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TEST: DAF XG+ (2024) driving without a license – How hard is that?

March 25, 2024

Typically Dutch: DAF

Okay, what is really typically Dutch? Windmills, clogs, cheese, syrup waffles, tulips, complaining about the weather, herring bites, Donkervoort, but you might also think of DAF, the famous truck manufacturer from the always cozy town of Brabant. A brand that has become an absolute world player in the truck market. But what exactly does a car channel like do at DAF?


Can we explain. We cover a lot of miles and on the road you also look around a lot. We see many Golfs and Tesla’s driving but many more trucks. There are also a remarkable number of DAFs driving around. That begged the question: how hard is that, driving a truck without a major license? DAF had the guts to invite us to come and drive different models at the test track in Sint-Oedenrode, DAF’s official development site. Here with those keys!

Different scenarios

DAF has the audacity to invite a number of automotive journalists to experience what is involved in driving a truck. We are not driving on public roads, but on DAF’s closed test site: the Proefbaan in Sint-Oedenrode. Here DAF carries out various testing activities, such as for the development of new models. The terrain offers a variety of different scenarios, from off-roading to driving over bumpy road surfaces. All facets a driver might encounter on public roads can be replicated here by DAF. The perfect venue for us to try out various DAF models.

The models of DAF

DAF is providing its entire fleet of vehicles for this unique event. That’s quite a few models anno 2024. It starts with the XB and runs from an XD and XF to an XG or XG+ as DAF’s absolute flagship. Also know that DAF carries the “C” label. That “C” stands for Construction/Construction. DAF’s products include the XFC and XDC, vehicles for off-road applications. The XD vehicles are mainly for distribution applications, while the XF/XG/XG+ vehicles are for longer distances. DAF further supplies electric models such as the DAF XB Electric and XF Electric, but those models are absent during our driver’s day. That means getting started with powerful diesel engines.


Diesel engine of 12.9-liter

Truck engines are completely different from the engines you normally find in passenger cars. For example, the swept volume is considerably higher and there is bizarre torque. To give an example, the 12.9-liter Euro 6 PACCAR MX-13 engine, a common-rail six-in-line diesel engine, comes with 428, 483 or 530 hp. Torque ranges from 2,150 to as much as 2,600 Nm. Often the maximum torque is already available at 900 rpm. One size smaller is the MX-11 6-cylinder diesel engine with a swept volume of 10.8 liters. Such an engine also quickly produces 299 hp and as much as 1,450 Nm of torque. So they are true powerhouses behind the engine cover plate of a DAF. The MX-11 also comes with 449 hp and 2,350 Nm.

How economical is a truck?

Switching gears yourself? That’s no longer necessary; all DAF models today have an automatic. This often involves a 12-speed automated gearbox, but it depends greatly on the model chosen. Under favorable conditions, you can travel about five kilometers on one liter of diesel. That sounds unacceptable in the passenger car world, but in the trucking world you may call it frugal.


Shortage of drivers

Speaking of that trucking world, there has been a shortage of truck drivers for years, even though the demand for them is only increasing. Consumers are buying more and so transportation needs are increasing. To drive a large truck, you must get a C or C1 driver’s license. The C license is for drivers of trucks weighing from 3,500 kilograms to 50,000 kilograms. The C1 license is for drivers of trucks and motor homes between 3,500 kilograms and 7,500 kilograms. If you want to drive a truck for work, you need to get driver’s license C with code 95. Often an employer pays for this driver’s license.

Brand for the driver

DAF – part of PACCAR, which also carries Peterbilt and Kenworth – profiles itself as a brand for the driver. The driver comes first, according to the brand. That means the car must offer a good seat, a good bed and plenty of living space. In fact, it is crucial for a car to have these features. Because for imaging purposes, a truck lasts an average of 1.2 to 1.6 million kilometers when we talk about international transportation. A truck takes about eight years to travel that distance. So for a driver, a truck is a second living room, but also a kitchen/office/bedroom/relaxation area. How does DAF manage to provide a solution for all needs? More importantly, how hard is that now, driving a truck? You can see it in the video below.

TEST: Truck driving WITHOUT a driving license – How hard is it? – DAF XG+ (2024) – AutoRAI TV