The Mercedes Benz Unimog is around for some time now, as it tackles the harshest working conditions since the Second World War. The Unimog is an iconic off roader which has built itself a very strong reputation being one of the most appreciated vehicles in its class.
The Unimog is the smaller brother of the Zetros and is offered in a wide range of versions with different engines and wheelbases. There are two Unimog families available the Unimog 300 - 500 and the Unimog 3000- 5000.
The Unimog 300, 400 and 500 range covers permissible gross vehicle weights from 7.5 t to 16 t, each model coming with a choice of two wheelbase lengths and two engine outputs.
The Unimog 300-500 are offered with a choice of four- and six-cylinder in-line engines from the OM 904 LA and OM 906 LA series.
The Mercedes Benz Unimog 300- 500 models feature a robust design which copes great with their utilitarian character. Everything at this truck is part of the heavy duty league and its build quality is nothing short of excellent.
To cope with a wide range of harsh applications, the Unimog 300-500 models feature portal axles, permanent all-wheel drive, differential locks, extreme axle articulation and reduction gears for off-road being able to conquer any terrains without too much fuss.
The truck sits on massive off road wheels which are a solid proof of its strong abilities. The cabin is pretty tall and features a basic design that sacrifices form for functionality. At the front we find a symbolic Mercedes grille with the company’s logo mounted in its center. The grille is flanked by two thin turn indicators while the main headlights are mounted lower.
The practical exterior design of the Unimog offers three attachment areas. Firstly the front attachment area features a useful front mounting plate that can be used for verge cutters, snowploughs, snow cutters, winches and front-mounted sweepers. Secondly there is the inter-axle attachment area for road sweepers or graders, while the third attachment area can be found at the rear and is usually used for smaller rear-mounted cranes or sewer cleaners.
It’s clear that this vehicle wasn’t built for comfort, so don’t expect to a comfortable cabin. Though, some common sense features can be found inside and the Unimog’s cab can be considered a satisfactory working place.
Every element found inside puts practicality on the first place and you’ll find the Unimog’s dash pretty ergonomically designed. Needless to say that all the plastics seem ready to last a lifetime without breaking and the build quality is pretty close to a tank. In fact the Unimogs are frequently used in military operations, and there is no wonder why, given the “bullet proof” build quality of the truck.
Despite its spartan nature, the cabin is fitted with a very capable air-conditioning, heating and ventilating system which makes sure that the temperature is always kept in check. There is also available an optional Radio and CD-Player combination with Bluetooth and hands-free kit.
Moreover, the cab is made of non-corroding, noise- and heat-insulating high-tech fibre composite material. Apart from this, most of the vehicle functions are electrically controlled, so vibrations in the cab are reduced to a minimum.
The seats are surprisingly comfortable and you also have plenty of head room, but the legroom is a bit limited. There is also an optional air suspended driver seat which offers increased level of comfort and a more relaxing ride.
You won’t complain about the instrument panel either, as it’s fitted with a backlit instrument panel and two LCD multifunction displays which are easy to read in any condition.
The central console is a bit cluttered, but it has all the controls needed for keeping the various vehicle functions in check. Fortunately, every control is within easy reach and the layout is easy to understand.
The Unimog 300-500 range is available with a choice of four- and six-cylinder in-line engines from the OM 904 LA and OM 906 LA series which develop between 150 hp - 286 hp.
All engines use clean BlueTec SCR technology which helps them fulfill the Euro 5 emission standards and use up to 40 % less fuel. The SCR technology lowers the nitrogen oxide and particle emissions and optimizes fuel consumption, without any loss of engine power. There is also offered and extra catalytic converter which reduces the emissions using the additive AdBlue.
The engines features direct injection and three-valve technology, turbocharger and intercooler to offer a steep torque curve and maximum performances in any kind of working conditions.
Needless to say that you’re also rewarded with a tremendous grip, as the standard permanent mechanical all-wheel drive gives top traction and directional stability, regardless of the road conditions. Moreover, when maximum traction is required, the inter-axle differential and the differentials on each axle can be locked while on the move using a convenient rotary switch.
Mercedes Unimog 300-500 Engines Specifications
Engine displacement - cc
Torque - Nm
150 @ 2200
177 @ 2200
238 @ 2200
286 @ 2200
Ride and handling
To be able de deal with any kind of terrain, the Mercedes Unimog 300- 500 models are equipped with portal axles. Thanks to this axles design, the vehicles have a huge ground clearance which can tackle any sort of terrains.
The axle steering guide features integrated anti-roll bars which ensure stable handling, and extraordinary steering abilities. The vehicle’s center of gravity is also kept pretty low, to enhance the off road capabilities. As it was expected the ride is pretty bumpy, but the truck has excellent road stability and strong cornering abilities.
The Unimog continues to lead the way when it comes to specialized off road vehicles. The vehicle has a solid build quality and it’s reliable to the core. The cabin is kitted with a few useful features which offer a satisfactory comfort, while the engines can tackle the heaviest jobs without too much drama. Needless to say that the Unimog receives the highest marks for its off road performances, where is an exceptional work horse which can get you wherever you want.