The Volvo VNL: An In-Depth Look at a Trucking Powerhouse

A white Volvo VNL 860 photo with a text THE VOLVO VNL

Volvo Trucks, a name synonymous with safety and innovation, has carved a dominant path in the global trucking industry for decades. Renowned for their robust engineering and driver-centric design, Volvo trucks are the workhorses that keep the wheels of commerce turning. Today, we set our sights on a particularly noteworthy member of the Volvo family – the Volvo VNL series.

The VNL story began in 1996, when Volvo introduced the VN, their second-generation Class 8 tractor in North America. The VN quickly gained recognition for its reliability and fuel efficiency. In 2004, a significant redesign ushered in the era of the VNL, with a focus on improved aerodynamics, a revamped interior, and the addition of the “L” designation signifying the long-hood configuration. The VNL series has since become a mainstay on American highways, trusted by owner-operators and fleet managers alike.

Volvo VNL Models

The Volvo VNL series offers a range of models tailored to different long-haul trucking applications. Here’s the different Volvo VNL models:

VNL 300

This premium daycab is designed for weight-conscious specialty applications and is well-suited for routes that require a compact configuration. It offers outstanding performance and visibility, making it an ideal solution for day-to-day operations.

VNL 400

The VNL 400 is a versatile flat-roof sleeper tractor, perfect for specialty applications. It is designed to work with the driver, delivering outstanding performance and visibility. The VNL 400 features a 42″ sleeper with a 36-inch wide bed, providing a comfortable rest on overnight runs.

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VNL 740

The VNL 740 is a spacious mid-roof sleeper, ideal for long hauls and weight-conscious specialty applications. Designed to maximize every drop of fuel, the VNL 740 is ideal for weight-conscious applications and boasts up to 11% better fuel economy compared to older models thanks to the Volvo D13 Turbo Compound engine.

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VNL 760

The VNL 760 is a high-roof sleeper, offering a 96″ wide, 70″ long sleeper with a standard 39″x81″ lower bunk, optional reclining bunk, and fold-away table features. It is destined to become Volvo’s best-selling truck due to its combination of comfort, productivity, and reliability.

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VNL 860

The VNL 860 is the flagship model, offering unsurpassed comfort, safety, and productivity. It features a stunning, aerodynamic exterior with a panoramic windshield, a dashboard optimized for driver comfort, and an upgraded high-roof 77-inch sleeper with plenty of space, storage, and amenities for team drivers.

You may visit this link for used Volvo 860 for sale.

Volvo VNL Engine Options

Here is a comparison table outlining the key specifications of the different engine options available in Volvo VNL trucks:

Engine ModelPower RangeTorque RangeFeatures
Volvo D11385 – 425 hp1450 – 1550 lb-ftFuel-efficient, lightweight engine with performance competitive with larger engines. Offers XE and Eco-Torque ratings for efficiency.
Volvo D13405 – 500 hp1450 – 1850 lb-ftEfficient, powerful, and lightweight engine designed to improve operating costs while meeting emissions standards. Features Dynamic Torque for optimal torque delivery.
Volvo D13TC405 – 455 hp1750 – 1850 lb-ftUtilizes turbo compounding technology to capture and harness lost energy for improved fuel economy. Offers up to 6% fuel savings compared to standard D13.
Cummins X12 G400 hp1450 lb-ftNatural gas engine based on the Cummins X12 diesel platform, ideal for regional-haul and LTL distribution applications.
Cummins X15400 – 565 hp1650 – 1850 lb-ftWell-suited for freight applications requiring fuel economy and big-block architecture. Optimized for peak torque at lower speeds and down-speeding without compromising drivability.

These engines offer a range of power outputs, torque capabilities, and efficiency features tailored to different applications within the long-haul trucking industry.

Comparison Between Volvo VNL Models

Here’s a table highlighting the key differences between the different Volvo VNL models:

VNL SeriesDescriptionApplicationCab TypeInterior HeightInterior Width
VNL 300Daycab designed to provide outstanding performance for short-haul deliveries.Truck Load/Short HaulDaycab61″83.5″ door-to-door
VNL 400Flat-roof sleeper designed for longer hauls requiring overnight rest to maintain hours of service compliance.Long Haul/Tanker/ Bulk/Flat Bed42″ Sleeper61.5″83.5″ door-to-door with 75″x36″ mattress
VNL 740Spacious midroof sleeper designed for hauls requiring multiple overnight stays.Truck Load/ Hours of Service70″ Sleeper75.2″ between seats, 80.7″ rear of sleeper83.5″ door-to-door with 81″x39″ mattress
VNL 760A long-haul sleeper built to deliver reliable performance mile after mile.Long Haul/Van Trailer70″ Sleeper81.5″ between seats, 100.2″ rear of sleeper83.5″ door-to-door with 81″x39″ mattress
VNL 860Our premium long-haul sleeper. Providing comfort without compromise.Premium Long Haul/Van Trailer77″ Sleeper81.5″ between seats, 102.2″ rear of sleeper83.5″ door-to-door with 79″x42″ mattress

These distinctions in cab design and dimensions cater to different operational needs and driver comfort across the Volvo VNL series, ensuring optimal performance and rest for various trucking applications.

Ten Reasons to Love the Volvo VNL

1. VADA/Forward Collision Warning

The industry-leading collision avoidance system makes another leap forward. The next generation Volvo Active Driver Assist (VADA) system integrates radar and camera capabilities with a variety of on-board safety features. Now standard in all VNL models, VADA has the potential to decrease the risk of front-end and rear-end collisions by 82%. This potentially life-saving system helps drivers maintain a safe following distance and can even bring the vehicle to a complete stop in emergency braking situations.

2. Volvo D13TC Engine

The Volvo D13 Turbo Compound engine now offers fuel savings for a wider variety of applications than ever before. Fleets that run variable load applications, including tanker, bulk haul and flat-bed deliveries, can benefit from Volvo’s next generation Turbo Compound system. Regardless of whether the trailer is fully or partially loaded, an aerodynamic VNL can provide substantial savings. This D13TC is 6% more fuel efficient than our current 2020 D13 engine. And it’s up to 11% more efficient when compared to 2015 truck models.

3. Fuel Efficiency Packages

Volvo offers fuel efficiency packages that focus on aerodynamics and powertrain technologies to drive efficiency and savings. These packages include:

  • Baseline: This model includes features like the D13 VGT Eco-Torque engine, bumper with drag reduction plate, flared chassis fairing, roof fairing, cab side fairing, and low rolling resistance tires.
  • Plus Package: This package includes the Baseline features plus the D13 XE engine, I-See Predictive cruise control, high-efficiency axle, bumper with full airflow deflector, and cab side fairing with extender.
  • Advanced TC Package: This package includes the Plus features plus the D13 TC engine, mirror arm wind deflector, extended chassis fairings, ground effects, and trim tab.
  • Xceed Package: This package includes the Advanced TC features plus the Full FlowBelow™ Aerokit and optimized wheelbase for reduced drag.

4. Volvo Dynamic Steering

Volvo Dynamic Steering (VDS) is a revolutionary feature available in select Volvo models, including the VNL series. VDS enhances the driving experience by providing a safer and more comfortable experience for the driver. It offers several advantages:

  • Fewer aches and pains. VDS dampens vibrations from rough roads and virtually eliminates the steering corrections needed in crosswinds, reducing strain on the driver’s arms, shoulders, and neck.
  • Low speed maneuverability. VDS provides additional steering torque at low speeds, allowing the driver to maneuver with a light touch. The steering wheel also returns to center when released, saving driving effort and bringing the vehicle into a straight line quickly and easily.
  • Blowout assistance. In the event of tire blowout, VDS makes almost instantaneous adjustments to remove up to 85% (9 lb-ft.) of the torque a driver would normally feel, giving the driver precious time to react and bring the vehicle to a safe stop without fighting the wheel.

5. Position Perfect™ Steering

Position Perfect™ Steering is a unique feature in the Volvo VNL series that offers drivers a customizable steering experience for optimal comfort and control. This system allows for a three-motion tilt/telescope steering wheel that tilts in relation to the column, providing drivers with a wide range of adjustments to position the wheel exactly where they prefer it. The Position Perfect™ Steering feature enhances driver comfort by allowing them to set the steering wheel height and angle to their liking, ensuring a personalized and ergonomic driving experience.

6. Redesigned Dashboard / Upgraded Interior

The redesigned dashboard and upgraded interior of the Volvo VNL series offer a host of features aimed at enhancing driver comfort, control, and productivity. Here are the key details:

  • Easy-to-read gauges: The dashboard features easy-to-read gauges that provide essential information at a quick glance, reducing distraction and ensuring that drivers have critical data readily available.
  • Configurable displays: A configurable driver information display works in conjunction with steering wheel-mounted controls, allowing drivers to access key operating information and choose preferred diagnostic data for a personalized driving experience.
  • Accessible controls: Frequently used controls are strategically placed within easy reach, ensuring that drivers can operate essential functions without diverting their attention from the road.
  • Dash-top tray: The dashboard includes a convenient dash-top tray equipped with multiple USB and 12V connections. This tray provides a safe and accessible space for drivers to store and connect their electronic devices while on the road.

7. Full-Width Sleeper

The Volvo VNL series offers a full-width sleeper option that maximizes living space and comfort. The 70-inch long sleepers on the mid-roof VNL 740 and high-roof VNL 760 have been expanded to 96-inches wide, providing drivers with plenty of space to handle day-to-day demands, whether it’s catching up on paperwork, taking a meal break, or getting the rest they need for extended days on the road. Happy, comfortable drivers lead directly to increased productivity for the long haul.

8. Uptime Services

Volvo Uptime Services offer a comprehensive suite of products and support aimed at maximizing fleet uptime, enhancing maintenance efficiency, and ensuring smooth operations. Here’s a summary of the key components:

  • Remote Diagnostics: Provides 24/7 monitoring of Volvo engines, I-Shift, and aftertreatment systems, enabling proactive fault detection and analysis. This service reduces diagnostic times by 70% and repair times by 22%.
  • Volvo ASIST Service Communications: A web-based platform for managing vehicle status, electronic estimates, repairs approval, and communication with dealers regardless of the truck’s location.
  • Driver-Activated Remote Programming: Allows drivers to update parameters and software on-the-fly to enhance truck performance with minimal downtime.
  • Premium Maintenance Plan: Choose from a full menu of services and get access to Genuine Volvo Parts, warranty adjustments, service programs, and performance updates at pre-planned maintenance intervals.
  • Volvo Protection Plans: Extended warranty options covering engines or chassis, providing coverage for unforeseen repairs and managing costs over the truck’s lifespan.
  • Certified Uptime Dealers: Certified Uptime Dealers expedite critical repairs. With the truck’s remote diagnostic data already in hand, a technician can immediately diagnose the truck. If the repairs require less than four hours of service time, the truck is fast-tracked, so we can help you get back on the road within hours.

9. Volvo I-Shift

Volvo I-Shift is an automated manual transmission system developed by Volvo Trucks. It is designed to reduce driver fatigue by eliminating the need to manually change gears. I-Shift offers three individual drive modes: Extra Efficiency, Economy, and Performance, allowing drivers to optimize fuel efficiency for the vehicle with desired performance. The transmission includes advanced hardware and software, and a countershaft brake for excellent performance and smooth, fast shifting. The electronic control unit can handle any load and any road, shifting perfectly every time. I-Shift also features Volvo’s I-See predictive cruise, which employs self-learning knowledge of road topography to work with I-Shift, helping drivers optimize the truck’s speed and gear shifting. The I-Shift transmission is compatible with any Volvo engine and can increase a truck’s resale value by allowing a simple software flash to uprate the engine power rating without having to replace the transmission.

10. Adaptive Loading

Adaptive Loading is a lift axle solution for 6×2 tractors developed by Volvo. This feature helps trucks run efficiently for every mile of every haul. Adaptive Loading allows the driver to control the weight distribution of the vehicle, ensuring that the load is evenly distributed across the axles. This results in improved fuel efficiency and reduced wear on the vehicle’s components. The system is designed to optimize the truck’s performance based on the load being carried, providing a more efficient and cost-effective solution for long-haul transportation.

The VNL series offers incredible ergonomics, aerodynamics, fuel efficiency, and performance. The selection of VNL sleeper and day cab models covers a wide range of highway applications, all offering unsurpassed driveability, safety, and comfort, while helping you deliver big savings to your bottom line. So, if you’re looking for a premium truck that puts a premium on profitability, look no further than Volvo.

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