The drawbar set-up has long been popular on the Continent but has never caught on to the same extent in the UK. Some major fleets do use them, however, with Eddie Stobart probably the largest operator. They will undoubtedly therefore appear on the used market, so it makes sense to have a look at the DAF XF105.510 drawbar. The DAF XF105.510 drawbar features a 510hp 6×2 rigid pulling a trailer of identical 7,825mm length, giving a combined vehicle length of 18,750mm. The Super Space Cab is provided and although it looks small from the outside, it is actually spacious inside.
This cab is mounted using DAF’s four-point cab air cushioning system, which makes the vehicle even easier to live with. The vehicle suspension is via a standard front steel and rear air set-up, which gives predictable handling without either understeer or oversteer. There is also less movement of the cab and a lesser degree of chassis flex than you will be used to on a normal 6×2 tractor unit. All told, this makes the DAF XF105.510 drawbar a refined truck that handles well, whatever the road conditions.
The DAF XF105.510 drawbar dashboard is compact and logically laid out. The steering wheel also features controls, with rocker switches on the left spoke operating a Bluetooth phone interface, dashboard information display and speed limiter. On the right spoke you will find three buttons that operate the cruise-control system. There are two multi-functional steering wheel stalks and both are very useful. The gear-selector dial and parking-brake lever come easily to hand on the dash. The mirror set-up gives good rear visibility and together with the large glass area, the feeling is one of airiness and good vision. Some models are fitted with the Super Air seats, which provide outstanding comfort even on the longest journeys.
The 510 MX375 engine on the DAF XF105.510 drawbar is a 12.9 litre straight-six unit which comes in four power options from 360 to 510hp. The 360 unit might be a little light for the heaviest 40-tonners, but the others are adequate. It has SMART injection and SCR technologies to make it Euro 5 EEV compliant and delivers its maximum power between 1,500 and 1,900rpm, pumping out 2,500m of torque.
Braking is supplied via a dual-circuit, full-air system with all-round discs and there is also an Intarder engine-brake system which works exceptionally well, protecting those discs from too much wear and tear. ABS is also featured.
The AS Tronic gearbox, meanwhile, is operated from the right steering-wheel stalk and seems faultless. It also allows easy manual intervention when the driver can see something ahead that the electronics cannot anticipate. Other than on those occasions, the driver can simply stick it in auto and forget about it. Although they still remain a rare sight on UK roads, drawbars undoubtedly have a place in the industry and for those for whom they make sense, the DAF XF105.510 drawbar is an excellent example and well worth considering.