2011 John Deere Gator XUV 855D 4x4 Review

This diesel-powered Deere impresses

Story by CJ Rena Johnson, Photography by CJ Rena Johnson & John Deere, Jan. 20, 2011

John Deere has made a pretty big splash with its completely revamped 2011 Gator XUV lineup. We’ve already told you about the Gator XUV 625i 4x4 and the surprisingly sporty Gator XUV 825i 4x4. Now it’s time to look at the third and final member of the new Gator family – the Gator XUV 855D 4x4.

All of the 2011 Gator XUV models do a fine job of showcasing how far John Deere has come as far as recreational trail riding go, but the heart of this Deere still beats for the job site. Oh, and the blood pumping through that heart is all diesel.

Attention Grabbing

Even though the 825i was the model John Deere seemed most excited about at the 2011 model intro, the 855D model did not fail to catch anybody’s attention. It’s a striking machine and the first thing we noticed was its unique design and all the available accessories you can use to build your ideal Gator.

2011 John Deere Gator XUV

The one John Deere chose to display looked like something the Jetsons might use if they decided to hit the backs woods. Compared to the other Gators the 855D features more rounded roll bars, which provide the perfect fit for some great doors and windscreens to turn this work vehicle into a completely enclosed and state-of-the-art looking cab.

We checked out one adorned in classic John Deere green and yellow, but the 855D is also available in olive and black or a Realtree Hardwoods HD pattern. In any of the three color options the 855D is easily recognizable as a John Deere product as far as the eye can see.

Terrain vs. Power

2011 John Deere Gator XUV

We tested out the Gator XUV 855D 4x4 at Carolina Adventure World in Winnsboro, SC. Terrain varied from wide-open straights to water crossings to an assortment of hill climbs. Of all the John Deere models we tested, this one seemed to have the most power when it came to the hill climbs. Its top speed is only 32 mph so it is not going to win any races, even within the John Deere XUV models. However, with an 854cc, 3-cylinder, 4-cycle diesel engine, if you need to get a load up a hill this might be the model for you. The two-range CVT transmission takes shifting out of the equation, so you can keep your mind on other more important things like that job at hand.

Switching between a variety of terrain types is also easy with the 855D. You can go from flat ground to tackling the most difficult terrain in 4-wheel drive with a flip of the switch. You can also lock in the rear differential when you encounter a really tough spot so the rear drive wheels will work together to get you to the other side. It has 11 inches of ground clearance to go over rocks and ruts without bottoming out on every obstacle. It also comes with a full-steel skid plates to protect the underbody for the times when you do scrape the bottom. John Deere also boasts that the 855D can go through up to 22 inches of water without a problem due to its fully enclosed clutch.

Stability

Independent double-wishbone long-travel suspension with 8-inches of travel in the front and 9-inches in the back along with the 11 inches of ground clearance will make light work of some of the more rugged spots you are likely to encounter working on the farm or playing on the trail. Each of those factors also helps maintain stability.

2011 John Deere Gator XUV

Speaking of stability, the 855D has one of the highest rankings in the industry in this area because of its long 99-inch wheelbase, wide stance of 62 inches and low center of gravity.

Cargo

2011 John Deere Gator XUV

The Gator 855D has the largest cargo box in its class with 45 inches in length, 52 inches wide and 12 inches deep with an overall volume capacity of 16.4 cubic feet. The load capacity for the cargo box is 1.000 lbs with an overall payload capacity of 1,400 lb. The steel reinforced load guard and bed cargo box has 20 tie-down points and a pickup-style tailgate for easy access. It even has gas-assist lift for easier load dumping. The entire cargo area is also easy to convert to a flatbed in a matter of minutes for those larger loads. 

One of my favorite things about the John Deere Gator is the exclusive Quick-Clamp rail-based system it uses for all its attachments. They are very simple to use and take only mere seconds to utilize. Among the many attachments available are gun-boots, tool racks and sidewall extensions to make the cargo box capacity even larger.

Competition

2011 John Deere Gator XUV

The closest competitors to the John Deere 855D XUV seem to be the Polaris Ranger Diesel Side-x-Side and the Bobcat 3400 Diesel Utility Vehicle. All three of theme machines are powered by diesel engines and feature liquid cooling systems. Both the Bobcat and the Ranger can hold nine gallons of fuel, while the 855D can hold 5.3 gallons.

Engine size and horsepower is very similar. The John Deere claims 24.6 hp and 854cc, while the Bobcat’s 903cc mill pumps out 24.6 horsepower and the Ranger’s 904cc engine produces 24 horsepower.

As for weight, the John Deere tips the scales at 1,650 pounds, compared to 1,610 for the Bobcat and 1,435 for the Ranger.

Towing and cargo capacity are fairly similar across the board with the 855D able to carry 1,000 pounds and tow 1,500 pounds, compared to 1,100 and 1,500 for the Bobcat and 1,000 and 2,000 for the Ranger.

Summary

After our time with the Gator XUV 855D 4x4 (MSRP $11,299)we think this machine would be best suited for a large farm with a bit more rugged terrain or for a work vehicle on an established trail system to keep the trail working properly. Even though it is less sporty than the Gator 825i gas powered model, its diesel engine has the extra power to get the job done and it is still enough of a crossover to have fun while doing it.

Specifications

Engine
   • Type: 4-cycle diesel
   • Cylinders: 3
   • Horsepower: 24.6 (18.3kw)
   • Displacement 854 cc
   • Maximum torque, ft-lb. (Nm) : 36.9 (50) @ 2400 rpm
   • Cooling system: Liquid
   • Ignition type: Compression ignition
   • Lubrication: Full Pressure
   • Oil Filter: Screw On Filter
   • RPM, idle (no load): 1050 +/- 25
   • RPM, fast (no load): 3700 +/- 25
   • Air Cleaner: Dry, replaceable single element with remote intake
   • Battery: 480CCA
   • Alternator: 40 amp @ 3200 rpm regulated, 540 watts
   • Headlights: Two 37.5 watt halogen

Fuel System
   • Capacity, U.S. gal (L): 5.3 (20.1)
   • Consumption: (half load at avg. speed), U.S. gal/hr (L/h): 0.5 (1.89)
   • Fuel pump type: Electric

4WD
   • System Type:  On-demand true four-wheel drive system
   • Front Differential (engagement): Auto-locking (On/off rocker switch)
   • Rear Differential (engagement): Positive locking, mechanically actuated (hand operated)

Transmission
   • Type: Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) with fully enclosed clutch
   • Drive belt: Spun top cog, 31 mm wide
   • Ground Speed, mph (km/h): 0-32 (o-51) Hi Forward, 0-15 (o-24) Lo Forward, 0-17 (0-27) Reverse
   • Transaxle: Two speed, oil bath
   • Gear Selection: Forward (hi-lo), Neutral , Reverse
   • Brakes: Front/rear hydraulic disk
   • Park Brake: Hand-operated, sealed wet disk
   • Bearings: Sealed, double-row ball
   • Axle: 27mm dia., forged CV-Shaft with Double Offset Joint

Suspension and Steering
   • Suspension, front: Fully Independent Dual A-Arm with adjustable coils
   • Front Suspension, Travel In. (mm): 8 (203)
   • Suspension, rear: Fully Independent Dual A-Arm with adjustable coils and sway bar
   • Rear Suspension, Travel In. (mm): 9 (229)
   • Steering: Rack and Pinion
   • Turning Radius, ft (m) : 12.4 (3.8)

Hitch
   • Front: Standard 2-inch receiver
   • Rear: Standard 2-inch receiver

Occupant Protective System (OPS)
   • Tubular overhead structure: 1.75 in (44.4 mm) steel tube
   • Passenger grab handles: Front OPS post, front dash and on both sides of seat
   • Seat belts: 3-point

Dimensions
   • Length : 119 in (3021 mm)
   • Width : 62 in (1571 mm)
   • Front-Tread centers: 44.8 in (1137 mm)
   • Rear-tread centers: 47.9 in (1216 mm)
   • Height: 75 in. (1903 mm)
   • Wheelbase: 79 in. (2007 mm)
   • Weight: 1650 lb (748.42 kg)
   • Seating Capacity: 2
   • Seat Type: Professional high back bucket, tilt forward
   • Towing Capacity: 1500 lb (680 kg)
   • Payload Capacity: 1400 lb (635 kg)
   • Sound rating (at operator’s ear) 91.1 dB(A)

Cargo Box
   • Material : Polypropylene side panels and tailgate, steel floor and load guard
   • Capacity: 45 in length x 52 in weight x 12 in deep (1143 mm L x 1320 mm W x 304.8 mm D)
   • Volume:  16.4 cu. Ft (0.46 m3)
   • Weight: 1,000 lb (454 kg)
   • Dump: Manual with lift assist shock (factory installed power life option)
   • Tailgate: Hinged at bottom, removable

Tires
   • Front : 26x9-12 Ancla M-T (Extreme Terrain) or 25x9-12 Terrahawk AT (All Terrain)
   • Rear : 26x11-12 Ancla M-T (Extreme Terrain) or 25x11-12 Terrahawk AT (All Terrain)

Color
   • Green and yellow, Olive and Black and REALTREE HARDWOODS HD Camo

Related Reading
2011 John Deere Gator XUV 825i 4x4 Review
2011 John Deere Gator XUV 625i 4x4 Review
2010 Bobcat 3400 4x4 Review

 
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