Volvo FMX 460: Beefy at the Construction Site

Volvo FMX 460: Beefy at the Construction Site

In 2011, the beefy Volvo FMX 460 was launched with numerous new details. Still, it could not conceal its Swedish origin, according to the testers of lastauto omnibus. The D13C and D11c engines according to Euro-5 and EEV provide the Volvo with generous power, delivering 330 to 500 HP. The tested Volvo FMX 460 provides 460 HP, as indicated by its name.

Volvo FMX Offers Wide Selection of Transmissions

Volvo offers an almost limitless selection of transmissions for the FMX. Used construction trucks of this kind are available with five different manual transmissions and three I-Shift versions. The offer is no less varied with regard to the axles, according to lastauto omnibus: tandem planetary hub reduction axles are available in two versions for optionally 26 or 32 tons of technical total weight (and 100 tons of maximum towing weight each), and a tandem hypoid axle is offered as well (23 tons). Volvo further offers a driven front axle designed for a nine-ton axle load to customers who prefer 6×6 or 4×4 axle configurations.

In the test, the cab environment of the Volvo FMX got much praise and little criticism. The Day Cab, Sleeper Cab and Globetrotter cab—all  driver’s cabs are mounted in a pleasantly low position, so that the FMX would actually not require its additional, swivel-mounted first step, according to the testers. The driver only has to climb a scant 55 inches (1.4 meters) before sitting down behind the compact, steering wheel, with a diameter of almost 18 inches (450 mm), of the four-axle truck. It can be folded up out of the way, a typical Volvo feature to give more “sturdy” drivers more hip room when climbing in or out. An additional comfort detail: the Volvo steering wheel can always be readjusted while driving.

A Few More Trays Would Be More Driver-Friendly

There were also some flies in the ointment for the cab of the Volvo FMX. There are not enough trays within the driver’s reach, and the display on the dash looks paltry. Labels and symbols are hard to see and could be more prominent, according to lastauto omnibus. The switches in the cockpit, however, received better marks for being also suitable for people with predominantly gross-motor skills, without being too big or too puny.

The switch for the differential locks is located rather far to the right of the cockpit. Two hands closer to the driver would have been a better place, according to the experts. Its design as a two-step rocker switch with a complicated safety, instead of a rotary switch was not well received, either, by the testers. This problem is ameliorated by the fact that the transverse differential lock is automatically activated when needed, as long as the switch is in a certain middle position, beyond the activation position for the inter-axle differential lock.

Volvo FMX 460 Spells Driving Dynamics

According to lastauto omnibus, the Volvo FMX does not lack for driving dynamics. The 793-cubic-inch (13-liter), 460 HP engine instantly delivers and only knows two pleasing states. It spoils the driver with the maximum torque of approx. 1700 lb-ft (2300 Nm) between 1 000 and 1 500 rpm, and provides nominal power between 1600 and 1900 rpm. The truck briskly whizzes up mountains, since the I-Shift normally does not get flustered by even the most challenging steep hairpin bends and does not take long to select the right gear.

However, the results for driving comfort of the Volvo FMX were mixed. The parabolic springs in front (two and three layers) and in the rear (both tree layers) performed perfectly when the vehicle is fully loaded, but were, according to the testers, rather “headstrong” while driving without a load. The disk brakes, which are installed on all axles of the FMX, worked flawlessly in the test. They are encapsulated in front and exposed in the rear.

Steering Requires Strong Arms

The steering of the Volvo FMX requires some muscle power, but it is refreshingly direct and steadily holds the course. Although the four-axle FMX truck, with its chassis weight of 10.5 tons, is no payload giant, it shows its robustness. A double frame, strong chassis, and more than sufficient engine do come at a price.

Overall, the new FMX is clearly better than its predecessor, the FM dump truck. However, topping the charts for construction trucks the way Volvo had intended would have required a more spacious cab and better driving comfort when the vehicle is empty. And, what may be even more important, a power train with more moxie surely would have been helpful.