DUBLIN, VA. With the first substantial redesign in 20 years, Volvo Trucks North America on Tuesday revealed the new Volvo VNL series of long-haul tractors. In presentations at the brand new Volvo Trucks Customer Center here, company representatives touted the new VNL’s cutting-edge innovations in efficiency, productivity, safety and uptime.
Led by an all-new, 70-inch sleeper, the Volvo VNL series defines “the shape of trucks to come”—the theme of the launch.
“The new Volvo VNL builds on our long-standing commitment to deliver the safest, most comfortable and most efficient long-haul truck on the market,” said Göran Nyberg, president of Volvo Trucks North America. “Infused with new innovations and technologies, we’re proud to expand upon that commitment to our current and future customers with this new design.”
And while exterior design is striking, many of the new truck’s innovations target the needs of the driver, explained Jason Spence, product marketing manager – long haul.
“The driver is the focal point of this vehicle. A comfortable driver is a productive driver,” said Spence. “Even when we launched the VNL, starting in 1996 and with the update in 2002, it was ahead of its time. The new VNL is another leap that’s ahead of its time.”
'Making a statement'
Designers of the new Volvo VNL combined elements of Volvo’s design language with dynamic new features. Swept back headlights include signature Volvo daytime running lights and frame a bold new Volvo grille and hood. Redesigned and repositioned engine air intakes allow for less turbulent intake air delivery. Airflow up and around the cab has also been optimized with new chassis and roof fairings.
“While we wanted the new VNL to make a statement on the road, we knew that it also had to make a statement to our customers’ bottom lines” said Wade Long, director of product marketing for Volvo Trucks North America. “The incredible design elements that we’ve incorporated not only look great, but they add value for the customer. Whether it’s the sleek new bodywork that improves aerodynamics, or the new three-piece bumper that aids in repairability, every design change we’ve made has a purpose.”
Behind the wheel
The new Volvo VNL features an all-new dashboard which puts often-used controls within the driver’s reach. Centered in the gauge cluster is a configurable, five-inch color driver information display that provides trip and diagnostic data. The driver information display is customizable, ensuring that critical information is always available to the driver at a quick glance.
An optional infotainment system is available, featuring a seven-inch color touchscreen, navigation and an exterior back-up camera. A premium audio system is integrated with the infotainment system, which also features Bluetooth and Apple CarPlay for the ultimate in connectivity. Additional apps can be downloaded to the infotainment system as well. A dash-top tray features 12-volt power and USB connectivity to keep devices fully powered.
The new Volvo VNL is also equipped with Volvo’s smart steering wheel, putting controls for nearly all of the driver interface functions right at a driver’s fingertips. The smart steering wheel is attached to Volvo’s Perfect Position air-assisted, infinitely adjustable steering column, which enables drivers not only to tilt and telescope the steering column, but also tilt the steering wheel relative to the steering column. This lets drivers of all statures find the perfect steering wheel position and easily view the driver information display.
A wide variety of seating options are available on the new Volvo VNL series. Premium features like seat heating and ventilation are also available.
“We relied on feedback from nearly 2,000 driver interviews to make sure the changes we were making aligned with drivers’ needs,” said Spence. “The results speak for themselves: our new VNL features the most comfortable, driver-friendly environment we’ve ever built.”
That comfort extends to the four sleeper cab configurations available in the new Volvo VNL series. Designed to provide drivers a comfortable place to rest after a long day on the road, the sleeper options are packed with a number of space-saving, comfort-boosting innovations. Additionally, an all-new, full 70-inch sleeper is available in the Volvo VNL 760 and 740 models, taking comfort to an all-time high.
All VNL sleepers feature curved cabinets that open toward the back to maximize space, as well as an integrated, reclining bunk, which is a trucking industry first in North America. LED interior lighting reduces power consumption and provides softer lighting. A redesigned sleeper control panel allows drivers to control heating and cooling, and adjust the audio system from a more ergonomic position on the bunk. In addition, drivers can lock the doors or activate a panic alarm if needed.
For the first time in North America, Volvo’s Globetrotter trim levels will be available on the VNL 760 and VNL 860 sleeper models. Long a symbol of ultimate driver comfort, the Globetrotter trim levels include a full aerodynamic package, polished wheels, high-end seating, as well as a refrigerator, inverter and parking cooler package.
7.5% more fuel efficient
The VNL series comes standard with the 13-liter Volvo D13 engine, while Daycab and VNL 400 models can spec the 11-liter Volvo D11 as an option. The 15-liter Cummins X15 is also available in the VNL series.
Both the Volvo D11 and D13 engines feature Volvo’s patented wave pistons, a unique design that helps burn fuel more efficiently. Fuel is delivered by a proven common rail fuel system with proprietary features that improve fuel delivery precision, cut weight and reduce noise.
The Volvo VNL is also available with the Volvo D13 Turbo Compound (D13 TC) engine that utilizes a mechanical waste heat recovery system to capture wasted energy from the engine’s exhaust. The result is an additional 50 horsepower fed back to the crankshaft and an improvement in fuel efficiency of up to 6.5 percent.
The new Volvo VNL series sleek design, when combined with the efficiency benefits derived from the D13 TC, delivers up to a 7.5 percent increase in fuel efficiency when compared to a 2015 VNL model equipped with a GHG 2014 D13 engine.
The entire Volvo VNL series comes standard with Volvo’s I-Shift automated manual transmission, which is fully integrated with Volvo engines.
Safety, safety, safety
“Volvo Trucks built its reputation as the safest truck on the road by integrating a number of passive and active safety systems,” Long said. “We’ve continued that in the new VNL series with several upgrades to make the truck even safer.”
Volvo Active Driver Assist by Bendix, is now standard on all Volvo VNL models. Volvo Enhanced Stability Technology, an electronic stability control system, is also standard.
The VNL series is equipped with automotive-quality LED headlights that produce abundant bright light to improve visibility. Automatic lighting and rain-sensing wipers are also available to improve safety.
Like all Volvo models, the new VNL series cab is built with high-strength steel and exceeds both the Volvo Swedish Cab Safety Test and ECE R-29 rollover requirements. The industry’s only standard driver’s side airbag is now joined by an integrated, seat-mounted rollover airbag on the driver’s side, according to the company.
All Volvo VNL models come standard with Volvo Remote Diagnostics, Volvo’s factory-installed telematics hardware that provides connectivity for proactive diagnostics and monitoring of critical engine, transmission and aftertreatment trouble codes. The same hardware also allows customers to perform powertrain software and parameter updates over-the-air with Remote Programming, which helps improve uptime and vehicle efficiency, while reducing downtime costs.