Arctic Truck AT35 On Manoeuvres
Andy Harris, Motoring and Property Editor
Sales of pick-up trucks in the UK continue to rise and what a choice we now have.
Even prestige manufacturer Mercedes-Benz has now got in on the act with its new X-Class, broadly based on Nissan’s Navara but with a suitably upmarket twist.
At the other end of the scale sits the Isuzu D-Max, which is fairly and squarely aimed at the working owner with high expectations.
Those seeking the ultimate in pick-up trucks will doubtless have already heard of Arctic Trucks. They work with many of the pick-up manufacturers to produce vehicles that can take on the toughest and most demanding conditions in far flung places such as Scandinavia and Iceland.
On test here is the latest version of the AT35, based on the aforementioned D-Max – a great place to start.
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The raised load bed is well shaped and can hold up to a one tonne payload and those who need to tow will find even the biggest trailers an easy pull (3.5 tonne towing capacity).
I’ve sampled the rather notchy manual gearbox in a more humble D-Max and was delighted to find that the test car came equipped with the optional automatic transmission. A mostly smooth operator, I find off-road driving much easier with just two pedals and back on terra firma there are no demerits other than a greater thirst for fuel.
Equipment count is high so expect to find keyless entry and push button start, a 7-inch multifunction touchscreen, DAB radio, Apple Car Play and satellite navigation. Leather adorns the seats, which are heated for the driver and front seat passenger.
There is plenty of Arctic Truck badging; headrests, carpet mats and door sill covers, lest you forget what you are driving.
I hoped my week with the AT35 would coincide with some wintery weather and I wasn’t disappointed. Whilst not exactly Arctic conditions, I had ample opportunity to drive on untreated icy rural roads and where others slithered, the truck gamefully soldiered on without fuss.
Seeking a sterner challenge, I traversed some boulder-strewn green lanes where not even tractors had recently ventured. Too easy.... My only slight hiccup came when descending from the mountains. A familiar track which I have used quite often without drama, I hadn’t reckoned on the Arctic Truck’s considerable girth. I came within inches of getting stuck, which would have necessitated a very long uphill reverse.
Suffice to say a Yorkshire winter was unable to offer up a stern enough challenge for the pickup. Perhaps an invite to Iceland may beckon?
However, it is no good being a one trick pick-up pony and excelling in extremis if more humble driving conditions are a chore. I drove the previous generation AT35 to Wales and back and did not enjoy the motorway part of the journey.
Cross winds seem to upset the equilibrium and a gentle 65mph seemed the optimum cruising speed.
This time a launch in Lincoln beckoned and much to my delight the updated model is a far more adept motorway companion. With the cruise control set at a tad over 70mph, the truck was a comfortable and refined place to be. Wind and road noise were reasonably muted and the instability I encountered previously had been banished. I ended my three hour journey relaxed and ready for my launch duties.
Arctic Trucks quote 36.2mpg for the combined cycle and when sedately cruising I was able to break 30mpg.
In more local running this dropped considerably.
Choosing manual gears should improve matters by around 10%, but I wouldn’t!
So how much does all this load-carrying loveliness cost? The list price including VAT is a heady £45,535 and there are 32 Arctic Truck dealers keen for your business.
Few of us are likely to need such a capable vehicle as an AT35. A regular D-Max is quite likely to suffice. However, the longer time you spend with the AT35, the more it gets under your skin. I have no specific use for such a hardcore vehicle but can honestly say I would have one like a shot and judging by the admiring glances I got on my travels, I am not alone.
Arctic Truck AT35
Price £37,995 CVOTR
164PS 1.9-litre turbodiesel engine
Combined economy 40.4mpg (manual), 36.2 (auto)
CO2 Emissions from 192g/km
Payload 1 tonne
Towing capacity 3.5 tonnes
Arctic Truck AT35 On Manoeuvres, 22nd January 2018, 9:56 AM