Test drive with the champion
For a serious off-road you need a serious driver. The captain of our test team was Evgeny Shatalov, organizer and participant of last year’s famous expedition Altai-Himalayas. Then, when crossing the southern end of the Ladakh ridge in the Himalayas, one of the cars climbed to a height of 5753 meters above sea level - the achievement is listed in the Guinness Book of Records.
The proposal to drive Patriot into impassable dirt, Eugene rejected immediately:
- Slush wandering - a test for tires. Our goal - slopes and ditches, where all the nodes of the SUV - and the engine, and suspension, and transmission - are fully operational.
Along the trampled rut, the car goes straight to the edge of the ravine; Eugene includes a lower gear and before I can ask if it is safe to poke from such a height, Patriot dives down. Fears are not in vain: the car does not slide down, but slides off, and so quickly that weightlessness occurs in the stomach.
“It used to be cooler here,” says Eugene. - Now they rolled it out, it became easy to ride.
The next obstacle is riding on a slope. It does not look too steep, but gradually the roll of the SUV increases, reaching 45 degrees. I see the sky in the right glass, my left hand rests on the driver's headrest, my knees lie limply on the handout lever.
“In fact, the car is on the verge of stability,” comments Eugene. “But there is no reason to panic.” I feel the moment of the coup well. In reality, such obstacles are very rare. But the owners of Patriot are active people, it is important for them to realize that the SUV has a large supply of cross-country ability, even if it is not in demand.
To take pictures, the photographer asks us to drive on a makeshift track more than one circle. Moreover, if the task of Eugene is to show the car in all its glory, then mine is to “plant” it. But the SUV confidently rolls forward, up, down, and I'm starting to get bored. It's too easy Patriot to cope with all the obstacles. To maintain tone, I provoke Eugene to make a mistake. Is it possible to stop on this descent? Is it possible to drive along this slope a little to the right, so that the photographer takes a spectacular shot? And we definitely need to stop when driving through the ditch … It worked! While the photographer was shooting, the ground crumbled under the wheels, and the car lay on the ground with its front axle. The wheels are hung diagonally, and the Patriot spits ground, not wanting to advance a centimeter. The situation is aggravated by the fact that in the complete set of the SUV we have, there are no differential locks. Eugene busily inspects the scene and comes up with a rescue plan. I, as the main instigator, get a cobblestone that I have to put under the slipping front wheel. Attempts with the tenth I succeed, and I go "to the gallery": now I will load the rear axle with its mass, standing on the bumper. And so that from now on I was not in the habit of “planting” other people's jeeps, Eugene makes me jump to the beat of his work with gas.
A pair of jerks back and forth and the wheels cling to the edge of the ditch, Patriot escapes from the trap. I get the final dose of thrills. In order not to fly off the narrow footboard on the rear bumper, I have to practically climb onto the roof, clutching my hands in the railing.
On and without roads
We return to the city, Eugene sums up:
- This car gives the owner a new degree of freedom. You can ride wherever you want, and not just where the road is laid.
I, in turn, notice that where the road is, the Patriot is surprisingly comfortable, it fits perfectly with the handling standards of passenger cars, and there is no feeling of military equipment in the cabin. However, the comparison with cars is clearly annoying Eugene, and in revenge for my statement, he drives two “speed bumps”, without taking his legs off the gas. Revenge succeeds: I almost fly off the back seat.
“That's why I like Patriot,” says Eugene. “I can do this as long as I want, and the car can take it.” He is designed for that.
Yes, the demonstration of miracles of patency was a success, and the Patriot looks impressive, and its unstoppable power unwittingly causes an influx of patriotic feelings.
Photo by Ilya KOSTIK
UAZ-Patriot. On a slope of stone rapids
UAZ Patriot. UAZ at 95%