On-test: Can Corvus's European-built diesel UTV crack the UK market?

We first saw the Corvus Terrain DX4 at the Royal Highland Show in 2019 and were struck with its new from the ground up design philosophy and rugged appearance. Eager to see what it is made of, we get to grips with the new

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On-test: Can Corvus's European-built diesel UTV crack the UK market?

We first saw the Corvus Terrain DX4 at the Royal Highland Show in 2019 and were struck with its new from the ground up design philosophy and rugged appearance. Eager to see what it is made of, Alex Heath got to grips with the new name in the UTV sector.

A fresh name to the UK's UTV sector, Corvus has made a steady start in offering its new range of Terrain DX4 UTVs after its initial launch at various summer shows in 2019.

Built in Murcia, Spain, the manufacturer claims it is the only European-designed and built UTV on the market and as a result knows the demands farmers on the east side of the Atlantic place on these types of machines.

With this in mind, it says it has built the range with a blank page approach, incorporating the features needed and omitting those that are not relevant to the agricultural sector, often common place on those machines that have transitioned from the American leisure industry. From the offset, it was agreed a cabin would be an integral part of the build, rather than a bolt on afterthought.

Imported into the UK by Boss ORV, the Terrain DX4 range is made up of one base model with three specification levels. The basic model is a stripped back, no frills offering, with just a roof for protection, but includes most of the mechanical and storage features the rest of the range boasts.

Suffixed Pro, the middle model comes complete with front and rear windscreens, extra storage and the option a heating system.

The top-spec Terrain DX4, as tested, comes with doors and heater as standard, with no options list. All UK bound machines come with electric power steering as standard. The simplicity of the range makes picking a model simple and its three price points easily understood, starting at £13,799 before rising to £17,499 for the fully loaded model.

All models come from the factory with T1B European homologation, with indicators, brake lights, mirrors, two point seat belt, horn and locking fuel cap added. They are available in orange or green livery.

To see how well the new UTV is suited to farm life, we put it to work on a range of tasks on a mixed farm, with plenty of sloppy conditions to test its off-road credentials.

Engine and transmission

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A tie up between Corvus and Yanmar, sees the latter's engine used. It is a 993cc, three-cylinder, naturally aspirated diesel unit, used throughout the range and developing 24hp. It is potent, both in terms of performance and noise. 


Performance-wise, it is eager and picks up speed well. It is also incredibly torquey, producing enough power to climb gradients without needing to engage low box. In fact, in the time we had the machine, low box was used just twice as there is more than enough grunt developed to power the near 800kg UTV, laden with bags of feed, through deep water-laden ruts and up slippery slate tracks. 


It idles at a sedate 1,000rpm, needing an additional 200 to 500rpm to get off the line. Top speed of 65kph is reached at about 4,000rpm. The continuously variable transmission is smooth and an able performer. 


During the time we had the UTV, fuel usage was minimal; the added bonus being it can be filled up from the farm's red tank. 


Normal for most UTVs, the engine resides at the back of the cab and underneath the load bed. Access is good, with plenty space for maintenance and checks. On the whole, the engine bay is well protected, with little dirt finding its way on to the motor. The air filter is on top of the engine well out the way of dust or mud, too. 

Chassis and running gear

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First impressions of the UTV are soon drawn to its stance and stature. It is by no means a small machine.

However, it is the length of its wheelbase and track width that impress the most, with a planted feel when driving. With a wheel in each corner, little overhang means the UTV is an able climber. The manufacturer quotes a wheelbase of 2,238mm making it a stable performer when fully loaded or towing a trailer or snacker.

The chassis itself is constructed of box section material, rather than folded sheets, making it very rigid. When traversing pitted tracks or across tramlines, flex in the chassis is unperceivable. Underneath, a full-length skid plate protects the guts of the machine from any nasties sticking out of the ground.

It has a lofty riding position with 309mm of under belly clearance. Suspension is solid on the road, yet effective in smoothing out bumps. It comprises independent double wishbones on each corner, with springs and gas shock absorbers. Front travel is 280mm and the rear is 267mm. Under braking it remains upright, rather than lowering on its haunches.

Its brakes are easy to fettle and effective when needing to stop in a hurry. The front feature 256mm discs with twin piston callipers while at the rear 220mm discs are halted via a single calliper. The handbrake, which resides to the left of the driver's seat, is applied on the rear wheels and has its own independent calliper.

The drive shaft is grease-able, too.

Cab

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One of the manufacturer's claims is the UTV has been designed and built as a cab model from the outset, in theory meaning it should be its show piece.

Unfortunately, it is lacking. By no means is it a bad place to sit, it is comfortable and for the most part warm and dry, but it has several niggles that need addressing before it competes with the best on the market. This said, it is Corvus' first crack at its design and a number of updates and new features are due in the future.

The Terrain DX4 cab as tested, comes with doors as standard. These are a blow moulded plastic affair, affixed to a tubular frame. They are flexible, too, and while this is an advantage in cases when getting too close to a gate post or a rock, when at full bore going down the road, the flexibility is a nuisance as a gap emerges where wind and water can ingress. However, sliding windows allow airflow when needed.

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The heater struggled to clear condensation on the windscreen, but provided enough puff to keep the driver warm on a cold morning. Rearwards visibility is hampered with a fine mesh fitted on the outside of the rear window, which also casts a reflection onto the windscreen.

However, the biggest gripe with the cab is its noise insulation, or lack of. The engine is a noisy number and having a conversation while on the road is nigh on impossible.

But, we do like the simple and clean layout, with plastic used throughout and a flat floor, allowing it to be easily washed out.

Seats are comfortable with adjustment able to be made to the back rest and lumbar support.

Other features we would have liked to have seen are some cup holders in the dash (these are currently on the cab's rear pillars) and an opening windscreen, however, these are apparently being sorted for the next iterations.

Storage

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The standout feature on the UTV is its abundance of storage options. Under the front hood is a 65-litre recess, big enough to fit a duffel bag full of tools. Each side also boasts a pod behind the doors. The right hand side is cavernous, while the left is of a decent size, but smaller due to the position of the 40-litre fuel tank.

Under the seating in the cab is a full width storage area, split into three. In the cab, a sealed glove box type of arrangement would be handy for storing small consumables and meds.

The rear cargo deck is large enough for a pallet and can carry up to 450kg of material. It is tipped with the help of two gas assistor rams. It has an all metal construction, which we like, and plenty of tie down points, both internally and externally.

Our Verdict

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For a first attempt at a diesel UTV, the Terrain DX4 is not a bad effort. It has all the ingredients of being a strong farm workhorse, but lacks the refinement that currently sets the leisure-derived machines apart.

However, several of our concerns are to be addressed in the next generation, the manufacturer says. The engine is powerful and responsive, but noisy and the chassis is a sturdy basis for the rest of the well-designed parts to be assembled around. The cab needs work done to it. Noise insulation and sturdier doors would go a long way to elevating the unit and making it seem good value for its £17,499 price tag.

Test specs

  • Model: Corvus Terrain DX4 Cab
  • Engine: 993cc, three-cylinder, Yanmar
  • Power: 24hp
  • Torque: 52.1Nm
  • Dry weight: 764kg
  • Wheelbase: 2238mm
  • Towing capacity: 907kg
  • Total payload capacity: 720kg
  • Price: £17,499 (excluding VAT)

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