With the introduction of the UD Trucks 8×4 Quon, it was possible for the first opportunity to see UD offer a viable agitator to the market, which has now arrived. PowerTorque took the opportunity to take on out for a spin around Brisbane.
The development of a truck to suit the concrete suppliers of Australia is a complex and time consuming task for truck manufacturers. Often this time and effort is only made worthwhile if one of the big players, the Borals, Hansons etc of this world like the product and can order in relatively large numbers.
However, this is a lucrative part of the truck market and the end of the old Acco from Iveco meant everyone with an 8×4 has been circling to try and pick up market share. Isuzu jumped into the market with the FY model some years ago, the initial burst in sales of the model has slowed, but the lessons have been learned in a tough market and Isuzu are back on the front foot.
Now it’s the turn of UD to have a crack at the target. 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 UD Quon, at 8×4 and fitted with an agitator bowl, is the Volvo Group’s offering to those who are looking at cabovers. The UD tends to be considerably lighter than the Volvo Trucks option at this size and is the obvious choice to dip a toe in the water.
The prime considerations when speccing an agitator are tare weight, durability and, of course, price. Another aspect to consider is the ability to keep the chassis height low to reduce the static rollover threshold of the unit when a fully loaded agitator bowl is mounted. The truck must also be highly manoeuvrable with positive and tight steering essential to get the trucks in and out of difficult sites.
The Quon 8×4
Walking up to the Quon 8×4, it certainly looks the part, as, finally, UD offer a viable agitator to the market, the proportions are right and the truck seems relatively low to the ground. Of course, lengthwise it has to meet the exacting requirements of the concrete companies and have the chassis space to fit all of the required equipment.
This Quon 8×4 does look like it will qualify to compete in the agitator race. There are also some factors which will give it a little bit of an edge. One of these is the punchy eight litre engine, the GH8F, which comes out of the Volvo Group catalogue, but is built in Japan. When driving the truck, it is hard to believe this is ‘just’ an eight litre.
The engine puts out 357hp (263kW) at 2200rpm and, more importantly has 1428Nm (1055 ft lb) of torque on tap from 1200rpm and across the flat-topped torque curve to 1600rpm. On this test the response from the engine was excellent with the fully loaded agitator accelerating away from intersections with ease from a little gentle pressure with the right foot.
One of the elements which makes this driving experience is the Allison 3200 Series automatic transmission, which has to be standard equipment on just about every agitator in Australia. The multiplication of torque does make life easier for the driver and the electronic control system on the modern auto seems intuitive as it reacts to the data from the truck’s CANbus.
This is a first for UD in a Quon truck. In the past, Quon has come with an ESCOT VI AMT (UD’s version of the I-Shift), but if you want to get into the agitator market, you have to offer the Allison. Unfortunately, including the Allison does mean that adaptive cruise control is not available. This is hardly going to be an issue for operations which spend most of the time on urban roads in the middle of the day. The truck does still have a standard cruise control and the automatic emergency braking which is becoming more and more prevalent in modern trucks.
Pulling on the engine brake gives the driver two levels of retardation. The first engine brake with two positions tells the Allison gearbox to start down-shifting and speed is washed off quickly, even at high GVM.