Truck manufacturers have many headlining rigs, the kind that turn heads with superlative power and well-appointed cabs. They can’t all be stars, though and for many trucks a simple duty of daily distribution is the less than glamorous fact of their life. That needn’t mean an inferior truck, though. In fact, it can be quite the opposite. A truck designed for this sort of work has to be on top of its game — an everyday workhorse that will deliver on economy and reliability and never let you down. The Volvo FM11 450 6×2 Euro-5 Fleet Spec tractor is just such a beast.
Fitted out with a Globetrotter cab, this middleweight punches above its weight in the cab-comfort stakes but examples come with any one of nine cab options, designed to satisfy a wide range of duty cycles. Inside, the convenience of a slightly smaller, lower cab is apparent. It is an easy two-step climb to the well-finished but no-nonsense cab. Finished in a low-maintenance colour scheme of greys, blues and black, it is a subdued interior but one that looks designed to last
– a bit like the truck itself. Trim is high quality and the air-suspension driver’s seat quickly envelopes the driver and promises a comfortable drive. On a truck such as this, which does away with the bells and whistles, a good driver’s seat is not a luxury but a necessity. This example may lack the sophisticated adjustments of other models, but it does the job well and adjusts simply to find an ideal driving position.
The driving experience is aided by an adjustable steering wheel that is available in a choice of sizes
— either 450 or 500mm. This has reach and rake adjustment as well as fore and aft controls and houses the CD player and radio controls. The main instruments are located on the dash, centre front, with the headlamp controls to the right and parking brake to the left. On a fleet-spec wagon such as this it is no surprise that the semi-wraparound dash has many blank rocker switches, but that is not too off-putting. Ventilation controls are just below, along with the heating settings and a right-hand steering column stalk controls the wipers and Volvo Engine Brake.
Engines come in 11 litre or 13 litre variants and there is a range of eight power ratings, rising to 450hp. This broad range means that most operators should be able to find an engine that ideally suits their application. The top-of-the-range 11 litre 450hp unit provides its maximum power between 1600 to 1900rpm with 2150Nm of torque available between 950 and 1,400rpm. All engines are Euro 5 and EEV compliant, utilising SCR. A 430mm clutch delivers this power to the V2612AT fully automatic I-Shift gearbox. This box has a choice of software programmes depending on operating cycle, including Distribution and Construction and Long Haul and Economy.
Suspension, as you might expect on a no-nonsense fleet truck, is the standard steel parabolic springs at the front and air to the rear. Braking is by all-round discs with EBS and there are options for ESP and hill-start aid.
The Volvo FM11 450 6×2 Euro-5 Fleet Spec tractor has a great reputation for reliability and durability and any operator in this sector should take a long hard look at this hard-wearing truck.