Honda has introduced the newest addition to its Side-by-Side lineup – the Pioneer 500.This two-seat UTV is just 50 inches wide and is equipped with paddle shifters on the steering wheel.

Discuss this at our Honda Pioneer Forum.

Honda is following the trail blazed by the Polaris RZR 800 with this 50-inch wide UTV. This is an important number, as it allows the Pioneer 500 to fit on trails with width restrictions. As well, it will fit in the bed of a full-size pickup truck. The Pioneer 500’s 73.1-inch wheelbase is about four inches shorter than the RZR 570 and 800. It also has a tight 13-foot turning radius.

Powering the Pioneer 500 is Honda’s proven 475cc four-stroke engine. This powerplant is designed to pump out low-end torque along with a smooth, fun-to-use powerband. The five-speed gearbox with reverse uses an electric shift system featuring paddle shifters mounted on the steering column – the first time we’ve seen paddle shifters in a stock Side-by-Side.

COMPARISON: Read our review of the 2014 Honda Pioneer 700

2015 Honda Pioneer 500 Paddle ShifterPaddle shifters on the steering wheel allow the driver to change gears easily on the fly.

Other features include a door/net setup that opens together as one unit, bench seat for the driver and passenger, Roll Over Protection Structure (ROPS) that meets OSHA requirements, and three-point Emergency Locking Retractor (ELR) seat belts.

2015 Honda Pioneer 500 CockpitOpen the side door and the protection nets comes with it.

Unlike just about every other UTV in the market, the Pioneer 500 forgoes a cargo bed for a rear rack.

2015 Honda Pioneer 500 RackA rear rack sits where a cargo bed normally would.

Suspension travel is also a fair bit small that the competition with 5.9 inches travel at all four corners. The rear shocks offer preload adjustability. The independent double wishbone design is found front and rear.

COMPARISON: 2014 Polaris RZR 800 vs. Arctic Cat Wildcat Trail

The Pioneer 500 can tow up to 1,000 pounds and has a payload capacity of 450 pounds. Ground clearance stands at 9.6 inches and the Pioneer carries 4.1 gallons of fuel, including a 1.1-gallon reserve.

2015 Honda Pioneer 500 Narrow TrailAt just 50 inches wide, the Pioneer 500 will go where normal Side-by-Sides can’t fit.

A full line of more than 40 Honda Genuine and Signature Accessories is available to for the Pioneer 500.

The 2015 Honda Pioneer 500 retails for $8,499. ATV.com will have a full test ride review in the coming days.

2015 Honda Pioneer 500 Specs
Engine: 475cc liquid-cooled OHV longitudinally mounted single-cylinder four-stroke
Bore x Stroke: 92.0 x 71.5 mm
Compression Ratio: 9.5:1
Induction: Programmed Fuel Injection (PGM-FI), 36mm throttle body
Ignition: Full-transistorized with electronic advance
Clutch: Automatic
Transmission: Electric-shift five-speed with reverse (First gear is L = LOW)
Driveline: Direct front and rear driveshafts
Front Suspension: Independent double-wishbone; 5.9 inches travel
Rear Suspension: Independent double-wishbone with pre-load adjustability; 5.9 inches travel
Front Brakes: 190mm hydraulic discs
Rear Brake: 200mm hydraulic disc
Front Tires: 24 x 8-12
Rear Tires: 24 x 10-12
Length/Width/Height: 102.5 x 50.0 x 72.4 in
Curb Weight: 1,010 lbs
Wheelbase: 73.1 in
Ground Clearance: 9.6 in
Fuel Capacity: 4.1 US gal.
Turning Radius: 13.0 feet
Payload Capacity: 450 lbs
Towing Capacity: 1,000 lbs
Colors: Red, Olive, Yellow, Honda Phantom Camo
MSRP: $8,499

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