Test Drive

Steve Sturgess | March 01, 2012

Another impressive feature was the lack of noise. Though we admittedly tread lightly on the surface streets, there was no cab-produced noise, no booming or rattling. On the freeway, the truck settled into a quiet cruise, showing sound levels comparable with – or even a shade quieter than – the International ProStar+ and the Volvo VN.

The quiet ride, along with the multi-adjustable suspension seats, help relax the driver. A three-compartment cushion provides excellent lumbar support.

The Cascadia is all about size. It is wide and tall inside and a comfortable truck whether you’re driving or resting. The cab width allows for seats two inches wider, longer and taller. Yet even with the wide seats, there’s 24 inches of walk-through to the standard 72-inch high roof sleeper, which has 94 inches of stand-up room. The seats are on swivels so they can double as armchairs when logging off-duty sleeper time.

Another distinctive feature is the small windows in the sleeper. They don’t help with fuel economy, but they do eliminate the potential water leakage path with the conventional mounting of glass in rubber. At the launch in 2007, Freightliner said research showed drivers didn’t particularly care about seeing out of the sleeper, but they did care about others seeing in. Eliminating the lower side windows at the time seemed an easy decision. But they are back, as is a sleeper door, as an option.

The Freightliner Cascadia’s bumper is in three pieces – as is the hood – for quick and inexpensive repair. For the same reason, the huge windshield is a two-piece roped-in design. The aluminum cab is designed to withstand not just the standard ECE 29 crash test, but the far more rigorous Swedish cab test requirements.

Contributing Editor Steve Sturgess has covered trucking, automotive and related fields for more than 30 years.

Quick-replace items include headlamp bulbs and a low-maintenance heating and ventilation system. There is easy engine access through removable panels.

 

 

2012 Freightliner Cascadia

FRAME: Freightliner 11⁄32 by 3-1⁄2 by 10-3⁄16 inch steel, 120 ksi

The model tested featured the Detroit DD15 at 475 hp and 1,650 lb.-ft. of torque.

ENGINE BRAKE: Jacobs

TRANSMISSION: Eaton Fuller FRO16210C, 10-speed O/D

WHEELBASE: 225 inches

FRONT AXLE: Detroit DA-F12,000-lb. dual taper-leaf suspension

REAR AXLE: Detroit DA-RT-40 40,000 lbs., 3.42:1

SUSPENSION: FreightlinerAirliner 40,000-lb. air-ride

WHEELS: Accuride hub pilot, outside polished

FUEL TANKS: Dual 120 gallons, unpolished

FIFTH WHEEL: Holland FWS1

OTHER: Freightliner heated, motorized mirrors; hood mirrors; full aerodynamic package; AM/FM/CD weatherband radio with MP3 player interface; automatic temperature control HVAC; 160-amp alternator; Borg Warner on/off fan clutch; Delco 69MT starter; Davco 482 fuel/water separator; ConMet pre-set aluminum hubs; Virtual Technician diagnostics.

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