2018 Caterpillar CUV82 Review: First Drive

Rick Sosebee
by Rick Sosebee
Caterpillar is a new name in the UTV marketplace. We had a chance to take the 2018 Caterpillar CUV82 for a quick test drive and came away impressed.

When I was just a small kid I used to play with my Tonka trucks in the dirt out in my grandmother’s driveway. It was a time of discovering not only how the toy was built, but also what it took to get three handfuls of Georgia gravel from the front of the drive to my special place in the grass near the mailbox. I am not sure it was appreciated, though, as cursing would ensue as the mower made its way across that special area I created. If we are honest with ourselves, playing in the dirt is what we have probably all done at one time in our lives as kids and one name that rings a bell when you talk about moving earth today is Caterpillar.

Caterpillar CUV102D Working

Caterpillar CUV102D Working

Well for the 2018 model year this company in Peoria, Ill. has two new machines that will also bear the CAT brand – the Caterpillar CUV82 and the CUV102D. These are Caterpillar’s offerings to a working world specifically designed to complement any jobsite or working farm. The Caterpillar CUV82 is the gas-burning unit while its diesel counterpart is the Caterpillar CUV102D. Both are built in Thief River Falls, Minn. I assume if you are reading this and have been in tune with any prior manufacturer news you know that Textron now resides in Thief River Falls and can make the connection. There are a few things to note, however, and we were pleasantly surprised by our discovery after only one and a half days with the company called CAT.

Our first full day began in the arena where we had the chance to actually drive the Caterpillar CUV82. This slick, well thought out machine is powered by a popular Cherry engine. This being the gas burning version of Caterpillar’s UTV line gave us a great ride, even though it was short and sweet. Caterpillar has not yet produced enough of these vehicles for an all-out ride test in its habitat, but we hope for more seat time very soon. With that in mind we did get a few laps around the man-made track inside the arena and here is what we discovered.

Caterpillar CUV82 Action

The first thing I noticed was just how quiet the engine is. I know I have stated this before, but you can actually carry on a conversation in the cab much like the more premium models in our industry today. It has a smooth and very linear power delivery with no quirky, jerky motions along the way. Something we have grown to expect from the Cherry engine as it is used in our industry.

Seating is comfortable and more upright for easy access into and out of the cab. The floors are flat with only a slight indent in the center presumably for the driveline that makes its way up into the front differential. The floor is also embossed or textured for grip in the mud or wet conditions. It is very easy to slip from one side to the other. Speaking of seating, the passenger side seat will lift up and actually easily remove to allow for extra cargo space should you need it. The seat base can be stored in a secret compartment that is behind the upper seat back rest all the way across the cab. Pretty freaking ingenious! Seats are cut and sewn rugged material to be tough for those who are less than easy on jobsite equipment.

Caterpillar CUV82 Seating

As we made our way out on the track we also noticed the turning radius is pretty tight. It didn’t take much to get the Caterpillar CUV82 spun around in a very narrow space. The track also had a few obstacles in the way, including a small incline with rocks placed strategically to challenge the rig. It was not really a challenge as the 4WD of the CUV82 simply grabbed hold and climbed up over the ridge. Heading off the other side we were asked by our co-pilot, Amit Pothiwala, to test the braking on the incline off the back side of our hill climb. I’d say the brakes do work well and with four-wheel independent hydraulic discs you will have no trouble getting this one slowed down.

I will have to say that the one thing that stood out to me most about the build of this machine was the incredibly strong and robust bed. This thing is made of steel might be the toughest appearing bed in the market. It is no joke and although it might weigh a lot, it’s just something that we would expect from the Caterpillar company. It will hold a “General” sized pallet, as we know pallets are not all built the same, and has a total cargo weight capacity of up to 1,000 lbs. This machine will also tow up to 2,000 lbs and Caterpillar assures us that the design of the CUV82 as well as the CUV102D have been tested for controllability during the full capacity of these cargo ratings.

Caterpillar CUV82 Dump Bed

The Caterpillar CUV102D is the diesel version of the UTV line for Caterpillar. This machine is roughly the same as the Caterpillar CUV82, but with a Kohler diesel engine. I assume it will also be ready soon for us to get a good feel for the capability in the working world.

When you look at Caterpillar the company it is not surprising that it has taken this long to bring something like the CUV line to the market, because in true CAT fashion it wanted something that its loyal customers could believe in. I’d say CAT has a very good product and I cannot wait to experience it in much more detail on a working site to really test it to the fullest.

Rick Sosebee
Rick Sosebee

Whether he is in Mexico covering the Baja 1000, building ATVs for local racers, or out enjoying the trails, Rick’s passion shows in his stories. Learning to wrench his own machines from his grandfather, Rick also has an undying appreciation for the mechanics of off-road vehicles. Do not let the dirt and mud fool you, though, as Rick also has a deep love for street cars.

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