Yes, you read that right. Sandstorm is an Emirati carmaker, and their very first offering is going to be a home-grown SUV that goes by the name of “Al Reem”. The Al Reem first broke cover in May 2018 when it was unveiled in Abu Dhabi, UAE. According to Sandstorm Automotive, the company drew its inspiration for their new SUV from the Gazelle - a type of deer that's indigenous to the region.
Separated into different phases of production, the local carmaker is aiming to churn out up to 13,000 units of the Al Reem in the first phase. Later on and depending upon the demand, the production number might change. Not a whole lot is known about this mystery 4x4, apart from a few details that were released some time back. Power for the Al Reem comes from a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-banger which, when petrol is added, can develop about 214 hp. This mill will be paired to an automatic gearbox and a four-wheel drive system. While no performance figures have yet been disclosed, the Al Reem's turbocharged engine will reportedly consume up to 10.0 litres of fuel every 100 kilometres.
There will be two variants of the seven-seat Al Reem in the UAE, and they'll be launched by the end of 2019. The base variant will carry a price tag of AED 138,000, and the fully-loaded trim will set you back by AED 185,000. Irrespective of the trim level, all Al Reems will come as standard with four-wheel drive, lockable differential, and protective skid plates for hardcore off-road excursions. The design of the Al Reem further emphasizes this SUV's tough and rugged character. Some of the most obvious traits include the massive ground clearance and deep wheel wells. The latter is especially useful and comes into play when extreme wheel articulation is required. This, combined with the elevated ground clearance, relatively short front and rear overhangs, help improve the approach, break-over, and departure angles of the Al Reem.
The front fascia sports sleek headlamps, a large black mesh grille, flat bonnet, and butch front bumper with recessed foglamps. The side profile features five-spoke alloy wheels with some thick rubber, fixed side steps, chrome strips on the doors, large wing mirrors, and subtle roof rails on an almost flat roof. The back consists of a prominent roof spoiler, large rear window, sculpted tailgate with a thin chrome bar in the middle, part-LED taillights, and a beefy rear bumper with integrated foglights and a chrome-tipped exhaust muffler.
The interior of the Sandstorm Al Reem fares quite well when it comes to perceived luxury and quality of materials. For a tough off-road vehicle, the Al Reem gets a multi-textured and fancy-looking cabin. The dual-tone, stitched and quilted leather seats not only look great, but they are also comfortable and supportive. Then there's the faux wood, glossy black plastic, silver/aluminium accents, and chrome finish all throughout this interior. While many of the trim pieces don't feel premium or high-end, they do make the Al Reem's cabin feel more exciting. Space isn't necessarily an issue and while the third row isn't too comfortable, it's not horrendous either.
The top trim of the Al Reem comes with projector headlights with LED daytime-runners, keyless-entry, power sunroof, electrically-operated driver's seat, cruise control, rear entertainment system, parking sensors with a reversing camera, and a touchscreen infotainment head unit. Some of the Al Reem's safety tech includes ABS with EBD and brake assist, six airbags, stability and traction control programmes, hill-start assist, and a tyre-pressure monitor.