The vocational truck market is highly competitive as the manufacturers try to continuously improve their models in order to keep the truckers satisfied. But apart from the engines, chassis and payloads which play a major role in the trucking industry, there is one thing that is more important than anything else. And that’s the vehicle’s reliability.
Volvo was always appreciated for two things, namely the safety and reliability of its vehicles. This is why the company continues to play a major role on the vocational market as its VHD model is one of the most appreciated and strong built trucks in its segment.
The truck is available in two versions including the VHD Standard and the VHD 430 which is available with both Day and Sleeper cab configurations.
The Volvo VHD has a cab over engine configuration which gives it’s a rugged look and a purposeful stance. The black front grille features a tasty chromed surrounding and is traversed by the classical diagonal strip which bares the company logo in its center. There are also two side air intakes mounted on the bonnet which besides their utility, they also add a dose of dynamism to the entire truck.
The bonnet is made of a lightweight material and features a raked design to improve the straight road visibility and to enhance the truck’s aerodynamics. The oversized wheel arches are nicely integrated into the overall design and at the front are fitted with twin round headlights.
Thanks to a relatively flexible design, the VHD allows for easy body mounting or other conversions. There is also available a body builder junction box which features connections for all signal lights. For enhanced practicality the battery box, air tanks, and fuel tanks are positioned far forward, while the additional equipments can be easy powered by a PTO (power take-off).
Needless to say, that the Volvo’s cab offers acres of space. The overall build quality is also the best in the business and even if the materials are more from the hard side, the cabin is fairly comfortable. The soundproof is also pretty good as the vehicle offers a pleasant and smooth ride, while separate inner and outer door seals keep water and air out of the cab. Moreover, a thick floor covering provides further noise dampening and thermal insulation inside the cab.
The wraparound dashboard is ergonomically designed and all the controls are placed within easy reach. The central instrument cluster comes with big, round gauges and a central driver information display. The information display can be controlled by means of stalks mounted on the steering column while the controls for electric mirror adjustment, power windows and power door locks are located within easy reach on top of the door panel.
For enhanced comfort the steering column can be adjusted for reach and rake and also folds out of the way permitting you to get in and out of the truck easily. Furthermore, the multifunctional steering wheel comes with a standard airbag and collapse to absorb energy, hence reduces the risk of injury in case of an accident.
We also like the big, comfortable captain seats which are among the best in the business. There are two type of seats available including the Standard Level and the Comfort Level. The first provides contoured cushions, 7" fore-and-aft slide, front cushion adjustment, power air lumbar, rear cushion adjustment, while the latter ads additional shoulder support, contoured side bolsters, power air cushion and back bolsters, triple chamber lumbar support and six-button seat. Optional armrests are also available for both types of seats.
Engines and transmissions
At the heart of the Volvo VHD sits the company’s D13 engine which develops between 375-500 hp with maximum torque levels of 1450-1750 lb-ft. The Volvo D13 is a lightweight unit which meets the latest EPA emission regulations. The engine can be mated on a wide range of manual, automatic or automated gearboxes including Volvo’s AT and ATO I-Shift, Eaton Fuller units and Allison automatic transmissions.
The engine is among the best in the business and its strong low end torque gives it a heavy duty character which is ready to go head to head with the most demanding jobs. For a better fuel economy and a proper response, the unit is also fitted with a variable geometry turbocharger.
Four Eco-Torque and two Dual-Torque ratings provide a “dual-personality’ torque output for those who want the good fuel efficiency of their lower torque levels with the strong performance of their higher outputs. The D13 unit is also offered with a performant three-level engine brake which is easy controlled by means of a stalk mounted on the steering column.
The power take off (PTO) system is mounted at the rear of the truck which makes it easier to connect with different optional equipments. Volvo’s PTO can be also used while the vehicle is being driven or stationary, thus offering a higher flexibility.
Volvo VHD Engines specifications
Ride and suspensions
The VHD is equipped with Volvo’s air suspension which keeps the ride comfortable without transferring the road bumps into the driver’s spine. To further reduce the unpleasant swaying of the truck and the severe shocks, Volvo has added lateral shock absorbers and dampeners. There are also rear cab suspensions air bags mounted outside the frame rails to improve the stability and to lower the body roll.
It will be hard to find a more reliable vocational truck than the Volvo VHD. The vehicle has a bulletproof build quality an aerodynamic design while its versatile chassis is combined with a strong frame rail which helps it to tackle even the most demanding works without thinking twice.
Volvo’s engines are fairly strong and won’t let you down in any situation, while their fuel consumption is among the best in the segment. It’s true that the truck is a bit pricey compared with its competitors, but it’s worth every penny.