Few vehicles grant a purer connection to the road than the track-focused Ariel Atom. Soon, it looks like the British automaker is bringing that relationship to the dirt.
According to Autocar, the company will release the Nomad next month, a high-performance, all-terrain vehicle that will sit between the Atom and pure off-roaders. It will accomplish this with a lightweight, compact body, a high power-to-weight ratio, and fine-tuned suspension.
But where the Atom excels on smooth tarmac, the Nomad is at home in the mud. It’s based on the racecar’s hand-welded, ladder frame chassis, but wide gumball tires, a high ground clearance (comparatively), and a high-strength rollover compartment 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, likely the same unit from the Acura ILX and Civic Si. But as Jeremy Clarkson might say, there’s a problem.
“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 powerplant is connected to a Honda’s enjoyable six-speed manual transmission, with a mechanical limited-slip coming standard. More advanced setups are reportedly available as an option.
“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 specs and pricing are 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.