As the Japanese arm of the Volvo Group, UD Trucks has long been considered as the value offering in its portfolio by some. However, with the New Quester it is introducing a series of new changes and features to its robust hexagonal grille that aim squarely at the premium market, including UD Telematics and the ESCOT (Easy Safe Controlled Transmission) automated manual transmission.
Intended as an emerging market variant of its Quon juggernaut, the truck offers ESCOT as an option, engines with higher horsepower and user-friendly telematics to deliver greater fuel efficiency, productivity, driver efficiency, safety and uptime.
Those fleets that take the ESCOT should benefit from enhanced fuel efficiency of up to 10% over the current Quester but the improvements don’t end with the AMT. The company has carefully chosen where it can swap steel for aluminium; lowering the tare weight and optimised the driveline.
ESCOT alters gear shifting according to the engine revs, vehicle speed, loading weight and even the road gradient, says UD Trucks. A sensor selects the optimum gear automatically instead of assuming a first gear selection, much like its premium counterparts.
T&FME took the high-roof sleeper (a first for the region in the range) for a stroll around the Bahrain International Circuit at the launch last month and found switching between modes while working the engine brake reassuringly straightforward and easy to do on the fly-by-wire-style stick gear lever.
UD estimates that, depending on the transportation operations, gear switching occurs between 1,000 to 1,500 times a day, and believes that the system will improve drive-ability and comfort.
Talking of comfort, the cab is air suspended and a ride comfort package which reduces cab vibrations by up to 18%. T&FME finds the model far quieter than previous models. Whether that translates into “opening the doors for companies to attract even more prospects to pursue truck driving as a career and diversify the pool of talent for this role”, as UD hopes is unclear. But the improvement remains obvious. Owners of New Quester also enjoy increased uptime, with the clutch life span being 2.5 to 3 times longer when equipped with an ESCOT automated manual transmission.
The New Quester rolls out UD’s own take on connected vehicles and smart logistics (called, erm, Smart Logistics). The company says that the new truck can support effective fleet management and driver performance through its propriety UD Telematics solution. This offers real-time tracking and geofencing for better optimisation.