A 16-litre Freightliner Cascadia 126 with all the creature comforts is making an impact at Wodonga-based fleet G.A.B.S.
It has been put to work running as a road train hauling food-processing byproduct between Wodonga, in Victoria’s far north, and Charleville, in South West Queensland, weighing in at around 79-tonnes.
The Freightliner Cascadia is the best-selling heavy-duty truck in the United States. It is produced in Charlotte, North Carolina, with an engine manufactured from Detroit, Michigan.
G.A.B.S operates a fleet of 13 heavy-duty trucks and the Cascadia is the first Freightliner.
“I’ve always been a Kenworth operator, but I’m very impressed with this Cascadia so far,” said G.A.B.S director Ross Spargo.
Spargo said he was initially interested thanks to the value proposition of the new Freightliner, a factor that made him take a closer look at the specs of the model that was launched in Australia after a comprehensive local test program.
Now, after a several months on the road, Spargo is glad he took the plunge with the Cascadia and he highlights the performance, fuel efficiency and comfort levels of the truck.
“It has all the creature comforts, more horsepower, better vision and good fuel, it’s an incredible truck to drive.”
So, what do the drivers think of the big Freightliner, which mixes old-school American muscle with some pretty advanced technology?
“The drivers love it. The current driver is a Kenworth man, but he thinks the Cascadia is great and doesn’t want to get out of it,” said Spargo.
Cascadia is available with a 13-litre DD13 Detroit engine that produces up to 505hp and 1850lb-ft, or a 16-litre Detroit six-cylinder DD16 engine that pumps out up to 600hp and 2050lb-ft of torque.
The G.A.B.S truck has the bigger engine, using the commonsense idea that you can’t go wrong with more power.
Although it is available with an advanced Detroit DT12 Automated Manual Transmission (AMT), Spargo opted for the old-school 18-speed Eaton manual.
He noticed early on that the Cascadia was extremely good on fuel, even in challenging conditions, and also used very little AdBlue.
“We are very happy with the fuel numbers. It is getting the best fuel numbers in the fleet on that application and uses very little AdBlue,” Spargo said.
He selected a 60-inch sleeper for the Cascadia, which makes it a comfortable home away from home. The set-up includes a TV and a fridge, while it also has an Ice Pack to maintain the high level of comfort. The same designers who shape Boeing interiors were involved in the creation of the Cascadia cabin with the goal of ensuring that it was both practical and ergonomic.
Spargo and the G.A.B.S team is rightfully proud of their fleet and all the trucks get a little bit of love and stainless steel before they hit the road.
The Cascadia benefits from some understated scrollwork and pin striping, along with stainless wheel guards, sunvisor and bonnet guard, while there are plenty of LED lights across the top of the windscreen and on the cab skirts to make sure no-one misses the rig out on the open road.
Its inherent fuel efficiency gives the Cascadia extra range, while Spargo selected four fuel tanks with a combined capacity of 1249-litres to ensure the G.A.B.S truck can go a very long way between drinks.