BIG Rigs was recently invited to put the new PW 24 280 through its paces both on and off-road at the Mt Cotton Training Centre in Brisbane.
Earlier this year at Volvo Group Australia's annual media conference, PW announced its renewed focus on the heavy duty segment of the Australian truck market.
Since then, the PW 24 280 has been completed, following 1200 hours of development,150 unique parts, and a chassis frame redesign resulting in a stellar offering from the Japanese brand.
The new model brings a competitive tare weight across configurations and a gross vehicle mass of 23.5 tonnes, with expected applications including rear loaded compactors, hooklifts, crane and trays, and refrigerated bodies.
UD's PW 24 280 offers a feature-rich spec sheet as standard, from safety to the powertrain, Euro 5 emission standard, and of course the impressive tare weight.
The only engine offered in this truck is the GH7TB seven-litre inline-six, a torque-rich unit producing 883Nm at 1400RPM and 206kW at 2500RPM.
UD's seven-litre engine is brought alive by the appropriately coupled Allison Generation 5 3500 six-speed automatic gearbox and 6.140 diff ratio, featuring adaptive shift functionality with both power and EcoFleet modes.
The engine felt up to the task despite its relatively lower power output, thanks to a wide torque spread and intuitive gearbox.
The Alison six-speed transmission worked well with the engine, and in the time spent in the truck, there wasn't a point when it failed to select a suitable gear.
Economy mode will change up during peak torque and appears to fall outside the power band slightly, which leaves you having to alter throttle position and lug if travelling uphill.
On level ground and at highway speeds, EcoFleet mode offered all the power needed and being adaptive, it'll just get better.
Put the truck into power mode and suddenly it holds gears well over 2000RPM, keeping the engine smack bang in the power band and dropping it back to that 1400RPM peak torque range once the gradient flattens out.
A fair assumption, having put the gearbox through its paces, would be that in hilly or off-road terrain, performance mode may in fact be more fuel efficient as harsh throttle input isn't required to get the truck pulling.
As a result of the success of the Allison gearbox, a manual option isn't being offered to customers, and at this point the company doesn't plan to introduce one.
One thing you really notice with the new PW is how well the engine brake works well with the gearbox, particularly in power mode.
Flick it across into power mid-way down a hill and as it shifts down, the braking force is exceptional for a seven-litre.
Safety features on the PW include ADR84/00 integrated Front Underrun Protection, Wabco ABS, 360 degree visibility with up to four optional cameras, and cab that meets ECE-R29 strength compliance.
The truck is fitted with a Meritor tandem drive as standard and features a driver controlled diff lock and inter-axle diff locks, which took us from slipping and sliding up the dirt test track at Mt Cotton in the 6x4 model, to confidently powering up with no wheelspin.
Product manager for UD trucks Ben Chamberlin said the brand isn't going after the same portion of the heavy market as other Volvo Group Australia stable mates like Mack and Volvo heavy offerings.
"Our focus will be on the bottom end of the heavy duty market, so we aren't going after the road train segment," Mr Chamberlin said.
"This is phase one today, and there will be more products that we will launch next year."
The process from beginning to end was surprisingly quick, and the team at UD started discussing that project in about March last year.
"Once the concept had been approved, it was around about 12 months when we got the first two prototypes ready to drive," Mr Chamberlin said.
At the launch, it was outlined that UD expected to sell 180 units next year, based on the sheer size of the market and the trust consumers already have in the brand.
A standard 36 month/200,000 kilometre warranty will be offered with UD PW 24 280 models, as well the option of an extended 60 month/350,000 kilometre warranty.