Few vehicles offer a purer connection to the road than the track-focused Ariel Atom. Possibly a Lotus 7 or KTM X-Bow comes close. It looks like the British automaker will be bringing that kind of relationship to the dirt.
According to Autocar, the Ariel will release the Nomad next month. It is a high-performance, all-terrain vehicle that will sit between the Atoms pure on road prowess and true off-road vehicles like our Project Overland Wranglers. It accomplishes this with a lightweight compact body, a high power-to-weight ratio, and off road tuned suspension.
But where the Atom excels on race tracks and pavement, the Nomad is at home in the mud. It’s based on the road cars hand-welded ladder frame chassis which gives it a strong and flexible frame system. It is equipped with wide gumball tires, a higher ground clearance, and a high-strength roll cage to bolster the Nomad’s adventurous capabilities.
“We’ve done quite a bit of testing on forest tracks and rally stages, and results have been extremely encouraging,” said Henry Saunders, Nomad tester and son of Ariel founder Simon Saunders. “We know the car is quick and stable.”
Powering the two-seater is a 2.4-liter Honda engine that develops around 200 horsepower, sourced most likely from the Acura ILX and Civic Si. There is one glaring limitation.
“It’s still a two-wheel-drive vehicle,” said Saunders. “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 power plant is connected to a six-speed manual transmission, with a mechanical limited-slip standard. There will be more advanced off road setups reportedly available as an option. A manual is a welcome addition to a car like this. Significantly improving the fun factor.
“The car should still be very quick on road,” continued Saunders. “Not quite as quick as an Atom, maybe, but it will be able to do many things an Atom never could.”
Final specifications and pricing are set to be released, but the entry-level model should be priced similarly to the Atom 3’s $49,980. The car will debut on January 9th.
Photos and information sourced from Autocar.