UD Trucks say the Quon is the best Japanese truck on the market…that’s a big call.
Fortunately, from what I experienced driving the Quon GW 26 460, the UD Trucks product appears to be top shelf.
My test vehicle was the flagship 460hp version fitted with a tipper body and dog trailer – a 40 tonne load of sand was spread between the two.
Sure, the UD has ‘only’ an 11-litre capacity, yet it made fairly easy work of Lapstone Hill at the eastern edge of the Blue Mountains in Western Sydney.
There’s 2200Nm of torque available at just 1,200rpm and the Quon happily chugged up the hill at just a notch or two under 30km/h.
Seventh gear seemed to be the sweet spot too on the climb, in total the UD Trucks Quons standard automated manual (AMT) gives you 12 forward ratios and two reverse gears.
It seemed to react quickly when more go was needed, and along with the four-stage exhaust brake, did a good job of keeping the Quon under the 60km/h truck and bus limit on the trip back down the hill (deliberately not manipulating the box in ‘manual’ mode).
Could the exhaust brake have a bit more stopping power? Yes, of course – this is a Japanese truck after all!
In saying that there is a good function that the Quon gets – brake blending. This sees some compression braking contribute to slowing the truck even if the exhaust brake was in the completely off position.
There’s an Eco mode, to be honest though this is really something you don’t need to worry about – the computing power aboard the UD does a sterling job of keeping you in the most economical mode possible without human interference.
Light and direct steering also features, along with decent steering feel and good take up when keeping the truck between the white lines.
Disc brakes all round make the Quon a reassuring drive too.
Perhaps the best bits of the Quon drive experience though is the ride and the quietness of the cab – it’s a very European feeling truck inside and it goes about its business in a quiet, easy and refined manner.
Yep, you could see that UD Trucks had their eyes on the big fleets when they designed the new Quon.
The truck is packed full of safety features and driver assist features.
There’s a forward facing camera and radar system that gives you Forward Collision Warning (FCW) and Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB), I didn’t use the AEB (thankfully) but the FCW system gave me an audible and visual warning a couple of times.
It seems to be nicely calibrated, though some might say it’s a little too enthusiastic to make its presence felt.
There’s also Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Keep Assist, Stability Control, a reverse camera (the system has capacity for up to four cameras), and an optional driver alert system too.
But the UD Trucks Quon’s real party trick is the very clever way it allows operators to do their daily checks without even having to open the hood.
Oil dipstick, coolant and power steering levels can all be checked easily just by walking around the front and left hand side of the cab.
Under the hood is an easy to access wiper washer bottle and oil fill neck too.
While if you need to tilt the cab there’s an electric motor to do the heavy lifting for you – standard.
The Quon also has long service intervals thanks to new features such as synthetic diff oil and sealed hub bearings.
This truck drives like a European truck and for the most part it also feels it inside the cab.
But, I have to say I’m not completely won over by the massive console/work area. Yes, there’s a handy table and a space to keep your water bottle warm or cool, but accessing the ADR approved bunk is going to be a bit of a climb.
The passenger seat (albeit not a high priority) was also fairly short in the base I felt and misses out on an arm rest on the right-hand side.
You could also be left squinting when driving into the sun with a sizable gap between the driver and passenger sunvisors.
Luckily though there are plenty of positives to report too – starting with the driver’s seating position.
Visibility is excellent, there are no quarter windows, the mirrors are fixed to the doors too – this all seems to work really well to maximize forward 3/4 visibility.
Only the two main mirrors are electric, every other mirror needs to be adjusted by hand.
The full colour driver info display screen is as attractive and functional as you would find in any vehicle available on the market, big or small!
You can easily flick through the menu to get all your important info, including a digital speedometer.
The Quon gauges are modern and easy to read, air brake pressure, fuel and AdBlue levels are presented in bright little LED lights, it all works really well.
There’s three simple climate control knobs (UD Trucks say the Quon sold in Australia gets an up-rated HVAC system to deal with our climate) and heaps of blank space for the fitment of extra switches and controls.
While your touchscreen infotainment system includes handsfree Bluetooth, digital radio, sat-nav and you have a DVD player and CD player too.
The UD Trucks Quon is a truck built primarily to suit the needs of fleets and is a very easy truck to drive and live with.
Some potential operators might be put off by the 11-litre engine feeling it could leave the truck underdone, I’m not sure though that you’d be doing yourself any favors by not giving it a go.
Full marks to UD Trucks for the array of safety, driver assist and convenience features that come standard.
A Japanese truck with a great deal of Euro know-how blended in, the Quon has a lot going for it.