There is no secret that the most trusted trucks from the market are build by Volvo. The company is continuously improving its trucks and permanently searches for ways to conquer and exploit new market sectors. One of these performant niche models is the FL which features the great build quality and the famous reliability of the Scandinavian brand.
The Volvo FL is the smallest truck from the company’s lineup ad it was designed for quick deliveries and city missions. The Volvo FL range includes rigid models with a gross vehicle weight between 12-18 tonne and different wheel base dimensions ranging from 3070 to 6800 mm. The Volvo FL is also available in three cab configuration including Day cab, Medium cab ad 4 door Crew cab.
The Volvo FL has a clean look and keeps the typical conservative lines of the company’s design language. Unlike it bigger siblings, the truck has a more serene character and its overall design is less imposing than other trucks in the segment. The rectangular front grille is also simple and bares the company logo in its center. The grille is traversed by the well known diagonal chromed strip which has become the Volvo signature.
The body colored bumper gels well with the rest of truck and is fitted with a big central air intake and two vertical light clusters which also incorporate the fog lamps.
Viewed from the side, the truck looks fairly good thanks to the sloped bottom line of the lateral windows which gives it a dynamic stance.
As we’ve mentioned before, the FL is available in three cab configurations. The Day cab was designed for short transport jobs that require maximum load length. The Medium cab is a comfortable alternative for somewhat longer haulage assignments. And the 4-Door Crew-cab, was specially designed for municipal tasks which requires a crew of up to seven people.
The cabin has an ergonomic design and is among the most comfortable units in the segment. The materials and the build quality are also good and look durable. The instrument panel features both, easy-to-read analogue gauges, and a digital driver’s display that shows automatically generated information direct from the vehicle.
The steering column is mechanically adjustable with the option of pneumatic adjustment for height and rake. Thankfully, most of the controls are within easy reach, while the instrument panel curves nicely around the driver’s seat. The gear lever comes easy into hand as is ergonomically integrated into the lower dash panel.
We also like the multifunctional steering wheel as it’s fitted with a host of useful controls. The driver’s seats come with a generous 180 mm fore-aft adjustment range permitting you to easy find a comfortable driving position. The Volvo FL is available with a choice of four driver’s seats and five single or one dual passenger seat with the top of the range represented by the heated Comfort Seat with upper and lower lumbar support. The medium cabs are fitted with a narrow fixed or deep foldaway bunk. The narrow fixed bunk can be used only for rest, and features a lot of storage space underneath. There is also an optional single passenger seat that is designed to slide back into the rear.
We don’t have any complains in the storage department either, as there are plenty of compartments in the doors, on the instrument panel and in other different areas of the cabin.
Volvo was always famous for its safety features and the steering wheel and the dashboard are energy-absorbent, as are the trims at knee height. All upholstery fabrics are also made of flameproof materials in order to keep the driver safe in case of any unwanted incident.
Engines and transmissions
The Volvo FL is equipped with the latest generation of Volvo’s 7-litre engine with power outputs of 240, 260 and 290 hp. The common rail engines use the electronic management system (EMS) and cope well with the light nature of the truck offering a sharp response and a high torque available from low rpms. The engines also respect the Euro 5 emission norms thanks to the Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) technology. The SCR system has a 20 litre AdBlue tank on the right side of the chassis, which means with a 200 litre fuel tank it requires filling every third diesel fill.
The power is transmitted via a single plate clutch and 6 or 9 speed manual gearboxes to a rear single reduction axle. Besides these two manual gearboxes, the Volvo FL can be equipped with the I-Sync automated 6 speed transmission with column mounted stalks to control the gear selection. There is also the engine driven PTO (Power Take Off) option available which is ideal for those who need power on the move, such as waste and cement mixer operators.
The Volvo FL is also equipped with an optional engine brake which offers safe retardation and extends the life of the brake pads and discs. By blending the engine brake with the footbrake every time the brake pedal is pressed, the wheel brakes are first activated, followed by the auxiliary brakes to ensure maximum safety and minimum cost.
Ride and Suspensions
The truck is equipped with standard leaf springs of parabolic type which are pretty pliant even under low axle loads. The Volvo FL also comes with the ECS (Electronically Controlled Suspension) which is able to automatically adjust itself so that the truck remains at a constant height and compensates for unevenly distributed loads. The light steering, the small turning circle and the relatively narrow width give the truck good performances in the urban areas. The Volvo FL can manage well with whatever is asked of it and even when fully loaded, it is able to perform without problems. At slower speeds the smallish sized steering wheel delivers good feedback and easy to gauge operation giving the truck a great maneuverability.
The Volvo FL is a competent no-nonsense vehicle which has delivered extremely reliable performance levels to date. The truck is strongly built and its engines are also capable and efficient.
Moreover, the driver’s comfort is at a superior level thanks to the ergonomically designed cabin which is fitted with comfortable seats and a lot of storage places to make your life on board easier.
Volvo has already a good reputation among truckers and the FL model gets also high marks in all the important departments. Its suspensions and the sharp steering gives it a great handling around town, hence the truck is perfectly suited for short urban deliveries.
Video: Volvo FL