UD’s new Croner could be considered something of a crossover between medium- and heavy-duty.
It comes in two distinct variants: A medium-duty PK 18 280 4×2 with a Gross Vehicle Mass (GVM) of 17.5 tonnes; and the PD 25 280 6×2 with a GVM of 24.5 tonnes, the latter slotting into the light end of the heavy-duty market.
Both iterations have a Gross Combination Mass (GCM) of 32 tonnes.
These Croners represent the latest phase of a marked step change in the UD lineup.
It started with the larger Quon, overall displaying the fruits of a big investment by parent company Volvo Group to make these trucks as technologically advanced and bullet-proof as possible.
As such the new Croner receives a number of key features that stem directly from the Volvo technology stable, not least the willing GH8E six-cylinder engine with a capacity of 7.7 litres, bore and stroke measurements of 110mm x 135mm and a compression ratio of 17.5:1. This is, in fact, the same powerplant that’s used in the 8.0 litre Quon range.
Much like the rest of the truck, this engine has a ‘big truck’ feel about it and delivers 206kW (280hp) at 2,200 rpm and 1,050 Nm (774lbft) of peak torque from a super low 1,100 rpm. Importantly, maximum torque remains rock steady from 1,100 to 1,800rpm.
Japanese OEMs have not been dubious about developing a heavy duty offering on a medium duty platform and UD has, in more recent years, made it clear they are comfortable with a shift of focus to what it describes as the bottom end of the heavy duty segment.
The Croner’s power profile straddles these two categories boosted by a high pressure common-rail fuel injection engine. It achieves Euro 5 emissions standards using Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR).
Fuel and Adblue tank capacities are 255 and 50 litres respectively. Coupled to the engine is a six-speed Allison 3000 Series torque converter automatic featuring push-button gear selection and Gen 5 Adaptive Shift Control.
The decision to eschew Volvo Group’s Common Architecture and Shared Technology (CAST) has helped to reduce tare weight which will enhance its appeal in emerging markets like those in the Middle East, Africa and Southeast Asia, which were identified early on when the development of the Croner as a replacement program for the long-serving Condor medium-duty range commenced in 2013.
The Croner has twin overdrive ratios of 0.75 and 0.65 respectively and a first gear ratio of 3.49.
Along with a torque converter stall ratio of 1.98:1, the transmission features two power take-off (PTO) provisions on the left and right side with maximum torque capacities of 660Nm when using one or 930Nm in total when both are used in tandem.
It’s perhaps this combination of factors that have brought it to the attention in recent months of Australia Post, which has reportedly purchased 40 new Croners across its general post and B2B StarTrack divisions.
At the back end of the vehicle is a choice of either multi-leaf spring or electronically controlled two-bag air suspension (PK) and four-bag (PD) with a programmable remote control (ECAS4) mounted in the cab to control raise and lower functions.
The drive axle has a ratio of 5.57:1 and a ground capacity of 11 tonnes on the PK and 18 tonnes (with the addition of the lazy axle) on the PD, while the front axle, supported by parabolic leaf springs, has a ground capacity of 6.5 tonnes.
Somewhat surprisingly, unlike its disc brake equipped Quon sibling, the Croner defers to the time-honoured Japanese medium-duty tradition of drum brakes which are full-air with automatic adjusting S-cams along with anti-lock (ABS) and electronic brakeforce distribution (EBD).
Continuing the big truck theme, wheels are full-size 22.5” 10-stud items with a 335mm pitch circle diameter (PCD) – which is the standard size used with heavy-duty European trucks – shod with Bridgestone 295/80 R22.5 and 11R 22.5 rubber on front and rear wheels respectively.
The chassis width is 850mm, with rails measuring 236mm x 70mm x 8.0mm constructed from rolled high-tensile steel — combining maximum strength with light tare weight.
Meeting ECE-R29 crash protection standards, the cab is spring suspended with double-acting shock absorbers and the driver’s seat is air-suspended with adjustable shock absorber, recliner, height control and left armrest.
Safety features include a driver’s airbag and seatbelt pretensioner.
The 6.1” touchscreen CD/DVD player includes truck specific satellite navigation, digital radio, Internet radio (requires phone data), USB port, auxiliary port, micro SD slot, phone tethering, Bluetooth, PDF reader, and is Wi-Fi enabled.
Croner also features a comprehensive telematics system with in-cab GSM and GPS unit with SIM card connected to a roof antenna.
A 12-month subscription is included which enables monitoring of fuel consumption and environment positioning, total operational time and distance, average speed, total CO2 emissions, vehicle utilisation, driver anticipation and braking behaviour, engine and gear utilisation, speed adaptation and idle time.
Factory fitted optional equipment includes low-profile 275/70 R22.5 tyres, Alcoa aluminium wheels, a 6.17:1 rear axle ratio, vertical exhaust stack and custom paint colours.
Dealer fitted options include up to four additional cameras connected to the multimedia unit (in addition to the standard reverse beeper and digital infrared reversing camera with microphone), Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS), reverse sensors (high or low fitment) and a wireless phone charging pocket in the dash centre.
In sum, the Croner PK 18 280 and PD 25 280 exhibit the traditional UD hallmarks of tough, reliable, no-nonsense trucks. Going by the specifications, both possess the ability to perform a variety of roles with the generous GCM rating of 32 tonnes meaning the PK would be capable of towing a pig trailer with an Aggregate Trailer Mass (ATM) of 14.5 tonnes while loaded to its maximum GVM of 17.5 tonnes.
Above all, the substantial nature of the engine, driveline and running gear bodes well for a long and productive service life with manageable whole of life costs, regardless of the application.