Volvo rolls out re-egineerd VNR lineup

By Johanne Couture, special to Land Line

Volvo Trucks North America beefed up its regional truck offerings with the addition of the new VNR regional-haul trucks. The unveiling of the new lineup was held in conjunction with ExpoCam in Montreal in mid-April.

Engineered and designed from the ground up, with substantial driver input, this new regional model should please those who get to drive it.

The hood is narrower, pushed in and lowered, giving better visibility and improved aerodynamics. Motor sports industry principles were used in the design to create a combination of precision and power.

New automotive-quality LED headlights and optional fog lights make forward visibility class leading. An interesting feature that those of us running in northern climates will appreciate is the heat recirculation into the LED headlight assembly, keeping snow from building up on lenses.

Fog lights are integrated in the three-piece bumper, the center of which is stamped steel; side bumper pieces are polyurethane for easy removal and replacement if damaged. The hood latching system is now integrated with the cab, and the splash shields have been attached to the hood for easier engine compartment access. A brand-new grille design, bolder hood emblem and cooling package make the VNR stand out in the crowd.

The interior has also been redesigned for safety, ergonomics and convenience. Three different trim levels are available. Contrary to the past, the seat is not part of the trim package chosen, and there are seven different fabric levels from which to choose. The newest seat feature is the availability of in-seat heat and ventilation cooling.

The driver’s seat mounting has been lowered to give a bigger range of motion to air ride settings, with a quick air release feature, which allows easy in and out and remembers the programmed settings when re-aired. In the day cab model a real fridge is available, mounted under the passenger seat.

Driver input made cup holders a priority. The new ones are modular and flexible, mounted on a rail with toggle switch positioning for driver comfort. The steering wheel has new air-assisted tilt positioning, and 19 different button controls for cruise control, entertainment center, Bluetooth features, driver information display, horns, and light interrupters.

Interior lighting includes overhead LED reading lamps that can be switched from white or blue to red. There are also added puddle lights on the underside of the deeper door pockets. Window switches are now push down, pull up automotive style.

The VNR will be available with the new 2017 common rail fuel injection system D11 with 425 horsepower. This engine is a 350-pound weight savings over the D13 (also available), something of great value in a regional bulk delivery operation.

Available in a 4x2, 6x4 and 6x2 with adaptive loading makes this model very fitting for the bulk delivery market. Make it a perfect combination with the I-shift transmission and its new I-See feature that detects peaks and valleys. The system takes advantage of the truck’s momentum to save fuel, learns new hills, and discards seldom used ones automatically. The I-shift is a fuel-efficiency and fatigue-reducing tool. The One Box exhaust after-treatment system is innovative in saving 17 pounds of weight and 18 inches of frame rail space.

The VNR has a standard steering wheel air bag, and now has an optional side rollover air bag that deploys from the adjustable height seat belt. Forward-detecting crash avoidance with heads up display and the added cab air bags are key safety features proven effective in Swedish impact tests.

Uptime remote diagnostics and “over the air programming” will be available for 2018 engine and I-Shift. Design features were added to make it more mechanic friendly with easier access to components, thus saving time spent in the shop.

The VNR will be available in three different models: the VNR 300 flat-roof day cab; the VNR 400 42-inch sleeper with a flat roof; and the VNR 640, a 61-inch sleeper with a midroof. All are now available for ordering to go into production in August. LL

Johanne Couture of Brockville, Ontario, is a long-haul truck driver with 20-plus years of driving. She currently owns a 2011 Volvo 730, and pulls a stainless steel tank hauling liquid chemicals to all contiguous 48 states and 10 Canadian provinces. When we asked her to cover the unveiling of the VNR, she admitted as a three-time Volvo owner herself, she may a bit biased in her review. Afterward, she reported that she honestly loved the improvements in this new truck.