If you need a truck that is not afraid to deal with tough terrains, muddy roads and huge payloads without being wreaked or tear into pieces, than you might want to take a closer look at the Volvo FMX.
The FMX is the tough brother of the FM model which has a more serene character and was designed only for regional transportation. In order to make the FMX fit for its challenging missions Volvo has modified the FM’s chassis, equipped it with specific features and dropping heavy duty equipments into the mix.
The result is a masterpiece of the construction trucks segment were the Volvo FMX competes against similar rugged models like the Mercedes Axor, Iveco Trakker, MAN TGS or DAF CF. The Volvo FMX is available in three cab configurations namely the Day cab, Sleeper Cab and Globetrotter. Besides the generous range of cabs the truck versatility is also represented by its wide choice of axles which consists of 4x2, 6x2, 6x4, 4x4, 6x6, 8x2 and 8x4 versions available in both rigid and tractor models.
The FMX features a more imposing stance than the FM and its overall design screams “Tough”. The cabin’s design is identical with the one of the FM but the lower part of the including the spoiler and headlights are different and feature a more solid look. Besides the catchy sharp headlight bumper is also fitted with a big air intake which copes well with rest of the truck. Integrated round head lamps are tucked into lower-fascia, and a solid metallic skid plate shows it edge further informing you about the off road nature of the vehicle.
The sturdy bumper that shields the radiator and engine consists of three separate, individually replaceable sections while volvo also offers the possibility to choose a steel grille to protect the headlamps. The door mirrors are mounted on robust steel brackets while both the headlamp lenses and the rear-view mirrors can be replaced individually. The truck’s ground clearance is also a bit higher than the one from the FM and it is another statement of the truck special abilities.
Inside the FMX, its FM genetics are far more evident. Is there differentiation? No. Both cabins look identical and there aren’t any new significant details to announce you that you’re behind a heavy duty off road truck. The good part is that we loved the FM’s cabin so we don’t have any complains about the FMX cockpit either. The Interior plastics are of good quality and well-textured, looking solid and ready to go head to head with many years without being knocked out. Most of the controls look very much alike the FM’s and are placed intuitively on the slightly curved dash. The dashboard design is also pretty common for this category and other than it bullet proof built quality it doesn’t stand out with anything new when compared to its rivals.
The instrument cluster features a easy to read layout and the TGX uses red needles for its different gauges which give the cabin a touch of sportiness. Similar with the FM, the TGX’s also features a digital display which offers different information about the truck at the driver’s request. The central mounted 12 and 24 V sockets aren’t missing either and the AUX and USB connectors are also there as well.
As most of today’s truck the fully adjustable seats are fairly comfortable and even if they aren’t aggressively bolstered you can drive a full day without noticing any back or neck pains. Moreover the driver seats are also available with optional body weight adjustments, electric heating, ventilation and backrest cushions. Also helping to the good driving position is the energy-absorbing steering wheel which besides its rake and angle adjustments can be folded out of the way to permit an easy entry. For some extra bucks the steering wheel can be fitted with controls for the audio system and mobile phone.
Needless to say that probably you’ll find more storage compartments than you’ll ever need. The center console storage bin is also deep and roomy enough to be of good use, and it’s further supplemented by a shallower surface atop the dash. The day cab also features two large storage compartments with hatches and four DIN compartments above windscreen. Additional to that there can be found storages behind both passenger and driver seat which can be accessed from the outside. The Sleeper and Globetrotter cabs come with a few storages under the bunk and a host of cup holders and cubby holes fitted into the dash.
The Sleeper cab is comes with a standard sleeping bunk which measures 700x2000x125/160 mm. while the Globetrotter cab ads a suspended bunk with 600x1900x100 mm dimensions. Moreover, the Globetrotter’s suspended bunk can be also ordered with 700x1900x100 mm dimensions.
Engines and transmissions
The Volvo FMZ shares the same engine lineup with the FM. Hence ther truck is available with the D11C, the D13B and the D13C units bolted with four valves per cylinder and controlled unit injectors. The DC11C and DC13C engines are using the SCR technology to be able to meet the Euro 5 emission norms, while the D13B engine is Euro 4 compliant.
The Euro 5 D11C six cylinder comes with capacity of 10.8 litre and develops between 330 – 450 hp. The D13B 12.8 litre, straight six cylinder turbocharged diesel offers a range of outputs between 360 - 440 hp. The top of the range is represented by the turbocharged D13C 12.8 litre, straight six-cylinder unit which develops between 380 - 500 hp.
According to your needs the truck can be mated on either 9 or 14-speed manual gearboxes. For some extra money the FM’s engines can be combined with the 12 speed I-Shift automated gearbox which is among the best in its class. The I-Shift is the best choice for construction duties being able to offer smooth shifts, perfect momentum and increased fuel efficiency. Besides the fact that it’s easier to use than a manual unit it also weight approximately 70 kg less thus maximizing the payload capacity of the truck. Volvo also offers the Powertronic 6-speed automatic planetary transmission which features two operating modes and manual gear changing.
Ride and suspensions
The FMX range includes a wide selection of solo and tandem axles, with single or hub reduction.
The Volvo truck offers a total of six chassis heights while the front axles are also available in a choice of different heights, dimensioned for different axle loads.
The FMX’s high chassis and straight front axle has a huge ground clearance and a generous approach angle. Dual front axles were specially designed for the heaviest of construction duties or for trucks with heavy load-handling equipment installed behind the cab. Moreover, you can also choose a driven front axle on the Volvo FMX 4×4 and 6×6 which is ideally suitable for off-road operation.
The truck’s suspension offers a wide range of configurations namely air suspension, leaf springs, conventional or parabolic. The Electronic Controlled air Suspension (ECS) with four bellows per axle gives offers heavy duty performances and features a parallel lift hence keeping the truck at a constant ride height. The ECS can be adjusted manually, hence you can set the cargo platform height to match the height of the loading bay.
The electro hydraulic steering is also among the best in the business and keeps the truck on the road even in the toughest conditions with the truck fully loaded.
Besides the engine brake the truck comes equipped with all round discs combined with EBS, ABS and ESP.
Volvo’s engineers wanted to develop a heavy duty off road truck able to take a lot of hits without backing down. When the new FMX was developed, Volvo took into considerations all the driver’s concerns and the result shows it in full glory. We’ve already have great expectations from the Scandinavian manufacturer, but the FMX performances are even higher. The truck has a bullet proof build quality, the cabin is also fit for the job, while the wide engine range is among the most reliable in the segment. You’ll also like its heavy duty suspension and axles, while the solid chassis is able to carry mountains of loads in full safety.
Video: Volvo FMX