Careful design and plentiful features ensure Volvo’s ‘fleet-spec’ tractor unit is no ‘gaffer’s’ motor
By Steev Hayes
Photography Steev Hayes
A Volvo FH at its crudest? Hardly – yet this latest truck from Volvo is described as a ‘fleet-spec’ version. With a 460 bhp Euro 6 motor under the hood which uses a combination of Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR), Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) and Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF) to clean its emissions, coupled to a legendary I-Shift 12-speed transmission transferring torque and power from its 460 horses to the road, this is no ordinary ‘gaffer’s’ truck. In fact, it’s a truck many a hard-working owner-driver might wisely opt for.
Variously described as ‘luxuriously practical’ and a ‘drivers’ delight’, the latest Volvo FHs are a far cry from those introduced to replace the formidable F-series trucks. Back in 1993, when the all-new FH broke cover, it was clear Volvo designers and technicians had pulled off a feat which would see the new truck trounce the competition. Gone was the square, ‘house brick’ look of the F-series, and instead the new truck boasted clean curves which reduced wind drag and kept the exterior cleaner in all weathers, as dirt and other road crud swirled away from the smooth lines of the bodywork.
Along with the futuristic looks, new engines, transmissions, new interior layouts and materials, the all-new FH continued the traditions of the old F models with excellent driveability and high levels of comfort to keep even the most demanding of drivers happy. Built-in robustness, reliability and maximised fuel economy help keep operators’ businesses on the up, from the humble owner-driver to major fleets.
Look closely at the latest version of the FH and you see the legend continues. The appearance resembles the revolutionary model which caused a stir back in the ’90s, yet the cab is anything but the same. Frontal raking has been reduced heavily, but the new, more upright shape still keeps wind drag at bay, while opening up the interior in that area to provide even more space.
Read the rest of this feature in the March 2014 issue of Trucking. Buy the magazine here