The BBC’s Top Gear has a new segment called Rory Reid’s Road Trips, and it’s fantastic. In it, the new host takes a long drive through an interesting place while driving an even more interesting vehicle. This time, it’s the Ariel Nomad. Now you’ve surely heard of Ariel, the small British automaker that hand-builds open-air, street-legal cars. They’re best known for the Atom, a super lightweight rocket powered by any number of four-cylinder (or even a V-8!) engines with big, sticky tires and the ability to out-handle supercars. Well, the Nomad is the Atom’s tough cousin.
Built for off-roading adventures, the Nomad is built on a similar skeletal chassis as the Atom, but has big shock absorbers, meaty tires, and tall ground clearance. Though it doesn’t have 4WD, its low curb weight and Honda-sourced four-cylinder with 235 brake horsepower allow the 1,477-pound Nomad to dig its way over any obstacle – including a rally circuit. Oh, and on dry pavement, it’ll hit 60 mph in just 3.4 seconds!
As Rory Reid finds out, the Nomad is a fantastic drifter, both on the road an on the dirt. It performs even better with the legendary rally driver David Higgins behind the wheel. Reid gets schooled on throwing the Nomads rear around a corner, while the throttle pedal is hammered to the floor. Having a handbrake lever doesn’t hurt either.
So this begs the question: is the Nomad the perfect all-terrain vehicle? Well, before we answer that, it’s important to look at the Nomad’s intended function. It’s lack of 4WD means it isn’t intended for deep mud or rock crawling. Rather, this thing is built for moderate to high-speed blasting. Granted, traction isn’t much of an issue thanks to the engine and transmission being directly over the rear wheels. So yeah, it can probably go 75 percent of place anyone in a Jeep Wrangler is willing to go. And if push comes to shove, the Nomad can be fitted with a Warn recovery winch.
In our eyes, the Ariel Nomad might indeed be one of the best all-terrain vehicles sold today. Its open-air cabin, outrageous power-to-weight ratio, and go-anywhere tires and suspension make it impossible not to want.
Let us know what you think in the comments below.