In the UD Trucks range, an innovation which has been a long time coming, is an integrated seat belt. This type of thing has long been standard on models from other manufacturers, especially the Europeans. Historically, UD has been tardy in bringing in good quality air suspended seats with integrated seat belts, but on the new 8×4, and now on all Quon trucks, they have made it in the end.
Now it’s the turn of UD to have a crack at the development of a truck to suit the concrete suppliers of Australia, which can be a complex and time consuming task for truck manufacturers.. The Volvo Group as a whole have plenty of experience in this sector with the Mack Metroliner being one of the best performers in this space. The concrete companies have different preferences, some prefer bonneted trucks, others cabovers and some are agnostic.
The 8×4 Quon is fitted with a serious entertainment unit. The basic unit fits into a double DIN space, but the screen is bigger and has to extend above the dashboard to fit . The eight inch screen is more than enough to be seen easily by the driver. The system provides just about everything most drivers would ever need and more. It even has a throwback CD slot for those drivers still in the nineties.
The safety systems do come up with warning buzzers as the truck is driving along and alongside this the reason for the warning will be flashing up on the screen. There are two schools of thought on this kind of safety equipment. One is the more traditional truck driver reaction, trying to work out how to turn the audio warnings off, letting the driver drive how they want. The other is to take heed of the warnings and amend driving behaviour to the point where the warnings don’t continually flash up. The second being the preferred option for the owner of the truck and an excellent training method.
Another aspect of concrete agitator design which is always important is stability. The bowl and ancillary equipment sit quite high, leading to a high centre of gravity for the truck. This problem is mitigated in this model by using low profile tyres to reduce overall height and the combination of a load sharing long parabolic springs front suspension and solid and reliable eight bag rear air suspension, which is used across the Volvo Group.
Driving the Quon around the streets of Brisbane and through a number of different types of road conditions demonstrated the good overall stability of the design. Sometimes, tight turns or difficult road cambers can give the driver a hint of instability, that certainly wasn’t the case in this truck.
The turning circle is also quite impressive, a vital part of getting agitators in and out of difficult delivery situations. This tells us this design will also perform well in other delivery and collection situations, like the waste industry, where applications like front loaders and hook lifts also need to be stable and highly manoeuvrable.
Visibility in the truck is improved in this model with the inclusion of transom windows low down in the passenger door and rear quarter light windows behind the seat on both sides of the truck. Both of these prove useful in traffic and reversing in tight situations.
UD, with the Quon, has improved its position as a Japanese made truck in the heavy duty sector. It has developed a model with all of the qualities we expect from the Japanese, but with many of the sophisticated offerings we get from trucks from the European market included.
The overall effect is of a modern safe and capable truck. Yes, it has all of the bells and whistles required in a modern fleet truck, but it also has that UD solidity and tough feel we are used to from a Japanese truck maker. The inclusion of some creature comforts is also something which makes life a little easier, things like air suspended seats with an integrated seat belt should be a minimum requirement in any new truck and UD have, finally, got the message.