The Cascadia is the newest truck developed by Freightliner and features a host of new technologies which make it better suited for the long haul operations. The main advantage of the Freightliner is its small weight, achieved thanks to the heavy use of lightweight aluminum parts for the cabin. The rig also incorporates a new, common Electric/Electronic Architecture, and a host of features and systems designed to be easily accessible, repairable, and replaceable. However, despite all these features many truckers have complained about the reliability of its electronic systems such as cruise controls, lights, wiper or others and the Freightliner trucks have hard times convincing drivers about its reliability.
Apart from those issues however, the truck is fitted with strong and efficient engines and it is available with a choice of three cab configurations namely the Day Cab, Raised Roof and XT.
The Freightliner Cascadia features a conventional cab configuration with a long nose and an aerodynamic hood. The truck’s design is pretty catchy and features a big laid back front grill decorated with horizontal chromed strips.
Cascadia’s shape was heavy tested in the wind tunnel, hence a lot of elements were designed do offer a low drag coefficient. The truck features elegant windswept lines which keep the drag coefficient to a very low level. The lightweight aerodynamic bumper it’s also worth to be mentioned as it directs airflow smoothly into the radiator, around the tires and under the chassis, to reduce turbulence.
The sleek aggressive fenders underline the rugged character of the truck while the sloped hood and the curved windshield further improve its aerodynamic performances. The shorter side extenders are angled outward to offer better handling while, the eagle eye headlights add the finishing touch and they cope well with the rest of the body.
Once you’ll step inside you’ll find acres of space and a perfectly flat floor which offers easy access to every corner of the cab. However, the build quality isn’t the best in the business and some fittings and plastics don’t look as solid as other truck in the segment. Instead, the company engineers spent a lot of time in designing an ergonomic cab and it shows. The slightly curved dashboard is fitted with a host of intuitively placed controls and most of the buttons and switches are within easy. The instrument cluster features a classic pattern and its round gauges present easy to read information about fuel economy, outside temperature, equipment faults, fluid levels, trip time, miles driven and idle hours.
The Cascadia is also equipped with multiple DC outlets to power different communications, and you can find them either in the center of the dashboard or at the base of the bunk.
The seats are fitted with armrests and are among the most comfortable in the segment and the company says that are two inches wider, taller and longer than most in the industry. Besides the standard air suspended seats the Cascadia is available with optional seat-heater, swivel and three way bolster. To enhance the driver’s comfort the rig is also fitted with a tilting, telescoping steering wheel which features a host of controls for cruise, marker lights, engine brake and optional Driver Message Center.
As most of the heavy duty trucks, Cascadia’s all round visibility is top notch, thanks to the low mounted dash, the large windshield, and the sloped hood. The broad mirror coverage also offer good rear side visibility and the blind spots are kept to a minimum. You won’t have any complains about the sonic insulation either as the cab has a quiet ride.
The Raised-roof models feature 90 inches of headroom, and are fitted with double bunks and plenty of storage places that can accommodate two people. Both bunks are big and comfortable while the sleeper controls are also within easy reach.
Needless to say, that whether you choose a mid- or raised-roof configuration, the cab offers great comfort. We also like the modular cabinets which can be modified to suit your purpose. There is even room for a TV, as well as a refrigerator that can be mounted at mid-level for straightforward access. Further enhancing the comfort are the sliding side windows with screened vents for additional ventilation.
Engines and transmissions
The Freightliner Cascadia is equipped with a range of four engines namely the Detroit DD13, Detroit DD15, Detroit DD16 and the Cummins ISX15 with power ratings ranging from 350 to 600 horsepower. The company says that the DD15 unit can reach 90% peak torque in just 1.5 seconds and all the Detroit engines are combined with the SCR technology to offer a better fuel economy and to extend their longevity.
Besides the wide range of engines, it is also available a similarly wide range of transmissions including manual, automated and automatic units. The Eaton Fuller manual gearboxes comes with 8, 9, 10, 13, 15 or 18 speeds, while the automated transmissions include the Eaton Autoshift ( 10, 13 or 18 speeds) and Eaton Ultrashift Plus (10, 13 or 18 speeds).
The automatic transmission range consist of the highly tested Allison 3000, 4000 and 4500 series which are also used by other truck manufacturers.
In order to offer easier gear changes for the manual transmissions, the Cascadia is equipped with a hydraulic clutch system which makes the pedal easier to engage. Moreover, without the noisy mechanical linkages, the cab is quieter and requires less downtime to fine-tune the system. Although the hydraulic clutch it’s easier to push, it doesn’t have the same engagement feel as a direct-linked clutch pedal.
|Engine||Power output ||Torque|
|DD13||370 HP @ 1800 RPM|| 1250 lb-ft @ 1100 RPM|
|DD13||350 HP @ 1800 RPM ||1350 lb-ft @ 1100 RPM|
|DD13||380 HP @ 1800 RPM ||1350 lb-ft @ 1100 RPM|
|DD13||380 HP @ 1800 RPM ||1450 lb-ft @ 1100 RPM|
|DD13||410 HP @ 1800 RPM ||1450 lb-ft @ 1100 RPM|
|DD13||410 HP @ 1800 RPM ||1550 lb-ft @ 1100 RPM|
|DD13||435 HP @ 1800 RPM ||1550 lb-ft @ 1100 RPM|
|DD13||450 HP @ 1800 RPM ||1550 lb-ft @ 1100 RPM|
|DD13||410 HP @ 1800 RPM ||1650 lb-ft @ 1100 RPM|
|DD13||450 HP @ 1800 RPM ||1650 lb-ft @ 1100 RPM|
|DD13||470 HP @ 1800 RPM ||1650 lb-ft @ 1100 RPM|
|DD15||455 HP @ 1800 RPM ||1550 lb-ft @ 1100 RPM|
|DD15||455 HP @ 1800 RPM ||1650 lb-ft @ 1100 RPM|
|DD15||475 HP @ 1800 RPM ||1650 lb-ft @ 1100 RPM|
|DD15||505 HP @ 1800 RPM ||1650 lb-ft @ 1100 RPM|
|DD15||475 HP @ 1800 RPM ||1850 lb-ft @ 1100 RPM|
|DD15||500 HP @ 1800 RPM ||1850 lb-ft @ 1100 RPM|
|DD15||530 HP @ 1800 RPM ||1850 lb-ft @ 1100 RPM|
|DD15||560 HP @ 1800 RPM ||1850 lb-ft @ 1100 RPM|
|DD16||475 HP @ 1800 RPM ||1750 lb-ft @ 1100 RPM|
|DD16||500 HP @ 1800 RPM ||1750 lb-ft @ 1100 RPM|
|DD16||535 HP @ 1800 RPM ||1750 lb-ft @ 1100 RPM|
|DD16||500 HP @ 1800 RPM ||1850 lb-ft @ 1100 RPM|
|DD16||550 HP @ 1800 RPM ||1850 lb-ft @ 1100 RPM|
|DD16||600 HP @ 1800 RPM ||1850 lb-ft @ 1100 RPM|
|DD16||600 HP @ 1800 RPM ||1967 lb-ft @ 1100 RPM|
|DD16||500 HP @ 1800 RPM ||2050 lb-ft @ 1100 RPM|
|DD16||550 HP @ 1800 RPM ||2050 lb-ft @ 1100 RPM|
|DD16||600 HP @ 1800 RPM ||2050 lb-ft @ 1100 RPM|
Ride and suspensions
The Cascadia ride is on the comfortable side, thanks to an advanced front and rear cab mounting system designed to reduce roll, vibration and noise. Both front and rear leaf springs suspensions are finely tuned to offer a great comfort so you won’t have any complains in this department.
The Freightliner Cascadia is also available with a combination of air and leaf springs which can absorb most of the road bumps with ease. Moreover, the stout Hendrickson STEERTEK axle keeps vibrations to a minimum while the front spring bushings require no maintenance.
The truck can be equipped with optional rack and pinion steering which is a gem and rewards you with sharp cornering and a great road feedback. The truck’s maneuverability is also enhanced by the generous 50-degree wheel cut which permits you to back up or wind without too much efforts.
One of the biggest concerns of today’s operators is the fuel economy and the Freightliner Cascadia is equipped with a lot of features which helps it to be more efficient. However, the truck’s price is a bit too high compared to some of its rivals and this aspect could weight enough to stop some buyers to make this acquisition. Moreover there are many truckers who complained about dysfunctions of the cruise control and other electronic equipments, so this aspect should also be took into consideration.
Other than that, the cabin is highly comfortable and the controls have a logical and are easy to use. The truck also offers low life-cycle costs and strong performances. The ride and handling are great and the cab is among the quietest in its class.
Video: Freightliner Cascadia