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Is Ariel the coolest carmaker on the planet? It's increasingly looking that way.

They only make one actual car, the Atom, but it's a belter. And it's going to b
e joined in the range by this, the Nomad.
OK, so it's not a car in the traditional sense. Yet it's still somehow recognisa
bly an Ariel. And an outrageously fun-looking one, at that.
It's described by Ariel as "a modern buggy designed for the rough and tough of t
he wild but just as home in the city". The thought of commuting in a Nomad strik
es us as a strangely irresistible one.
It's shorter than a Renault Twingo, while at 670kg, it's around 200kg heavier th
an an Atom, but it's still little more than half the weight of a Ford Fiesta.
At its heart is a Honda-sourced 2.4-litre four-cylinder VTEC engine, here tuned
to produce 235bhp at 7,200rpm, while serving up 221lb ft of torque, which is mor
e than you'll find in the bonkers-fast BAC Mono.
The result is a 0-60mph sprint of 3.4 seconds and a 136mph top speed. We can't p
ossibly describe the engine as well as Ariel puts it in its own bumf. "Be it cra
wling over rocks, executing that Scandinavian Flick at full throttle or just pow
ering away from the lights, this engine delivers." Has there ever been a more ex
citing sentence in car advertising material?
It's a proper thing, the Nomad, with its bronze-welded steel tube chassis struct
ure, outboard suspension - with big-brand craftsmanship from Bilstein, Eibach an
d hlins - and some brilliantly fat, knobbly tyres. There's even a winch on the op
tions list. The gearbox is a delightfully uncomplicated six-speed manual.
It looks like a remote-control buggy made real, and its 71 approach and 82 departu
re angles make a Land Rover Defender look small-time. Ariel talks up its track a
bility, and you can have a GPS data logger and MSA-approved fire extinguisher, b
ut in truth it's on rally stages and across deserts where the Nomad will really
shine. Expect plenty of amateur Dakar entries to come off the back of its arriva
l...
So says Ariel's Henry Siebert-Saunders, head of Nomad development: "Competition
has always been an ambition for the Nomad since Day 1 of the project, and, like
the Atom, we know from experience that it directly improves the breed. It's earl
y days, but I want to see Nomads competing in as many forms of motorsport as pos
sible, from local club racing to international level."
We've not wanted a go in anything quite as much since the 6x6 Mercedes G63 AMG.
And happily this is considerably cheaper, starting at around 30,000. The ability
to completely personalise it - wheels ranging from 15 to 18 inches are just the
tip of the iceberg - could quickly bounce the price up, mind.
Over to you, then. Is there anyone cooler than Ariel right now?