The Ariel Nomad R is the coolest no-nonsense crossover ever built

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Ariel Motor is one of the world’s smallest car manufacturers, but it produces some of the lightest and fastest sports cars you can buy. The Atom is the brand’s most iconic model, having been offered with a variety of engines, including a V-8 since the early 2000s. But Ariel also produced an off-road-oriented sports car. Called the Nomad, it’s essentially a road-legal buggy designed along the same principles as the Atom.

Available since 2015, the Nomad recently spawned an R version with road-biased tires. Ariel says it’s a tarmac rally car and the folks over at PistonHeads just got their hand on one to see if it’s as impressive as it sounds.

Just like the Atom, the Nomad R is as spartan as it gets. You’re basically riding in a roll cage, so there are no comfort features to talk about. It doesn’t come with driving aids either. The Nomad R is a pure sports car that will try to kill you if you lose control. As the driver points out, it’s easy to lose traction in any gear and it’s equally easy to lock the brakes. If you make a mistake, it’s up to you to fix it as no technology or system will get in the way. The Nomad R is as old-school as they get and it’s quite fun if you know what you’re doing.

Check Out This Review of the Insane Ariel Nomad R
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So what sets it apart from the regular Nomad? Well, it still features the higher suspension of Atom’s SUV-like car, but the tires are more road oriented.

It doesn't have the climbing capabilities of the standard Nomad, but it's grippier on tarmac and almost as quick and aggressive as the Atom.

It’s also more powerful than the regular Nomad, as the supercharged, 2.0-liter Honda engine packs a solid 340 horsepower. That’s a whopping 105 horses more than the Nomad’s standard 2.4-liter, naturally aspirated four-cylinder.

Check Out This Review of the Insane Ariel Nomad R
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The Nomad R is obviously a lot of fun to drive, but there’s one downside to talk about. Ariel made only five of them so you need a huge amount of luck to get your hands on one. They’re also priced from £77,400, a lot more than the regular Nomad.

2021 Ariel Nomad R - Specs
Engine inline-four, supercharged
Capacity 1998 cc
Power 340 hp at 7600 rpm
Torque 243 lb-ft at 5500 rpm
Gearbox Sadev six-speed, sequential
Kerb weight 670 kg/1477 lb
0-60 mph 2.9 seconds
Top speed 121 mph (can go up to 136 mph with different gearing)
Ciprian Florea
Senior Editor and Supercar Expert - ciprian@topspeed.com
Ciprian's passion for everything with four wheels (and more) started back when he was just a little boy, and the Lamborghini Countach was still the coolest car poster you could hang on your wall. Ciprian's career as a journalist began long before earning a Bachelor's degree, but it was only after graduating that his love for cars became a profession.  Read More
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