As if the Unimog U5023 range-topper were not extreme enough for you... the sexy new flagship of the Unimog range can now be equipped with a special off-roading package shown below. Giant tires and huge new wheel flares mark out the toughest and most-capable trucks in the world.
The U4023 and U5023 are the freshest of the Unimog family visually thanks to that sweet new single-bar grille and a Mercedes star logo that is as big as a large pizza -- and stares down at you from above eye level!
Included below is the full write-up of the Unimog family, 15 new photos of the latest U5023 and 50 more of the previous-gen Unimogs and legacy Mercedes-Benz specialty trucks.
The legendary Mercedes-Benz Unimog all-terrain trucks are refreshed with a comprehensive makeover inside the cabin, underneath that boxed ladder chassis and outside with a menacing new grille and LED lighting.
The top of the new Unimog lineup in terms of off-road ability is the new U5023 model, which replaces the previous U5000 nameplates. Sharing the nose layout with its shorter sibling, the U4023, these models are the freshest outside with a dramatic new single-wing grille to house the dinner-plate-sized Mercedes star emblem.
This is a unique touch for the U5023, as this design is usually reserved for the sportiest models in the lineup, like the SLS AMG . Regardless, the new design is functional more than stylish, with a new cab and engine mounting position that is farther back in the chassis and other significant changes to go along with this new grille design.
The chassis itself of these off-road models is quite something. With a flexible central spine, the Unimog U5023 is able to articulate its wheels farther than any other production vehicle, and now can even flex the chassis to ensure at least one wheel has traction on the ground.
The other big news for the Unimog line is a vastly improved cabin with better visibility, easier off-road traction settings, a vastly improved driving position with a tilt/telescoping wheel, and a new Euro6-complaint BlueEfficiency turbo diesel engine.
Despite a (limited) top speed of 56 mph in Europe, the Unimog U5023 has some of the most clever and innovative off-road tech designed right into its chassis.
How far ahead of a Jeep is the Unimog? Well it has 664 pound-feet of torque and an eight-speed automatic for forward movement. A six-speed automatic handles reverse, where the Unimog can also hit its 56 mph top speed going backwards. Not something many anyone would attempt in a Jeep.
While the Mercedes G63 AMG 6x6 is a big draw for flashy people, the Unimog will always be the real king of mud, sand, rocks and water.
Exterior - 2015 Mercedes-Benz Unimog U5023
Among the 10-plus variations and configurations of the Unimog, the U4023 and U5023 are by far the most reworked on the outside. The smaller models continue with a small grille cutout that is not nearly as current and attractive.
The smaller U218 and other variants do have some style benefits of their own, including the four-pack of circular lighting pods in the outer bumper edges. The smaller models also get a much larger windshield glass and roof-mounted windshield wipers.
For these hard-core off-road specials, the only difference between the U4023 and U5023 is the truck’s total payload capability: from 21,000 pounds up to 29,000 pounds in the U5023.
The front grille, and redesigned hood and cab layout of the U5023 is quite radical for a machine who’s shadow has not changed much since the 1950s. Wildly flowing grille edges look like they are from a concept car, and the grille’s full width of the Unimog’s face almost makes it seem like an unmanned vehicle at first. It is not, and requires a brave driver still. The LED running lights are paired with indicators and the low/high beam projectors quite low in the bumper, creating an unusual profile at night with no cab-top lights to let you know this is a massive beast coming toward you.
Moving to the profile of the U5023, and things start to feel much more familiar. A new running board design and various additional mechanical boxes house the diesel after-treatment and other oily bits of the Unimog.
This generation does have a much shorter overhang, increasing the already-formidable approach and departure angles to a barely-imaginable 44-degrees on approach, and 51 degrees on departure.
A pickup truck bed is the standard configuration for these cargo haulers, but an enclosed cargo hold is visible in a few of the special purpose demo images: like firefighting, search and rescue, snow removal and hundreds more. A double cab U5023 option is coming soon.
New running boards are a welcome feature, and lead to a cabin that is vastly improved in terms of access and also safety, tech and comfort.
Interior - 2014 Mercedes-Benz Unimog U5023
While the smaller U218, U230 and other variations maintain the adjustable driving configuration from left-hand-drive to right-hand drive via a sliding wheel, the U5023 and its little brother now have a central dash control center and a set wheel position, either left-hand or right-hand drive.
The U5023’s gear level is now moved from the lower console up to the steering column stalk (a la the S-Class ), which makes a huge difference in the ability to carry three people comfortably inside. A new heating and A/C system promises much better comfort in extreme weather, while the new steering wheel has multifunction control pads and adjustable rake and reach for the first time.
A big promise from Mercedes-Benz for this updated Unimog range is the vastly simplified off-road settings and controls. Locking differentials and multiple low-range gears for forward and reverse continue for 2014, but the U5023 also offers a dial-operated terrain selection mode (like the Range Rover and others). This updates all the parameters to match the road, sand or ’Bad Surface.’
Included, as always, is the on-board adjustment of tire pressures. This system is critical for real off-roading in deep sand or in other conditions. Once through the obstacle, the tires can be re-inflated for safe road and highway travel.
Integrated external cameras are a welcome feature for such a big machine, but the Unimog does not mention the external microphone that is included with the latest Dodge Ram HD trucks. This feature is very critical to hearing trailer hitching instructions over the sound of a big truck engine or in bad weather when you would not otherwise want your window down.
The cab is still wide and huge, but now has much more room and a lower floor to give great legroom, especially versus the legs-forward position required by most normal SUVs. This is firmly like driving a truck, except this truck is quite special when the freeways turn to rocks and sand.
- Easy handling with innovative and clear operating controls
- New heating and air-conditioning system
- Front camera to extend range of vision
- State-of-the art and efficient Mercedes-Benz drive technology, tried and tested in large-scale production
- Low consumption of fuel, AdBlue and engine oil
- Low maintenance costs due to longer intervals between inspections
- Driving speeds up to 90 km/h
- Powerful premium engine brake
Drivetrain, Engine and Brakes - 2014 Mercedes-Benz Unimog U5023
The Unimog U5023 is a hugely impressive machine. A giant turbo diesel four-cylinder replaces the previous in-line-six engines with more power, better driveability and greatly increased fuel efficiency.
Engine smoothness and throttle response are said to be the big improvements, while the quicker transmission improves acceleration pace. Acceleration is more accurate than "sprint" for any Unimog, as the pace is leisurely while the engine thrums away and the pneumatic automatic fires off speedier changes than last year’s autobox.
Performance figures are very broad and should really not be directly compared with road cars. After all, no F-350 can haul big weight over rough ground like the Unimog. An estimates 22 seconds to 60 mph is projected outside the EU, whereas in the European Union an 18-second sprint to 50 mph is realistic. These times, it is worth noting, are possible both empty and with a full load. That is what this truck is geared to do.
An EU-wide large truck speed cap is set at 56 mph, but the Unimog is geared for at least 95 mph before its brick-wall aerodynamic drag ends the fun.
- BlueEFFICIENCY Power exhaust gas after-treatment combines a particle filter and the Mercedes-Benz SCR system with AdBlue injection.
- Reduces nitrogen oxide and soot particle emissions by up to 90% compared to previous Euro V engines.
Pricing and Availability - 2014 Mercedes-Benz Unimog U5023
After a brief stint of selling Unimogs in the U.S. for a few years in the early 2000s through Freightliner dealers, the Unimog was pulled from the Mercedes-Benz price sheet after failing to comply with recent EPA emissions rules.
We have an email in to Mercedes-Benz HQ in Germany to determine if these new Euro6 engines will allow the Unimog to be road-legal in America. More relaxed rules in Canada means that our northern neighbor has plenty of pre-owned Unimog’s to go around.
Pricing is not yet available from Mercedes, but is estimated at the equivalent of about $250,000 before customization and attachment up-fitting to become a fire truck, etc.
- Looks that would make a toddler cry in fear? Check.
- Extreme durability and virtually unstoppable off-road - even while hauling thousands of pounds of cargo? Check.
- Improved cabin comfort and technology, and a brand new air conditioner? Check and Check.
The Unimog U5023 is incredible. In every car guy’s dream garage, the Unimog’s unbelievable off-road skills and unstoppable traction mean the U5023 deserves just as much love as the Ferrari’s it will sit next to.
Vastly different machines though they are, the Unimog U5023 is the Enzo Ferrari of the muddy ruts and rocky trails.
- Looks great up front, almost like an unmanned or driverless convoy machine
- New grille is pretty cool versus smaller Unimog sibling’s
- Mercedes-Benz has maintained and enhanced all the Unimog’s talents, with no down sides to added tech, comfort and ease of use
- Very pricey compared with the cheaper U230 models’ that also have more torque