You get the distinct impression that if 24-year-old Helensville truckie Blake Rickaby had been doing the choosing, his new truck would be a Kenworth. Yep, maybe a K200 like the one his Mum drives.
It means that this second son in the heavily trucking-oriented Rickaby family (Dad Craig drives a Freightliner Argosy bulk tipper for Neville Brothers in Silverdale, where he’s worked for over 25 years, Mum Shiralee drives for West Auckland operator Richie Malam and older brother Dylan steers a Scania tipper for Winstones), shapes up as a man likely to deliver a no-bull opinion on his new stock truck – which just happens to be New Zealand’s first Euro 6 DAF XF.
The OnRoad Transport driver is just three weeks into his new drive – carting livestock around the North Island in the nine-axle XF HPMV unit.
So, what does this Kenworth devotee think of the brand-new 8x4 DAF XF 530 FAD? “We don’t hate the truck, put it that way,” Blake says as he loads 38 $1000 per head Angus steers onto the truck and five-axle trailer at a farm in Glen Murray, west of Te Kauwhata in the northwestern Waikato.
Although this is the first of the new Euro 6 DAF XFs to go on the road in New Zealand (after extensive testing here, carried out by distributor Southpac Trucks), I have actually spent time behind the wheel of this model already.
That was in a left-hand-drive version, on a test track in Netherlands – after a tour of the DAF factory back in 2017.
We also, of course, drove one of the NZ test trucks – a CF model – over Arthur’s Pass late last year in the leadup to the launch of the new DAFs.
My Sunday drive in OnRoad Transport’s XF starts at Whatawhata, when I take over the wheel from regular driver Blake Rickaby.
The climb into the cab is just as you’d expect from any European truck, with three well-spaced steps, a wide-opening door and grabhandles on each side.
The driver posi has a comfortable air-suspended, armrest seat with plenty of room and adjustment to suit any driver’s shape.