Two major truck makers picked the same show and the same day to introduce new regional-haul tractor models. Navistar announced its International RH while Volvo unveiled its VNR, both medium-length conventionals claiming high maneuverability and driver comfort, at the ExpoCam in Montreal.
The builders say the day- and sleeper-cab tractors are aimed at a growing market for short and regional freight-carrying operations, which many fleets are switching to from traditional long-hauling. But the vehicles could also find use in bulk hauling of cement, aggregates and other materials and supplies for construction use.
Like the International HX vocational and RT road transport models introduced last year, the new RH is designed to please drivers, said Denny Mooney, senior vice president, Global Product Development. Its cab is quieter, and gauges and controls are easier to see and use than on previous models. Redesigned side windows and mirrors provide enhanced side visibility.
The interior was conceived from a study of interaction points between the driver and truck – everything from what a driver sees to how he moves and reacts in virtually any situation. A large swept-back windshield, optimized mirror placement and an aerodynamic sloped hood for a clearer view, can all contribute to greater visibility and an improved ride in the RH Series, executives said.
"We drew upon the expertise of drivers to ensure that the RH Series is the most driver-centric Class 8 regional haul vehicle we've ever built," he said. "Many of our customers tell us that their number-one challenge is attracting and retaining drivers, which is why we put so much effort into understanding and responding to drivers' needs. These improvements also contribute to increased driver ease of use that will boost the vehicle's productivity."
An inside wheel cut of up to 50 degrees delivers a curb-to-curb turning radius of only 27 feet, 10 inches, helping drivers negotiate the tightest city streets, Mooney said.
Aerodynamic improvements cut wind noise, and with driveline improvements, make the RH Series up to 6 percent more fuel-efficient than previous models. Weight-saving methods include a single-canister exhaust after-treatment device, a “ride optimized” suspension and aluminum fuel tank hangers.
The RH Series is powered by International’s new 12.4-liter A26 diesel, based on a MAN D26 crankcase, that's 600-700 lbs. lighter than a traditional 15-liter big-bore engine. It promises long uptime high fuel efficiency, and will replace the N13 diesel. The A26 produces up to 450 horsepower and 1,750 lb-ft. of torque.
The RH Series will be offered in multiple configurations, including day cab with an optional roof fairing, and 56" low- and high-roof sleepers. For safety, the Bendix Wingman Advanced collision mitigation system comes standard in the RH. Navistar is taking orders for the RH and will begin production in early June.
"The new International RH Series continues our commitment to build trucks that lead the industry in uptime," said Bill Kozek, President, Navistar Truck and Parts. "We are confident this truck will continue to build on our momentum and be successful in the regional haul market."
The latest variant of Volvo’s VN series, the new VNR includes improved seodynamics, “reimagined” working environment, improved engine and transmission options, gearing and loading efficiencies, passive and active safety systems and integrated connectivity. It’s suited for urban areas, pickup and delivery, liquid tankers, dry bulk, flatbed and other regional haul applications, said Göran Nyberg, president of Volvo Trucks North America.
“Our goal with the new VNR was to give our customers a versatile tool to meet their individual needs and challenges in the critical regional-haul market,” he said. “Our investment in this new truck is a clear signal of Volvo’s commitment to meeting the needs of regional haul customers in North America today and in the future. Everything about the new Volvo VNR represents the shape of trucks to come.”
The series includes a VNR 300 daycab, VNR 400 42-inch sleeper and VNR 640 with a 61-inch sleeper, he said.
With a 113-inch bumper-to-back-of-cab length for the daycab, improved sightlines over the hood, and a 50-degree wheel cut, the VNR offers good maneuverability and versatility in tight spaces and urban traffic. Stamped steel bumpers protect the lights and grille, “making it clear that the VNR is truly a work truck,” Nyberg said.
“The VNR model is a work truck, but it’s a dynamic, premium work truck, and aerodynamics are greatly important within the regional haul segment,” said Wade Long, director of product marketing. “Regional routes often mean traveling at highway speeds, where aerodynamics become increasingly important. With the new VNR model, customers will see an overall fuel efficiency gain of up to 3.5 percent compared with our previous regional haul model.”
“Every innovation of the new Volvo VNR has been filtered through the driver’s eyes,” said Brian Balicki, Volvo Trucks North America chief designer. “We channeled the input of nearly 2,000 drivers and brought those thoughts and preferences to life through the VNR.”
Driver-oriented details include Position Perfect three-motion steering wheel that helps reduce arm, neck and shoulder fatigue. New seats offer more adjustments to fit more drivers’ shapes and preferences and bring comfort amenities like heating and cooling.
The VNR offers driver connectivity through Apple CarPlay, offering high-end audio with WiFi, Bluetooth, navigation, apps and an exterior camera. A new instrument cluster and large, color driver information display in the dash, works with steering wheel-mounted controls to provide key operating parameters and access to trip information, performance data, and a wide-range of vehicle diagnostics.
Factory-installed telematics hardware enables predictive diagnostics and monitoring of critical engine, transmission and aftertreatment trouble codes through Volvo’s Remote Diagnostics. Through Volvo’s standard connectivity hardware, customers can also perform powertrain software and parameter updates over-the-air with Remote Programming, which helps improve uptime, reduce downtime costs and improve vehicle efficiency.
Automotive-quality LED headlights increase visibility and decrease light spillover onto oncoming traffic, making the road safer for everybody. Automatic lighting and rain-sensing wipers provide convenience and help driver safety, while the lane change support system provides visibility to blind spots.
The VNR uses Volvo’s high-strength steel cab and exceeds both the Swedish Cab Safety Test and ECE R-29 rollover requirements. In the event a crash would occur, available side airbags for the driver’s seat also help protect the driver in a roll-over situation. The driver’s seat airbag complements the steering wheel-mounted driver’s-side airbag, which is standard on the VNR.
Standard power is Volvo’s lightweight D11 diesel, with ratings up to 425 horsepower and 1,550 lb.-ft. of torque. Volvo’s D13 engine rated up to 500 horsepower and 1,850 lb.-ft. of torque is optional. Both engine series use extensive advancements in air- and exhaust-handling, combustion, and electronics to improve fuel efficiency and reduce emissions.
The VNR can be configured with an XE (eXceptional Efficiency) package and low-rpm “downspeeding” through use of the I-Shift automated transmission to save fuel and boost payload. Also available are Adaptive Loading, which senses when a truck is empty and lifts an axle to increase efficiency, and Optional Adaptive Gearing, which locks out overdrive when the truck is fully loaded and makes it available on an empty return.