Bremach Taos: Rugged, honest UAZ Patriot 4×4 coming to the USA

When it comes to new vehicles, enthusiasts clamor for two things: Cheap sports cars, and honest off-roaders. The former is covered, more so now than in quite a while. The Miata stands strong. The Subaru/Scion/Toyota BRZ/FRS/GT86 trio has become common. And a new Z-car is on the horizon. But when it comes to legitimate four-by-fours, the options are slim. And even more so when you factor in the “inexpensive” request.

Consider this: Even in the age of the average vehicle selling around $36k, the Wrangler is pricey. And gets very pricey, fast. You can get into one for around $30k, but you can also option one to well over $60k. $35k gets you in the door at Toyota, but the 4Runner you want is in the $40-50k range. Nissan stopped selling the Xterra years ago, though still offers the Armada in the middle price bracket. And a Land Cruiser? All of $85-90k. A G-Wagen is deep into the $100k-figures. And yes, yes, the Bronco is on its way. But, shockingly, that about covers it for BOF 4x4s on sale in the USA today.

Sure, there’s a collection of others that claim hardcore off-roadability. The slew of Range Rovers come to mind. So does the Bronco Sport. And the Grand Cherokee. And all of the other Trailhawk-named Jeeps with their easily identifiable red tow hooks.

Though modern crossovers can be quite capable off-pavement, they’re not quite at the same level of capability as are their true, body-on-frame (or at least even transfer-case-bearing) brethren. Yes, a Grand Cherokee will go places most would never imagine. But a Wrangler will still go further. If not for the way it’s constructed, then for what its design allows to be added afterward.

It also bears mentioning that many of the most capable vehicles today are able to claim such thanks largely to computers. Land Rover, for example, is the king of this. The new Defender is a marvel of modern technology. And will, unquestionably, be more difficult to repair than an older Defender. Not to mention, harder to work on due to the electronics involved. Needless to say, the simple four-by-four is a thing of the past. The 4Runner and Wrangler are as close as it gets.

All of this leaves an opening for a new vehicle to enter the market. Currently, on sale as the UAZ Patriot, this is the introduction of a new-for-the-USA four-wheel-drive SUV that could capitalize on a segment that has, as of late, begun to disappear. It’s a return to form for what we used to know of the rough-and-tough four-by-fours. Built on a body-on-frame construction, it has the bones of a real 4WD vehicle. A two-speed transfer case is standard, and a locking rear differential is an option. As is a manual transmission. It (or 6-speed auto) will be mated to a 150-hp, torque-figure-unavailable four-cylinder gas engine.

On the tech front, UAZ/Bremos has come out swinging. A 7″ touchscreen, backup camera, LED DRLs, front and rear heated leather seats, and a heated steering wheel all come standard. So does an air-conditioned glovebox, WiFi hotspot, Bluetooth, and so on. Off-Road mode, Hill Hold Control, and more are there from the get-go.

The company is serious about its SUV’s off-road chops. The specs might not be as strong as some other offerings, but they’re stout. The Taos/Patriot has 8.26″ of ground clearance, 19.68″ of water fording ability, a 35-degree approach angle, and a 30-degree departure angle. All of which can be improved with the optional accessories, of which there are aplenty: Snorkel, bumpers, winches, and even lift kits will be available from the selling dealerships.

I don’t doubt for a second that there will be skepticism about a Russian-backed vehicle and its merits when it comes to data broaching. We discussed this on the Off the Road Again Podcast and there is definitely a bit of a question regarding this. The other major question is the powertrain. It’s not big power and it’s not extremely futuristic. It just kind of is. But for the off-road community, it’ll suffice. The same goes for its intended purpose.

If nothing else, it reminds me of the selection of 4x4s from the 1990s and 2000s. Isuzu Trooper, Nissan Xterra, Mitsubishi Montero, and so on. Simple, honest, rugged, and, relatively, cheap. It might not, and likely never will be, a huge sales hit, but supposedly it’s going to be on sale here. And for that, we should be excited. Now we all just have to put our money where our mouths are and actually buy the damn thing.

17 Comments

      1. Inconclusive.
        And what about Bremach’s bankruptcy? The Italian truck manufacturer had been producing rugged commercial trucks for decades but folded in 2018. Its American arm survived and has partnered with UAZ…

        Maybe I’ve been hanging around mdharrell too much, but buying an obscure vehicle from an Italian company that’s got a spotty history of staying in the North American market? You had me at ‘orange’.

        https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/bb0bcc1fd8733da9b530df5fa58bf8ac844ebc6e8782198874845b426250c8e2.jpg

      2. Inconclusive.
        And what about Bremach’s bankruptcy? The Italian truck manufacturer had been producing rugged commercial trucks for decades but folded in 2018. Its American arm survived and has partnered with UAZ…

        Maybe I’ve been hanging around mdharrell too much, but buying an obscure vehicle from an Italian company that’s got a spotty history of staying in the North American market? You had me at ‘orange’.

        https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/bb0bcc1fd8733da9b530df5fa58bf8ac844ebc6e8782198874845b426250c8e2.jpg

      1. Well that’s a bummer, because the one in the photo is a stick. It figures that lazy America would only import it with an automatic. I’d have to pass on it, despite the appealing slab-like design.

        EDIT: I just read an Autoblog article that says a manual (not sure which one) will be available as an option.

      2. Well that’s a bummer, because the one in the photo is a stick. It figures that lazy America would only import it with an automatic. I’d have to pass on it, despite the appealing slab-like design.

        EDIT: I just read an Autoblog article that says a manual (not sure which one) will be available as an option.

  1. Lada Niva or bust!

    Mind you, there’s no chance of a 43-year old tin can passing modern crash test standards. This looks appealing enough, although at an apparent 4600lbs, a little chunky. I also initially thought it was more Chevy Tracker sized, but I guess it’s closer to Equinox? At least I assume it’s simple enough that should a bit of surveillance be a concern, there can’t be too much to worry about other than swapping head units.

    https://offroadium.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/lada-niva-jump.jpg

    1. When the Patriot came out, which is also ages ago, mind you, the Russian press let it win over the Niva or 4×4 countless times. There was even an article of them travelling across most of Central Asia in three Russian made 4×4’s, and the Patriot, the only one to not break down, won that one, too. That article was moved behind a paywall eventually, but the photos were awesome.

      1. I’ve never seen one (except in photos), the only way I can see these things really taking off-or making money in the US, would be to have a small fleet (fleet maybe 20), driving the US, out on the trails, etc., giving test drives answering questions etc.. It is easy to say “tough” it is tougher to demonstrate toughness. With that said, if these 4x4s turn out to be tough, and are built to last, for the MSRP they’d pushing, I think they’ll sell a “*&^(pot” full. In any case, they may have the effect of keeping the other mfg’s prices in check. I have zero doubt if the Troller were for sale in the US, I’d buy one. After for bought Troller (one no BS tough Off Road 4×4), they [ford] suddenly ‘designed” a revolutionary new vehicle, the Bronco! Automatic trans-okay for soccer moms, but for an Off Road, vehicle give me a manual-If I were to give any advice to these guys, I’d say, “Do not drop the manual, even before you start selling….” Let’s face it, these guys aren’t going to knock off Jeep in year one, two, or three, they’ll be selling to budget minded off road user, these guys love manuals.

  2. This is certainly not my thing, but I do wish them luck. It be nice to see some more variety in the US market.

  3. While the one test result I can find for it shows the thing crashing decently, it seems like there is very low chance this will get anything approaching satisfactory marks in a crash test in the US as the testing equipment appears to be drastically different in height/composition. That is, if it even can be reasonably made to comply with our standards for equipment or emissions. Also, it was withdrawn from sale in Europe coming up on a decade ago for a reason.

    The manual is probably a license built unit from Hyundai, which means it could easily be an old Chrysler unit from the mid 90s.

  4. This is one of those – it depends – buys. I am fairly comfortable with the specs and I don’t have a problem buying Russian per se. My concern is parts availability. You’re not going to get ball joints or a new clutch from RockAuto. Radiator hose? Fan belt? What if Aunt Betty gets drunk again and backs into it in the driveway like she did with cousin Phil’s Buick? Can you get a fender and control arms?

    You are going to be dependent on the dealer and he is going to be dependent on his supply chain. Will UAZ be maintaining a U.S. warehouse? The lack of a domestically-stored stockpile of parts was a huge problem for people foolish enough to buy French cars in the early 60’s and more recently for people who bought certain Korean major appliances from a specific company (not LG) only a few years ago. If the part you need is not already in the U.S., you can just whistle until the order gets to the home office, picked up from the factory, put on a ship, clears customs, and eventually gets sent by USPS to your dealer who will certainly call you instantly.

    So I am maybe a third year buyer, if the omens are good by then.

    1. Everything you say is correct, and everything you say will be taken into consideration by most people who would even show the slightest signs of serious interest in this car. That is why it is so hard to penetrate a new marked.

      Most Jalopniks want to be used car buyers, but moan about the lack of options they won’t buy new either. It’s not that I disagree with or mock them, I’m in the same line, but it’s a difficult conundrum to solve.

      Can they survive three years of barely any sales?

  5. If someone figures out how to put a v8 in these for $30,000, there will be a line around the block for years. Especially with a manual transmission and shift on the fly 4wd.

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