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Volvo has tuned its new fleet-spec’ FE to be a multi-drop specialist. We put it to the test to see if it delivers

By Steev Hayes
Photography Steev Hayes

The general requirements for trucks and the standards they must meet have increased substantially in recent years. A lot of customers want their goods delivered by well-presented trucks (and drivers), which are operated and driven in a professional manner and have clean engine technology. Of course, this all helps with trucks used for distribution entering town and city centres to make deliveries, where they come into contact with the general public.

Operators, once unperturbed by high fuel consumption, now demand trucks which are as frugal as possible, that present them with low running/whole-life costs, high productivity and decent residuals. Drivers themselves require high levels of comfort, driveability and safety from a truck. Look at the vehicles produced by the major truck manufacturers and you will see those demands have been met and, in most cases, exceeded.

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Clever aerodynamic design means bodywork stays cleaner longer, with road grime forced away from the vehicle as it moves, drivers dress smarter as pride in doing a good job increases. Engine technology has cleaned up emissions to a fraction of what they were when Euro 1 was introduced in 1993 and, despite fears new technology would substantially increase fuel consumption, manufacturers worked hard to ensure that is not the case.

They have also tackled the problem of accommodating the extra paraphernalia which has to be mounted to the chassis to carry the emissions-busting gear, ensuring it doesn’t take up too much space and allowing such things as larger fuel tanks, pumps, stabiliser legs and/or other equipment to be fitted where necessary. Of course, a fleet-spec truck such as this Volvo FE must be suitable for mixed urban and motorway work; able to dart in and out of towns and cities to make deliveries, using arterial A-roads and the motorway network to travel between destinations.

This sleeper-cab version is designed for a driver likely to spend occasional nights away from home, rather than being a fully-blown long-haul vehicle – hence its Medium-Duty handle. It also has a decent-sized 280 bhp motor – more than beating the 10 bhp/tonne standard – to help with inter-city travel, while cruise control assists the driver, giving a more relaxed drive.

All this means the truck requires decent sized fuel and AdBlue tanks, so this Volvo FE boasts a 415-litre capacity diesel tank and 32-litre capacity plastic AdBlue tank.

may cover Read the rest of this feature in the May 2014 issue of Trucking. Buy the magazine here