Nestled in northern New Mexico's high desert, the town of Taos will enter the 2022 model year with two vehicles named after it. Volkswagen unveiled its Taos, a sub-Tiguan crossover, earlier in 2020, and an Italian heavy-duty truck manufacturer named Bremach plans to use the name on a variant of the Russian-built UAZ Patriot.
Bremach isn't a household name, even in Italy. It filed for bankruptcy in 2018, but its American division somewhat miraculously survived and has been collaborating with UAZ since. Both companies are eyeing a share of the lucrative off-roader market in the United States. Rather than aim for the segment's highest echelons, they'll disembark here with a pair of rugged, body-on-frame models that have proven their mettle globally.
With 8.26 inches of ground clearance, a 35-degree approach angle, and the ability to drive through nearly 20 inches of water without modifications, the Taos is marketed as a stout, old-school family hauler. It's reasonably common in rural Russia, where it's notably used by the military, and it's not a rare sight in many Eastern European countries. Time will tell if Siberia-tested means America-approved, however.
Visually, the Taos hasn't changed significantly since its introduction in 2005, and modifications made for its American launch are largely limited to market-specific emblems. Inside, it looks like it's built with much nicer materials than the model sold overseas, and it's better equipped. It is presented as a premium SUV, after all.
Power for the Taos comes from a 150-horsepower 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine. It spins the four wheels via a General Motors-sourced six-speed automatic transmission and a two-speed transfer case, though a manual transmission will be added to the list of options (pricing hasn't been set yet). Bremach points out most of the SUV's computer electronics and safety systems are provided by Germany's Bosch. Final assembly will take place in a facility located near Los Angeles, but it sounds like most of the parts will be imported from abroad.
Bremach will charge $26,405 for the 2022 Taos. Gaining a steady foothold in our market is easier said than done, and the firm plans to offer a five-year, 60,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty as well as a 10-year, 120,000-mile powertrain warranty to give buyers peace of mind. Franchised dealers will distribute the off-roader across the United States, and deliveries should begin at some point in 2021. Motorists who want to secure an early build slot can reserve the SUV by sending the company a refundable $100 deposit via its official website.
For the money, buyers will get 18-inch wheels, leather upholstery, heated front and rear seats, a seven-inch touchscreen for the infotainment system, plus an in-car Wi-Fi hotspot. An electronic rear locking differential provided by Eaton is optional, and owners can customize the SUV by adding a wide array of accessories.
Want a truck? Bremach has you covered, too. It will release a pickup named Brio that's based on the Taos and priced at $27,882. More information (including availability) about the model will be released in 2021.