The world’s trucking press was forced to tune in to a live on-line broadcast to take a look at the new face-lifted FH and FH16 at its global launch. Fortunately, Diesel News’ European Correspondent, Will Shiers, witnessed Volvo launching four new trucks, as a live online broadcast, interacting with the event from his office computer.
“Evolution instead of revolution,” is a phrase we hear all too often at ‘new’ truck launches, and it applies perfectly to the FH and FH16. While Volvo has introduced a highly distinctive grille on the new FH16, I can’t help but think it could have done more to differentiate the new FH. The lion’s share of the research and development cash certainly went on the new FM, which makes sense, considering that this was the truck most in need of updating.
The most visual change to the FH/FH16 are its headlamps. The FH comes with halogen lights as standard, but has two optional LED clusters. The most expensive of the pair includes active main beam, which automatically dips when it detects approaching vehicles.
The FH16 comes as standard with black tinted LED lights. The light clusters have been moved outwards towards the sides of the cab, which according to Volvo, improves aerodynamics and gives the truck ‘a more confident look’. In addition to integrating indicators into the headlamp clusters, Volvo has fitted a pair of them to the bottom of the doors, where they are presumably easier for cyclists to spot.
The grille has shrunk slightly, which has resulted in the space immediately above it growing. This is likely to be welcomed by those operators who previously complained about having nowhere to display their company names. The grille, like the mirror casings and sun visors, are colour-coded. A new silver ‘waterfall’ grille certainly adds character to the FH16. To me its reminiscent of a late 1940s Buick.
Volvo improved the FH’s fuel economy by seven per cent last year when it introduced the Turbo Compound engine with I-Save technology, which Australia will be getting with the arrival of Euro-6. Well now it reckons it’s achieved a further two per cent improvement by simply closing the gaps on the panels, especially between the bumper and headlamps.
Once again, there are no changes to the driveline in the new face-lifted FH and FH16. I have to confess to being a little disappointed that Volvo didn’t squeeze any more horsepower out of its mighty 16-litre, after all, it is rumoured to have an 800hp waiting in the wings. Then again, it probably makes sense to wait for rival Scania to reveal its hand first. Meanwhile in Australia, you’re still capped at 700 horses.
As you’d expect with any Volvo, the new trucks are fitted with a plethora of safety devices. The windscreen-mounted ADAS camera that controls the lane keeping support, adaptive cruise control and front collision warning, now also incorporates a new traffic sign alert function. This spots road signs, and displays them on the digital screen in front of the driver, but alas currently doesn’t recognise Australian signs.
There are three external trim levels on offer; Basic, Enhanced and Enhanced Plus. The Enhanced levels have a colour-coded central grille.