Ahead of the curve: VN 670 test drive

| August 05, 2012

The optional hood-mounted mirrors also help in heavy traffic. My inclination is to check side-mounted mirrors first, but eventually I found the hood-mounted mirrors’ views more helpful.

Premium seats are part of the mid-level trim, including a back-cycler function. At the touch of a button, the seat cycles through lumbar positions designed to ease back strain and keep a driver comfortable and alert.

Full driver-side air bags are standard. In the event of a frontal impact, the drivetrain is engineered to drop beneath the chassis instead of crashing into the cab of the truck.

The real star of the Volvo VN show, however, has to be the fully-integrated XE13 drivetrain. Bio recounts how engineers realized that the powerful onboard electronics combined with Volvo diesel engines and the iShift automated transmission could be made to communicate with each other at lightning-fast speeds to give drivers unprecedented vehicle performance.

A central computer compares thousands of data points per second, such as available gears, engine RPM, available torque, throttle position and cruising speed. Then it calculates the best performance characteristics to ensure maximum fuel economy while still giving plenty of power and torque.

You spot this right away at cruise speeds. Volvo engineers understand that lower-revving engines use less fuel. A quick glance at the tachometer at 70 mph shows the engine is ticking at about 1,100 rpms. Checking the Driver Information System, I see I’m logging an easy nine miles per gallon during our initial cruise on the less congested portions of I-40, quite impressive for a full 80,000-pound gross weight. Traffic and hills eventually dropped that average to a little over 7 mpg for the day. Not bad for a mid-level tractor.

2013 Volvo VN 670 specs as tested

Gross Vehicle Combination weight: 80,000 pounds

Engine: Volvo D13

Horsepower: 425 hp

Torque: 1,725 lb.-ft.

Transmission: Volvo I-Shift ATO2612D

Gears: 12

Alternative drivetrain concept package: XE (Exceptional Efficiency)

Front axle: 12,500 pounds

Rear axle: 40,000 pounds

Optional: Volvo Enhanced Stability Package, ABS traction control, hood-mounted mirrors

  • Straight Into Face

    Everyone who is in the business for more than few month knows that Volvo with Volvo engine is beyond bad solution – no Euro motor can stand US terrain without solid service network. No matter how hard you will try to sell it to your readers – the only way to have truck like that is to keep it 250k miles and get rid of. Not really cheap solution when your competition is still running trucks with 10x that mileage

  • jim

    we bought a new volvo 730. what a piece of junk. and volvo wont stand behind it either. they never find the problem, until the warranty is out

  • jescott418

    As a owner operator I have never talked to a happy long term owner of a Volvo truck. As much as I think they look good. They tend to be in the shop a lot as they grow old. But In their defense the rest of the trucks today are not bullet proof anymore either. Its the emissions more then anything and how they are engineered. All I can say is I have owned Peterbilts, Freightliners and Kenworths and driven some Volvo’s. They all break down about the same. Just some are more expensive to repair then others.

  • jescott418

    Yes, perfect for fleets who dump them at 500K or less and let someone else deal with engine emission issues and other issues.