Review of Freightliner Cascadia
by a Pro Truck Driver and Wife
professional truck driving career began, the
Freightliner Cascadia is the classiest truck either of us has ever
driven or lived in.
With that being said, the following is a list of
pros and cons that we compiled when Mike drove the truck during his
most recent regional truck driving job, when Vicki was riding with him
full-time as his home
Sometimes it is the little features of a truck
that can help make it a little bit more like home. Conveniences can
help drivers save money.
We are therefore listing the pros, cons and
other considerations of a Freightliner Cascadia.
Pros of a
- Deep storage under
side cabinet (where we
stored our water jugs; we also installed a couple of battery-operated
puck lights so that we could see way in the back without having to use
- No narrow crevice
cabinet and bunk in the sleeper (meaning no "loss" of little things in
a hard-to-reach area)
- Cabinets with doors
- In-truck satellite
communication terminal ("Jill") has setting so that the driver can turn
off the loud "beep" while sleeping
- Much better
down on outside noise
- Swivel seats up
- Extendable visors
- Engine brake ("Jake
with 3 different settings
- On/Off switch for
disconnect to preserve power when truck is not in use
- Vent and
unit under bunk is designed to save money
- Movement of some
the steering wheel, at the driver's fingertips
- Steering wheel has
windshield wiper setting
- Tractor has a
and gives a better ride
prevents hood from slamming down
- Batteries moved to
more accessible location, especially for inverter
- Vinyl mat on the
throughout instead of carpet
- Pull-out drawer for
under the top cabinet behind the driver's seat
- Bigger front
- Greatly improved
in the sleeper
fairings and rounded edge mirrors)
- Enough room between
and the passenger seat to hold our portable
- Side mirrors fold in
- The truck Mike drove had
a CB antenna already installed.
The vent and heater control panel for the unit under the bunk in the
Cascadia from Freightliner.
The top part of the storage cabinet behind the passenger seat.
The storage cabinet with a door behind the driver's seat.
Although the Cascadia's side mirrors are set lower, they are designed
to fold in.
Cons of a
- Small window on
- Side windows will
when the engine is off
- Window operation
set in reverse of what is intuitive to control up and down motion
- Deep well on the
- Dome light switch
turned off where it is turned on
- Overhead storage
area greatly restricted and reduced in size
- Overhead storage
compartment door opens awkwardly for tall drivers
- Area around fuel
does not allow rubber tie-downs to be stretched over fuel pump handles
as easily when fueling
- Idle setting must
manipulated to keep idling, otherwise the truck shuts off part of its
function after a short period of time
- Mirrors are smaller
- Mirrors are set
it harder to see things set higher
- Less storage area
for small things
- Light under bunk
- Angle of dash on
- Air vents on dash
- Loss of cabinet
ventilation piping to the sleeper (a better design should have been
- Inability to remove
closet rod for those who do not want to use hangers to hang up clothes.
- Constant glow of
lights in the bunk when certain settings were on
- Poor design of the
from the under-bunk heater unit
- The mattress that came
with this truck does not
reflect the truck's high quality. A better grade of sleeper mattress
really needs to come standard with all Freightliner trucks.
The ventilation pipe in the back and the closet rod spanning from side
to side in the storage cabinet behind the driver's seat.
The dash in the Cascadia was re-designed with very little storage space
and a deep well
down toward the windshield.
The fuel tank access area has been re-designed so as to prevent easy
hooking of a rubber tie-down over an inserted fuel nozzle.
Tall drivers had better beware the door of the overhead storage
compartment in the Cascadia. Mike always had to be careful when he
stood up when the
door was open.
- Overhead storage:
of the overhead
storage area in the
-- as compared to the Freightliner Columbia -- is one of the truck's
points. Perhaps the reduction of storage area was traded
for better insulation.
To make up for this room, a built-in
desk (pull-out drawer) was installed under the top cabinet behind the
- Inverter installation:
relocation of the
batteries in the Freightliner
Cascadia required a relocation of our 1500 watt inverter (because of
the length of the wiring kit cables) to the small cabinet under the
Although one of the mechanics at Mike's trucking
company "anchored" the inverter to the bottom of the cabinet, that
"bottom" was basically a piece of cardboard or particle board from
which the screws could be pulled out without much difficulty.
In order to use the inverter's
power easily, we ran
6-foot electrical cord from a surge protector power strip up through
the Freightliner Cascadia's cabinet from the bottom so that it would be
available to power whatever we wanted to use (mostly cooking
This worked out better than in the Columbia, where we had
to run the surge protector power strip's cord out from under the lower
bunk (thus "pinching" the cord every time the bunk was lowered or in
the "down" position).
- Constant glow: The
amber light was on the control panel, right near where the lower bunk's
occupant laid his/her head.
The blue light only glowed when the bunk heater unit's fan was on. If
the heater was on, the other
light was on.
Vicki learned to cover over the
amber and blue lights
the lower bunk of the Freightliner Cascadia, so that she could sleep
- Battery charge protection:
At the time that Mike drove for
the trucking company
that issued him the Freightliner Cascadia, they did him a very big
disservice by not
installing a diesel-powered APU on the truck. Instead,
they installed a battery-operated climate control system only (link).
That unit had its own problems, but one thing became apparent regarding
its use on the truck: when the charge on the truck's batteries got down
to a certain level, the truck turned off certain supplies of power
(such as to the climate control system), so as to reserve
enough "juice" for cranking power.
We have a feeling that that
is what happened with a certain built-in heater unit (link)
that we had, too.
The overhead storage area was greatly reduced in this model truck.
With the movement of the battery bank, the inverter had to be moved
from under the bunk to the storage area behind the driver's seat
Freightliner trucks moved the battery bank from beneath the catwalk
behind the cab to
behind and below the driver's seat. The batteries can be accessed by
removing a side fairing. This may help reduce battery theft.
The bunk heater control panel glows a bright blue when the vent is on.
Freightliner trucks were redesigned so that the batteries can be
disconnected at the turn of this switch. This is a positive change.
There is a great deal of storage room (except for the
area over the
driver's and passenger's heads) in the Freightliner Cascadia. A driver
who is concerned about saving money on the road can easily outfit
his/her truck with plenty of food,
preparation items, clothing and other things from a
list. There is even room to place a well-stocked emergency
We saved a great deal of money by cooking our own meals
truck. For climate control and electrification, we had to idle the
truck more than we wanted. If Mike's company had had an APU installed,
this would have lowered the fuel consumption and toll on the engine
It was in this truck that we began hauling two ice
chests for perishable foods, which we kept full of ice that
we made with our portable
ice maker. All we had to do was supply the power from the inverter
and make sure it had sufficient drinking
We enjoyed organizing
the space in the truck to make it more home-like. It was hard
to feel homeless
when we lived in this truck.
Were we in the market to become long-haul
owner-operators, we would
seriously entertain the idea of buying a Freightliner Cascadia to
drive; although it has its faults, it is still the best truck we've
ever driven or lived in.
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