For serious commercial off road operations such as logging or power line management there are a number of 4×4 trucks available on the market. One truck however has for many years stood out as the crème de la crème of extreme off road capable trucks. That is of course Biglorryblogs favourite “Moggie” the Unimog.
When word reached Biglorryblogs Northern outpost that Mercedes were launching the latest incarnations The U 4023 and U 5023 with Euro 6 generation engines Biglorryblog hotfooted it to Berlin to see for himself.
The first thing you notice, is that while the U 4023 and U 5023 have some cosmetic style changes, to bring it more into line with the rest of the Mercedes range. The Unimog retains the classic short nose shape that dates back to 1974. The cab is slightly longer (by 120mm) and gives slightly more headroom.. The interior , while still functional for the mucky off road scenerio’s the truck is designed for, uses many components from the Mercedes heavy truck range to bring the interior space up to date with a modern light feel.
While undoubtedly pretty, the Unimog is not built for its looks, but for its ability to go where no truck should. While its predecessors were extremely good at this, these latest models take the concept even further and are optimised to give the greatest traction and flexibility. The changes are not minor tweaks, but an entire evaluation of how the trucks is designed and built to maximise its off road potential.
The 4 cylinder 230 hp engine has been moved backwards and now sits in the chassis mid point. Giving the vehicle far more stability. This also allows for a direct power take off from the engine to run equipment independently of the vehicle being driven. The frame itself is welded, rather than bolted and acts as a like a torsion bar for the whole vehicle. Allowing torsional flexibility of up to 600mm.
Under chassis to ground clearance when off road is crucial, allowing the vehice to safely pass over obstacles. Conventional 4×4’s are limited by the height of the axle from the ground The Unimog raises this clearance by using a portal axle system that moves the axles up and away from the centre of the wheels.
When the going gets wet , sticky or down right slippery an off road drivers best friend is rubber. The larger the tyre footprint on the ground, the more grip the vehicle can achieve. The Unimog can increase and decrease the air pressure in each tyre. The driver can either choose from some pre-set tyre pressure settings for various conditions, or make the decision and adjust himself. All from the steering wheel. With the display being fully integrated within the dashboard.
All this technology sounds fantastic, but the proof of the pudding is in how it performs in environments where nature never intended trucks to go. Hills, descents, deep mud fiercely rutted woodland tracks, deep water fords (up to nearly a metre) cross axle articulation slippery shifting sand, nothing fazed the Euro 6 Unimog its only limitation was the incompetence of this Biglorryblog editor behind the wheel. Despite this hindrance the Unimogs both met and defeated every challenge with ease. A testament to the thought gone into the design and engineering.
The U 4023 and U 5023 are no weekend off roaders playthings. They are serious tools, built at Mercedes Custom Tailored Truck plant in Worth, to go where no truck should be able too. As such a specialised vehicle each truck built is tailored by Mercedes itself for its future role, wether that be forest fire fighting, search and rescue, power or pipeline maintenance or other roles that will take it far from tarmac roads. From crew cabs to bodies, from hydraulic circuits to fire proofing the CTT plant will fit it all
For Biglorryblog its simple, if your going far off the beaten track, you want to be going in a Euro 6 Unimog, nothing else even comes close
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