I spent some time earlier this month with Volvo in Utah and Idaho, where I had the chance to drive the company’s new 6×2 setup with Adaptive Loading. The configuration features a liftable pusher axle that is raised when empty or lightly loaded, allowing the truck to run in a more efficient 4×2 configuration.

Less rolling resistance results in improved fuel economy, reduced tire wear and also better handling, since it lengthens the wheelbase and optimally distributes the load, shifting weight to the steer axle without exceeding the legal limits.

In Heyburn, Idaio, we met with several customers that are using the system. I haven’t met such a happy bunch of customers. They raved about the system – especially its handling in poor weather. Pulling a light load in the rain, lifting the axle shifts more weight to the steer axle and lengthens the wheelbase and gives the driver a better handling truck. It also means there’s more weight on the four tires that are in contact with the road, resulting in less scuffing and promoting even wear.

Of course, there are some regulatory hurdles to this configuration in parts of Canada, namely Ontario, Quebec and B.C., so check with the local regulations before placing your order.

You can read my full review here.

tanker raised

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James Menzies is editor of Today's Trucking. He has been covering the Canadian trucking industry for more than 20 years and holds a CDL. Reach him at or follow him on Twitter at @JamesMenzies.

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  • I don’t know why some provinces are so slow in making these brain-dead easy decisions. Poor driver training seems to more of the problem of drivers being unable to drive in inclement weather rather than bad equipment.
    Back in the day, having two axles but only having one wheel per axle driving (the one with the least traction) was all we had; no lockers or computer control. Now we have computers controlling traction, lockers and all the safety features we could ever want!
    With the lift axle we have more weight where it’s needed with a longer wheelbase.
    BC and the other provinces need to get their heads out of the sand and approve this technology.
    Now can we get some proper driver training so they can learn discernment of when to put chains on or park if needed??
    My thoughts are those wishing to become professional drivers should have to have 6 months learning experience in the north on winter logging roads so they understand when and what to do. Then when and if they choose to go on the highway, they will be properly trained.