Tried and true

Steve Sturgess (Photos by Steve Sturgess) | March 01, 2012

The contribution of the turbo-compounding makes an additional peak 50 hp available and the result is a real kick in the pants when you press down on the accelerator: the DD15 builds torque far faster than any comparable big diesel. So while on paper this is a 475, it feels more like a 550 or 600 as you initially mash the throttle.

This also makes the DD15 a good engine for those little jump-ups such as freeway overpasses that can pull down speed as you get in to them. With the Detroit, the response is immediate and speed is maintained.

Driver comfort

The ride and quiet of the Cascadia help relax the driver, and the multi-adjustable suspension seats make a major contribution. A three-compartment cushion provides excellent lumbar support. The cab width allows for bigger seats: two inches wider, longer and taller. Yet even with the wide seats, there’s 24 inches of walk-through to the sleeper.

And the seats are on swivels so they can double as armchairs when logging off-duty sleeper time.

The view from the driver’s seat is excellent with very little intrusion by the big hood. The view to the rear is displayed in the big mirrors mounted so firmly on the doors you can actually swing on them. The result is a completely vibration-free image. The test Cascadia also featured optional forward-mounted mirrors on the side of the hood, equally firmly mounted and showing an excellent view of the blind spots usually created with a full-width cab. The downward-looking mirror on the passenger door makes assurance doubly sure.

The wood-grain dash features a full complement of gauges including the combination fuel and diesel-exhaust-fluid gauge. It has green LEDs to indicate how much DEF is in the 23-gallon tank. And the fill for the tank is conveniently located behind a flip-open door in the top step on the driver’s side.

On the wing dash is a fuel economy gauge, a useful accessory for any driver. Over there, too, are additional HVAC vents to complement those directly ahead of the driver for good ventilation and cooling.

Back in the sleeper, doors cover the storage closets for a clean look, with openings for the TV and the provision for a Sharp microwave and 120-volt outlets are on both sides in these spaces. They are hooked in to the shorepower receptacle, but likely an inverter could be specified. A Dometic refrigerator is mid-mounted on the passenger side. To the other side, there’s a step to assist in getting in to the upper bunk that folds up flat to the back wall. The lower bunk lifts to reveal the central storage bay and two baggage compartments that are also accessible through outside baggage doors.

The sleeper is set up with good ventilation. Even without the side windows, the top windows crank open and the side panels are equipped with screened vents.

This Cascadia lacks the available wood trim on the cabinets to complement the dash, but even without, the sleeper is a comfortable and practical living space.

Operations

The 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, allowing for easy and inexpensive replacement. The aluminum cab is designed to withstand not just the ECE 29 crash test but also the far more rigorous Swedish cab test requirements.

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

Summary

The Cascadia is all about size. It is wide and tall inside and a comfortable truck whether driving or resting. The ride is excellent and the lack of noise, whether from the engine or from the road, is impressive.

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