When Volvo Trucks showed off its big VT 880 early this year, we noted that the highway tractor with its long sleeper had little use in construction fleets. But now there's a variant that does: VT 800, a daycab model that features the 880's Volvo D16 diesel with up to 625 horsepower and 2,250 pounds-feet of torque — now North America's strongest available truck engine — and Cummins' ISX with up to 565 horsepower and 1,850 lbs.-ft.
Also like 880, the VT 800 has a big nose to house a high-capacity radiator needed to cool the high-horsepower engines. The resulting high hood is also several inches longer than that on the VNL model, giving the VT 800 a bumper-to-back-of-cab measurement of 134 inches. Projector-beam headlamps are standard.
Styling features include a forward-set steer axle, exposed fuel tanks and battery box, outboard-mount exhaust stacks, and extensive chrome trim and polished-metal surfaces. These and the overall bold look, along with smooth fuel-saving airflow, comprise what Volvo calls a modern interpretation of traditional styling favored by owner-operators and many fleet owners. The non-sleeper cab sits 8 inches farther back on the VN-based frame, enhancing the long-hood look.
Interiors are attractive and comfortable, with fabric or leather seats. Instruments and controls are within easy reach and along easy sight lines. Air-ride cab suspension, tilt-telescoping steering wheel, noise insulation and double-sealed doors provide a comfortable, quiet working place for the driver.
Safety has high priority at Volvo, so the VT 800 has features that protect drivers and passengers in the event of a crash. Its cab is made of high-strength steel, and the structure meets a tough Swedish Impact Test, which requires cab doors to remain closed during collisions but open afterward. The engine and transmission slide under the cab in a frontal collision. The Bendix Enhanced Stability Technology system, which helps prevent rollovers by cutting power and applying brakes in tight turns and emergency maneuvers, is standard, as are a driver air bag and energy absorbing steering column.
Available components include Eaton multi-speed manual and Autoshift transmissions, Meritor 12,000- and 13,200-pound front axles and 40,000- to 46,000-pound tandems, and Volvo air or steel rear suspensions rated from 38,000 to 46,000 pounds. Three frame rail thicknesses of 0.28, 0.31 or 0.38 inch provide resisting bend-moment ratings of 1,884,000, 2,112,000 and 2,460,000 inch-pounds, respectively.
The VT 800 will go into production early next year. Not affected is Volvo's VHD vocational model, which continues in production with Volvo's D12 diesel as its only engine offering.