The Tatra Jamal is a three-axle truck with conventional cab configuration which is available as a tipper or construction dump designed to tackle the most difficult construction sites.
This vehicle is part of the heavy duty category engineered for off-road operation and off-road transport of loads. The truck’s body volume is 14 m3 with a payload of approximately 24 t. The Jamal can be also driven or public roads, but the signaling lights must be permanently on.
Powered by a 12 litre, air cooled, turbocharged V8, 440 hp diesel engine the Jamal has the potential to deal with the biggest payloads and the hardest working conditions without backing down.
In the trucking industry, the design is the last thing that matters when someone decides to buy a truck. However, some of the European manufacturers have started to add more attention to this insignificant detail, but not Tatra.
Tatra was always about rugged, solid and bullet proof quality and the exterior style was never on top of its priorities.
As a result, the Jamal looks as rugged as it can be and its exterior style is pretty different than anything else in the segment. Firstly, it features a cab over engine configuration (uncommon for a European manufacturer) which is combined with a long and unusual “nose” which reminds us of a fox face.
The chunky grille is a bit too small and don’t do justice to the massive cabin, but we like the raked hood which improves the straight road visibility.
The bumper features a solid construction and it’s fitted with big, circular headlights which look a bit out of place and don’t do anything to make you forgot about the odd appearance of the vehicle.
But despite its strange shape, the Tatra Jamal is very practical, offering large opening doors, convenient footsteps and a generous ground clearance. The hood can be tilted and thus ensures easy access to the engine. The hood it’s made of laminate with an inner steel plate cover which reduces noise penetration and enables warm air to escape from the engine.
Given the huge ground clearance, access inside could prove to be a bit difficult, but you can rely with confidence on the ergonomically steps and the well placed grab handles.
Once inside you are greeted by a highly utilitarian cab were style was obviously left behind for the sake of practicality.
Fortunately, the materials have a bullet proof build quality and everything inside looks ready to go in the middle of the most arduous working sites and came back without breaking a nail. It’s true that the build quality isn’t as refined as the German off-road heavy duty trucks but every fitting seems solid enough to endure severe punishment without backing down.
The robust cabin is combined with an intuitive layout for all the controls fitted in the center stack which is also angle towards the driver improving the ergonomy.
The steering wheel is a bit too big for our tastes and it’s also thinner than expected, but at least it can be adjusted for both reach and rake, thus adding a big nice “plus” in the driver’s comfort department.
Talking about comfort, the Jamal’s seats are flat and also a bit hard, but they offer satisfactory side bolstering which will keep you in place when the truck is sailing over harsh and bumpy terrains.
There are also a few storage places “thrown” here and there, so you won’t have any complains about this aspect either.
Engines and transmissions
The Tatra Jamal is equipped with turbocharged eight-cylinder, V type, air-cooled TATRA engines with direct fuel injection. The engines are offered in Euro 2, Euro 3 and Euro 4 versions but there is also a unit that meets the latest Euro 5 emission norms, thanks to the use of Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) technology.
The strongest V8 engine develops 436 hp with 2250 Nm of torque which is more than enough to carry massive amounts of loads without breaking a sweat.
The engines are combined with a 14 gears transmission with five speeds coupled to a two-gear reduction box, all with synchromesh, with the exception of reverse and ultra low speed gears. These drive independent air assisted leaf sprung swing axles with optional lockable axle or inter axle differentials, with a part time front axle drive facility.
Tatra Jamal Engine Specifications
| Engine ||hp @ rpm || Nm @ rpm ||Emissions|
| V8 || 436 @ 1800 || 2100 @ 1100 ||Euro 5|
Ride and handling
The Tatra Jamal has outstanding off road abilities and thanks to its heavy duty axles it can be driven on all sorts of terrains without too much drama. On the less difficult terrain it can absorb even the biggest bumps with ease, so the ride it’s not affected.
At the front axle the truck is equipped with torsion bars and telescopic shock absorbers, while the rear axles feature conventional leaf spring with up to 16.5 t per axle, depending on the model.
Thanks to the backbone frame with independently suspended swinging half-axles together with the directly air-cooled, highly reliable and powerful engine and the combined suspension system with mechanical springs and air bellows the truck’s driving qualities are nothing short of excellent regardless of the terrain conditions.
The Tatra Jamal deserves a placed among the most solid off road trucks in the business. It features an unbeatable build quality which is combined with V8 power and an unstoppable all wheel drive that helps it conquer the most difficult terrains without any fuss. The driver comfort however was a bit left behind, as the cabin could’ve been more ergonomically designed.