It needs a rifle rack for an M1 Garand or a BAR, I thought. Or maybe a mount in the back for a ‘Ma Deuce’ .50-caliber machine gun.
At first glance, the ROXOR looked like a World War II Jeep with a fancy, new paint job. After a couple of outings with it, I walked away thoroughly impressed: Here’s a vehicle that combines oldschool simplicity and rugged, quality construction with modern engineering. It’s an off-road vehicle suitable for both hard work and good-time adventures. And, if you’ve ever considered a vehicle for bug-out transportation for use during devastating times—one with a lineage that includes withstanding the rigors of a world war—the ROXOR would seem to qualify.
WHAT IS IT?
If the ROXOR reminded me of a World War II Willys Jeep, it was no accident. Mahindra of India licensed the rights to the Willys Jeep design and has been building them for more than 70 years. Mahindra Automotive North America now assembles the updated ROXOR in its Auburn Hills, Michigan, plant.
While it looks as if it could be equally at home on pavement, the ROXOR is strictly for off-road use. It has no turn signals, air bags or other accoutrements necessary to qualify it for highway use. The ROXOR is positioned to compete with side-by-side utility task (or terrain) vehicles (UTVs), such as those from Polaris, Honda and John Deere.
It might not be as nimble as a side-by-side sport model (such as the Polaris RZR), but the ROXOR has some distinct advantages, especially when it comes to handling tough jobs.
For one, while many UTVs are simply upscaled recreational models that use rubber belts in their transmissions, the ROXOR, like the Willys Jeep before it, is really a downscaled truck. The ROXOR has a fully boxed, ladder-constructed steel frame and steel body. It has an automotive transmission and a four-cylinder, 2.5-liter turbo diesel engine powering it. It has 16-inch wheels and off-road radial tires. And, it can tow 3,490 pounds.
HOW CAN I USE IT?
For people who love the outdoors and have a “be prepared” mindset, finding ways to use the ROXOR is limited only to the imagination.
Use it to haul building materials for that hunting shack or bug-out retreat you’ve always wanted. Tote garden supplies in the spring and your harvested produce in the fall. Haul sacks of feed for livestock and seed for your wild game food plot. Save your back and instead of dragging that downed deer, load it into the back of your ROXOR.
Reassess your emergency escape plans. If they include setting up a remote base camp, the ROXOR can get you there. Don’t forget, too, that the ROXOR is just plain fun for driving around the property or taking it to the trails at an off-road vehicle park. Then, hose if off and go back at it again the next day.
OUT FOR A DRIVE
Naturally, I couldn’t write about the ROXOR without getting one of them muddy to find out its capabilities for myself. I got together with local ROXOR dealer Rich Borra, owner of O’Shea Tire & Service Center in Cortland, New York. He was more than willing to take off from work for a couple of days for some fun on nearby trails.
The ROXOR we tested was a sand-colored 2019 model. The ROXOR is available in seven different standard colors, but Rich told me there are about 400 custom paint and wrap patterns you can special-order. This one was a two-seater, leaving plenty of cargo room in the back. The cargo bed was coated with a super-scratch-resistant wrinkle finish the company calls “ROXliner.” As an option, you can have the whole outside of the vehicle coated with this as well.
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