Since its debut nearly a decade ago the Ariel Atom has always seemed ready for a fun off-road offshoot, but with its limited availability outside of the UK for pesky safety reasons the manufacturer chose to focus on its track-going missile. That didn’t stop them from dreaming about offering an off-road version of the Atom, and next month the company will take the covers off the all-new Nomad.
The new all-terrain Ariel is designed to bridge the gap between the track-going Atom and a pure off-road vehicle. Is expected to be powered by a transversely mounted 2.4-liter Honda inline-four producing about 200 hp connected to a six-speed manual transmission. The Nomad will also feature a higher ground clearance, a long-travel suspension, gumball tires, and rollover protection in the form of an all-new exoskeleton which will include a windscreen and even a windshield wiper. Power will be sent to the rear wheels only. This won’t be some slow-going mud mixer that will rescue Land Rover Defenders.
The Nomad will reportedly share plenty of bits with the Atom which includes a version of its ladder-frame chassis and switchgear. Ariel has indicated that the Nomad will still be quick on paved roads, though probably not as quick as the Atom.
“We’ve done quite a bit of testing on forest tracks and rally stages, and results have been extremely encouraging,” Ariel founder Simon Saunders’ son, Henry Siebert-Saunders said. “We know the car is quick and stable. But it’s still a two-wheel-drive vehicle. We’re looking forward to discovering how it performs in genuine off-road conditions – in mud or crawling over rocks – compared with a traditional 4×4.”
The Nomad is expected to be offered in a number of wheel and tire combinations offering varying levels of grip when it goes on sale in 2015. It is also expected to weigh around 1,540 pounds. The new off-roader will be revealed at the Autosport show in the UK on January 9th, with production starting later in 2015.