Giti Tyres Big Test: Fan Base
It's the Volvo that people are buying when they can't afford a Volvo – or can't justify their price anyway.
Okay, so Volvo is definitely not what you'd call a budget truck….but it is trying to meet the tipper market halfway, with a kind of "base-spec" FM model that goes without a couple of fancy (ie, more expensive) features.
On our way to experience first-hand what one of these more basic Volvos is like, I can't help it – my mind runs riot thinking about what they will have gone without: Like the paint job – can it be any colour….just so long as it's white? You want a what? An air-suspended seat! Forget it! Aircon and a stereo? You must be joking!
Okay, so it's a bit of a surprise when we turn up at Smythes Quarries at Waitakaruru, in the northern Waikato, and meet up with Clegg's Transport's new Volvo FM13 6x4 B-Ride – one of these new tipper-spec models.
First off, it looks just like any other new Volvo FM. The paint job is sharp – in the Miranda company's standout brown and orange colours.
Pirelli Trevor Test
Today we're checking out something a little unusual – a spec tipper that Volvo brought to the market last year, to see if it can do what DAF's done and nibble away at the Japanese truck dominance.
So this Clegg's Transport 6x4 is a slightly simpler, less-high-tech version of Volvo's standard FM model – its bid to reduce the gap between a European truck and a Japanese truck.
The sort of thing that they've left out of this spec tipper includes air suspension (under the truck, the cab and the passenger seat), driver assistance systems like adaptive cruise control...and Volvo Dynamic Steering.
I'll get to see how the package performs on a good run – taking the fully laden truck and trailer over the Kopu-Hikuai road to Whangamata.
Entry into the cab is good with two well-spaced steps and grabhandles on each side, plus a wide-opening door.
Once inside it's a familiar Volvo cab layout – similar to the FMX we tested last year. There's a heated air seat, controls on the steering wheel for virtually everything, and a dash that looks like it has all the other controls at easy reach…if they ain't already on the wheel.
There's a vinyl and textile interior trim which makes for a nice light cab that feels fresh and roomy.