When it comes to off-roading toys, few do it better than the Ariel Motor Company. The small British brand specializing in go-anywhere vehicles is transitioning the adventurous Nomad to its second generation.

This is an all-new Nomad with only three parts carried over from its predecessor. By far the most notable change is under the hood. While the original Nomad used Honda's 2.4-liter K24 engine with a supercharger, the new model switches to a turbocharged 2.3-liter unit from the Ford Focus ST. It now packs a healthy 305 horsepower and 382 pound-feet of torque, upgraded with more power for the road-legal off-road buggy.

That represents a substantial power bump of 70 hp and 161 lb-ft over the preceding model. However, the Nomad 2 does have a switchable ECU with three different maps. Aside from the top-spec setup, there are lesser configurations with 302 hp and 333 lb-ft for the mid-range model, and 260 hp and 284 lb-ft for the base setup.

Since this is a tiny car with barely any body panels, it weighs practically nothing. The Nomad 2 tips the scales at just 1,576 pounds. It only takes 3.4 seconds to reach 60 mph and will accelerate to a 134-mph top speed. Of course, it wasn't built to take down Nurburgring records, but it should be one of the fastest vehicles off the beaten path.

Featuring a 94.3-inch wheelbase, the diminutive off-roader is only 133.8 inches long, 73.2 inches wide, and 58.0 inches tall. The two-seater has been engineered to tackle some of the toughest terrain out there thanks to the 48-degree approach and 64-degree departure angles. It sits on 16-inch wheels with Yokohama Geolandar A/T 235/70R16 tires and uses Eibach coil springs at both axles.

As an optional upgrade over the Focus ST's six-speed manual gearbox, Ariel sells the Nomad 2 with a Quaife sequential transmission derived from the Atom 4 and Atom 4R. There's even a hydraulic handbrake as you get in drift and rally cars. As I was saying in the beginning, just three components come from the first-gen model: the steering wheel, pedal box, and fuel cap.

Matching the extra grunt enabled by the engine transplant, the new Nomad 2 has 40-percent large brakes. At an additional cost, Ariel takes the AP four-piston calipers and 290-mm vented discs from the Atom 4 and mounts them on all four wheels. Structural rigidity has been vastly improved as the torsional stiffness of the chassis is up by over 60 percent.

Options are aplenty, including 18-inch forged alloys and 16-inch beadlock wheels. A driver-adjustable ABS also costs extra and comes with selectable road and off-road settings. A so-called "bikini roof cover" provides UV protection, while the rear-mounted rack bolsters the practicality of this dedicated off-road machine.

Pricing starts at £67,992 ($87,000) in the UK before adding any of the 100+ options available.

Gallery: Ariel Nomad 2

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