Looking at the UD Quon redesigned, it is without major structural changes, but the feel is very different. It still has a similar look to the Quon models it replaces, but with just a bit more style. The grille is a much larger hexagonal shape and gives the truck a much more modern feel. This, and the decision not to launch the trucks in white only, means the UD coming down the road will not look like just another Japanese truck.
Power comes from the UD GH11TD 11-litre engine. This is based on the Volvo 11-litre engine design, but built in Japan and with engine mapping to suit the Japanese style. The decision, taken several years ago by Volvo, to not supply UD heavy-duty trucks with a version of the Volvo 13-litre engine was widely questioned here in Australia.
The answer to the critics is an 11-litre engine with a maximum power rating of 460hp (338kW) and with 2,200Nm (1,623 ft lb) of torque available to the driver. These are impressive numbers for a smaller engine and will do the job, if UD’s traditional durability has not been compromised. Volvo Group is not known for rash decisions, so we can assume substantial testing has taken place to ensure longevity in the driveline.
There are two more engine options available, both 11 litres with maximum power at 420hp (309kW) and 390hp (287kW), with torque ratings of 1,900Nm (1401 ft lb) and 1,750Nm (1,290 ft lb), respectively. Maximum torque comes into play as low as 900rpm on the 390, 950rpm on the 420, but at 1,200 on the top power 460.
The engine is set to be with us for some time as it meets the Japanese exhaust emission rules, which means it already exceeds any limits to be set when ADR 80/04 is introduced, early in the next decade.
“Our strategy has been to shift the focus towards heavy-duty product,” says Mark Strambi, Acting President, UD Trucks Australia. “There were a couple of months in 2017 when we were up to four per cent market share in the heavy-duty market. 2017 is the biggest year UD has had in heavy-duty truck.
“We have a truck we can use as a local B-double – that’s where our focus will stop. We’ll go from the medium range 350hp through to the 460.”
The transmission is another of the staples of Volvo Group – a 12-speed automated manual transmission (AMT), this time called the ESCOT Vl, but the UD-programmed version of the I-shift. Adapted to suit the UD engine’s performance, it utilises the old-style gear lever–like control used in past Volvo trucks, placed where the manual gear stick used to be found.
The European influence can be found elsewhere in the specifications. The new Quon has gone to all disc brakes as standard, another indication of how this is a Japanese truck designed with a European sensibility.
One of the most obvious non-Japanese aspects of this truck out on the road is the inclusion of a ‘real’ engine brake. Drivers have become used to the typical exhaust brake, which may change the engine note but offer limited retardation. On this model, we now have a genuine compression brake offering effective retardation.
The Extra Engine Brake (EEB) has four stages – positions one to three offer increasing retardation from the engine, while four brings in down changes to maximise retardation.
Emphasising the Volvo Group nature of the new Quon’s specification is the array of safety systems, which come as standard on this model. The names chosen vary from elsewhere in the group – Traffic Eye, UD Stability Control, etc. – but the capabilities are those of the systems fitted to Volvo and Mack trucks.
The cruise control that enables the truck to keep a safe distance from the truck in front, the capability for retardation and braking to be applied if a vehicle is getting too close, lane-departure warnings, plus stability control are all familiar to drivers of the latest European trucks. Here they are all available as standard on a heavy-duty Japanese truck. An alerts system telling the driver to slow or brake is also available as an option.
Apart from the flagship GW 26 460 at the top of the range with the highest power rating, available as both prime mover or rigid, there is also the GK 17 420 4×2 prime mover. Lower down the weight scale is the CW 26 390, which is a rigid 6×4 at 390hp. There is also the CD 25 390, a 6×2 rigid.
This truck is lighter, with a lower tare weight than the models it is replacing. Servicing is improved, with fewer greasing points and unit hubs fitted. UD is saying there is a five per cent improvement in fuel consumption in Japan, but Australian figures are yet to be finalised.
Another move in the new Quon that further integrates the product across Volvo Group is the availability of a telematics program in the UD, which is compatible with the offering from both Volvo and Mack.