A Russian SUV, in America, imported by a bankrupt Italian truck manufacturer, and sharing a model name with an upcoming Volkswagen crossover? This is going to take a little explaining, but first, you’re looking at the 2022 Bremach Taos, an SUV that the company wants to sell in America for just under $27,000.
Under the fresh-start rebranding, the Taos is really a UAZ Patriot—something novel to us, perhaps, but old hat to the Russians. The Patriot has been on sale since 2005. It’s a simple body-on-frame SUV, with chunky styling and angular headlights that vaguely recall the contemporary Suzuki Vitara. Like the Jeep Wrangler, the Taos features solid axles front and rear—a boon for off-roading, but not the most sophisticated or comfortable arrangement for on-road duties. As you’d expect for a vehicle with old-school axles, there’s a real four-wheel-drive system with a two-speed transfer case. Its 108.0-inch wheelbase splits the difference between the two- and four-door Wranglers.
A 2.7-liter inline-four making 150 hp is the only available engine. It’s shared with the Patriot. Alas, the diesel version sold in Russia doesn’t appear to be making the leap across the pond. The transmission is a Punch 6L50 Powerglide automatic, a six-speed unit. If the “Powerglide” moniker got your attention, that’s because the Punch Group purchased a General Motors transmission plant in France that churns out six- and eight-speed units for sale to other companies, including UAZ, which only recently put the unit in its Patriot.
Inside, it’s … spartan, if we’re being charitable. Photos reveal huge expanses of unadorned, presumably hard plastic, molded into simple, generic shapes. No one expects a premium experience in a vehicle like this, and if go into the Taos with that mindset, you won’t be disappointed. There’s seating for five, at least, and even ISOFIX child seat anchors. Bremach promises a range of optional equipment, including differential lockers, an air suspension, blind-spot monitors, and an “Expedition Package” with an integrated winch and roof rack.
And what about Bremach’s bankruptcy? The Italian truck manufacturer had been producing rugged commercial trucks for decades but folded in 2018. Its American arm survived and has partnered with UAZ after discussions with other automakers, including some in China, for a vehicle to import and sell in the U.S. That said, the Taos itself is still apparently in the process of getting all its necessary regulatory approvals—we’ve reached out to Bremach to get a better sense of where the Taos is in this process. And we’re wondering how Volkswagen feels about the name, too.
Provided everything goes according to Bremach’s plan, the Taos will go on sale in 2021, and a pickup counterpart called the Brio will join it later with a slightly higher price tag. Bremach is currently taking refundable deposits for those interested in its little off-roader.
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