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Volvo FMX440 : First Drive


Designing for specific use in mining and construction tasks, the all new Volvo FMX stands out as a bolder, bigger and tougher version of the Volvo FM; which it replaces

 

Volvo FMX440 drive

 

 

The Volvo FMX440 was first unveiled at the EXCON show in Bangalore in 2011. After garnering a solid response from large mining companies, Volvo Trucks went on to deliver over 150 FMX trucks across the country. Now, after much consideration, the company has decided to make the FMX their flagship truck for mining and construction applications and phase out the Volvo FM, which earlier catered to this segment. 

 

Mining requirements in the country have changed and as the mines have gotten deeper, the need for more powerful machinery has emerged. This is where the FMX440 comes in. Built upon the same sturdy chassis of the FM, it has been tweaked to handle tougher tasks while offering the quintessential ‘Volvo’ elements of a smooth drive, driver friendly cabin, ease of operation and high levels of safety. 

 

 

Volvo FMX440 transmission

 

 

Powering this behemoth is a 13 litre, turbocharged, 6 cylinder inline diesel intercooler engine that generates 440 hp @ 1400-1800 rpm, which is an increase of 40 hp from the outgoing FM model. Torque is a staggering 2200Nm @ 1050-1400 rpm, and the engine is mated to a 14 speed synchronized splitter range gearbox (including 4 reverse gears!). In layman terms, what all these figures translate to is that the engine’s power is literally available from idling speeds; which is key for the operating environments that this truck is designed for, while delivering the optimal fuel efficiency. 

 

The other features that the FMX 440 boasts of is a robust exterior designed to tackle the rough working conditions, a low turning circle, Z cam self adjusting brakes which allows for efficient braking under rough conditions, tougher off-highway pattern tyres and a higher ground clearance. All these changes have made the FMX one of the most robust mining and construction trucks available in the country.

 

Volvo FMX440 cabin

 

 

I did manage to get behind the wheel for a short stint, and the experience is definitely worth writing home about. It’s quite a ways up from ground level to the driver’s seat, but getting in through the wide door isn’t an issue at all. Once inside your are greeted with a well appointed interior designed to keep driver’s comfortable during long work hours. Fire up the engine, shift into 1st and the truck steadily pulls away. 

 

Volvo FMX440 drive

Despite being a novice mining truck driver, I was able make my way through the course in absolute ease and even managed to touch a solid 55km/h on the straight! I found that in many ways it was easier than driving the FMX than some of the smaller trucks that I have laid my hands on in the past; a revelation to say the least.

 

Having said that, Volvo of course takes driving very seriously and they run a fantastic driver’s training program at their plant to insure that their vehicles deliver at the optimal rate in the right hands; after all, its not just about what the vehicle offers, but how the driver drives it to get the maximum output while ensuring maximum efficiency as well.