Nomad all-terrain car makes its debut at the Autosport International show in Birmingham; on sale this summer, priced from £30,000 and able to reach 60mph in 3.4sec
9 January 2015

Ariel’s stunning new £30k Nomad, the lightweight, Atom-based on and off-roader launched at this week’s Autosport International show at Birmingham’s NEC, will offer an entirely new type of all-terrain high-performance driving when it hits the market this summer, its creators say.

The car is powered by a 2.4-litre, long-stroke four-cylinder Honda engine (used in high-end versions of the Accord) that has been configured with Ariel electronics to help it produce 235bhp at 7200rpm. Its torque output of 221lb ft is especially impressive as it matches that of the supercharged 2.0-litre Atom, which is one of the fastest cars on the road. 

Latest specifications, just issued, list the Nomad’s weight at a modest 670kg, despite the bigger wheels and tyres, extra rollover protection, bulkier long-travel suspension and chassis modifications needed for it to cope with off-road use.

The result is a car with an on-road 0-60mph sprint time of just 3.4sec and a 125mph top speed, which should make it capable of beating fully fledged rally cars both on the special off-road courses where they are developed and in actual motorsport events.

Ariel boss Simon Saunders thinks most Nomads will be bought for recreational driving both on and off road, but the car has the credentials to achieves success in rally competition. Saunders believes a well set up Nomad could eventually compete “with honour” in the Dakar Rally, not necessarily winning but at least reaching the finish in good shape.

Ariel has toyed with the idea of a Nomad-style vehicle since the early days of the Atom, but the job of continuing the development of the Atom, coupled with the launch of the highly successful Ace motorcycle, kept intruding.

However, the Nomad project made progress in recent times when taken on by the Ariel founder’s son, Henry Siebert-Saunders, whose interest in off-roading encouraged him to complete the prototype and lead its development on terrain normally reserved for conventional, slow and heavy 4x4s.

“We’ve tested the Nomad on a variety of race circuits and proving grounds, as well as on various private tracks including well known WRC stages, winch challenge courses and closed forest roads,” said Siebert-Saunders.

“The idea was to subject our two-wheel-drive car to tests worthy of a conventional 4x4, because we reckoned its compactness, torque and light weight would compensate for its lack of four-wheel drive. So far we’ve been right and the Nomad has lapped it up, to the extent that the whole thing adds up to a whole new kind of driving fun.”

The close resemblance of the Nomad’s essential structure to that of the Atom’s original bronze-welded chassis is obvious, but the Nomad also has an enveloping rollover structure that conveniently provides A-pillars for an optional windscreen.

The instrument pod, gearlever for the six-speed manual transmission and the pedal box are all recognisable, while the completely different suspension layout ditches the Atom’s inboard set-up to provide the much longer travel and carry the much fatter and taller wheels and tyres needed by a car with the Nomad’s priorities.

The car features a selection of abbreviated polythene body panels, including a nose cone, engine cover, damper covers, mudguards and bonnet. Standard cars keep many of these panels black — as Atoms do — but owners will be able to choose from a wide number of custom variations, including a variety of colours for the tubular chassis frames. Add-ons such as roof lights, nerf bars, luggage racks and special exhausts are certain to be popular.

There are likely to be optional seats, too, although the standard set-up, closely related to an original Atom’s one-piece moulding for two people, is attractive and space-efficient.

As with the Atom, owners will be offered a wide selection of optional dampers, brakes and wheel/tyre combinations, although the prototype’s 235/75 R15 tyres have proved to be well up to the job. Siebert-Saunders confirmed to Autocar at the Autosport International show that there is scope for increased adjustability on future Nomad models.

"Inevitably, we will go the same route we have with the Atom, as the Nomad is a fixed set-up at the moment," he said. "We could make the Nomad more adjustable."

As with the Atom, Ariel says it plans to build up to 100 examples per year of the Nomad.

Read the Ariel Nomad review here.

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Our Verdict

Ariel Atom
The Ariel Atom is superbike-fast, and as exhilarating as cars get

In every form the Ariel Atom delivers thrills as exhilarating as any car can deliver. And there’s no greater recommendation than that.

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Comments
14

24 December 2014

ok that looks awesome, the big question is how much and is it a limited run car or a full production car.

24 December 2014

Surely this has been done before.

24 December 2014

This seems like the ideal product to compliment the Atom. Looks like fantastic fun!

TS7

24 December 2014

...with the V8.

IAD

25 December 2014

Looks like any dune buggy if it looks like that.

25 December 2014

Huge want from me. Awesome, though probably more fun in countries where you could use it on unrestricted terrain, USA, New Zealand, etc... Try taking this on sand dunes in this country and the fun police will be waiting...

25 December 2014

Basically a more sophisticated modern-day beach buggy! And complements the sport-car and motorbike in the range perfectly.

Cyborg

6 January 2015

Done before? Maybe, but this looks absolutely awesome! It would make my Euromillions garage if I ever won

6 January 2015
superstevie wrote:

Done before? Maybe, but this looks absolutely awesome! It would make my Euromillions garage if I ever won

Love it!!

"Will accept donation of a Carrera GT, EB110 SS or McLaren F1...oh yeah or a Spyker C8 Aileron Spyder"

rxl

7 January 2015

there is a couple of thing I don't like. first that radiator is very prone to fail! only if they put a hi resistant mesh in front of it, and I hope it is not an option feature. second that mud fenders look to close to the tires (orange pictures), it is good for the look, but very bad to drive through mud. i wouldn't buy this can unless I use it for rally cross events or have a bit playground in the woods..

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