Ahead of the curve: VN 670 test drive
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
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