Many suspected when Volvo took the wraps off its SuperTruck that it would be the shape of Volvo trucks to come. Volvo’s VNR regional trucks, introduced in April 2017, and the flagship Volvo VNL series, launched in July 2017, both feature the signature headlight design, the swept fenders and a generally rounder and less textured shape than their predecessors.
Volvo has much to crow about with the new VNL lineup. The shape and the sculpting they’ve done to the side fairings, the hood and the bumper have netted a full percentage point gain in aero efficiency. That’s quite an achievement today, when we are used to hearing about fractions of a percent of improvement.
According to Volvo, the aero improvements, coupled with some powertrain enhancements like turbo-compounding for the GHG17-compliant D13 engine and a downsped driveline that likes to cruise at 1,100 rpm, deliver a stunning 7.5% gain in fuel efficiency compared to the latest models of the previous-generation VN tractors. Only time will tell if that’s realistic, but if it is, we’re a significant step closer to the elusive 10-mpg mark.
The changes to the exterior of the truck include a narrower hood with a lower crown and more rounded leading edges, more rounded fenders with the integrated headlights, and smoother chassis fairings with a flexible extender that reaches even closer to the ground for improved crosswind performance. There’s no longer an opening in the chassis fairing for the DEF tank fill; it’s now covered with an automotive-style sprung door. The changes to the chassis fairings did not, however, mean changes to the full-sized and deeply serrated access steps. Safety is still a very important consideration for Volvo.
The bumper has been pushed forward by 1.4 inches at the centerline and pulled back by 4 inches at the wheel well. This gives the front of the truck a rounded profile that presumably cuts into the wind a little more easily.
Check the video reviews below, both in russian and english:
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