In the foreground is a VNR 640 6x2 tractor, powered by a 2017 Volvo D11 engine cranking out 425 hp and 1,550 ft.-lbs. of torque connected to an I-Shift 12-speed automated manual transmission (AMT) with direct drive. List price for this unit? $234,000. In the background is a VNR 400 6x4 tractor also equipped with a 2017 Volvo D11 engine and I-Shift 12-speed, though with overdrive. Its list price? $226,000.
Here's a VNR 300 4x2 tractor sporting a 2017 Volvo D11 engine and I-Shift 12 speed with overdrive, pulling a 28-ft. refrigerated pup trailer. List price? $201,000.
Dry weight on this VNR 300 is 12,700 lbs. The VNR 400 6x4 tractor on the ride and drive topped out at a dry weight of 16,320 lbs, while the VNR 640 6x2 with adaptive loading came in with a 16,200 lbs. dry weight.
While there will always be a need for long-haul tractors, Wade Long, VTNA's director of product marketing, said "shifting factors" in terms of lower lengths of haul could reverse the traditional 60/40 sleeper/daycab split within the next five years.
This VNR 300 in 4x2 straight truck configuration sports a Volvo 2017 D11 engine cranking out 355 hp and 1,250 ft.-lbs. of torque, married to a 12-speed I-Shift with overdrive. List price? $179,000.
Chris Stadler, VTNA's product marketing manager for regional haul, said hte OEM shifted the I-Shift AMT controls to the VNR's dashboard to provide more seat room for the driver as well as more operational convenience.
Here Stadler notes the large adjustable cup holders designed for the VNR. A total of four can be added to the dashboard, or two cup holders and a "basket" for extra storage. Note that the ignition slot for the truck's keys is now on the left hand side of the steering wheel column to keep it more out of the driver's way.
Stadler shows how the "snap in/out" design of the VNR's cup holders makes them easy to custom position for drivers.
Stadler points to the overhead "map light" array on the VNR; white, blue and red lights are offered to provide more lighting options to drivers.
Stadler highlights the multi-position possibilities of the VNR's adjustable steering wheel. Not the secondary "grip handle" at the bottom of the wheel; it is equipped with horn activation buttons so the driver does not have to release his or her grip to sound the horn when holding the lower handle.
So-called "puddle lights" are now standard underneath the driver and passenger doors of the VNR to provide more visibility in night time conditions.
Stadler points to the plastic "outer pieces" on the VNR's bumper; sections that are usually the most frequently damaged and thus now easily and cheaply replaced.
Stadler noted that grille "cut outs" on the side of the VNR's hood improve airflow to the engine while also helping improve the truck's aerodynamic profile. Aerodynamic improvements to the VNR help the truck gain 1% better fuel economy versus its predecessor, he added.
The Volvo 2017 D11 engine is standard on the new VNR, offering up to 425 hp and 1,550 lb.-ft. of torque. The VNR can also be spec’d with a Volvo D13 engine rated up to 500 hp and 1,850 lb.-ft. of torque.
The one box aftertreatment system tucked up underneath the driver side of this VNR 300 6x2 cab saves 12-in. or space and 17 lbs. versus a more typical "two piece" aftertreament system.
Volvo’s I-Shift AMT is the standard gearbox for the VNR and it allows for spec’ing of automated fuel-saving functions, such as adaptive loading, which senses when a truck is empty and lifts an axle to increase efficiency, and adaptive gearing, which locks out overdrive when the truck is fully loaded, then makes it available on an empty return. Stadler (at right) notes that spec'ing wide base tires with aluminum wheels as seen here can save 300 to 400 lbs.; enough to carry an extra pallet of freight.
Peter Blonde, manager of customer application and the "specification coach" for VTNA, noted during the ride and drive that fleets and owner-operators alike need to “pay attention to your payload profile.” That means if you are only running at 54,000 lbs. gross weight for most loads, don’t overspec engine displacement. “You really need to adapt to that,” he said. “You don’t need 550 hp and 1,850 ft.-lbs. of torque. What you really need is 400 to 425 hp and 1,350 to 1,550 ft.-lbs. of torque.”
“The VNR model is a work truck, but it’s a dynamic, premium work truck, and aerodynamics are greatly important within the regional haul segment,” said VTNA's Wade Long. “Regional routes often mean traveling at highway speeds, where aerodynamics becomes increasingly important. With the new VNR model, customers will see an overall fuel efficiency gain of up to 3.5% compared with our previous regional haul model.”