Editor: Jason “The Bok” Date – 14 Nov 2018

We were invited by Mercedes-Benz Commercial Vehicles South Africa to attend a media launch of the new Unimog U529 in the beautiful Drakensberg mountain landscape within the KwaZulu-Natal region of South Africa to discover how “The Work Starts Where The Road Ends” in a Unimog.

What is a Mercedes Unimog?

Derived from the German ‘Universal-Motor-Gerät’ (Universal Motorised Working Machine), a Mercedes-Benz Unimog is one machine which is literally built from the ground-up to be the ultimate all-purpose, all-terrain utility. The Unimog is really a vehicle which in its most basic form is a rugged chassis cab with the ability to be tailored to any individuals, businesses and government authorities’ specific and tough requirements.

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You have probably heard of modular built machinery and smartphones, the idea of moulding a solid base to allow for a specialised required use, well, the from firefighting to farming and almost anything in between, with modular add-ons that can be changed quickly and easily, the Unimog is put simply the Swiss Army Knife of utility vehicles and has written its success story dating back from 1946.

At Home Everywhere

Where the average utility vehicle is either at home on or off-road, the Unimog is no average utility truck, it is as at home off-road as it is on the road, and can even run on railways or traverse over large tree trunks, put simply there is no surface that a Unimog won’t tackle and conquer. With differential locks and smart torque converting, the Unimog is even able to adapt its take-off gearing ratio and power transfer based on the load which is being carried and the elevation of which it is banked.

Powering the Unimog 529 is a very impressive 7.7-litre 6-cylinder turbodiesel motor with a whopping 1150 Nm of torque available from as low as 1100 rpm and a mighty 286 horsepower. All this power is sent through the vehicles hydro-mechanical automated transmission, and as for cooling, the Unimog features an array of radiators around the cab.

The Unimog will consume a combined average of 24-litres/hour of diesel, a figure which is 25% better than that of a tractor which would be required to perform a similar task.

Where Could I Use One?

With South Africa’s massive agricultural sector and demanding conditions, the Unimog, which can be described as a combination of mid-way between a tractor and a truck, can be fitted with a large variety of attachments. Whether it be for ploughing of fields, forestry applications or any other job which requires massive height visibility and truck style strength, the Unimog may just be the vehicle to fit the task. A high seating position and global view windscreen makes for ease of operations.

Whether the driver needs visibility on the left or right-hand side of the cab, the Vario Pilot option, allows the ability to shift the steering within the cab to either side within just 30 seconds. This incredible application not only assists with potential work requirements but also allows usage of the vehicle on any site globally (Though legislation does not allow for this feature in South Africa).

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With an extensive list of mechanical add-ons and in-built hydraulics that benefit from an infinitely variable hydrostatic drive, the likes of hedge trimmers, snow ploughs, road sweepers, cranes, tippers, buckets and cleaning equipment are just some of the infinite extensions which can be specced to your very own Unimog U529.

A towing capacity of depending on its configuration up to 25-tonnes of weight is really very impressive.


There is nothing else out there that can quite match the abilities of a Mercedes-Benz Unimog. Their extreme flexibility, it’s tough to beat, a wide variety of applications and ultimately premium-grade Mercedes-Benz design and build has helped ensure that the Unimog continues to write its own success story worldwide.

Servicing of your Unimog can be performed at any one of Mercedes-Benz South Africa’s many commercial truck service centres.

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