Automotive

UAZ Hunter offers up Russian-made roughness

The up-spec Hunter is still powered by the same engine as the entry level model
The up-spec Hunter is still powered by the same engine as the entry level model
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The UAZ Hunter uses rear drum brakes and a leaf spring rear suspension system
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The UAZ Hunter uses rear drum brakes and a leaf spring rear suspension system
Top speed in the petrol-powered Hunter is just 150 km/h
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Top speed in the petrol-powered Hunter is just 150 km/h
The car can be had in three trim levels, but this is the base model with its 16 inch wheels
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The car can be had in three trim levels, but this is the base model with its 16 inch wheels
Power is channeled to the ground through a five speed manual gearbox
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Power is channeled to the ground through a five speed manual gearbox
Moving up in the Hunter range gives you better underbody protection and a special Khaki color
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Moving up in the Hunter range gives you better underbody protection and a special Khaki color
The Victory-spec Hunter even has special graphics on the side to commemorate the car's heritage
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The Victory-spec Hunter even has special graphics on the side to commemorate the car's heritage
The up-spec Hunter is still powered by the same engine as the entry level model
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The up-spec Hunter is still powered by the same engine as the entry level model

With the massive range of compact four-wheel drives out there, you could be forgiven for thinking that every possible niche had already been filled. But you'd be wrong, because little known Russian brand UAZ is out there filling a gaping hole in the market: Soviet-style stripped back design with the Hunter.

Hunter buyers are offered a choice between two equally exciting engines. For people who want petrol power, there's a 2.6-liter motor putting out a fearsome 94 kW (128 hp) and 209 Nm. If that doesn't sound like much it's because, er, it's not, especially considering the petrol powered Hunter weighs in at 1,845 kg (4068 lb). Still, it's enough to shoot it to a top speed of 150 km/h (93 mph).

If you're keen on diesel power, UAZ offers up a 2.2-liter engine with 84 kW (114 hp) and 270 Nm between 1,800 and 2,800 rpm, enough for a top speed of 135 km/h (85 mph).

The power is put down through a part-time four wheel drive system and a five-speed manual gearbox.

It's not as if either is a firecracker, then, but that's not really the point.

Perhaps more relevant is the car's fuel economy. There's no new European Drive Cycle testing here, but UAZ does claim the petrol car uses 11.5 L/100 km (24.5 mpg) at 90 km/h (56 mph). The diesel is marginally more efficient, using 9.5 L/100km (29 mpg) at 90 km/h.

Moving up in the Hunter range gives you better underbody protection and a special Khaki color
Moving up in the Hunter range gives you better underbody protection and a special Khaki color

There are three trim levels available on the Hunter, ranging from the entry level Dymos with its 16-inch alloy wheels to the Trophy model, which sets itself apart with extra underbody protection for the gearbox, transfer box and steering linkages. In between is the Victory series, packing a special khaki color and graphics down the side of the car to celebrate its heritage.

As you'd expect of a car that looks like the Hunter, it's not sitting on a space-age suspension system. Up front, there's a dependent coil setup, while the rear axle sits on leaf springs. The brakes are similarly agricultural, with drums at the rear and discs up front.

So exactly who will be buying one? Well, the car's stripped back simplicity and 500 mm wading depth make it perfect for people looking for rugged dependability in developing countries.

UAZ doesn't offer up a list price online, but it does have distributors based in Mongolia, Laos, Czech Republic, Nicaragua and Vietnam.

Source: UAZ

12 comments
gizmowiz
Looks too skinny and tall and a huge rollover risk. Then too it's Russian made like the Yugo so what a laughter.
bobbejaan
Actually there really aren't a lot of 4x4's you would seriously consider for overland travel in the 3rd world. As far as new vehicles go, the list begins and ends with Toyota Land Cruisers. What I'm waiting to see is a rugged all electric 4x4 with a 1000 km range. There must be one on a drawing board somewhere..
YuraG
Having ridden in this and its siblings, I can assure you that a 40 y.o. Toyota LC is a way better that a new UAZ in all respects. This UAZ is only suitable for those craving for its form, its substance is too much pain for the price.
phydeaux
There is nothing exciting about a 128 hp engine in a 4068 lbs vehicle from a country who's products are not known for quality or dependability.
Daniel Stefanovic
It looks like Lada NIVA, so I think it can go where most of modern all-terrain vehicles stuck.
bergamot69
@gizmowiz, Actually, as the name indicates, Yugo cars were made in the former Yugoslavia- which was never a part of Russia. In regard to this vehicle, its crude technology (assuming its engine is as primitive as everything else) probably makes more sense in developing countries than most modern Japanese or Land Rover off-roaders- as it is probably designed (as Soviet era cars were) to be easily maintained with the minimum number of specialised tools- in fact most old-style Eastern Bloc cars came with a comprehensive tool kit which enabled the user to perform most basic servicing themselves. There probably aren't that many garages with computer diagnostic stations in Outer Mongolia, for example...
MD
Well, LandRover Exits with the Defender, maybe there is a Niche for a bare-bones 4x4, for those who need a box on 4 wheels here it is. The maximum Power Available isn't quite as important as the Power available (convertible to torque at the Axles) down low for rugged terrain, not negotiating the back streets of Chelsea.
AntonGully
In context, the original Willys Jeep, which is probably a closer design ethos than modern 4x4s, weighed about half that with about a 50-60HP engine, IIRC.
Grunt
The Hunter is what it is and there will undoubtedly be a following for it. It's a bonus if they have managed to avoid computers, electronics and other sundry nonsense which inevitably make modern vehicles virtually un-maintainable in the backwoods.
owlbeyou
It all depends on the price. A cheap and dependable 4x4 for those countries is ideal. In case any of you are wondering: XAHTEP is phonetic for HUNTER in Russian.