700 DIESEL TRV HOMOLOGATED
Sizeable American-made diesel developed for the military. Twin-cylinder watercooled 700cc engine, stepless belt drive. Expensive, well-equipped. £7,250 + VAT.
Our rating: 2nd=
Looks, build quality ++++
Good looker with wide, aggressive stance. Nicely made, good finish and detailing.
Equipment, cost +++
Extensive kit list includes a locking front diff, Warn winch and passenger seat. Also standard is a quick-detachable rack system, plus the ability to swap between a second seat, back rack or cargo box.
Engine runs on up to 20% biodiesel. It’s homologated for road use so no extra road-legal equipment is needed.
High-capacity racks and an extended towbar help in daily work, as do the low fuel filler and generous towing capacity. Other plusses are the exemplary gearshift, the potential to take a mate and the clear digital dash.
But it needs more covered storage – there’s just a small box under the seat that’s useable only if the toolkit is removed. And don’t biff the bodywork – the wheelarches aren’t replaceable.
In fieldwork, the auto transmission and a close-governed engine will make nailing a set forward speed tricky.
The big Lombardini diesel is strong on torque but power rolls of quickly towards higher revs. Speed topped out at 28mph with a 330kg trailer where the petrol opposition had muscle to spare.
Yet performance is fine for day-to-day use and will seldom be limiting, thanks in part to a good low range. And although the engine is slow to gain and lose revs, it does feel unbreakable.
Fuel consumption +++
Third on test, behind the petrol Honda. But it runs on red diesel.
No worries on the disc setup’s performance or feel. Fine engine braking extends to reverse.
Ride, comfort, noise ++++
The engine is quiet and smooth once warm – better than some of the petrols – but the transmission whines at speed. The long wheelbase and long-travel independent suspension serve up a civilised ride but the throttle spring is too stiff for all-day work.
Handling and steering ++++
A big, stable platform with medium-weight steering and a reasonable turning circle. Limited shimmy over ruts.
Convenient dipsticks for engine and transmission are reached through upper bodywork. Coolant tank is under a front wheel arch, visible until covered in mud. Battery is at rear with access so-so.
Weighted score 3.47. At last, a capable diesel in a very agreeable wrapper. Expensive, but economy means payback won’t take long for hard users.