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Feature Article

Universal power tool

Robustness, reliability, and versatility have led Unimog to be described as the ‘universal power tool’ in the Mercedes-Benz range. This highly adaptable truck is available in a wide range of model variants with a broad scope of applications across numerous industries, including agriculture, forestry, construction, lines maintenance and other specialist services.

As the only authorised Mercedes-Benz dealer for the North Island, Keith Andrews is your go-to for more information on this unique range.

“Unimog isn’t widely known in the New Zealand market, but it is very well-suited to our rugged conditions and can be configured for a variety of tasks in key industries, such as agriculture and forestry, as well as infrastructure maintenance and other specialist services,” says James Hudson-Owen, head of sales for Mercedes-Benz at Keith Andrews. “There are many options to choose from, so I would encourage people to give us a call to discuss how this truck could work for them.”

Making light work of hard jobs

Unimog is a particularly useful piece of kit if you’re working in hard-to-reach places. Permanent all-wheel drive and differential locks on both axles provide optimum traction across the U216-U530 range. Portal axles enable good ground clearance, while TireControl plus allows automatic adjustment of tyre pressure to suit varying terrain.

The U216-U530 range is built around an extremely compact chassis with standardised internal and external interfaces for various attachments, powerful front (160kW) and rear (220kW) PTO shafts, a front mounting plate, and winch support. Load-sensing and VarioPower® power hydraulics and a removable multifunction joystick provide greater operational control.

Characterised by smooth running, a long service life and great efficiency, the fully synchronised electro-pneumatic transmission features eight forward and six reverse gears for excellent tractive power. Two drive programs enable full automatic or automated-manual operation.

Euro 6 four-cylinder and six-cylinder engine options are available, delivering up to 177hp (130kW) and 272hp (220kW) respectively, with impressive torque up to 1200Nm.

The U423 to U530 models offer optional rear-axle auxiliary steering, which reduces the turning circle by 20%. Four types of steering are available on these variants: normal, all-wheel, manual and offset track steering (or ‘crab steering’), which can help counteract downhill force – only the rear wheels steer when reversing in this mode.

Off-road and beyond

When all-wheel drive vehicles reach their limits, it’s time to turn to the U4000-U5000 / U4023-U5023 ranges. With an array of attachment and mounting possibilities, these Unimog trucks are as highly adaptable as they are capable off-road.

At the core of this range’s all-terrain capabilities is a cranked frame construction with welded-in tubular cross members, which lowers the centre of gravity and, in conjunction with portal axles, maximises ground clearance. A special torque tube design facilitates extreme spring travel and diagonal axle articulations up to 30°, with the propeller shaft of the torque tube enclosed to protect it from dirt and damage.

As the frame is completely welded, it has great torsional resistance (up to 600mm diagonally).

The low centre of gravity and extreme torsional flexibility provide additional safety on steep uphill and tilting angles, while stabiliser bars at the front and rear provide exceptional cornering stability and driving safety. Furthermore, asymmetrical arrangement of the axle differentials makes it easier to override obstacles.

A compressed-air, dual-circuit disc braking system brings Unimog to a safe stop, even on long hills and with heavy loads.

The U4000-U5000 series features a Euro 5 engine, delivering up to 177hp (130kW) with peak torque of 810Nm. The U4023-U5023 series is available with a Euro 6 engine, with up to 230hp (170kW) and peak torque of 900Nm.