The quartet of new models represents a “big forward-looking investment,” said Volvo Trucks...

The quartet of new models represents a “big forward-looking investment,” said Volvo Trucks President Roger Alm.

Photo: AB Volvo

Sweden’s Volvo Trucks announced on Feb. 27 the launch of four new heavy-duty cabover truck models, aimed at different segments of European and other global markets, albeit not including North America.

The quartet of new models represents a “big forward-looking investment,” said Volvo Trucks President Roger Alm in a press release. “Our aim is to be our customers’ best business partner by making them even more competitive and help them attract the best drivers in an increasingly tough market.

He added that the four cabovers— the FH, FH16, FM, and FMX, represent about two thirds of Volvo Trucks’ global deliveries.

As Volvo Trucks sees it, growing demand for freight transportation is driving up the need for skilled drivers worldwide. In Europe, for example, estimates show that around 20% of all driver jobs are vacant. To help customers recruit and retain the best drivers, the OEM stated that it “focused strongly “on developing the new trucks to make them safer, more efficient, and more attractive to drivers. 

Each of the new trucks will be available with various cabs and can be spec’ed for a range of applications. Volvo Trucks made the keen observation that in long-haul trucks, the cab is often the driver's second home and in regional trucks it often serves as a mobile office. And construction trucks need to be “robust, practical work tools” so their cab design matters greatly, too.

The OEM noted that visibility, comfort, ergonomics, noise level, maneuverability, and safety were key focal points when developing the new models. And that the truck exterior has been restyled “to reflect the new trucks' properties and create an attractive overall design.”

Here are the basics on the four new Volvos:

Volvo VH

This latest iteration of Volvo’s highly successful linehauler features a “re-imagined cab, innovative safety features, and a driver focused working environment.

Cab features include a dashboard that features a fully digital 12-inch high resolution instrument display and includes an open storage space with motion-sensor controlled lighting. The instrument display allows the driver to choose between four different screen views, depending on the driving situation and the information they prefer to have displayed.

The bold new look of the exterior is reflected in the signature V-shaped headlights, which have been moved outwards to align with the feature line of the cab doors. The turn indicators have also been moved to the door, giving the truck both improved aerodynamics and a more confident look, noted Volvo. The headlights automatically disable selected segments of the LED high beam when the truck approaches oncoming traffic or another vehicle from behind. The high beam is adjusted when the camera and radar detect other vehicles or when the camera detects changes in the amount of light around the truck.

Other advanced safety features on the FH include descent control, which sets a maximum speed to help prevent unwanted acceleration when travelling downhill, and an improved Adaptive Cruise Control that works at all speeds, even down to zero km/h.

The electronically controlled brake system (EBS), which is a prerequisite for safety features such as Collision Warning with Emergency Brake and Electronic Stability Control, now comes standard. Volvo Dynamic Steering, with the safety systems Lane Keeping Assist and Stability Assist, is optionally available.

Power is supplied by diesel meeting different emissions standards. The FH is also available with Euro 6, Step D compliant gas-powered LNG engines in selected markets. In addition, in some long-haul markets, the new Volvo FH with I-Save for Euro 6 is available. This package combines the new D13TC engine with features to deliver fuel savings of up to 7%, said the OEM. The engines are mated to proprietary I-Shift automated transmissions.

Volvo VH16

The newest version of the Volvo flagship features many of the same enhancements as the new VH. “The Volvo FH16 is a genuine premium product that can handle all the most demanding applications and, at the same time, give customers and drivers the best of everything,” said Alm,  adding that this truck “makes no compromises between power and fuel efficiency, comfort, and style.”

The VH16 boasts increased front-axle load capacity, and tag and pusher axles with better steering angles to improve maneuverability.  

Diesel power is generated by engines with different emissions standards, including the D16K with Euro 6 Step D in 550 hp, 650 hp, and 750 hp versions.

Volvo FM

The FM heavy-duty cabover, deemed by Volvo to be its “versatile workhorse” boasts a redesigned regular cab and sleeper cab. Visibility has been increased by using a lowered door line, new rear view mirrors, and a ‘passenger corner camera.’”

The exterior has a new aerodynamic shape and the V-shaped headlamps are positioned for optimal aerodynamics. A larger brand “identity panel” and upper front grille with a new mesh pattern give the truck a bold, confident look, Volvo noted.

Power is generated by diesel engines meeting various emissions standards. This truck is also available with the Euro 6, Step D compliant gas-powered LNG engine in selected markets.

Volvo FMX

The FMX is the construction truck in the lineup. Its newest version features an entirely new cab, increased payloads, and innovative safety features.

“The completely new cab includes a front section with easily replaceable sturdy parts, headlamp protectors, and new V-shaped LED headlamps,” said Ismail Ovacik, chief designer exterior. “To make it easy for drivers to enter or exit, we’ve designed new anti-slip footsteps.”

A standard feature is a new traction control panel that helps the driver easily and quickly handle potentially dangerous situations, both on and off the road, per Volvo. The driver can gain more traction by engaging the differential locks in an easy way, by turning a knob, and viewing the traction status on the instrument display at the same time.

The new FMX also boasts the heaviest addition to Volvo’s chassis range – a 38-metric-ton bogie that allows for a gross combination weight of up to 150 metric tons. In addition, the front air suspension has been updated, allowing for higher front axle loads. For trucks with a steered tag or pusher axle, the steering angles have been increased, resulting in better maneuverability and reduced tire wear, according to Volvo.

“Drivers who handle their truck safely and efficiently are an invaluable asset to any transport company,” summed up Alm. “Responsible driving behavior can help reduce CO2 emissions and fuel costs, as well as help reduce the risk of accidents, injury, and unplanned downtime. Our new trucks will help drivers work even more safely and productively and give our customers stronger arguments when competing to attract the best drivers.”

Related-- Volvo: It Takes More than the Truck to Switch to Electric Power


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David Cullen

David Cullen

[Former] Business/Washington Contributing Editor

David Cullen comments on the positive and negative factors impacting trucking – from the latest government regulations and policy initiatives coming out of Washington DC to the array of business and societal pressures that also determine what truck-fleet managers must do to ensure their operations keep on driving ahead.

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