EVEN THE company that once boasted you can’t get better than a Kwik Fit fitter might struggle to change a tyre on Russia’s latest all-terrain vehicle.
The Sherp ATV boasts four, huge self-inflating tyres that are as nearly as high as its driver and arranged so close on each side of the vehicle, they almost touch. The 1.6m-tall custom-made, low-pressure tyres are the reason the vehicle, designed by Russian engineer Alexei Garagashyan, who is based in St Petersburg, is said to climb over obstacles as high as 70cm. It can wade through deep water, too, thanks to devices that allow the body to drain very quickly.
However, the Sherp ATV is no leviathan. Measuring just 3.4m in length and weighing only 1300kg, the four-wheel-drive super-SUV is considerably shorter and lighter than a Range Rover Evoque. It can squeeze between obstacles just 2.5m apart and, because its wheels can lock like a tank’s tracks, turn in its own length.
While the Evoque has a powerful 2.0-litre diesel engine, the Sherp ATV makes do with a Japanese designed Kubota 1.5-litre diesel producing 44bhp. As a result, it’s maximum speed is just 28mph on land and 3.7mph in water. However, given the sort of work and terrain the Sherp ATV is likely to encounter, that’s probably fast enough.
The Sherp ATV has room for two occupants who control it using levers to steer, accelerate and slow down. It’s finished with a tough polymer coating, and options include a high-power generator, a light bar and a trailer.
There are two versions. With its tent-like roof, and lack of wipers and even a heater, the Standard, which costs $65,000 (£45,000), makes a Dacia Duster Access look like a luxury vehicle. The more expensive Kung has a hard-top and costs $70,000 (£48,000).
Garagashyan claims the Shep ATV could be used for transporting engineers or rescue teams to out of the way places. We won’t disagree with that.