The beginning of March this year saw the first glimpses of the new Volvo FMX heavy-duty truck for construction-style applications. Volvo Trucks tell us that it is an entirely new cab platform, even though to us it looks very similar to the outgoing model.
Key to the changes are extra driveline configurations – you can now order a 20 tonne double front axle (a normal heavy duty steer axle will only go up to about nine tonnes). There is also a ‘Tridem’ option for the rear of the truck that can handle up to 38 tonnes in its own right. This allows for a gross train weight of up to 150 tonnes. In this configuration, as with other steering rear axle configurations, the steer angle has been increased, improving manoeuvrability on site.
This is no ‘one size fits all’ range of trucks. Since it is based on the Volvo FM cab, truck operators can specify as many as six different cabs: day, low day, low sleeper, sleeper, Globetrotter and crew cab – note the Globetrotter XL is not on the list (may look a little odd as a tipper truck).
“Our construction industry customers are facing ever increasing demands to improve in areas such as sustainability, cost efficiency, safety and productivity,” says Roger Alm, President of Volvo Trucks. “With the launch of the new Volvo FMX, we are proving our commitment to supporting these customers by creating robust trucks and innovative services to assist in making their operations easier, safer and more profitable.”
Easy to Fix
The new cab takes a near-modular approach to replacement parts in the new front section. The headlamp shape is new, as with the new FH and there are protectors to make sure that these expensive, delicate items don’t get damaged.
Volvo made a huge deal of the improvements to driver comfort and safety in the revisions to the FH and it seems this principle has been extended to the FMX. Most obvious alongside the new dashboard is the new steering wheel with a neck tilt option for a more ergonomic driving position. Gone are the old dials – they have been replaced by a 12-inch flat screen in the same style as the new FH. This is the screen that communicates the vital operating instructions and warnings to the driver. Navigation, camera and entertainment functions are dealt with by a secondary, 9-inch screen to the right of the main cluster.
Volvo’s famous I-Shift gets a new selector for the drivers to get used to – but it does mean that cross-cab access and access to the bunk is improved.
Getting in and out is made easier with new anti-slip footsteps.
The new cab itself is larger – in day cab guise storage is also increased. Visibility is improved – vital on urban construction 8-wheel tipper routes. This is achieved by lowering the door line and adding a camera for the blind spots on the kerbside. Volvo have chosen not to replace the door mirrors with cameras totally, as Mercedes have done in their new Actros. nonetheless, the new FMX gets revised mirrors for improved safety.
There’s plenty more storage available for the sleeper cabbed versions with added areas under
the bed and upper rear storage, all lit by LED panels.
Unique to the FMX is a traction control panel that looks after any potentially dangerous situations. The driver can alter the set up of the diff locks at the turning of a knob and the easy to understand display leaves drivers in no doubt as to the current running configuration.
In addition to the driver convenience improvements, there are some new safety features. Adaptive cruise control will now work right the way to standstill – valuable given the state of the UK’s road network.
Descent control takes the thinking out of steep hills for drivers – just set a maximum speed and the truck will not exceed it. The Electronically controlled Brake System (EBS), which is a prerequisite for safety features such as Collision Warning with Emergency Brake and Electronic Stability Control, is now standard on the new truck. Volvo Dynamic Steering, with the safety systems Lane Keeping Assist and Stability Assist, is also available as an option.
Check Out the Video