UTV manufacturers love to talk about how tough their machines are. Tomcar has been building military vehicles in America since 1992 for special operations missions where lives depend on toughness, capability in challenging terrain, and carrying capacity. The new Tomcar TX4 four-seater has already proven itself in combat; we tested it to see how it serves civilian UTVers.
IS IT LIKE OTHER UTVs?
There are more differences than similarities. Like some UTVs, the Tomcar TX4 has trailing arm rear suspension, but the trailing arms house sealed triplex chain drive to the rear wheels, which eliminates rear axle problems. Also, the front A-arms are made from big pieces of 1/4-inch-thick steel flat stock rather than tubing, and the TX4 has 17 inches of ground clearance. Because of the four-cylinder engine, the heavily braced frame and cage, the TX4 weighs 2650 pounds, about a thousand pounds more than a typical UTV. That’s heavy, but the Tomcar was engineered for continuous military use.
Some things about the TX4 are UTV-like, like the 72-inch width and the 120-inch wheelbase, which is similar to a Polaris RZR XP 4 Turbo S. Like many UTVs, the Tomcar has double-A-arm front suspension and trailing arms in the rear. Travel at both ends is 14 inches.
WHAT KIND OF MACHINE IS IT?
The TX-4 is a sport utility machine, not a high-performance sport UTV. It has a tilting bed and can carry 2500 pounds, and it can tow 5000 pounds.
HOW DOES COST COMPARE?
The four-seat Tomcar TX4 starts at $36,500. That kind of money could get you two $18,099 Polaris Ranger Crew XP 1000s. The TX lineup also includes the two-seat TX3, which starts at $35,900, and the two-seat short-wheelbase TX5 that starts at $34,900. Tomcar has a huge selection of options for the vehicles, including a windshield that includes wipers, washer and a rear-view mirror for $900, a canopy ($550), custom colors ($1500), doors ($1,400) and several tire choices.
WHAT POWERS IT?
A 107-horsepower, 1500cc, inline four-cylinder, 16-valve gas engine. If driving a Tomcar doesn’t make you stand out enough, you can also order the TX4 with electric power.
WHAT KIND OF TRANSMISSION DOES IT HAVE?
A fully automatic, belt-type, dual-range continuously variable transmission without automatic engine braking. Our test machine was set up for desert terrain with an exposed drive belt. Tomcar also offers a sealed belt case.
WHAT KIND OF 4WD SYSTEM DOES IT HAVE?
Selectable 2WD/4WD with air-locking front and rear differentials. Most UTVs use electric differential-lock mechanisms. We found the Tomcar’s system works well on the trail, and it has also proven itself in combat, a much rougher testing environment.
HOW FAST IS IT?
The TX4 was designed to get soldiers and equipment across rough terrain in a hurry, so it has a 70-mph top speed, but it doesn’t get there as quickly as sport utility machines like a Polaris General or Ranger XP 1000. The torquey 1500cc engine offers solid, sporty throttle response and quick-enough acceleration to make the Tomcar fun to drive.
HOW IS THE POWER DELIVERY?
The TX4’s massive torque lets it crawl up steep climbs and power through deep sand with no strain at all. We drove a Tomcar with a loaded bed in the same challenging conditions, and it tackled it just as effortlessly.
The Tomcar’s power is easy to control in most situations, but the throttle doesn’t damp throttle pedal bounce like the drive-by-wire systems on some UTVs, so you need to pay attention to hold a steady throttle setting in choppy terrain at high speeds.
HOW DOES IT HANDLE?
We’ve never driven a vehicle that felt more secure and stable on steep hillsides. The Tomcar’s glued-to-the-ground feel on off-camber terrain also gives it very sure cornering on flat ground. The TX4 is a big, heavy vehicle compared to many UTVs, but it’s remarkable how agile and easy to handle it feels.
HOW IS THE SUSPENSION?
Thanks to 14 inches of travel, the TX4 has a smooth ride and well-controlled feel that’s more sport UTV than recreation utility machine. The remote-reservoir ADS shocks easily handle big bumps and G-outs, even at high speeds.
HOW WELL DOES IT HANDLE CHALLENGING TERRAIN?
The TX4’s 120-inch wheelbase can make some tight trail maneuvers tough, but anywhere the Tomcar fits, it can take on any terrain most drivers will dare to try. The TX4 doesn’t care about ruts or big bumps on difficult climbs, or if you want to take a line across a hill face. Locking front and rear differentials provided all the traction we needed for soft, loose terrain. The 17 inches of ground clearance made rocky stream beds and steep drop-offs easy to handle. Our test machine had an exposed drive belt and had no problem in shallow water crossings, but Tomcar’s sealed belt case is the way to go for deep water and mud.
HOW ARE THE DETAILS?
The TX4’s military roots show in the metal dash and floor, but the Tomcar treats its driver and passengers to comfortable, supportive PRP suspension seats and four-point harnesses. The range selector’s action wasn’t very slick on our pre-production test machine; Tomcar says production units will be smoother. The instrumentation is easy to read, and the standard street-legal equipment is a plus if your state will let you put a plate on the machine.
WHAT IS OUR FINAL ANSWER?
If you want a four-seat UTV that really stands out, along with outstanding capability in challenging terrain and massive towing and carrying capacities, you need a Tomcar TX4.
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Engine type Inline 4-cylinder, liquid-cooled, DOHC,
Bore x stroke 77.4mm x 79.5mm
Lubrication system Wet sump
Fuel metering EFI
Starting procedure In neutral or any gear with
Air filter access 3 clips on airbox lid
Transmission Dual range fully automatic CVT
Reverse procedure Move range selector to “R”
Drive system Selectable 2WD/4WD with lockable
front and rear dif
Final drives f/r Shaft/Triplex chain
Fuel capacity 14 gal.
Overall length/width/height 159”/72”/68”
Ground clearance 17”
Wet weight 2650 lb.
Towing limit 5000 lb.
Load capacity 1000 lb.
Frame Steel tube
Front Double A-arm with preload adjustable
Rear Trailing arm with preload adjustable shocks/14”
Front Hydraulic discs
Rear Hydraulic disc
Parking brake Console mounted hand lever
DC outlet Automotive-style plug
Front Two halogen headlights, two LED headlights
Rear Dual tail/brake lights
Instruments Multi function digital meter with indicators
Colors Desert Tan/OD green
Suggested retail price $36,500
Contact Tomcar; https://tomcar.com, (623)587-7799
SEE UTV ACTION’S FULL TEST OF THE TWO-SEAT TOMCAR TX-3 HERE: https://utvactionmag.com/test-tomcar-tx3/amp/