COMBAT-T98. Expeditionary? Bodyguard! The most expensive Russian armored car.

Frowning look of dual optics, pronounced militaristic appearance, in some places rational — for the sake of ricochet — tilt angles of the body panels, finally, armor!

Another shooting module on the roof, and you can go to the front line — it would look organic. However, in the late 90s, when this project was born, the front line often still passed through Russian cities.

Kombat T98, by the way, conceived exclusively for armored vehicles, perfectly suited such «combat conditions». True, the three cars that we managed to get acquainted with have nothing to do with the protection of VIP-clients.

On the way from Europe to the Pacific Ocean, they needed maintenance, repairs and some refinement. Is there really something to tune in an SUV, the cost of which can exceed a quarter of a million euros?

In armor! 

Well, how can you not recall the well-known song of the «Lube» group? But the image of the current combat officer T98 no longer fits. The battalion commander that from the composition, perhaps, is our UAZ, and the old one, 469th, tilt.

And this Kombat is like a retired general. He retired, took up a specialized business, has foreign partners and enterprises abroad, but remained a patriot. Of course, he was overgrown with fat, but he retained a sharpness of mind and the necessary fighting skills.


Yes, T98 is a Russian project. Its authors are Dmitry Parfenov, well-known in the USSR (search the Internet for «Laura») and the St. Petersburg-based car booking firm «Autocad», in which the SUV has been produced since 2000.

At the end of the last decade, he received an Estonian residence permit («our» «Kombats» are just from the Baltic states), in addition, he is going to Jordan. Foreign «partners» — chassis from heavy models GM, GMC Sierra / Chevrolet Silverado.

The first copies of the T98 had a monocoque body, which was later abandoned for the sake of greater manufacturability and, probably, price. Nevertheless, the cost still takes the «Kombat» out of the «serial» price limits.

The body is still the original welded structure. In fact, an armored capsule with sandwich-like walls made of metal, ceramics and a special honeycomb filler. It is from the armor, more precisely, from the level of protection, that the choice of chassis depends on the carrying capacity.

After all, the final curb weight of the «Combat» may differ by more than a ton. From 3450 kg with the degree of protection B2-B4 (against a pistol cartridge) to 4550 kg with B7 (against rifle armor-piercing bullets). And Chevy with GMC allows you to choose the right one from its three platforms.


In this case, we are talking about the heaviest GMT900, which is ready to withstand up to 5.5 tons of equipment, since all three «Kombats» are booked to the maximum. Is that the glasses here are thin — «only» 18 mm. From below, the T98 looks more than impressive.

There is a powerful frame and stretchers, although it would be logical to cover the entire bottom with sheets of steel. For example, the box is not protected by anything — with a long base, you can manage to «sit down» on its pallet. Fortunately, it is not plastic, as on many modern «machines»

Forged double wishbone front suspension arms with ball fists, powerful torsion bars, a truly cargo frame and a one-piece rear axle with a gearbox, whose dimensions will be the envy of other medium-sized commercial vehicles.

The moment also needs to be able to digest. Especially those almost 1100 Nm, which is rich in 6.6-liter 398-horsepower Duramax turbodiesel, standing on two of the «Combats» we are examining.


And the 617 Nm of the 8.1-liter Vortec, which is installed on the T98, is powerful! True, the third car has a not quite typical engine configuration — also a Vortec eight, but a “small” 6.0-liter with a return of 367 forces and 508 Nm.

And the 6-speed «automatic» Allison brings traction to the bridge. And, of course, as without all-wheel drive. For heavy «Americans» it is traditional — «razdatka» with a lowering row and rigid connection of the front end.

Somehow it is not fitting for such a serious car to have an electronically controlled transfer case. But here the donor of the chassis and assemblies is to blame

For armor! COMBAT-T98.

Climbing into the Kombat is easy — the stock suspension and the 35-inch Pirelli Scorpion ATR did not raise the floor of the body to some uncomfortable off-road height.

In general, the design and the front «two-lever» determined the characteristic appearance of the car — squat, as if spread on the ground. The width seems to be greater than the height, although the T98 is a pure square from the front.


And yet, to get inside, you need to make an effort — the door is made of armored steel. You open it, and it falls out on you with all its weight. And it is necessary to slam from the heart. Definitely, the Kombat’s crew should be made up of tough guys.

But at the same time not particularly tall. It’s not about the features of the T98 — it’s typical Americanisms. The longitudinal adjustments of the front seats are limited — with my eighty meter, there is enough space for me, but without a margin. The door presses on the left, on the right it presses the box between the seats — tight.

The front panel is civil — from Silverado / Sierra. Although covered in leather, it is tough to the touch. Marked lacquer inserts do not add practicality. And, perhaps, it would be more logical to see something more utilitarian here. However, you need to remember — this is the VIP version.

Fortunately, there is no need to get used to civilian governing bodies. They, of course, also have overseas freaks, nevertheless, Kombat is not a Hummer or an UAZ — it is quite human inside.

Especially in the back, where the seats are like in a limousine. And even if there is not a sofa there — only two will sit comfortably — but you can cross your legs, everything is in order with the profile of the seats.


There is no exclusive in the equipment at all — standard electrics, heating, leather, including Alcantara on the ceiling and doors. Is that the servos of the gas tank flap and the trunk lid draw attention to themselves.

The first, in the case of a 6.0 liter gasoline engine, with active driving, has to be opened almost every 300 km (105 liter tank). It is better not to look under the latter — so as not to be disappointed.

By the way, when determining the type of body, do not believe your eyes! This is the side of the Kombat camouflaged as a pickup (there is also a typical off-road body). In fact — a sedan with a forward-opening lid.

Having risen, it hangs low, getting to the luggage is high and far, and the volume. It was not possible to find this value in the characteristics, but in my opinion. Perhaps, it will argue with Renault Logan. In the end, you can drive around the city, a couple of bulky bags (with weapons?) Will come in.

On the armor! COMBAT-T98.

You don’t need to get used to the «steering wheel» either. You just need to get used to a kind of visibility. The rear window embrasure is a useless thing: it’s good that you can see everything in the huge exterior mirrors. And the three-section windshield is unusual only at a glance, it does not interfere with movement.


Another thing is that the «Combat» salon is highly «weather dependent». Only the sun went down behind the clouds, and inside — as if in a bunker. Such is the price for a limited area of ​​glazing, for loophole windows — definitely not for people suffering from claustrophobia and similar fears.

This seat is somehow not very similar to the American one — it fixes the body well. In addition, the front seats are heated and ventilated.

Dimensions are also within the limits of digestibility. With a width of just over two meters, the Kombat moves well in the stream. You just need to remember that its wheelbase of 3.5 m is on average 500 mm more than that of heavy serial SUVs.

Even the long versions of executive sedans are shorter in terms of it. Turn — like in a limousine, taking stock along the radius. It’s a pity, there are no side video assistants with the rear camera, which are already in use even on Japanese key-cars.

In profile — a spilled pickup. In fact, alas, just a sedan. The imposing wheelbase determined the spaciousness in the rear seats and the problems with maneuverability. Kombat — definitely not for forest conditions


But it is better to drive according to a different principle. Gas — and the whole stream is behind. The 6.0-liter Vortec doesn’t weigh nearly five tons. Just do not be almond with a pedal that is slightly dull.

And enjoy the way the heavy car follows the accelerator. As it rages, it bubbles with eight cylinders, while providing acceleration even after 140 km / h.

Diesel is even better. Still a moment! It feels like Kombat rides with him as if he had thrown off part of his shell. What to say about fuel consumption — for a long-distance raid, taking into account the impressive armored mass, it is an ideal option.

It is a pity that the T98 lacks the beautiful accompaniment that the Vortec provides. On the contrary, the diesel rattling hinders the expedition against the background of a gasoline V8. But the «automatic» in both cases works efficiently, that is, quite quickly and imperceptibly.

On asphalt, Kombat is generally quite organic. There is no “cotton wool” on the steering wheel, there are no frightening rolls, no vibrations of unsprung masses come to the body.

The smoothness of the ride, though not a limousine, is still not bad for a large and heavy SUV. Sometimes the performance of the hydraulic booster is not enough — this is also a plus.

All the same, the American chassis is overloaded — the spring ties were in contact with the frame, and the creators of the «Combat» cut off the «excess» from it. More energy-intensive shock absorbers and, in addition to springs, air bags begs here.

Moreover, the «Combat» has a version not only for VIP-bodies. They are designed to carry fighting squads or be a weapon carrier, weapons carriers.

You can’t get off with asphalt routes there. Or are we talking exclusively about the Middle Eastern countries, where there is only sand and no primers?

I wonder if the manufacturer knows about such qualities of the walker? One way or another, but in this form, the «Combat» is more perceived as an analogue of various armored cars, rather than an expeditionary off-road vehicle capable of crossing the continent.

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