Volvo launches four new trucks, including brand new FM and FMX

Will Shiers
February 27, 2020

Volvo has introduced a new generation of heavy trucks, which it says have a strong focus on the driver environment, safety and productivity.

Speaking at the launch of the all-new FM, FMX, and facelifted FH and FH16, Volvo Trucks president Roger Alm said:  “We are really proud of this big forward-looking investment. Our aim is to be our customers’ best business partner by making them even more competitive and help them attract the best drivers in an increasingly tough market.”

The biggest changes are to the FM and FMX, which feature a brand new shared cab. Externally they are instantly identified by their V-shaped LED headlamps, larger grille with new mesh pattern and distinctive single line side contour. In Volvo designer language, this “gives the truck a bold, confident look”.

The windscreen is barely raked at all, which has resulted in an additional 1cu m of interior cabin space. Larger windows and a lower doorline have improved visibility, and both trucks have been fitted the FH’s slimline rear view mirrors. A camera and screen alternative does not appear on the options list.

Moving inside, both FM and FMX receive a new dashboard. The instrument display is fully digital, with a 12in screen in front of the driver. A supplementary 9in touchscreen, standard in the UK, provides infotainment and navigation information, and camera monitoring. In addition to controlling it by touch, the screen can be operated by voice control or via buttons on the steering wheel.
The I-Shift gear selector has been redesigned and is slimmer, which Volvo claims makes it easier to walk around the cab. The bottom bunk is positioned higher than before, giving additional storage space underneath.

Unique to the FMX is a new traction control panel, allowing the driver to quickly and easily engage the diff locks. It also gets new non-slip steps.
Safety features have been enhanced across the range, with a road sign recognition system and passenger corner camera appearing on the options list.

Volvo’s FH and FH16 flagship both get a mild external facelift, featuring the same V-shaped headlights as their smaller siblings. Lights and indicators have been moved outwards, which according to Volvo improves aerodynamics and gives the truck “a more confident look”. Those with a good eye for detail will notice that the windscreen wiper panel is slimmer, and the iron mark has grown in size. The FH16 gets the same updates, plus a distinctive waterfall-type grille. Ismail Ovacik, chief exterior designer at Volvo Trucks, said: “Bolder, more sophisticated and confident, the exterior of the Volvo FH16 reflects the fact that this truck is more connected and smarter than ever before.”

But the greatest changes have occurred inside the cabs, with the same 12in and 9in digital screens as the smaller FM and FMX set into an updated dashboard. The main screen is configurable, allowing drivers to choose between four different views.  

“Easy access to a variety of information increases the driver’s ability to perform more efficiently, safely and comfortably,” said Carin Larsson, chief designer for user experience and human machine interaction at Volvo Trucks. “The presentation of information has improved significantly with the new displays. Demanding interactions are now concentrated on the side display, which is placed within easy reach of the driver’s seat. Distractions are therefore minimised as key driving information is shown clearly on the user-friendly and easily-viewable instrument display.”
Like before, FH16 buyers get a splash of colour on the dashboard, seats and curtains, only now it’s orange instead of yellow.

Amongst the many safety features in the new trucks are optional adaptive high beam headlights, which automatically disable selected parts of the LED cluster when the truck approaches oncoming vehicles.

The drivelines remain unchanged in all four trucks, with both Euro-6d diesel and LNG on offer.

Production of the new generation trucks starts in week 37, with the first examples likely to appear on UK roads at the end of the year.

•    See Commercial Motor 12 March for an in-depth look at the new trucks

About the Author


Will Shiers

Will Shiers has held an HGV licence since the age of 21, and has been writing about commercial vehicles for the past 25 years. He started his career as technical editor on Motor Transport, before taking on the editorship of Truck & Driver. Since 2011 he has been the editor of industry leading weekly publication Commercial Motor. Will is the UK jury member of the International Truck of the Year.

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