“I was hooked from the outset. No other truck could touch it in terms of the breadth of its abilities,” said Guy Gregson, owner of the Kent-based contractor, Agritraction, about his fifth Mercedes-Benz Unimog purchased to celebrate 30 years in business.
The U218 replaced Gregson’s 23-year old U1600 that has been in use for the past four years.
“My last Unimog clocked-up nearly 300,000 km and was fantastically reliable. The U218 represents a huge step forward, though. The visibility from the modern, airy cab is fantastic, while it’s also a lot more comfortable, and significantly quieter,” added Gregson.
The new unit is the smallest in the Unimog range with the narrowest 2.15m widith cab and 12.6m turning circle. It has four-wheel-drive and is powered by a 5.1-litre four-cylinder 170hp engine with 750Nm of torque.
It also features Mercedes’ optional VarioPilot system that enables the Unimog’s controls to be swapped from left to right, and visa versa, in less than a minute.
Gregson claimed the hydrostatic drive, also present which enables smoother gear changes at lower speeds, makes some jobs “so easy that it’s just like riding on an overgrown lawnmower”.
Various attachments can be fitted, such as Gregson’s Mulag flail and mower and Schmidt snowplough, which operate off the Unimog’s hydraulic and mechanical implement drives.
Gregson explained that “the new vehicle suits my operation perfectly. It has plenty of power, but is compact and highly manoeuvrable in tight spaces. I don’t need a huge, cumbersome machine – small is beautiful where my work is concerned”.
The U218 operates from the Kingsnorth Industrial Estate near Hoo, and carries out hedge and grass cutting, while overseeing the local parks and playing fields. It’s also active during the winter months in supermarket car parks too, by gritting and clearing snow.