One place where American car buyers aren’t spoilt for choice is midsize SUVs—true body-on-frame vehicles, not crossovers. The likes of the Nissan Xterra are all but gone, and the cheapest alternative we have today is the four-door Jeep Wrangler Unlimited, which starting at $34,165 isn’t exactly thrifty. Those seeking a small, rugged SUV, though, may be intrigued by an option from Russia with love; the 2022 Bremach 4×4 SUV, which starts at just $26,405 before delivery.
The Bremach undercuts the Wrangler so far by seemingly circumventing the Chicken Tax, with CarScoops reporting the SUV is assembled in Southern California. Bremach claims its SUV is “specifically engineered for, and only available in, America,” though its partner UAZ (a Russian automaker) produces a suspiciously similar-looking SUV called the Patriot. That’d date the Bremach to about 2005, though as the entire brand identity of Jeep would have you know, what’s old ain’t inherently bad.
Jeep is an appropriate comparison, seeing as Bremach’s SUV comes in almost exactly the size of a Wrangler Unlimited, being almost exactly as long, an inch wider, and five inches taller. Front coil and rear leaf springs suspend its frame over solid axles front and rear, giving the Bremach modest ground clearance of just 8.3 inches.
Power comes from a 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine, producing 154 horsepower and 173 pound-feet of torque, which are amplified by either a standard six-speed automatic from the Chevy Colorado or an optional five-speed manual. The rest is up to the electronic two-speed, four-wheel-drive transfer case, which boasts a 2.542:1 low-range ratio and a locking Eaton rear axle. Up to 1,157 pounds can be stowed aboard as payload, or 3,306 off it on a trailer. At 13 mpg city and 24 highway, gas mileage isn’t exceptional, and it won’t improve with the pending addition of a V8 option—not that mileage is a chief concern to anyone driving a V8 midsize SUV.