Industry News

UD Quon pulling power put to the test in trying conditions

When I mentioned on social media that I’d been behind the wheel of a UD Quon, the responses were overwhelmingly in the positive. 

‘Reliable, comfortable, awesome, great around town’ were a few of the comments proffered.

‘Not very good pulling power’ was another. What model this writer was referring to was not stated but I’m guessing it wasn’t the CW 26 460 in tipper guise, that I recently drove. To be fair, they also said the Quon was a ‘great truck’, qualified by the ‘around town’ bit.

I’m in Brisbane, and wake up on the morning of the drive to a torrent of rain. No wonder Queensland Tourism dropped the ‘Beautiful one day…’ promo line. 

Volvo Group’s Matt Wood picks me up and we set off for Toowoomba where the drive is to take place. Hopefully the weather will pick up as we head inland….nope!

The idea is to drive the Quon from that town, down the Toowoomba range and back up again, which will certainly test the ‘pulling power’ comment. 

Arriving at Western Truck Group, the UD (and Volvo and Mack) dealer and the weather has not improved. On the ‘bright’ side, it will be an opportunity to test a truck under the most trying of conditions.

The new Enhanced Quon – as the company refers to the latest iteration is sitting in the forecourt, resplendent in green livery and lots of raindrops. Mmm, photography will be a challenge on this trip.

‘Enhanced’ in UD speak, refers to the numerous safety upgrades the company has incorporated into the Quon range. Without spending the next 1000 words detailing them all (you can do that on-line), it is worth highlighting a few of them.

Driver Monitor uses an A pillar mounted camera to determine the driver’s alertness. Active above 15km/h it warns me if take my eyes off the road or close them for too long. Smart Blind Spot Information System and Smart Lane Change System gives drivers greater road visibility which enables safer turns and lane changes – more on those shortly. 

There’s also Traction Aid to improve road grip in slippery conditions (going to need that for sure). There’s Autonomous Emergency Braking and Emergency Brake Signal – where the brake lights rapidly flash to warn those vehicles behind that is what I’m doing. Traffic Sign Detection is a good one as I always seem to miss those changes in speed limits. 

Then there’s stability control, lane departure warning, active radar assist and more. Only 131 words and you get my drift.

A dash through the rain, climb into the cabin and I’m greeted by a very classy interior. This particular model is top of the tree and has swathes of it lathered across the dashboard and other areas. 

Well, it’s not actually real timber – probably plastic in fact – but it looks fantastic! Reminds me of the days long ago when I had money and Jaguars. This is an option and I’d tick that box immediately because if I’m going to spend all day, every day in an ‘office’ such as this, I want it to look good and inviting. Big tick here Quon!

The instrument panel is clear and legible. There’s plenty of information on there but, unlike some others, doesn’t crowd the senses. 

If you need to check something it is easy to find. Taking centre stage is an Australian designed multimedia screen sitting loud and proud. 

Easy to reach, it also folds down to reveal a CD/DVD player so you can watch your fave movie in your downtime.

Switches are all within easy reach but should you want to move them around, the wiring architecture allows you to do so. The switch will tell the truck’s brain that it has moved. Clever stuff. 

Rounding out the cabin is a very comfortable driver’s seat with a fold down, well-padded armrest, a middle seat which folds down to reveal a workspace, a small fridge/pie warmer compartment and an ADR sleeper, which is very small but well-padded and could be used for a nap if necessary.

A big tick for Quon on the “classy interior”. Image: Graham Harsant

Being the 460 model, this truck has the Escot-VI 12speed AMT gearbox with a toggle switch on the side of the stick to move up or down cogs when in manual mode. I’m soon to find out that it is simple to use and changes gears smoothly and quickly, whether in auto or manual.

Underneath me is Quon’s 11-litre engine with 460hp and 2200Nm. The largest displacement engine in the range, it has benefited from updates to the pistons and liners to decrease engine drag. 

Result: better fuel efficiency and a slight increase to torque across a broader band.

Loaded with 12.5 tonnes of aggregate it’s time to set off and the first thing I discover is the 3-stage intermittent wipers on what is a filthy day. 

They will be used a lot on this trip. 

I feel closer to the windscreen than in some other cab overs. Now that may be just an optical illusion or my memory doesn’t serve me well but the bottom line is that the visibility forward and down in front of the truck is excellent. 

Mirrors are well-placed and there is no craning of the neck to see around them.

A couple of minutes later a pleasant chime sounds. It appears I’m not looking at the road ahead. I am in fact on this occasion checking the mirror. 

Throughout the drive the Driver Monitor berates me regularly, so I’m glad that the chime is not intrusive in its sound.

Flick on the indicator and the Smart Lane Change System gives you a view down the relevant side of the truck on the multimedia screen.

It’s a good view too, the only drawback being that it’s quite a twist of the head from the side mirror to the live feed on the screen. 

The answer of course is to use your indicators for longer than the two or three clicks that many road users do. Then you get to check both mirror and monitor and others have time to get out of your way.

The blind spot info system are triangles set in both A pillars. They light up whenever they detect pedestrians, cyclists and other traffic in front, down the side and up to 30 metres behind the truck. 

I’ve seen similar systems before, but not on both sides – particularly handy for environments tippers often find themselves in.

On this February summer’s day the continuous rain is joined by thick fog – just what you need for a trip down the infamous Cunningham’s Gap on the old Toowoomba Range road. And here I learn that the Quon has adopted a bit of ‘old tech’ in the camera that works in conjunction with the (hi-tech) radar unit located in the bumper. 

These work in unison to stop you crashing into something in front of you. The camera is low-res so that its information can be transmitted to the truck’s ‘brain’ more quickly. 

You learn something new every day, and I’m glad I have it as it can ‘see’ the traffic ahead that I can’t in this pea-souper.

We hit the Gap where it’s time to go manual and employ the four-stage retarder stalk placed on the left of the steering column. 

Quon has plenty in reserve

You push it forward to increase the retardation, and there were plenty of times where it was on 4. For those who’ve not ‘enjoyed’ this stretch of road, it has an overall gradient of around 10 per cent with lots of hairpin corners. 

However, the Quon did its thing admirably and rarely did I need to dab the brakes on the way down.

At the bottom we turn around and, for a change of scenery (which was again mostly obscured by fog and rain), we headed up the Toowoomba bypass. 

While not quite as steep, this road is longer and still contains a couple of challenging stretches.

Here is where I refer to the ‘not enough pulling power’ comment I’d received on social media. 

This Quon has plenty in reserve, hauling its ballast up the incline with ease. I can only presume the comment came from a driver of an older model, or one with a smaller power plant. Whatever, I’d have no problem living in this truck all day long.

Back to the top and we finally get a break in the clouds, giving just enough time to grab some happy snaps before the weather sets in again and we return the Quon to Western Truck Group.

Overriding impressions? The Enhanced Quon is a good piece of kit with all the safety features you want to keep you out of trouble. 

The cab is inviting, nicely laid out, well insulated from the outside world, and my bum-o-meter tells me that the driver’s seat is great.

Sometimes a little short-based tipper like this can have a tendency to wallow a bit when loaded but this truck feels very planted, no doubt helped by the Volvo Group 8 bag suspension. 

The Quon CW 26 460 just boogies along and does its job with style and really, what more could you ask for?


The post UD Quon pulling power put to the test in trying conditions appeared first on Big Rigs.

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