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Driving iMpression

Climbing into the cab of the

are both built suitably strong

Quester, what is immediately

for the Quester’s job profile,

apparent is the simplicity and

the engine is just as ruggedly

solidity of the cockpit layout.

built, with the truck not

In line with the positioning of

requiring frequent shifting.

the Quester, there is nothing

It seems as if the high torque

over the top or unnecessary.

will pull it out of steep climbs

No frills or luxuries.

with heavy payloads.

This is not to say that

Handling and steering

the quality is not top notch

are nimble for this size of

or that anything has been

machine. While there is

overlooked. The fit and

body roll, it’s surprisingly

finish of the dashboard is

less than trucks from some

suitably robust, as if it can

more illustrious competitors

take way more knocks than

we’ve driven lately.

the typical life on the region’s job-sites can throw at it. Upon starting the

Overall, the impression is of a robust and stronglybuilt machine, with precise

engine, the vibrations are

and immediate handling and

surprisingly minimal for a

positive steering feedback.

truck in this bracket and

The controls are well laid

for the sort of application it

out and easy to reach and

has been designed for. The

engage, while the large

manual transmission has

gauges are clearly legible.

12 forward ratios, of which

If there is one gripe – and

six can be found at a time

we’re nit-picking here – it is

on the stick shift, with a

that the 12 ratios of the ‘box

mode switch changing the

are not available in a seamless

availability to the other six.

manner. It may be distracting

Engaging the first gear and

while negotiating a job-site

releasing the clutch, there

to find and engage the ratio

is no jerk or shudder with

flip switch when the engine

a tipping dumper body on

demands an urgent shift

the test mule. As the truck

from eighth down to five or

moves forward, it is easy to

four, which taps the meatiest

discern a torquey engine

section of the torque curve.

that demands upshifting. The sandy desert test track

The test drive’s lasting impression, however, is the air

with a few mini dues seems

conditioning, which cooled

to be child’s play from there

the cab down in minutes

onwards. The truck just

and kept the temperature

demands to be driven roughly.

low. Looks like all the local

If the chassis and suspension

testing has had its benefit.

Taken as a whole package, UD looks like it is successfully bringing premium truck technology and services down into the more rustic climate of the value end of the market. Despite helping to create the Japanese truck industry and bringing what was then state-of-the-art technology like the vertically opposed piston engine (the name UD comes from the company’s Uniflow Diesel engine) and later pioneering the SCR model in the 1980s, the company lost its ground to competitors in the global market. Investment from Volvo Trucks since it took 100% of shares in 2007 has seen the company take on the sales of the Swedish companies own trucks in Japan and crucially helped boost its manufacturing and development abilities. And then there is “Gemba”, UD Trucks’ own philosophy of excellence, which it incorporates into every step it takes to produce its trucks (see box). UD Trucks’ expanded range now offers products across a wide range of medium and heavy-duty segments. In 2016 the heavy-duty Quester truck was launched in the region, followed in May 2017 by the medium-duty Croner truck. The introduction of these robust new products, as well as the addition last month of the new heavy-duty

range for heavy construction – the Quester 40t /24’ tyres with hub reduction and the 8X4 Rigid - now makes its regional offering complete, the company says. The all-new Quester range has proven a particularly strong seller in the Middle East, because it was specifically built with the region’s customers in mind. With the Quester, UD Trucks wanted to develop a multi-purpose truck that met the wide variety of needs specific to the region, including off and on-road use, construction, distribution and long-haul. The launch of the Quester range in the region was a major step forward for the company, the Quester’s success relies on the fact that it was developed focusing on essential key areas. It excels on the functional key needs of a typical truck user in Middle East. It is a truck that combines the best of the two offers: the European touch and Japanese quality. According to UD Trucks the Quester range also focuses on the features that make businesses grow. These include fuel economy, payload, robustness and a wide range of applications and variants with high maintainability to extend the uptime of the truck and provide a higher RoI for customers. Fuel economy is delivered by leveraging

Profile for Construction Machinery ME

Construction Machinery ME June 2018  

Construction Machinery ME June 2018