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"XUV" Worked So Well, He Started Selling Them
Jason Peterson's Xtremely Useful Vehicle (XUV) has the versatility of a full-size pickup with the maneuverability of an ATV. The road legal, mini-truck can twist and turn through thick timber, clamber over rocky ground, and cruise down the road at 70 mph. Best of all, it cost him significantly less than a new ATV.

"I needed it for work around the 100 acres of rocks and timber where I live in Montana," explains Peterson. "Once I had it finished, it got so much attention when people saw it that I decided to start making some to sell."

Peterson starts with a used Isuzu Amigo. The 3-door, 2 or 4 passenger mini-SUV was sold in the U.S. from 1989 until 1994. It features a 2.6L fuel injected, 4-cylinder, 120 hp engine. That horsepower is packaged in a very compact 91.7-in. wheelbase with a 70.1 in. width and dry weight of 3,500 lbs.

"I use it to plow snow in the winter, hauling wood, and feeding livestock," says Peterson. "It can go places you wouldn't believe, carry two people, and haul a 1,200-lb. payload through the woods or down the road. It's wide enough to be stable, yet has an extremely sharp turning radius."

Modifications include inserting a permanent rear wall with window (a removable wall is an option) behind the two front seats. This leaves a 3 1/2-ft. bed that can be fitted with a dump box as one option and fittings for two rear seats as a second option. Peterson installs a standard drop tailgate and offers beefed up bumpers with receiver hitches and winches, front or rear.

Other options include oversize all-terrain, off-road or flotation tires, heating and cooling, sound systems, rear hardtop or soft top and manual 4 by 4 transfer case and locking hubs. The XUV can also be converted to either diesel or electric power.

While the XUV can be outfitted with a wide variety of options, it's the basic over-built design that attracted Peterson. "It uses the same engine, rear and front axles and suspension as the larger Isuzu Trooper SUV, just on a smaller frame and body," he says. "The only real problem with it was the cooling system. It was marginal for road speeds. I use the largest radiator from the Trooper and haven't had problems."

Peterson says the XUV's cost depends on the price of the base Amigo plus selected options. Price for the customized XUV starts at around $3,500. Diesel conversion adds $3,000, and electric conversion adds around $5,000.

"You get more value per dollar than with any other utility or all-terrain vehicle," says Peterson. "It's more powerful, safe and stable with a higher payload than with the imported 4 by 4 vehicles from Japan or China, and parts are available at all auto parts chain stores or service centers."

Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Jason Peterson, 1675 Haywire Gulch, Kalispell, Mont. 59901 (ph 406 257-0961; Jason-Peterson@centurytel.net).

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2011 - Volume #35, Issue #4