Quon comfortable to sit in for days

Quon comfortable to sit in for days

David Meredith The West Australian Sunday, 26 August 2018 3:43PM

 

How do you make a UD which is less UD than previous UDs, but a better UD because of it?

By plugging in to one of the world’s strongest truck technology bases and adapting components to specific applications and markets.

As the smallest Japanese brand, UD faced the emissions technology escalation knowing it needed external help.

Becoming part of the global Volvo Group in 2007 delivered the solution.

But now the integration has stepped up to the next level in the new Quon.

The Volvo Group manages its product line very carefully to minimise inter-brand “treading on toes”.

The Quon is aimed at a different market from the Volvo FM and has a cap on its specs.

It’s limited to an 11-litre engine, though you can ramp the power up to a healthy 460hp, with a willing 2200Nm of torque. Recognising the truck’s popularity in the vocational market, and its potential in construction, the Quon now has rear axle cross locks available, an occasional deal-breaker previously for anyone bidding for a contract on loose ground.

With that in mind, I managed to get a local drive in a Quon with a single trailer about 42 tonnes recently. The truck was the 6×4 26-460 prime mover, and apart from the cross locks, was basic spec. It weighed in at 7643kg, exactly the same as the 420hp version.

My driving buddy was Patrick Ryan, a sales support manager for UD and driver trainer to boot. He kept up the UD verbal data flow throughout the drive, and is clearly as much a product enthusiast as he is an employee.

A key part of his spiel was the local involvement in developing the specs of the truck for Australia. This level of customisation by Japanese factories is unusual, and must be linked to the significant experience of the Australian Volvo Group team in successfully customising the Volvo and Mack products.

The engine is designed in Sweden, made up of Swedish and French components, then assembled in Japan at a dedicated engine plant at UD’s Agia factory. The calibrations of the fuel system and timing etc are set by UD for expected Australian applications, with input from local UD engineers

The ESCOT-VI transmission is indeed a Volvo I-shift base, but again is calibrated for our local use and the configuration of the truck. It even has UD nameplates on the casing.

As a result of data from Aussie users, the UD engineers in Japan have also specced the Quon with the highest capacity air-conditioning available for the UD range.

Further local adaptation included repositioning the door mirrors for stability and effectiveness when manoeuvring with long loads.

Both the cab doors have been reinforced to allow the large mirror sets to be mounted there instead of on the A-pillar.

Although some users have expressed interest in the transom window that’s standard in Japan, the door reinforcement means that can’t be fitted to Australian Quons.

Good design has seen good thought being applied to daily service needs.

The essentials can all be checked without tilting the cab.

Even the oil filler cap is behind the grille, as are the connections for servicing the air-conditioning coolant, and power steering and windscreen washer fluid reservoirs.

But you can actually check the engine oil without even raising the grille. That makes for convenient — and rapid — pre-drive checks before starting the working day, even if your UD wears a bull bar.

No more excuses.

Looking closely at the truck’s underwear, I noticed the lack of clumps of wiring loom. Mr Ryan told me the loom has been replaced by the latest Tier 2+ ISO 2284-compliant protocol that substitutes long leads of copper wire for a network of digital ECUs adjoining each component. They’re still linked by copper for power but there’s a heap less because the ECUs make the decisions.

The result is a weight saving of 150kg — all over the front axle, and it runs at 500mb/sec, so it can sense, read and react twice as fast as the previous J1939/1587 protocol.

The cab on the UD is unquestionably the best driver layout on the market.

There’s a large-diameter steering wheel that will be a boon to construction jockeys.

The switchgear is mounted in clip out cells so you can customise switch placement to suit your preferences. Even each switch can be swapped — the system recognises what that switch does and obeys instructions accordingly.

Back to the rear axle cross locks — it’s the first time this feature has been available on any UD.

The new Quon is also the first in the range with disc brakes standard all-round, along with a full electronic safety package, courtesy of Volvo Group’s nearly bottomless technology parts bin.

Two rear axle ratios are available — this truck had the taller 4.13:1 installed. The 4.5:1 option would be better suited to pure metro work.

With all that spinning around in my mind, we headed off east towards Armadale from Truck Centre’s Spearwood facility, then on to Albany Highway for the climb up the Bedfordale hill. Despite the 42 tonnes, the UD held its speed on the steep bits and accelerated as the grade eased. The ESCOT transmission and the engine management module speak the same language — Swedish — so both components worked together to deliver smooth power and torque throughout the rpm range. We turned right at the Jarrahdale turn-off and took Nettleton Road to the back end of Byford before heading back to the dealership.

Overall, you cannot escape the conclusion the Quon is a super comfortable truck to spend days in. Vision, access to controls, cab access, quietness and the underlying safety systems that burble along silently in the background — as long as you’re paying attention — all add up to Quon’s compelling argument for value in ownership and profitability in operation.

Looking ahead, UD has committed itself to fully electric, autonomous trucks by 2030. It has announced demonstrations, including customer trials, of electric and autonomous drive prototypes in the run-up to the Tokyo Motor Show in 2019, ahead of daily real-world working trucks on the market in 2020.

Meanwhile the Quon will remain a willing worker in any fleet, and will likely gather brand ambassadors with each new driver who takes the seat.

UD Quon

Models GK; GW; CW; CD

Configurations 4×2; 6×2; 6×4; Prime Mover, Tipper, Short, Medium and Long Wheelbase

Engine 11-litre GH-11TD six-cylinder turbo-diesel

Outputs From 390hp and 1750Nm, to 460hp and 2,200Nm

Transmission Escot-VI 12-speed AMT

GVM 25,000-26,000kg

GCM 45,000-60,000kg

Original article here: https://thewest.com.au/lifestyle/motoring/quon-comfortable-to-sit-in-for-days-ng-b88933818z