to a GCM of 70,000 kg, the 6×4 cab-over is configured as a 26-metre B double, pulling car-carrier trailers capable of carrying up to 10 vehicles.
The XF105 is powered by a PACCAR MX, 12.9-litre engine with SCR technology, producing 510 hp (375 kW) at 1500 – 1900 rpm and 1845 lb/ft (2500 Nm) of torque at 1000 – 1410 rpm. The truck features a ZF AS-Tronic 16-speed overdriven automated transmission, DAF 152N front axle (rated to 7500 kg) and Meritor MT23-160 (21,000 kg), PACCAR Airglide 400 rear suspension as well as DAF’s roomy Super Space Cab. The truck also has as standard cruise control, ABS and EBS.
Dave’s DAF primarily carts between CEVA’s Melbourne and Sydney depots. It averages around 10,000 km a fortnight, doing five round trips. A few months after starting the contract, Dave employed a full-time driver who now operates the XF105. Dave divides his time between his journalist job, the CEVA contract and driving for other customers.
Having road-tested countless heavy-duty trucks over the years, the journalist has seen trucking technology evolve. He believes DAF is at the cutting edge, employing the latest innovation in its product range.
“When you take into account performance, reliability, economy as well as comfort, safety and ease of operation, the XF105 is, without doubt, one of the best heavy-duty trucks on the road today.
And, having seen my own DAF at work for more than a year and a half, I can say it performs perfectly, day in, day out. It hasn’t missed a beat.”
Dave said DAF’s attention to detail in the ergonomically-designed cab and roomy sleeper make all the difference to operators, especially those on long hauls.
“It’s a pleasure to drive and is very quiet inside. It’s a really nice working environment and living environment too,” he said.
“With the Ceva contract, we’re away for six nights a week. When you have to literally live in your truck for an extended time, that’s when you really appreciate the added luxury and room of DAF’s Super Space Cab. It has the most spacious interior in its class, with a 210 cm (6 foot, eight inches) standing height. There’s two bunks, plenty of storage and room to relax, enjoy a meal or do paperwork. There’s even a slide-out table which is ideal for when I need to work on my laptop,” Dave explained.
Another exceptional feature of the XF105 is its low operating costs. Hauling car carriers is relatively light work but, because the open trailers are less aerodynamic than some others, they are comparatively costly in fuel consumption.
“That’s another area where DAF shines,” Dave said. “I’m getting two kilometres per litre. Some operators pulling one trailer only manage 1.9 km/l. I’m getting better fuel economy, hauling more freight.”
Dave says that when buying a truck many operators overlook the dealer behind the brand. He said this was as important as any other factor in the purchasing decision.
“You’re going to be using your truck for years. You need to know there’s solid service and support when you need it. I bought this truck for two main reasons: It was the best vehicle for the application, and the excellent service from Kenworth and DAF of Melbourne. ” he said.
“Before I even approached them, I had contacted dealers selling other brands. I got the run-around from a couple, and one didn’t even bother returning my calls. Kenworth and DAF of Melbourne was the complete opposite. Their salesman, Dean Blair, gave me exemplary service and advice from day one. Nothing was too much trouble. And it’s been the same way ever since,” he said.
“Should the opportunity arise to add another truck to our fleet, I know who I’ll call first.”
DAF Trucks Australia, a division of PACCAR Australia, distributes a complete range of medium and heavy-duty trucks throughout Australia. PACCAR Inc, a Six Sigma company, is a global technology leader in the design, manufacture and customer support of high-quality light, medium, and heavy-duty trucks under the Kenworth, Peterbilt and DAF nameplates. PACCAR also designs and manufactures advanced diesel engines, provides financial services and information technology, and distributes truck parts related to its principal business.