Test: Mercedes-Benz Unimog U430

By: Matt Wood

Deals on Wheels writer Matt Wood got behind the wheel of the first Unimog U430 in Australia

This low shot shows the ground clearance achieved by the U430 Unimog’s portal axles

The Unimog (affectionally known as ‘Mog’) range starts with the baby U400 and U500 series, which fall under the more mundane vocational roles that may be covered by a true implement carrier.

The U400 has been designed to enable all manner of auxiliary equipment to be mounted on its torsionally stiff yet laterally flexible, frame. We got to climb behind the first right-hand drive Unimog U430 that landed on Australian shores and take the new implement carrier for a jaunt, both on and off-road​​.

Under the hood

Quick-release fittings hint at the hydraulic power contained within

The Unimog U430 is powered by Benz’s 7.7-litre Euro 6 OM 936 engine, which creates 299hp (223kW) and 1200Nm of twisty force. And behind the Bluetech donk lies a dual-range, eight-speed preselect semi-auto transmission, which then gets power to the dirt via the Mog’s famous portal axles.

These axles provide excellent ground clearance because the diffs and axles are higher than the wheel centre and drive the wheels via a hub reduction drive. The 400 and 500 series Mogs feature factory mounting points for implements, which should keep aftermarket equipment installers away from the gas axe.

There are mounting points on the front of the truck and on each side of the chassis in between the wheels. Plus, there’s room on the rear for all manner of tow hitches if needed. This 430 has also been optioned with CTI (Central Tyre Inflation) to help keep the little truck afloat in the muck.

Another interesting feature is the Work Mode of the UG 100 transmission. This turns the semi-auto into a hydrostatic transmission for off-road work, which means no changing gears or braking or using the clutch. Just use the go-pedal. The little Benz is constant all-wheel drive with a two-speed transfer case and, as you’d expect, is fitted with diff locks front and rear.

In the cab

Matt was impressed with the truck’s visibility

With its deep window cutaways and deep windscreen, it’s clear from the driver’s seat that the 430 Unimog has been designed to see out of while operating auxiliary machinery.

Selecting work mode requires a fiddly combination of button pushing, but once in hydrostatic mode, driving the Mog becomes pretty much like operating a large and heavy ride-on mower.

It really is that simple. Work mode gives you eight forward speeds and eight backwards speeds and a top speed of 50km/h. But really, the hydrostatic mode makes tight headland turns in confined areas a cinch, especially where the driver may be operating auxiliary equipment and driving at the same time.

On the job

Matt Wood behind the wheel of the U430

The U430 took a 4.5-tonne payload with the spreader body on the back. But even with half a load, I could feel the high centre of gravity as the Mog rocked on its coil springs when cornering.

The U430 has the makings of a hydraulic powerhouse with hydraulic flow options of up to 125 litres per minute depending on spec. A dual-circuit system can provide 32 litres per minute through one circuit and up to 87 litres per minute through the second circuit, making it possible to run a hydraulic motor and powered implements at the same time.

While we didn’t scale any mountains or tackle any desert crossings, the Mercedes-Benz Unimog U430 proved to be an easy-to-operate and smooth-performing vocational truck.

Mercedes-Benz Unimog U430 specifications


Euro 6 7.7L OM 936 turbodiesel



Transmission 12-speed Telligent preselect semi-automatic with hydrostatic work mode (eight forward and reverse speeds)

Constant all-wheel drive with transmission integrated two speed transfer case​

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