Top Gear America took utility to the extreme in a $250,000 “SUV.”
According to the manufacturer, it’s not actually a sport utility vehicle—it’s an all-terrain vehicle (ATV). Whatever you call it, SHERP the Ark 3400 is impressive. Earlier this year on Top Gear America, Jethro Bovingdon got to—throw?—one of these 10-wheeled beasts around when the guys were comparing $250,000 luxury SUVs in Colorado. Where SHERP (The SHERP? The SHERP the Ark? Our buddy, SHERPy? Mr. the Ark?) might be lacking in creature comforts, it does not lack in capability.
This go-anywhere, do-anything, overland work vehicle can haul up to 3,400 kg of cargo or 22 people over nearly any terrain imaginable. You might think, “What could it do without the trailer, though?” Buddy, that’s not a trailer. That’s a six-wheel-drive, multi-configurable cargo module that is responsible for 240 of the 330 gallons of fuel capacity and 3,000 kg of the total hauling capacity and allows for all those crazy, chassis-bendy shenanigans. (Jethro did technically wheelie off the line in that race against the CAT front-loader. )
The cab houses the driver plus three other passengers and the mighty Doosan D24 diesel engine that sends power to all ten 63-inch agricultural tires via a very simple, albeit heavy-duty, chain drive (there’s a driveshaft hidden inside that chassis coupling connecting front to back).
Diesel-Powered: Doosan 2.4L Turbodiesel Engine
That’s right, the SHERP is chain-driven. And the “mighty” Doosan D24 is actually a 2.4L inline-four turbodiesel engine making a whopping 74 hp and 236 lb-ft of torque connected to a five-speed manual transmission not unlike you would find in your average front-wheel-drive economy car. SHERP the Ark, with the people-mover module, weighs in at nearly 11,750 pounds, and a 2.4L turbodiesel moves it around?! The magic of torque multiplication through gear reduction.
That Doosan engine is a fuel miser and eco-friendly, too, meeting Tier 4 emissions standards and sipping a paltry 2 to 3 gallons per hour of fuel. Sure, the top speed is only 18.6 mph, but can a Lamborghini Urus float? It cannot, we promise—please don’t try. The Top Gear America guys had nearly $1,000,000 of uber-SUVs designed by some of the best engineers in the world, and they couldn’t handle a bit of melty snow. However, Mr. the Ark can float—even if those huge tires can’t hold air; SHERP the Ark lives up to its name and can scoot across the water at a comfortable 3.7 mph. The on-board airing system is capable of reinflating all 10 tires in minutes and can even block off individual tires in case they get damaged.
What Can SHERP The Ark Do, Anyway?
SHERPy can climb and descend 40-degree grades, manage 30-degree cross slopes, has 5 feet(!) of approach clearance thanks to that hydraulic, 3-axis chassis coupling and a range of 1,200+ miles. What do you do with this thing?! Ask Kanye West, he has 15 SHERPs. And the answer is anything; you do anything you want.
Want to climb a mountain? Sure. Lift the cab and use the cargo module like an anchor to cross an SUV-eating ditch? No problem. Circumnavigate the Arctic Circle? A Russian team of three SHERPs (just the cab portion) and one Ark (the 10-wheel big boy) successfully completed a 6,000-mile torture test in Siberia with no breakdowns or mechanical failures. Even if they did have a breakdown, the drivetrain is designed to be serviceable with hand tools.
Easy-To-Use Overland Work Vehicle
SHERP engineers even designed a weak point in the driveline at the transmission driveshaft coupling; meaning, the first part that could fail is inside the cab, easily accessible under a floor panel, replaceable with hand tools. SHERP the Ark was designed to be as robust and simple as possible, allowing users to access nearly any place on Earth. The Ark can operate in the most extreme of temperatures, easily handling minus-100-degree Fahrenheit temperatures and up to 104 degrees of heat. It may be a fun toy—Rich Benoit likes to take his through the drive-through—but these ultimate ATVs can deliver cargo or aid to the most inaccessible places imaginable.
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