What to Expect at your Freightliner Cascadia Test Drive

Freightliner Trucks
On-Highway Newsletter

When you arrive at a truck dealership, you expect to see the latest and greatest. Now we all know this may not happen because a dealer will only stock what they can sell. All these new technological items cost money and most buyers are looking for a truck that will do the job while spending as little as they can. Others like to do research about things that will help them do their job more easily and safely. There are many safety tools available, but a dealer will probably not stock them, simply because of the cost.

When you head out on a Freightliner Cascadia test drive, it should be a fun, exciting ride. Feeling the power of the engine, the smoothness of the transmission, and the ride quality. When comparing the Cascadia to the truck you are currently driving, there are many things to consider.

Before your Freightliner Cascadia test drive, you will notice the aerodynamics of the truck as you approach it. Imagine it hooked to a trailer and how the air will flow smoothly from the tractor to the trailer. You should take note of the cab extenders; they’re there to close the air gap between the cab and trailer. The side skirts help to improve airflow around the fuel tanks and to the wheels. On the wheels you will find covers, again for improved airflow. Aero mirrors compliment the aerodynamics of the cab and hood. Step back and look at the truck from a distance noting things that are different than your truck. Make sure you ask your salesperson about those items you are not familiar with. Remember the Cascadia is ahead of the game in aerodynamics and other technologies so don’t be afraid to ask.

Either before or after your Freightliner Cascadia test drive, do a complete walk around the truck. Open the hood, check out the oil dipstick, the coolant level, the power steering fluid level, the belts and hoses. If you have any questions make sure you ask them. Check the tires and look at the brakes. If you are lucky, your test drive truck will have disc brakes, an awesome upgrade in braking technology. Under the hood you may notice a different looking water pump pulley, that’s the variable speed water pump drive. There are other changes the dealer can point out for you, all in the name of fuel economy. Look to see if there is anything you don’t recognize, if you find something, ask about it. Now let’s climb inside the truck.

As you open the door note the grab handles, they’re there to assist you in entering the cab. When you sit in the seat for the first time you will notice how it is one of the most ergonomic seats that a factory will install as a standard feature. Before you close the door, note the noise of your surroundings. After the door is closed you will notice that the Freightliner Cascadia has a fantastic insulation package. This will not only help with temperature control, but it acts to soundproof as well. Get comfortable in your seat, make the adjustments to make it fit you better so you will have a great driving experience.

Before you even start the engine you should look around, find all the controls that you would use each day. Some of those controls will be located on the steering wheel. The cruise control and the marker light blink are both within easy reach of your thumb. Light switches, temperature control knobs, and gauges are all easy to find and within reach.

Hopefully you are going out on your Freightliner Cascadia test drive in a DT12® equipped truck, which has the smoothest shifting automated manual transmission available today. The shifting controls are on the right side of the steering column; the engine brake controls are on the same stalk. If you are looking at a sleeper cab Cascadia, check out that area and ask any questions that you might have. Now that you are familiar with the interior, it’s time to take it for a drive.

Pay attention to any alarms that you need to be familiar with; low air, or a simple systems check. Now fire it up so you can experience the throttle pedal operation. Check the feel of the brake pedal. The Freightliner Cascadia test drive is about to begin so make sure you compare the ride and feel of the handling. Is it different than you’re used to? Are there any safety enhancements, such as lane departure warning, or adaptive cruise that you are not used to? Have the dealer explain how they work and demonstrate them when safe to do so.

As you leave the dealership to go on your Freightliner Cascadia test drive, notice the power of the Detroit® DD15®. It’s smooth and efficient. Is the transmission skipping gears? It is designed to do just that. It will skip the gears not needed to get you to your cruising speed as efficient and quickly as possible. It will skip more gears while bobtail than it will while loaded, but the amount will depend on the load. Set the cruise, then sit back and enjoy the ride. There is one thing that you will notice right away and that is that you can have a conversation in a Cascadia and there is no need to yell. If you normally run solo this may not be important, but you can now hear yourself sing. This is when many owner/operators figure out that they need to remain professional drivers.

Most dealers don’t have a loaded trailer sitting around to pull for test drives so you can only use your imagination and compare it with your current ride when bobtail. Test drive the Freightliner Cascadia ten to fifteen miles if possible, which will get it up to operating temperature so you can get a good feel of everything. You can also check the heater and air conditioning operation while driving.

Once you arrive back at the dealership and park the truck, go in and visit with your salesperson. You can then get the answers you need and hopefully you can drive away in a new Freightliner Cascadia. If not, you are now more knowledgeable about what you are looking for and your salesperson can help you get the spec ordered for the truck that would be perfect for you and your operation.