Let’s talk about the legendary Ural 4320 and the perks of owning one for yourself.
In our opinion, out of all Russian military trucks, the Ural 4320 is the best one. Especially, if you want to use it for something more, than an occasional ride once in a while, or a visit at a military vehicles show once a year. In this article, we’ll try to show all benefits, which this model holds over its predecessors like Zil 157, Zil 131, Ural 375D, or competition like Gaz 66, or Kraz 255B, which also came from the USSR. Intrigued? Then come, and join us in our trip into the world of the big, the bad and the ugly trucks from the Soviet Union. 🙂
In this text, we’ll focus primarily on the most desired version, the Ural 4320 equipped with the KUNG body. But most of the points, which we are making here also apply to other versions. The troop carriers, buses, or firefighting trucks based on the same chassis, also come with the same advantages. From a practical point of view, the KUNG body ([КУНГ in Russian], is a Soviet standardized module and trailer system for military trucks) is most useful for an average fan of these vehicles.
First, it can be used as a shelter in case of bad weather on a military vehicles show. Second, it can be converted into a real camper, or a proper expedition vehicle. Third, it can go to places, where most 4×4 off-road vehicles will get stuck, or won’t even be able to reach. These three reasons, alone, should be enough for most people, but let’s explore the topic a bit more. Ural 4320 is very reliable, has just the right size for normal use and is modern enough, that it can be driven daily without too much of a headache.
Out of all Russian truck engines, three of them were the best – the Kamaz 740, the Yamz-238 and the Yamz-236. Fortunately, all of these engines were mounted in the Ural 4320 trucks. The Kamaz 740 is especially interesting, because it was built primarily for long distance Kamaz trucks, hauling goods throughout the entire Eastern Block. Out of these three, it has the highest resource (amount of work hours before it needs a rebuild) and is the most modern and reliable. At the same time, it is a purely mechanical device, without any unnecessary electronics. With proper oil and changes every 10 000 kilometres, this engine can easily do 200 000 kilometres, before any major problems emerge.
And thanks to its widespread use, you can find spares for it almost anywhere in the world. Not only in the former Warsaw Pact, but also in Asia, Africa and even Southern America. Not many engines have been so widely distributed around the world.
The drivetrain, reliability and fuel consumption of the Ural 4320
The Ural 4320 is a very mature product of a long lineage of Soviet military trucks. Although it looks almost exactly the same as the Ural 375D, very few parts are actually interchangeable between these two models. This is because of many improvements done to this model over its petrol cousin. Thanks to them, it is one of the most reliable models of Russian military trucks.
This combination of engine and drive train combined help the Ural to shine over its older colleagues. Where Zil 131 and especially Ural 375D need over 50 litres of petrol per 100 kilometres, the 4320 model satisfies itself with only 30-34l per every 100 kilometres.
Let’s talk about the size
Compared to other Russian trucks, the Ural 4320 is just a bit bigger, than its predecessor in the Red Army, the Zil 131. Their dimensions are similar enough, that the driving experience is quite comparable in this aspect. They are big enough to store all your needed equipment for a long drive and let you sleep inside comfortably. This is a big advantage over the smaller Gaz 66. On the other hand, they aren’t as big and clunky as the Kraz 255B, which is very difficult for a normal day use on European roads. Basically, Ural 4320 is the ideal compromise between ease of driving and size available for the driver and his or hers passengers. Plus, it can easily tow a trailer with another KUNG box, which doubles the space available for the crew.
Road and off-road performance
If you ever wondered what an Ural truck can do in very bad conditions, click here. For most of us, the truck can do more, than we can. Let’s be honest – most drivers will never be able to utilize the full potential of this truck off-road. But hey! We don’t have to! It is always good to know, that the monster we’re driving now, can do more, that we could ask her for. And thanks to its Central Tire Inflation System, the Ural can go as far, as the driver will dare. How cool is that? 😀
Price of an Ural 4320
Prices of all Russian military trucks have gone up in recent years. Fortunately for the buyers, Ural 4320 prices are still at a reasonable level. They start at just under €10 000 for trucks in bad condition, and go up to around €20 000 for vehicles in mint shape. This leaves a quite a lot of room for people with different kind of budgets and different mechanical skills. If you have the workshop, proper skills and time, you can fairly easily buy one of the cheaper trucks and restore it yourself. If you don’t, or you need a truck, which will take you to Siberian taiga, then you should look at the upper end of this price range.
Compared to other, comparable military trucks on the market, the Ural is generally cheaper than its western counterparts. It is priced similarly to Kraz 255B, way cheaper than a Kraz 260 and is pricier than Zil 131, Ural 375D, or Gaz 66. When you include the factor of much higher reliability and much better fuel consumption, investing your money in an Ural 4320 starts to make sense. Especially, that you won’t have to regularly fight with capricious carburettors, like in the other models.
Living in your truck
On top of all of that, within a few hours after buying, the new owner can have a hammock and simple gas stove inside the KUNG shelter. In most cases, that is enough to live for a few days in a relative comfort in your truck. Not bad for a 30+ years old vehicle, isn’t it?
Yet, some people want something more, than just basic comforts and here’s where it gets interesting. The internal dimensions of the radio box, which you saw above, are 4 m long, 2,25 m wide and 1,85 m height. This is more, than enough to built in a bed for two, a real kitchen, and a shower with a toilet. When designed properly, this space can also fit a place to work, read and relax, as well as lots of stowage and storage spaces.
Want to add climate control or heating to your Ural? Not a problem! It already has a heater mounted on top of the cabin. Simple and rugged device, designed to warm the truck in the conditions of harsh Russian winter. When you remove the NBC protection system, you’ll have space for an air conditioning unit. This relatively simple modification, could make life in such a truck a lot easier.
So here are the main perks of owning an Ural 4320:
- It is relatively cheap to buy and operate, compared to its western and eastern counterparts;
- It consumes way less fuel, than similar sized petrol Russian Trucks;
- It has a very reliable engine and drive train;
- Its size is just OK, to be comfortably driven on public roads and provide enough space for the passengers;
- It has superb off-road capabilities;
- It can be turned into a motorhome, or a full-blown expedition vehicle;
Hope, that you liked our description of Ural 4320 trucks. I guess you did, if you got to this point. If it’s not too much, we’d like to ask you to share this post with your friends and on your social media. That’ll mean a lot to us! 🙂