The name Volvo is music to the ears of fleet managers at the logistical helm of medium and large haulage companies. The legendary Swedish brand is synonymous with quality, versatility and reliability, and its latest FE range signals a new era in distribution, refrigeration and light construction capabilities – to name just a few.
The Flexible FE
The original Volvo FE has always been renowned as an extremely efficient all-rounder in both city traffic and out on the open road. Its power, performance and manoeuvrability are virtually unsurpassed, and this new incarnation – the Volvo FE-350 – broadens its appeal even further, with a bigger engine, better handling and increased load capacity.
Super Specs of the FE-350 at a Glance
The new FE has a powerful 350hp engine and a heavy-duty nine-tonne front axle, capable of coping with gross vehicle weights up to 26 tonnes and gross combination weights from 44-80 tonnes. The super heavy nine-tonne axle provides greater flexibility and delivers superior load distribution, including as loads diminish and increase.
For haulage companies whose drivers spend hours on end in their lorry navigating a mixture of regional traffic and urban congestion, Volvo's I-Shift technology is one of its most appealing features. The advanced technology allows the gear-shifting to "talk" to the engine to shift into the correct gear without the need for a clutch. Not only does the I-Shift technology offer more relaxed driving, it is also safer and contributes hugely to fuel efficiency. The FE-350 models offer the option of a 12-speed I-Shift automated gearbox or a 6-speed fully automatic transmission.
Safe Cab Design
The streamlined FE-350 offers superb visibility in all the different cab options - which include a day cab, sleeper cab, comfort cab and low entry cab - with strategically placed mirrors and auxiliary windows. The cab is aerodynamically designed to reduce wind resistance and includes an innovative new seat design (with three levels of comfort) offering increased protection if the vehicle is involved in a collision.
Other features of the new model include a range of optional storage facilities, optional roof hatch, pneumatically adjustable steering wheel, air horns and two widths of bed in the sleeper cab.
A Versatile Volvo
The new Volvo model will appeal to haulage companies catering to a range of industries. Its superior load distribution capabilities make it attractive in both regional and city applications, including light construction, heavy distribution, refrigerated transport, waste management and recycling. A much cleaner, greener truck in terms of emission technology, it is Euro-6 compliant, including use with synthetic diesels like gas-to-liquid and hydro-treated vegetable oil.
Another reason Volvo has such a loyal following from established haulage companies is the ongoing "partnership" the manufacturer offers in terms of maintenance, service plans, driver development, finance, insurance and advice on fuel consumption.
Available for pre-order now, with the first vehicles to begin rolling off the production line in September 2017, the FE-350 is already setting hearts aflutter around the water coolers of haulage companies all over the country.
Norman Dulwich is a Correspondent for Haulage Exchange, the leading online trade network for the road transport industry. Connecting professionals across the UK and Europe through their website, Haulage Exchange provides services for matching haulage companies with jobs in road transport and haulage work. Over 4,500 transport exchange businesses are networked together through their website, trading jobs and capacity in a safe 'wholesale' environment.