Driver comfort a priority in new XXL
THEY may still be cosy by American standards, but an increasing number of local offerings have clearly put sleeper cab comfort higher on their priority lists this year.
There was a swag of luxe new options on the floor at the Brisbane Truck Show this month, all looking to make those longer runs for Australian truckies a little less taxing.
With an all-day media event immediately prior to show kick-off, Volvo went all out to get its main player in this segment front and centre - the all-new FH Globetrotter XXL.
With Australia's vast distances and many drivers spending extended periods away from home, the new super-sized version of Volvo's FH cab responds to demand for extra living space from the truck industry, says the Wacol-based manufacturer.
"The XXL journey has been one that we're very proud to put to market now," new vice-president of Volvo Trucks Australia Tony O'Connell said.
"Our customers have asked us for some time now with the XL for an XXL with a little bit more space, especially the ones who are living in the cab."
To achieve the extra space, Volvo has re-engineered the XL Globetrotter cab, moving the rear wall back 250mm to create a truck it says delivers on space and comfort.
Truck drivers can be assured of a great sleep, promises Volvo, with the XXL cab having one of the biggest beds in the business - 130mm longer and 250mm wider than in a regular Volvo FH, providing extra space to stretch out.
The bigger bed - now 2.13m long and 1.065m wide - also has a new innerspring mattress with a pillow on top of every spring unit and an adjustable reclining section that adapts to the shape of your body, delivering what Volvo calls "a remarkable level of sleeping comfort".
Mr O'Connell told us no mattress spring was left untuned in the pursuit of a good night's sleep.
The mattress underwent extensive field testing in Volvo's Swedish lab until an array of industry types - from drivers to engineers - were satisfied with the end product.
Mr O'Connell said one of the secrets to the bed's success was an added layer of gel on top of the springs.
The truck was in such hot demand during the show that Big Rigs didn't get a chance to put those claims to the test.
But watch out for our contributor David Meredith's overnight test drive review of the Globetrotter in an upcoming issue for a frank and full appraisal.
If you're not travelling alone, there's also the option to equip the cab with a second upper bunk.
As well as an improved sleeping experience, Volvo has packed in additional storage, which means a driver can bring more personal items for long trips.
Mr O'Connell said the Volvo FH Globetrotter XXL underlined the importance of the Australian market and customers within Volvo Trucks' global operations.
"Australia is one of a very few selected markets that will see the all-new XXL cab and it has been designed with Australia's vast distances in mind," MrO'Connell said.
"We listened to our customers and developed a truck that delivers world-class driver comfort and is a home away from home when drivers are out on the road.
"A well-rested driver is safer and happier, and the bigger bed and space to stretch out will help ensure a well-rested sleep."
While the differences in size are big, the approach to safety by design is the same as any other Volvo cab.
Extra C-pillars make sure the cab is strong enough to meet Volvo's stringent Swedish Cab Strength Test safety standards and the latest European Cab Strength ECE R29-03, which now includes rollover simulations.
The XXL has also been designed with fuel efficiency in mind.
The cab maintains the FH Globetrotter's famous aerodynamic and fuel-efficient shape and has been constructed using galvanised sheet metal and other carefully selected materials to increase the space with minimal extra weight.
"If you're going to make a cab bigger you can do it the short cut way, just make it bigger, or you can realistically do it what we've done and moved the seat pillars back further and done full testing - full ECE compliance testing, full safety testing, crash testing - to ensure the highest of our safety standards are met right through," MrO'Connell said.
"We wanted to design a bigger cab that has the strength to withstand Volvo's front-impact tests but without adding too much weight.
"It is big on size and comfort, big on safety and is supported by the biggest dealer network in Australia and New Zealand.
"The Volvo FH XXL ticks all the boxes."