Styling Showdown: 2013 vs. 2014 Mercedes-Benz Unimog
A Careful Update to an Off-Road Icon
In the off-roading world, there are a few iconic brands that are approached with care and deliberate consideration when it's time for an update or redesign. Among these are the Jeep Wrangler, Land Rover Range Rover, Mercedes-Benz G-Wagen, and its burlier brother, the almost-unstoppable Unimog.
Although not currently officially sold in the U.S., there are a handful floating around here that have been independently imported, or some U500 models that were briefly sold through Case or Freightliner dealerships. But over the rest of the world, and especially Europe, the 'Mog is an essential utility tool, used by multiple army and defense forces globally, and as a fire trucks, agricultural vehicles, and snow-blowers. Former California governor and action star Arnold Schwarzenegger was somehow able to import a 2012 U1300, and has been seen driving it around Southern California.
But perhaps the Governator would like to upgrade once he sees the changes on the 2014 model. But don't worry, the Unimog hasn't suddenly gone soft in the digital age. In fact, the adoption of the new Mercedes corporate single-bar grille design has given even more tough-guy swagger to the 'Mog's imposing mug. The smaller, round, bumper-mounted projection-beam headlights give the new Unimog a sci-fi, almost alien look, compared with the more conventional look of the previous model's rectangular-shaped lights.
And although the Unimog's interior has been updated for 2014, you still won't mistake it for the cabin of an S550. The steering wheel is closer to horizontal than vertical, and the dashboard has a multitude of buttons and switches to activate the various accessories you can order on the beast. The emphasis here is still emphatically on function, not fashion.
Even though they're rarely seen in the U.S., we're huge fans of this uncompromising example of extreme capability, and we're glad the basic formula of no-nonsense functionality was left untouched. We may not see a styling update again for another decade, which is fine by us. What do you think of the Unimog's new looks?