BUYERS GUIDE - HEAVY DUTY
Russia’s GAZ trucks are well known in eastern Europe for their off road ability. The 4×4 Sadko Next Trackmaster truck arrived in the Australian market in July 2021, introduced by local off-road truck specialist company, AAV4x4.
The Trackmaster with a Fuso and an Isuzu for comparison
The GAZ Trackmaster pricing is expected to be around ninety grand for a three-seat (suspension driver’s seat and two-passenger bench), single-cab 3.7-metre-wheelbase model and around the 100k mark for a six-seat crew cab (two up front in suspension seats and four in the back on a bench) on a 4.5-metre-wheelbase. That bench can be widened to a bed, if required.
That’s a very good price for a 7.45-tonnes-GVM 4×4 truck with 3.5-tonnes trailer towing ability and it looks even better when you consider that it has ‘big truck’, full-air ABS braking, an exhaust brake, snorkel, 42-inch wide-single tyres, on-board tyre inflation, an air-tank to operate air power tools, air-operated part-time transfer case, front and rear axle diff locks, two 95-litre fuel tanks, a standard drop-side steel tray body and a transmission power take off option.
That’s an awful lot of truck for the same price as a LandCruiser wagon.
Also optional is an Allison six-speed auto, instead of the standard five-speed, but this retro-fit is expensive, at around 21 grand.
Power comes from a 109kW/490Nm, 4.4-litre, four-cylinder, intercooled turbo-diesel engine. The outputs are modest on paper, but the engine is purpose-designed and has peak torque from a low, 1200rpm up to 2100rpm. A fuel pre-filter is standard on Australian-market Trackmasters.
Live axles are fitted front and rear, with parabolic front leaf springs and conventional leaves at the rear.
Approach and departure angles are around 40 degrees (depending on tyre size and pressures) and ground clearance, 315mm. Fording depth is 1.2 metres.
AAV4x4 is well known for its motorhome conversions on light 4×4 trucks and Brett Bolton intends to offer a motorhome version of the Gaz Trackmaster.
The ideal configuration for a motorhome conversion would be the single cab mounted on the longer-wheelbase, crew-cab frame.
Russian trucks used to be very basic inside, but the GAZ Trackmaster is very well appointed, with all the expected European-truck controls and instrumentation, including an infotainment screen with Apple-mirroring.
Another Russian truck issue that we hope the new brooms at GAZ Trucks have dealt with is notorious unreliability.
We’re planning a test of the new Trackmaster as soon as the Covid situation permits.