Up until recently UD was a bit behind its rivals as its trucks had dated cabins with poor ergonomy and the engines and transmissions were part of the old generation.
In 2011 however, the Volvo owned company decided that it’s time for a major upgrade in its lineup of medium duty trucks. As a result, it came up with a totally redesigned cab, upgraded engines and even Allison automatic transmissions.
The trucks kept their work horse character and come with GVM (Gross Vehicle Mass) ratings between 15.000 kg- 32.000 kg.
Thankfully, the new Condor lost the dated design and the new cab looks fairly good. The front has a pretty dynamic appearance and we like how UD’s engineers combined the radiator grille with the rest of the exterior design. The round logo of the company is now placed directly on the hood and it doesn’t look out of place like it was the case for the previous model.
The dynamic design is also underlined by the thin, elongated turn lights which are placed on each side of the grille. Their high position makes them easy to be seen by the other vehicles from the traffic.
The bumper has a pretty rudimentary shape which reminds us of its Japanese origins. It’s fitted with three small air intakes and two big headlights which despite their pretty minimalist design manage to cope well with the rest of the cab.
In order to offer a proper all-round visibility, the truck comes with a wide windscreen combined with big lateral windows.
Besides the redesigned exterior the truck has also received a totally new interior which looks much better than the old one. Everything is changed and even the build quality is better. However even if the plastics seem a bit better don’t expect to any miracles as we are still talking about a truck build for commercial purposes.
The interior design is also a clear evolution over the previous model, but it still looks highly Japanese. The dashboard features a robust design with a lot of squared shapes and straight lines. We like its dual tone treatment which breaks a bit the interior monotony that is usually typical in this segment.
UD never had major problems in the ergonomy department and the new Condor makes no exception. Everything is where it should be and the controls, switches and gear knob are placed intuitively and are easy to reach.
As most Japanese trucks, the Condor’s instrument cluster is clear and easy to read. Besides the usual gauges and indicators, the UD Condor is also offered with a Driver Information System (DIS) which displays useful vehicle data including: time, engine temperature, oil pressure, voltmeter, trip information, along with service intervals for engine, transmission, differentials, belts and air filter.
The truck is also fitted with a modern entertainment system which is a pretty solid proof that UD wanted to raise the bar when it comes to its interior equipment. The new system comes with a performant touchscreen, radio/CD, USB, Bluetooth, iPod connection and the capability of connecting up to three cameras viewable both through split screen or single screen configuration.
UD’s seats were never viewed with good eyes by anyone who ever had the occasion to drive the old model, but the company learned its lessons and has completely redesigned the both the passengers and the driver’s seats. The new seats feature plenty of adjustments and can accommodate any person in full comfort.
The truck stays pretty good at the storage chapter as well. Besides the omnipresent cup holders there are also two convenient overhead consoles for both driver and passenger, a 10 litre storage box with lid and also door pockets.
Engines and transmissions
The new UD Condor is powered by a 7 l turbo common rail engine which is available with either 240 hp @ 2500 rpm or 276 hp @ 2500 rpm. Compared to the old engine, the new one features a significant boost of power while the torque was also improved now offering maximum outputs of 716 Nm and 883 Nm.
To be able to deal with today’s emission requirements UD adopted the SCR technology which make its engines compliant with the Euro 5 standards. The SCR technology requires the use of AdBlue stored in a 50 l tank which offers a range of up 2500 km.
The range of gearbox options was also increased and now the truck is offered with five speed Allison automatic transmissions, together with the company’s six speed gearbox and an Eaton nine speed unit.
UD Condor Engines Specifications
Ride and handling
The UD Condor uses long taper leaf springs at the front, matched to double acting telescopic shock absorbers. There are also multi leaf front spring options for extra heavy duty applications.
Moreover, UD is among the few truck manufacturer to offer the option of either steel leaf or air bag rear suspension across the entire Australian medium duty range, hence all PK models can be also optioned with Hendrickson’s Road Friendly Suspension.
The suspension is at par with its competition and offers a pretty pliant ride, being able to keep the road bumps far from the driver’s spine. The handling is also pretty good and the steering won’t let you down neither at low or high speeds.
To offer a proper amount of safety, the truck is fitted with standard ABS, wheel park brake and SRS driver’s air bag with seat belt pretensioners.
The latest iteration of the UD Condor has managed to bring an unexpected level of improvements into a truck that until now was considered among the most rudimentary models in the class.
Now, the truck features a fairly modern exterior design, a well equipped and comfortable cabin and also a stronger and more efficient range of engines.
We’re glad to see that UD had the potential to come up with so many intelligent upgrades and judging by its new model, the company has a pretty bright feature under the management of Volvo.