The UTV is a workhorse on many rural properties, but the asking prices — $15,000 to $30,000 — cause some farmers to baulk. So imported Japanese micro-trucks or conversions of more mainstream vehicles are gaining ground.
Recently spotted in the UK, the Terramax is built by TP4x4 using the venerable Suzuki Jimny as the donor vehicle; it came about from a request from a fencing contractor wanting to carry materials over soggy ground.
Donor vehicles are prepared by stripping to bare chassis, then sanding and treating with anti-corrosion materials to prolong the vehicle life.
The rear half of the cabin gets chopped to make way for the load bed and a new twin-skinned rear bulkhead with a full-width window. Steel is the preferred choice in this area, mainly for strength, but also as it allows seat belt mounts to be retained and strengthened for warrant purposes.
The running gear also gets an overall, with bearings, king-pins and seals being replaced, and the option to upgrade to an all-round disc brake conversion for increased stopping power.
As reassembly begins, customers get the choice of a 50 or 75mm suspension lift, while front wheel arches are remodelled to take flotation tyres and each corner gets pro-comp shocks and hefty 400kg rated springs.
During the rebuild, electrics are given a good going over, with surplus items removed, while remaining items get routed through chassis rails for increased durability. At the same time, the rear end gets LED lighting and dedicated accessory feeds are fitted for spots, winches and slug pelleter.
The rear load bed has a drop-down tailgate, cushioning for the locking-pins and a good coat of anti-corrosion paint.
For those looking to tackle the tougher stuff, there are options for winches HD transfer cases and air-locking 4x4 systems.
While normally focusing on conversion of the petrol engine 1.3L VVTI models, the business has converted some diesels sourced from France in left-hand drive but is now looking at fitting another French-sourced diesel, and is looking at mating this to the Jimny’s running gear.