As a cabin in which to live, how much room is there in the new XXL? On the rercent test of the truck by Diesel News, this new model from Volvo does feel quite roomy. The overhead lockers are the same size as those which would be fitted in the standard sized cabin. However, the increased length of cabin does mean that there is an extra 50 litres of storage under the bunk. This can be accessed by lifting the bunk and the side lockers are also accessible from outside the cabin.
This does mean that this particular model does offer more storage which is accessible from outside the cabin. This is an improvement, because one of the problems from which many European prime movers suffer, when compared it to their North American counterparts is outside storage.
Directly under the bunk there are two large storage bins which can slide out like drawers onto the flat floor of the cabin. One of these can be a refrigerator. They do provide a good amount of storage for the driver to supplement that in the overhead lockers above the windscreen.
There is enough room for the driver to wander about in the cabin without being constrained by space limitations. This particular cabin design has been honed over several generations of Volvo cabs and does its job very well.
As a bed this is a very comfortable place to spend the night with its interior spring mattress crowned with a gel-filled mattress topper which makes it easy to take a rest. There is also an excellent addition in this particular model, with the ability to lift one end of the bunk up using a small electric motor. This turns the comfortable bunk into a comfortable place for a driver to sit and put their feet up.
Another option, which is available in the new cabin, and one which this driver would choose. Instead of having the AMT controller fixed to the side of the driver’s seat, it is possible to option a pushbutton control on the dashboard. This means the pull-out fridge under the bunk can be situated closer to the drive’rs seat, making it more easily accessible when driving.
With this AMT and the engine with power and torque like the 700hp power plant included in this package, it is not very often that the driver has to intervene manually with the transmission. Normally, the only kind of intervention needed is the switch the AMT from auto to manual in order to maintain the current gear for a specific reason, usually when climbing or descending a grade.
Even More Options in the new XXL
This model, as tested has the single crawler gear option, with a short extension fitted onto the transmission. This is an aid to startability and drivability for a truck like the one tested, which is rated up to 130 tonnes GCM. This is becoming a regular feature of Volvo truck specifications since the company introduced its crawler options last year. Some truck buyers are choosing taller rear axle diff ratings, to improve your economy, but at the same time including a crawler gear to maintain the required startability. On this particular model, on this test, in axle ratio is 3.40:1 making the truck run at 100 km/h at 1400rpm.
This truck includes the Driver alert system, which monitors driver input on the steering wheel and other controls as a way of detecting any reduction in alertness on the part of the driver.
There is also the forward collision warning system. This is enabled at all times when the truck is in motion and will warn the driver if they’re closing in on an object which may cause problems. This uses the same video and radar systems which the active cruise control uses but is always active, whether the driver has chosen cruise control or not. This is a kind of belt and braces approach to anti collision warning, which the driver whether they want it or not.
As long as the combination is fitted with an EBS system, this forward collision warning system will bring the truck to a halt if it has detected an issue and if it judges braking to be the only way to avoid a collision.
This truck it also fitted with a blindspot alert, which detects any vehicles on the passenger side of the truck and illuminates a red light in the nearside mirror if it detects something in the blindspot area. If the driver indicates to turn left alarm will sound, and the horn will go off.
This truck was not fitted with one particular option, but it may be of interest to some operators. There is now a new extension to the Volvo Dynamic Steering (VDS) system which has been on offer for some time. The VDS Evolution can be adjusted by the driver through the heads up display in the dashboard. The steering wheel feel can be fine tuned to suit a particular driver’s preference.
Not only can the system be adjusted so that the steering is light in slow moving situations but heavier at highway speed, but when lane keeping is activated it will actually kick the steering back into its lane if it detects a drift across from one lane to another. It is also possible to adjust the bias of the steering to compensate for effects like a steep road camber or a strong crosswind on a long haul.
Of course, this track has active cruise control, lane keeping included as well. It would seem that this level of safety system is on the cusp of becoming standard fitting in just about every new heavy duty prime mover which will be plying the highways in long-distance line haul applications.
All these different applications need to be controlled and many of them can be set using buttons on the steering wheel. Volvo has probably broken the record for the most buttons on a steering wheel for trucks sold in Australia. There are nine buttons on the left and eight on the right, as well as two rocker switches. All of these control the settings for the safety features as well as the heads up display directly in front of the driver and the information screen to the drivers left.
At the end of the day, it has taken a long time for Volvo to get it’s big cab back, but with the reintroduction of the XXL, the company is able to get out there and compete head-to-head with the big boys.