Pioneer: What cant it do?
Theres rough terrain and
theres rough terrain. And
the RTT Pioneer vehicle
appears to handle them all.
Andy Collings tries out the
new go-anywhere machine
FIRST challenge when looking at the RTT Pioneer ATV is to imagine in what conditions it could not operate.
And then the second is to wonder what tasks it would be incapable of performing.
Spraying and fertiliser spreading are perhaps the first thoughts for the agriculturist – but there are more. It could be a highway maintenance vehicle for the amenity sector; high lift platform carrier for plant hire companies, a fire tender for the forestry industry; an ambulance for extreme rural areas – and so on.
Designed by RTT Design and now made under licence by low ground pressure vehicle specialist TJ Frazier, the RTT Pioneer is powered by a Land Rover 4-cylinder turbocharged and intercooled diesel engine rated at 111hp. Transmission comprises a Land Rover LT775, 5-speed box with hi/lo transfer and differential lock. Maximum road speed is 60mph.
A three-seater forward control vehicle, its carrying deck is 3.5m long and can carry a 3t load for a GVR of 5.7t.
Heavy duty coil springs, rubber cone helpers and hydraulic dampers at each corner are designed to keep each wheel in contact with the ground at all times – irrespective of changes in terrain.
Entry into the cab is one of the down points of the RTT – if you are more used to tractors, cars or, perhaps even buses. It calls for a high, almost hurdler-type step to achieve it. Having said that, closer scrutiny does reveal a small foot step which, if used, only serves to wrong-foot you for the final push into the cab. But, having said that, I could be totally dyslexic in the foot department.
Once in the cab, and the door slammed reassuringly shut, I am impressed by its space. No driver seat and two planks here – there are three comfortable seats spanning the width of the vehicle. Visibility is good too.
I have a testing course to take, one of steep climbs, steep descents and terrain littered with half-buried concrete blocks. It is a course which company boss, Tony Frazier, says he has failed to negotiate in his Range Rover Discovery.
Engaging first gear in low ratio with diff lock I set off. The foot throttle is responsive, as you would expect in this gear. First task is a 45í bank followed by an even steeper, off the cliff-like descent. No trouble, despite having an empty, almost weightless load platform.
I find a similar mountain, but this time the wet, saturated ground conditions beat us. Slithering to a steaming halt just short of the summit I make a dignified retreat accepting that even this vehicle has its limitations.
Over potholes, sometimes several feet deep, it was interesting to note that the suspension continued to place rubber on ground, helping to ensure that all were successfully negotiated.
And then for the high-speed test. It has to be said that gear selection on the test vehicle was not that smooth – the remote box to lever control suffering more than it should have – but, given the open road and 60mph, handling felt safe and secure. And there was power to spare.
Overall, Frazier could be on to a winner with the Pioneer. Its versatility in terms of application, its ability to cope with severe terrain conditions, and its high speed road capability should add up to an attractive package which many sectors will seriously consider. *
RTT PIONEER DETAILS
Cab 3-seater, forward control, tips for engine access.
Engine 2.5 litre Land Rover 111hp.
Transmission Land Rover 5-speed. Hi/lo ratios diff lock.
Tyres Michelin 335/80 R20.
Suspension Coil spring plus hydraulic dampers.
PTO Hydraulic or mechanical.