Volvo has upped the ante with the new FH range and its FH16-750 is now in a league of its own
By Steev Hayes
Photography Steev Hayes
Volvo recently wowed the world with the launch of its all-new FH range of heavy trucks. The Swedish truck manufacturer has been at the top of its game for decades, having brought us the ubiquitous F86 which formed the backbone of many a fleet in the ’60s and ’70s, the F88-F89 long-haul trucks (many of which were used on the gruelling Middle East run and for other ultra-long-haul work), and the F-series trucks, including the 16-litre big banger F16.
The FH series launched in 1993 and its radical looks caused a stir in the trucking industry. Although Volvo moved away from its ‘big square box’ style for cabs on the new series of heavies, the FH boasted adequate space on the inside, and indeed many of the FH-series trucks were used on long-haul work where two drivers (or double-manning) was used to maximise mileages covered.
Aerodynamics were altered to improve fuel efficiency – hence the angled shape of the cab. Interior materials were of high quality and the dash and working area more ergonomically styled, adopting the now common work space or cockpit area for the driver – he could step out at the end of his shift and treat the rest of the cab as living space.
The 16-litre version of the FH has mirrored development of the standard FH range, having had improvements along the way. Initially, top power output came in the shape of a 520 bhp in-line six-cylinder motor. The D16A was the obvious choice for heavy haulage and other tough applications, but was also a hit with Australian road train operators.
Wind the clock forward and 2013 not only celebrates 20 years of the FH, but also sees Volvo showing off its latest version of the FH16 – a great truck in every sense of the word. Its looks are stunning, with a grille appearance which harks back to its F88-F89 parentage, comfortable interior with luxurious materials used throughout and, best of all, amazing performance.
Read the rest of this test, including spec and verdict, in the April issue of Trucking – available here