Family Quarrel: Volvo FM 410 versus FH 500

Family Quarrel: Volvo FM 410 versus FH 500

lastauto omnibus magazine arranged a comparison test between the Volvo FM 410 and the Volvo FH 500 in 2011. The technical differences between the Swedish siblings are rather marginal. They have the same chassis, the same drive technology apart from the displacement of 658 vs. 780 cubic inches (10.8 vs. 12.8 liters) and almost the same driver’s cabs. Engine power and mounting positions of the driver’s cab are the most important differences between the Volvo FH 500 and the Volvo FM 410. The FH has a high-mounted Globetrotter XL cab (access height  58 inches, 1470 millimeters) while the FM has a very low-mounted Globetrotter cab (access height 46½ inches, 1180 millimeters). In spite of having the same basic dimensions, the Volvo FM provides clearly less storage room, an engine tunnel with a height of almost 16 inches (approx. 400 mm) and slightly impractical outside storage compartments. There is also—in contrast with the FH—no space for bags or travel luggage under the cot. The cot cannot be moved, since it is mounted. Only one drawer and—for a surcharge—also a cooler box fit under the cot.

Volvo FM 410 and Volvo FH 500 impress with driving comfort

Both tractor units impressed the testers with equally good craftsmanship, driving performance typical for Volvo, and generally high driving comfort. Both run without noticeable vibration and very controlled, as one would expect from six-cylinder in-line engines. The D11C engine in the Volvo FM 410 is not so highly strung and runs at a maximum mean combustion pressure of “only” 22.7 bar – a bit more smoothly than the higher stressed D13C (25.04 bar). The FH 500, the test competitor of the FM 410, provided exactly 510 HP and the maximum torque has been increased from 1843 to 1880  lb-ft (2500 to 2550 Nm). The FH 410 delivers 419 HP. Drivers who do not change directly from the FH 500 to the FM 410 will not complain about lack of power. It is typical for Volvo that the D11C in the Volvo FM 410 has a broad maximum torque range (950 to 1 400 rpm), reaches its 419 HP at low rotation speeds (from 1 600 rpm) and can handle almost 40 tons with ease.

Closely Related But Different

Even though Volvo provides very accurate task definitions for these two closely-related but still very different tractor units, there is still a considerable overlap between regional and long-distance hauling, according to lastauto omnibus. This ignites, again and again, the question of whether an FH or an FM is appropriate. The question is quickly answered where payload is concerned: the Volvo FM 410 offers more. The two trucks have equivalent equipment but differ by approx. 770 lbs. (350 kg).

The domain of the Volvo FH 500 with 510 HP is long-distance hauling. The Globetrotter XL driver’s cab provides plenty of elbow room for and room storage, although its angled front makes it less roomy. It can be equipped with a swivel passenger seat (surcharge 490 €) and a lower cot with adjustable head rest (450 €). Both items are very useful for a comfortable “after hours” period in the driver’s cab, the testers suggested.