MT editor Steve Hobson, DAF Trucks’ business planning director Nigel Beckett and MD Laurence Drake, and James Welchman, manager marketing EMEA – Chevron at sponsor Texaco Lubricants

In a closely fought contest, the DAF XF narrowly beat off its challengers to take the Fleet Truck of the Year title for the third time in the last five years, marking the 18th time DAF Trucks has picked up the trophy.

What makes the XF such a good fleet truck? One of our panel of operators summed it up: “Best purchase price, best back-up, good driver appeal, fuel performance consistent with its competitors, good parts availability and conservative development over a long period of time meaning that in-house maintenance is still an option, as well as exceptional value for money which suits our policy of buy at least cost, sell at best possible value whatever the market conditions.”

The XF goes back to 1997 when it replaced the 95 series. But that’s not to say the XF is outdated – the latest generation launched in 2017 set new standards in efficiency, using 7% less fuel than its predecessor, while maximum power was increased to 530hp and it was fitted with the new ZF TraXon gearbox. The 6x2 tractors are also 130kg lighter and can run for up to 200,000km between services.

Another judge commented: “The cab has been around for a while but through improvements and enhancements remains an excellent place to overnight in.”

The MX-11 engine is available in a ‘Silent’ version that uses special engine software and an encapsulated gearbox to keep noise levels below 71 dB(A), making the vehicle ideal for out-of-hours deliveries.

A host of safety features includes: adaptive cruise control, predictive cruise control, forward collision warning system, advanced emergency braking system, and lane departure warning system.

Also helping to keep DAF in front of the opposition is the quality of its dealer support network, DAFaid.

“The DAF dealership network is the most extensive of all the manufacturers and provides an industry best response time to breakdowns,” said one judge.

Another added: “DAF is the ultimate fleet truck for me. It’s affordable, reliable and the DAFaid network is second to none. For a corporate fleet, this is the best truck out there.”

"I’m delighted. I put it down to a great product, an excellent dealer network and a really good relationship with our customers. This is two years on the trot and shows we deal with long-term solid customer relationships which is great."

Laurence Drake

"It’s all about the back-up, the dealer network and the loyal customer base we’ve built up over the years"

Nigel Beckett