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5 Of The Toughest Russian Off-Road Vehicles You Never Heard Of

Obscure Tough Russian Offroad Machinery That You Need To See!

We all know how sturdy and durable Russian vehicles are in general – especially those from the Soviet era. They might look awkward and unappealing, but no one can question their abilities. Modern era brought plenty of changes in overall design of the Russian vehicles, but their performance and capabilities have remained largely intact. Plus, there’s still a little bit of that peculiar touch which makes us recognize Russian car from mile away. Some things never seem to change.

Needless to say, most of Russian vehicles are highly capable off-roaders. This is such a vast country with some extremely rugged and highly inaccessible areas that this doesn’t really surprise us. Since Lada Niva is too conventional for us, we have decided to embark upon a quest of finding more conspicuous targets. This quintet of crazy Russian off-road vehicles are what we’ve come up with.

Russian Off Road Vehicles That You Haven’t Heard Of!


These all-terrain amphibious vehicles are characterized by their low pressure tubeless floating tires which are responsible for their extreme off-road capabilities. You can even run over a man without any consequences. In fact, similar tests have been conducted on factory workers. Crazy, isn’t it? TREKOL comes in couple of versions – 4-wheel coded 3445 and 6-wheel one with model name 39294. They are offered with either 2.4L gasoline or corresponding Hyundai D4BF turbodiesel engine and are able to reach the top speed of 50 mph. What they lack in speed, however, they compensate in their famous terrain conquering abilities and thermal insulated cabin which enables operation in extreme conditions from -60 °C to 60 °C (-76 °F to 140 °F). And the best thing its price starts from just north of $22,000.


SHERP looks rather silly since its huge self-inflated tires (63 inches in diameter) are basically larger than its cabin. Its off-road capabilities, on the other hand are anything but laughable. For starters, SHERP can easily scale obstacles up to 27.5 inches high, and you can only imagine what kind of approach and departure angles it has. It’s powered by a small Kubota 1.5L turbodiesel 4-cylinder engine which yields only 44 horsepower. That’s enough for top speed of close to 30 mph on land and almost 4 mph in the water. Thing is; SHERP will hit that speed in any given condition, on any given day and on any given terrain. Starting price is $65,000 for the base model, while Kung version costs $5,000 more and boasts a hard top roof.

Aton Impulse Viking

It all started with Aton Impulse’s Viking 2992 amphibian vehicle some 10 years ago. Aton Impulse now offers Viking 29031 which is a derivative of the former model, but they’re still very much alike. Viking is ideal for rescue missions on all types of terrain since it boasts excellent off-road capabilities and class-leading amphibious capabilities. After all, amphibious vehicles are Aton Impulse’s forte. Basic models are offered with Russian ZMZ-51432-10TD1 2.2L turbodiesel delivering 110 horsepower. More powerful versions use Ford‘s 2.0L DW10 turbodiesel with either 136 or 163 horses. Top speed is limited to 50 mph on land and extremely good 8 mph in the water thanks to rear-mounted water-jet propulsion. You can even adapt the ground clearance which ranges from 12 to 23.5 inches. Sadly, we haven’t been able to uncover its price, but it should be more affordable than any average Land Rover Defender – and more capable at the same time.

Avtoros Shaman

Thanks to its 8 wheels with low-pressure tires, Avtoros Shaman stands out as one of world’s most capable SUVs. 8 wheels by themselves aren’t what gives it all that off-road capability – but the fact that all of them can steer separately, and all four axles can be locked in a number of combinations – are. Iveco’s 3.0L turbo diesel with around 180 horsepower is what moves it, and Shaman can achieve top speed of 50 mph thanks to it. Avtoros Shaman is street-legal, at least in Russian Federation, and it costs around $130,000. That’s more expensive than most SUVs available in the States, but you just can’t put a sticker on Shaman’s capabilities.

ZiL Punisher

Given the fact it’s a military vehicle, the Punisher is fitting name for this bad ass off-roader. This troop carrier can fit 10 people, it’s bullet proof, and rather fast for its class – so to say. That’s because it’s powered by an 8-cylinder turbo diesel generating north of 700 horsepower. In full gallop, this massive troop carrier can achieve top speed of 93 mph. Not bad for 26,000-pound of steel. Not only that, but Punisher features contemporary V-shaped hull which makes it more resistant to explosions. Of all five Russian off-road beasts that have made this list, Punisher is also the only one unavailable to general public. Since you can’t buy it, there’s no need bothering about its price tag.

About Nikola Potrebić

Despite driving a piece of junk, Nikola still manages to survive the harrowing experience called "A road trip in a Yugo," day in, day out. On the other hand, precious few things move him as muscle cars do. Especially those from the bygone golden era, which makes him wonder why wasn't he born a few decades earlier? Well, at least he's been given the opportunity to enjoy the likes of the Pontiak Aztek, Chrysler PT Cruiser, Fiat Multipla, and other lovely millennials, right? Come to think of it, I'll stick with my Yugo. Thank you very much!