An Unimog? What is that?
The Mercedes Benz Unimog is one of the best light-medium duty rough terrain cargo vehicle you can find. It has been produced for 60 years now. The first models were developed shortly after World War II in 1948. First developed as an agricultural tractor, the Unimog (Unimog = Universal Motor Gerät, universal engined vehicle) later proofed to be useful in many tasks, like fire rescue, forest work, rescue and of course the military.
New Unimogs can be purchased on all major continents in either of two series. Medium series, also known as the UGN (“Geräteträger” or equipment carrier). The heavy series, also known as the UHN (“Hochgeländegängig” or highly mobile cross country).
Mercedes-Benz seemed keen to use all the toys in their toy-box when they were designing the Unimog concept. Not only were they building Unimogs with these superb 4×4 qualities 60 years ago, they’re still using exactly the same principles today.
Here is why Unimogs are such a formidable general purpose vehicle:
Portal axles simply means the drive axles are above the center of the wheels. This means that the Unimog has greater ground clearance than a normal solid axle vehicle using the same tyre size. The hub reduction gears allow for extreme ratios while at the same time reducing stress to the rest of the drive-train and allowing for even more gear reduction in the gearbox or transfer box. The result is an extremely high ground clearance yet a low center of gravity. Obstacles up to half a meter high can be overcome by the Unimog without difficulty. Both axles are of identical design and strength
Suspension. Torque tubes are an element of the Unimog suspension that many people are unaware of. The torque tube suspension dates back to the model T Ford which used this design for its rugged simplicity. Unimogs incorporate front and rear torque tubes. The torque tube extends from the transmission to the axle and encases the drive-shaft. The axles and gearbox are essentially connected and as a result. Unimogs have always had coil springs front and rear and they were always designed to provide maximum articulation. Combined with the solid axles, torque tube suspension and the flexible frame, the Unimog has unrivaled articulation which allows for excellent traction even over extremely uneven surfaces. The coil springs also allow for a comfortable on-road ride.
Ladder frame chassis, The flexible ladder type frame consists of two U section side members with welded-in tubular cross- members. This provides sufficient stiffness on the road as well as excellent torsional flexibility during off- road operation.
Four wheel drive (4×4), Unimogs have full lockable differentials on both axles and a center diff lock. This gives the vehicle true four wheel drive. Either the axles can be engaged on there own, or the axles with center diff together.This is all operated by an air switch mounted on the dash board and can be engaged whilst the vehicle is in motion
Approach and departure angles, Short frame overhangs, portal axles and large tyre’s stop the Unimog from touching the ground on steep slopes.
Climbing ability up to 100 percent, giving the Unimog a higher climbing ability than any Land Rover, Jeep or Hummer. Steep banks, hills and obstacles are no problem for the Unimog. Its impressive climbing ability – even when fully laden – is due to the high torque of the engine, the optimum gear ratios and the excellent traction ensured by four-wheel drive and differential locks in both axles
Fifth Gear review on a Unimog.
Mercedes Unimog promotional videos: