New engines don't come around very often for any truck make, and for Japanese trucks, even more so. As a result, the arrival of the GH 11 engine in Australia is particularly important for UD – not only because it is a rare occasion, but also because it is the first time where the integration of technology sourced from elsewhere in the Volvo Group has made a real difference.
The two models Prime Mover tested are the GW 26 420 prime mover and the CW 26 380 heavy-duty rigid, which will be released as the new Quon range. The 420 hp prime mover was pulling a standard semi-trailer curtain sider, running at just under 40 tonnes, and the 380 hp rigid was fitted with a tipper body and loaded to 20 tonnes.
The route of this test drive was part of the UD “Roadshow”, a promotional event organised to demonstrate the new trucks to potential buyers around the country. Prime Mover covered one of the longest legs of the journey around the country, from Albany in Western Australia to Adelaide in South Australia. This journey gave this driver plenty of time to get used to the vehicles, how they handle and perform on the highway, but little experience of pulling up steep grades or dealing with a succession of traffic lights on a busy urban road.
Driving the new Quon was certainly a different experience when compared to the UD trucks of the past. The arrival of the new 11-litre engine, the GH 11, and the new transmission, the Escot V, has taken the Japanese brand into a new era, characterised by the introduction of European-style technology into a Japanese chassis.
But, this is not a straight substitution of a Volvo engine and Volvo gearbox into the UD in order to replace the previous Japanese technology. The basic D11 Volvo engine block and I-shift transmission have been adapted by the Japanese engineers to suit their technology and the kind of duty cycles that trucks can expect in both the domestic Japanese market and important export markets like Australia.
Read the full story in the current edition of Prime Mover – out now.