ARGO 8x8 XTI tackles the toughest lands (and waters) on Earth
By C.C. Weiss
October 7, 2013
Many vehicles claim to be "all terrain," but few of them can match the all-out, rove-over-anything capabilities of ARGO's line of 6x6s and 8x8s. The latest member of the amphibious family is the 8x8 XTI, a vehicle designed to reach the most remote worksites on Earth.
ARGO is the Utility Task Vehicle (UTV) line of Canadian company Ontario Drive & Gear Limited, one of the few manufacturers that can honestly claim to build vehicles for every type of terrain and condition on Earth ... and beyond. After more than 40 years of building off road vehicles for this world, the company has also turned its attention toward the development of a lunar rover over the past few years.
While ARGO's amphibious ATVs don't offer the speed or thrills of a Gibbs Quadski, they do tackle everything that you can imagine rolling a vehicle through: dirt, deep mud, rock, snow, ice ... and even water. Without any type of transformation, ARGO's amphibious models use their specially designed webbed tires to ford and swim through water at speeds up to 3 mph (5 km/h). Simply drive up to water's edge and keep right on going. For those looking for a more proper boating experience, an available outboard motor bumps those speeds up to 10 mph (16 km/h).
ARGO's vehicle line is designed to provide a comfortable middle ground between recreational UTVs and heavy work machinery. Its latest model, the 8x8 XTI introduced this summer, leans toward the work end of the spectrum. The new workhorse adds the amphibious capabilities and powertrain of the popular 750 8x8 HDi recreational ATV to its Centaur 8x8's rugged, versatile, industrial chassis. The Centaur is only capable of fording depths of 26 in (66 cm), but the XTI is fully amphibious.
At the heart of the XTI is a combination of fuel-injected, 31-hp 748cc V-Twin Kohler gasoline engine and triple-differential ADMIRAL steering transmission. This combination, which is connected to the eight axles via heavy duty drive chains, delivers up to 1,500 lb (1,000 lb on water) (680/454 kg) of workers and supplies to the most extreme, remote worksites.
The XTI has a sealed, vacuum-formed polyethylene lower body and 2-inch tubular upper frame built onto a 3-inch tubular steel chassis. The lower body is fully sealed to hold up to water crossings, and a skid plate, strategic approach and departure angles, and a 9-inch (22.9-cm) ground clearance protect from solid hazards. The wheeled version rolls on 25-inch low-pressure tires.
ARGO says that the XTI makes easy work of deep mud, flood zones, rock, snow and ice. It is available in two-track, four-track and wheeled varieties and can reach speeds up to 17 mph (27 km/h) on land and 3 mph in water, operating seamlessly in temperatures from -40°F to 104°F. The company is marketing the vehicle at commercial activities like utility maintenance, mining, and fire and rescue, and offers a variety of accessories and options to tailor it to the work at hand.
Inside, the ARGO XTI seats driver and passenger on a hinged, foam-padded front bench that sits atop a storage box. Either position can drive thanks to slide-adjustable, quick-lock handlebar steering and a central instrument panel. The XTI can be optionally outfitted with a rear bench to seat two more persons. The interior also includes two 12-volt outlets, cup holders, grab handles and dual glove boxes.
ARGO doesn't list pricing for any of its models, but interested parties can fill out a request form to get a quote. Those parties should also be sure to check out the manufacturer's YouTube channel, which shows its various 8x8 and 6x6 models being put through their paces on steep hills, water crossings, winter landscapes and more.