Volvo Trucks focuses on heavy haul with updates to VNX truck line
Designed for both short- and long-haul uses, the new VNX family of trucks can handle larger loads than ever before
Construction contractors handle heavy loads all the time. It's no small feat to haul an ADT or grader from site to site, and when that piece of equipment is on the trailer it needs a strong truck to pull it, whether it's across town or in the next province.
Volvo Trucks has tackled the heavy haul challenge with the latest update to its line. The VNX follows extensive updates to Volvo's highway trucks, as well as to the vocational VHD, and brings a variety of improvements that the company says makes the VNX the "heavy hitter" of heavy haul.
"It's a very specialized market - there are needs to carry heavy construction equipment, to carry granite blocks, to carry heavy logs. There's always a need for heavy haul, and it's very important that we meet those markets," said Chris Stadler, Volvo Trucks product marketing manager for regional haul.
The VNX family features three truck models: the VNX 300, a day cab tractor, the VNX 400, with a flat roof 42-inch sleeper for overnight runs, and the VNX 740, which features a mid-roof design and 70-inch sleeper for drivers hauling long distance.
Under the hood, the VNX packs plenty of power thanks to the standard Volvo D13 engine, which generates 500 hp and 1,850 lb.-ft. of torque. The D13 is paired with Volvo's I-Shift automated manual transmission, giving drivers either 13 or 14 gears, which include one or two creeper gears.Those low-speed gears mean drivers can get moving a lot easier with heavy loads in many types of ground conditions, on slopes, and in other spots that might be difficult for other transmissions to handle.
For those times when more power is needed, Volvo also offers the Cummins X15 Performance Series engine. Paired with an Eaton Ultra Shift Plus or manual transmission, the X15 gives the VNX up to 605 hp and 2,050 pounds of torque.
The VNX family is customizable for whatever buyers might need, from front axles with ratings of 16,000 to 20,000 pounds with parabolic springs to rear axles with capacity from 46,000 to 55,000 pounds. It is available in 6x4 tandem, 8x4 tandem and 8x6 tridem configurations.
Dual steering gears give the truck excellent maneuverability under heavy loads. It is also designed with an increased ride height.
Volvo has included a number of other features, down to a heavy-duty tow pin and centre tow frame on the front bumper.
On the safety side, the VNX comes with Volvo Enhanced Stability Technology (VEST), an electronic stability control system that can detect loss of control, jackknifing or potential rollover; the system reduces torque and selectively applies braking to help keep the truck on course.
Heavy Equipment Guide was given a chance to try the VNX during a media event at Volvo's New River Valley, Virginia, customer centre. Behind the wheel of the VNX 300, the view is excellent, both from the expansive cab windows and in the mirrors to the back of the lowboy trailer, which in this case was hauling a Volvo G930C grader.
In the cab, everything the driver needs is close at hand and easy to see without looking away from the road. Put the I-Shift AMT into gear, give it some throttle, and the truck was off without complaint - impressive, with a 90,000-pound GCWR.
Once on the road, the VNX 300 is an easy drive and felt a lot like driving a pickup truck despite the heavy load to the rear. Throttle response was smooth and easy, and the truck responded to braking and corners with no issues. A few laps around the Volvo test track felt like a trip to the corner store; for professional drivers who will spend hours and days at a time behind the wheel, that should prove popular.
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