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Reviews Working the Ranch With Honda's New Pioneer UTV

18:08  11 january  2018
18:08  11 january  2018 Source:   popularmechanics.com

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The Limited Edition model features Honda ’ s new I-4WD technology, which is the first with brake traction control system. Even at that speed, the Pioneer always felt in complete control. Working a ranch might look like a perfect life, but that life comes with lots of work .

New York City.

a truck driving down a dirt road© Provided by Hearst Communications, Inc

The Popular Mechanics staff are always looking to check out the latest ATV, UTV, or side-by-side. Whether we’re testing them in wooded trails or roaring through the desert at breakneck speeds, we always have fun. But beyond the obvious recreational thrills, these off-road vehicles serve as workhorses for people across the country. Most can’t imagine performing their jobs without the use of one of these four-wheelers.

a tractor parked in the dirt: Honda Pioneer© Timothy Dahl Honda Pioneer

Honda let us spend a few months with their newest and most powerful side-by-side, the Honda Pioneer 1000-5 Limited Edition. The Limited Edition model features Honda’s new I-4WD technology, which is the first with brake traction control system. This system manages the amount of slip between front wheels, applying torque to the wheel with greater grip/traction. Other new features include a hill start assist, so no more rollback when starting on a incline, electronic brake force distribution which automatically proportions the amount of force to the front and rear brakes, and adjustable Fox QS3 shocks. This might be the most technology packed side-by-side ever made.

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a car parked on the side of a building: Working the Ranch With Honda's New Pioneer UTV© Timothy Dahl Working the Ranch With Honda's New Pioneer UTV

For six months, we put many of these features to the test, but more importantly we wanted to see how the Pioneer withstood the daily rigors of ranch life. Sandy Valley Ranch, located 45 minutes southwest of Las Vegas, served as the proving grounds for the Pioneer. The ranch sits on 60 acres of Mojave desert, and is home to 20 horses, 40 heads of cattle, and countless chickens, goats, pigs, and dogs. That’s a lot of mouths to feed and stalls to clean. The ranch also has two full-size arenas for American and Mexican rodeo events. So between managing the livestock, running events, and hosting guests, there were plenty of jobs for the Pioneer.

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Towing & Hauling

a truck driving down a dirt road: towing horses© Timothy Dahl towing horses

Daily livestock feedings require towing hay and feed all over the ranch. All of our loads were well under the max tow capacity of 2000 pounds, but it was good to know we could haul just about anything we needed, from food to horse tack and tools.

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Be amongst the first to experience Honda ’ s powerful and incredibly versatile NEW Pioneer 700-2 two-seater and 700-4 four-seater UTV vehicle, new for 2018.

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We also used the Pioneer to tow a two-horse trailer, which became extremely helpful during rodeos and horse events.

seat© Timothy Dahl seat

The Limited Edition also featured a rear-flip seat, which provided an additional two more seats for a total of 5 passengers. When not in use, the rear seat backs fold down to reveal a flat cargo area.

Handling and Drivability

a motorcycle parked on the side of a dirt road: driving© Timothy Dahl driving

The ranch terrain is a mix of hard pack dirt and sand. The all-wheel drive Pioneer never wavered at all. Despite heavy loads and stop-and-go work, the Pioneer always jumped right into action.

Rainstorms are also a way of life in the desert and they had their fair share last summer. A 12-hour rainfall can leave the ranch with mud and slick puddles for weeks, rendering any two-wheel drive ATV obsolete for work. That's when the I-4WD technology took on all of the mud in stride. The floorboards, fender wells, and undercarriage cleaned up easily with a few sprays of water, but hey, ATVs are one of the few things that perform better when dirty.

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Honda wrapped an all- new chassis around the re-tuned Foreman 475cc, five-speed engine to create the firstever UTV with paddle shifters on the like the singleuse doors with nets make the Pioneer 500 deliver a lot of bang for the buck, whether you’re working around the ranch , hunting or trail riding.

a close up of a motorcycle: fox shocks© Timothy Dahl fox shocks

The Fox shocks performed admirably in a variety of conditions - from hauling heavy weight over short distances, to soaking up the washboard roads at higher speeds. The 10.6-inches of front and 10-inches of rear suspension travel, soaked up everything we threw at it.

Adventure

a truck driving down a dirt road: Working the Ranch With Honda's New Pioneer UTV© Timothy Dahl Working the Ranch With Honda's New Pioneer UTV

The Pioneer isn't just all about hauling. It excels at transporting staff and guests to areas around the ranch that were only previously accessible by foot or horseback. Trails that were much too narrow for a four-wheel drive vehicle, can now be explored in the Pioneer.

The ranch offers overnight horseback riding camping trips, and the Pioneer has hauled people and supplies to these locations as well exploring fire roads and trails across the 200,000 acre BLM allotment that the ranch is located near.

The Pioneer won’t beat a RZR in flat out speed, but there’s no bigger thrill than hitting 60 on a wide-open dirt road. Even at that speed, the Pioneer always felt in complete control.

Working a ranch might look like a perfect life, but that life comes with lots of work. Luckily four-wheel machines like the Pioneer make that work just a little bit easier.

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