The introduction of the UD Croner means it is all change for UD medium duty trucks as the integration of Volvo group technology across all of its brands and ranges becomes even more apparent.
The concept behind the UD Croner is something which should reap rewards for the Japanese truck maker as it competes in a very competitive market place with some tough opposition. By introducing state-of-the-art technology into what has always been regarded as a resilient truck brand, this puts the UD Trucks brand on a par with its Japanese rivals in this sector.
While the UD brand is highly regarded, it has lacked the breadth of models to offer a complete alternative to the likes of Isuzu, Hino and Fuso in the lighter end of the range. The Condor model of the last ten years has served UD well, but it has not been breaking many records.
For the UD brand it has always been the heavy duty truck market in which it has been able to compete well with the other Japanese brands and it has been especially strong in the prime mover market, where it has been well received as an economical but tough performer.
The Croner sees the UD brand try and replicate the performance of the Quon in the lighter end of the truck market. It uses a similar formula to that the company has employed in the heavier trucks, namely, combining pragmatic basic Japanese truck engineering with the high tech Volvo Group technology which has been integrated across its other two brands, Mack and Volvo, around the world.
The outcome should be a solid performer, with the resilience to cope with rough conditions here in Australia, while at the same time bringing the European design smarts and computing power to the party to create something which will also prove to be a productive working vehicle.
Although this release represents all change for UD medium duty, the range is pretty simple, comprising two models, the PD and the PK. The PK is the 4×2 rigid, while the PD is its 6×2 configuration, bigger brother. PK comes in eight leaf sprung and seven two-bag air suspended chassis variants, making 15 in all. PD comes in three wheelbase lengths, with a leaf suspension or four-bag air suspension on offer. Along with the air suspensions comes a European-style ride control in the cabin.
Power for the new model comes from the GH8E 7.7 litre engine, which is also available in the Quon chassis at higher masses. It is the Japanese iteration of the eight litre engine used across the Volvo Group.
This puts out 280hp (206kW) at 2,200rpm and has 1,050Nm (774 ft lb) of torque on tap at 1,100rpm. The flat-topped torque curve sees the maximum torque level available all of the way from 1,100 to 1,800rpm. When the opportunity comes to drive the new models comes along it will be this excellent torque performance which is most likely to impress, as it already does in the Quon using the same engine.
The cabin on the new Croner is compliant with the ECE29 strength regulations, and daytime running lights are now fitted to the Croner as standard.
Covid-19 has meant it was not possible to get any real hands-on experience with the new models. Instead a scratchy Facebook live walk around has had to suffice until times are a little more open. For now, the trucks looks like it will fill the medium and lighter heavy duty sections of the market for UD.