7 of Russia’s Most Awesome Off-Road Vehicles
When it comes to 4x4’s here in the U.S., it’s safe to say that Jeep is king. But when you cross the globe and see what those wacky Russians have to offer—well, it’s a whole new world of ridiculous and wonderful off-road vehicles. These are seven of our favorites. RELATED: The 7 Best SUVs of the 80s
It may not bear the typical resemblance to any modern 4x4—but hey, this is Russia. We’ve covered the Sherp previously, and shown just how much of a miniature monster this thing can be. It’s boxy, it’s got big tires, and it can pretty much go anywhere and do anything.
The Sherp is powered by a 1.5-liter inline-4 turbodiesel. It only pumps out 44 horsepower, but no need to worry, it’s the gearing that really does the trick in the tough stuff. If you’re looking to get your hands on one, it'll only set you back $65,000.
Aton-Impulse Viking 2992
Its name may be a mouthful, but you best believe that the Aton-Impulse Viking 2992 is a no-nonense off-roader only Russia could build. It seats seven, and it looks like something we’d be driving in some post-apocalyptic society.
It was created in 2014, and features a teeny-tiny 82 horsepower engine to compliment its 3.3 ton curb weight. Top speed is a blistering 37 mph. But it’s not about speed, it’s about off-road ability—which it has in spade.
The Viking is able to negotiate a 38-degree slope and a 42-degree sideways tilt. It’s those giant tires and wide track that keep it grounded to the ground. If you need a Viking in your life, be prepared to dish out at least $200,000.
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Drawing inspiration from the Sherp, creators of the Burlak were inspired by the ruggedness of the tiny 4x4, and set out to create something even more ridiculous. It’s like a Sherp on steroids, with an extra axle and a taller ride height.
Unlike the Sherp, though, the Burlak’s owners have a big mission in mind for the rugged SUV. They want to take it to the South Pole–two of them, in fact. The excursion is set to take place in 2018.
The Lada Niva may not be as ridiculous or rugged as the previous entrants, but it’s a respectable set of wheels all its own.
Developed in 1977, the Niva has stood the test of time, cementing itself as one of the most rugged SUVs money can buy. Its designers called it “a Renault 5 put on a Land Rover chassis.”
Its been used commercially as an ambulance, a police car, and even a military vehicle because of its legendary ruggedness. But arguably its best use is on the rally stage, like the one pictured above.
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Looking at the UAZ 469, you might see some parallels with the original Willys Jeep. That’s understandable, because like the Willys Jeep, the 469 is a go-anywhere, do-anything military-built 4x4 that’s very easy to love.
It was originally developed in 1971 as a vehicle for Soviet and other European armed forces. It featured a 4-cylinder, 75-horsepower engine, and continued its usage in the Russian army until 2011.
In 1985, the military allowed for civilian purchases of these unique 4x4s. Though, if you’re looking to buy one today, you might want to opt for a pre-1985 version (see: military quality control).
UAZ 452 (Commercial)
Part minivan, part badass off-roader—the UAZ 452 is one of the most fun-looking 4x4s money can buy (in Russia). And even though production started in 1965, you can actually still buy them brand new today.
Like a few other Russian SUVs on this list, the 452 was developed mostly for military use. Civilians, though, could opt for a few different variants, including a “Farmer" or “Dropside" which ditches the third row in place of a covered tarp.
We have to put an asterisk next to this one. Though awesome and capable and perfect for this list, the KrAZ 214 is actually a Ukranian-built 6x4, but used heavily by the Soviet Union during the war. Who cares, just look at this thing.
Developed by KrAZ in 1956, it was created for “extreme operations,” whatever that means. Under the hood was a 6.8-liter diesel that gave the 214 a top speed of 55 mph, not that it mattered how fast it was going when it crashed through anything and everything in its path.
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