While there are a lot of vehicles that claim to be the best off-roader, there is only one which truly deserves this distinction.
With GVWs (gross vehicle weights) between 7,5 – 14, 1 tonnes, the Mercedes Benz Unimog is the ultimate off roader and was build from the ground up to never back down regardless of the working conditions.
Built on the strong base of the legendary Unimog, the 3000-5000 series are the biggest Unimogs ever built and are offered with a choice of two cab configuration and two Euro 5 engines which develop 177 hp and 218 hp.
The 3000-5000 series has the most aggressive design in the Unimog family. Its imposing stance is enhanced by a massive ground clearance combined with a rugged style. The utilitarian character of the vehicle is enhanced by its tall cab and the long nose.
At the front is gets a pretty rudimentary grille where we find the well known Mercedes logo. The bonnet is slightly raked to offer a proper road visibility, while the windshield and the lateral windows are fairly big and serve to the same purpose.
The bumper is part of the heavy duty league and looks ready to go head to head with the harshest terrains without baking down. Judging by their build quality, the headlights seem fairly solid and will resist to various impacts without breaking.
Apart from its ultra high ground clearance and the huge wheels, the Unimog 3000-5000 models also come with very short overhangs which further enhance the off road abilities.
The truck is also fitted with single tyres on both front and rear axles. Unlike the twin tyres, the single ones offer better performances on the harsh terrains. This way the rear wheels always run in the tracks created by the front wheels, offering a better traction.
You’ll have to put some serious efforts when climbing inside but the vertical steps are placed pretty ergonomically and the you can also use with confidence the well placed grab handles.
The Interior design has the same rugged style found at the exterior and there are a lot of squared surfaces and rectangular shapes. The build quality is pretty close to a tank and everything is strongly build and look ready to last for 100 years or more.
Despite the rudimentary appearance of the cab, all the controls are placed intuitively and they also fairly easy to reach.
The driver information system is fitted with all necessary information to keep the vehicle and includes status reports, event reports and menu-driven online diagnosis. The Mercedes Unimog 3000-5000 range is also equipped with standard cruise control, Temposet, electronic manual throttle control and the two-stage engine or permanent brake, and all can be controlled with a multifunction lever mounted on the right-hand side of the steering column. There is also offered a radio/CD player mounted into the center console, which is offered with Bluetooth interface and hands-free facility.
The Mercedes Unimog U 4000 and U 5000 are available in crewcab configuration offering room for up to 7 people. The crew cab offers acres of space and three spacious compartments that can be found under the rear bench. Other storage compartments can be also found on the central console and in the front doors.
The driver’s seat is pretty comfortable and despite its lack of lateral support you won’t feel any back pains even after a full day of work. Furthermore, the steering wheel comes with tilt and telescopic adjustments, so it will be pretty easy to find your favorite driving position.
Driver’s will be happy to know that the road visibility is nothing short of excellent, as you are surrounded by a generous glass area and you also seat pretty high from the ground.
The Mercedes Unimog 3000-5000 are offered with a choice of two Euro 5 engines with maximum outputs of 177 hp and 218 hp with 675 Nm and 810 Nm respectively. The four cylinder engines feature direct injections, three-valve technologies, tubrochargers and intercoolers and offer a huge amount of torque available at low rpms.
The vehicle punches out its maximum torque almost from the second you start the engine. The four cylinder units start quickly, but they are far from being smooth or quiet. A loud metallic growl announces that the Unimog is ready for battle, rewarding you with a tremendous torque from just 1200 rpms and up to 1600 revs when the next gear continues the action.
In Europe, the Unimog is limited to a maximum speed of 80 kmph, but without the limiter the truck can cruise with up to 110 kmph.
The Unimog 3000-5000 models are equipped with extreme off-road gearboxes including the Telligent, AutomaticShift and a fully synchronised electro-pneumatic gearbox.
|Engine displacement - cc||hp@rpm||Torque - Nm|
|4250||177 @ 2200||675|
|6370||238 @ 2200||810|
Ride and handling
The Mercedes Unimog 3000-5000 model range is fitted with heavy duty coil springs with long spring travel (instead of the typical leaf springs used by trucks), which are combined with a short frame overhang at front and rear, enabling it to deal with steep inclines and difficult terrains without breaking a sweat. The truck has also a low centre of gravity and extreme torsional flexibility providing extra safety with respect to steep slopes and tipping angles.
Needless to say that every bump is soaked effortless and the off road abilities of the vehicle seem unbelievable. The Unimog is also able to climb 45 degree slopes and descent them again, and it will do it at its maximum weight too.
Its permanent all-wheel drive, makes muddy roads feel like a walk in the park. The Unimog may not be as fast as some softer off roaders but instead it’s unstoppable, a quality that is highly appreciated in this industry.
Though, you need to take care when stopping, as the Unimog isn’t a sports car and despite its all-around discs you’ll need to plan your actions.
The Mercedes Unimog 3000 – 5000 models are without a doubt on top of the list when it comes to off-road trucks. Their bullet proof built quality makes them indestructible and they are also pretty comfortable with a spacious cab and common sense features which are there to announce that you are driving a 21 century truck.
The engines offer a huge amount of torque and they are pretty efficient as well. But apart from all these features, the Unimog’s off road performances are its biggest advantage as you can go in the middle of nowhere and come back without a scratch.
Video: Mercedes Unimog U 5000