According to Diesel News US Correspondent the new Volvo VNX is tough, trendy and suave. In North America, Volvo has completely refreshed its range in the last year. The third tranche of the introductions is the new VNX model. Diesel’s US Correspondent, Steve Sturgess, was there for its unveiling.
The third new product introduction from Volvo in the space of less than a year is the re-launched VNX, a model series for extra heavy and heavy-haul up to 125,000lb (57 tonnes) or, with specific application approvals, to as much as 225,000lb (102 tonnes) GCWR. For this it features high horsepower from Volvo’s D13 or Cummins X15 Performance Series up to 605hp and 2,050 ft lb peak torque.
Launched mid-March at Volvo Trucks North America Customer Centre adjacent to the manufacturing plant in New Dublin, Virginia, the VNX is a series of three models. These include: the VNX 300 which is a day cab configuration, the VNX 400 with features a flat-top 42 inch sleeper and the VNX 740 with the mid-rise, big 70inch sleeper introduced on the VNL long-haul model shortly before the end of last year.
In the complete overhaul of the North American product line, the three-phase launches started with the Montreal, Quebec launch of the new VNR, regional haul tractor. Phase Two was the all-new long-nose VNL highway tractor. Now Phase Three sees the VNX for extra heavy-duty applications like logging, long combinations and heavy-haul.
The latest rollout also served to draw attention to the VHD construction truck chassis, which got an interior facelift and new dash around the end of last year. So, Volvo goes into a promising couple of years where North American heavy truck sales are to hover around 300,000 with three and a half new models offering strong appeal to existing and potential conquest customers who, if they try the truck, will most probably like what they see.
High Horsepower Powertrains
While North America considers Volvo an over-the-highway hauler, heavy trucks are very much in the corporate DNA in most markets around the world. For instance, in its home country of Sweden, gross vehicle weights run up to 141,000lb (64 tonnes). And countries like Australia regularly see triple- and quad-trailer road trains at 300,000lb (136 tonnes) and more. And while those markets favour the cabover FH, the engineering for the VNX is much the same.
The new trucks are quite distinctive, with extra flare to the front fenders to cover steer axles and wide tyres that go up to 20,000lb (9 tonnes) front axle rating. Together with the standard 46,000lb (21 tonnes) tandems, a raised ride height gives the VNX four inches extra ground clearance for negotiating construction sites when heavy-hauling big, off-road machines.
This is further aided by re-profiling the lower front of the bumper to give the truck a 25-degree approach angle to slopes and ditches, for instance. On really demanding off-road sites where traction may become lost, a particularly rugged front cross-member behind a slab-like aluminium bumper has a central tow hook that will withstand a 60,000lb (27 tonnes) pull.
With locking power divider and cross-axle diff locks, this will likely be a rare occurrence, especially since the trucks are equipped with the 13 or 14 speed I-Shift automated mechanical transmissions. These feature an additional gear-set ahead of the main box that gives a crawler or extra deep crawler ratios to the 12-speed main transmission. This imparts excellent startability and gradeability, and low-speed manoeuvring without having to resort to numerically high rear-end ratios and the limited top and cruise speed such ratios bring to on-highway use.