2020 Intimidator GC1K Review and Factory Tour
Engine: TGB 1000cc
Standing in the airport baggage claim in Little Rock, Arkansas, I waited with a few other editors as we were on our way to see the 2020 Intimidator GC1K UTV. Having the owner of the company pick us up himself was, to put it mildly, a big surprise.
This hands on detail from the owner was my first indication that the Intimidator UTV family is very genuinely focused and ready to let the world know just who they are and what they are building.
I’ve known the Intimidator brand for many years now and have actually ridden in the Intimidator Classic UTV at the High Lifter Mud Nationals in Jacksonville, Texas. Even at that time, the first thing I noticed was just how incredibly tough and robust the brand’s flagship Intimidator UTV was. It just impressed me. Fast forward about eight years and I am riding to the lodging with the owner of the company in his personal van.
For the first part of our day in Batesville, Arkansas, we were taken on a tour of the many manufacturing facilities owned by Mr. Foster. The Intimidator brand also shares its home with the Bad Dawg accessory company as well as Spartan Mowers, all owned by the Foster family. Most all of the accessories built for the Intimidator UTVs come from Bad Dawg where detail and fitment are perfected. Arriving at the final facility, it was clear even from the outside that this company was serious about current as well as future growth of its Intimidator UTV brand.
This 220,000 square foot, under roof building contained not only the assembly lines for Intimidator, but the Spartan mower brand as well.
The manufacturing and assembly lines are state of the art and getting to see the GC1K machines as well as a couple of others, completely naked on the final line was indeed impressive. Getting that uncovered look at the materials as well as the construction allowed all of us to see what has gone into building the Intimidator UTVs.
After a quick lunch, we headed out to a rural town known as Cushman to get a ride in the new Intimidator GC1K UTV. We only had about three hours in the machine, but we did make the most of our time. We visited an old mine and scrambled around many old roadbeds as well as some slower rocky sections of the trails. Climbing the rocky cutouts in the mine site gave us a good look at the ability of the Intimidator GC1K. Engaging the 4WD is simple via a dash-mounted switch and you have all four 27-inch 8-ply tires digging in to provide you with great traction. The rear end in the GC1K can be unlocked for those times when you might be using the SXS for working on more sensitive terrain.
The Intimidator GC1K is powered by a 1000cc TGB engine and features a CVT belt drive. Intimidator claims 83hp and 67 ft-lb of torque for this machine. Along some of the longer stretches of trail we were able to get a little over 50 mph; however, Intimidator staff told us that about 65 mph is the top for the GC1K. Keeping in mind that all machines have unlockable potential, we did notice that the throttle response was a little lacking for that HP number. It could have been the sheer weight of the ride as well at 1835 lbs, or maybe just a little fine tuning of the CVT and ECU fuel management would help. With that said, it does seem to perform well, and the power delivery is concentrated to the low to mid-range RPMs. This would make sense, as the Intimidator GC1K is a working machine with an impressive towing capacity of 2500 lbs.
Once we loaded into the rigs and hit the small roads heading into the mountains of Cushman, it was clear that I did remember just how comfortable the seating in the Intimidator could be. The big plush seats do feel great on long rides and look really nice as well. The interior is laid out for easy entry and the sight lines across the dash provide plenty of visual for the trail just out in front of the machine. I did feel like I was sitting a little high in the saddle compared to competing machines, but at the same time it felt great. Our Intimidator GC1K was equipped with power steering, which was really nice in the rocky strip mine and tighter trails. It allowed you to still feel the trail without and annoying feedback and it did not make the steering feel too loose in your hands, either.
Suspension on Intimidator GC1K is what you would expect from a working class UTV. Rough sections of trail radiated past the gas pre-load adjustable shocks and into the cab. Suspension travel is set at 10 inches and again the difference between trim levels determines the comfort of the ride. From standard gas-charged shocks to the Elka suspension on the sweetest rig, you can always upgrade when the pocketbook allows it.
The level of detail on the chassis is impressive. A few items that we found particularly interesting were the 10.25-inch diameter “slip-on” brake rotors on all four corners, just like an automobile. I found that the brakes worked really well along our ride and couldn’t help but think that from a maintenance standpoint how easy it would to service the brakes if needed. In fact, the entire vehicle seemed to be very accessible from a DIY maintenance standpoint from the engine to the chassis.
Ground clearance varies between models of Intimidator G1CK, ranging from 11-14 inches mostly due to a change in tire size between trim levels. The A-arms are built of 1.25-inch diameter steel and have large poly bushings that look as if they will never wear out.
As I had mentioned before, the entire machine is well built…you might even consider it overbuilt. The rear differential in the Intimidator GC1K looks like it came from a small truck and I’m sure it will provide years of trouble-free service. The dumping bed on our test machine was equipped with an electric dump assist (on every trim stage of the GC1K except base) for that 1000-pound bed capacity. I did not have a chance to load up the bed, but hope to get a little more seat time to make that happen someday soon. I do applaud Intimidator for building a tough machine. Some other cool features include metal skid plates that adorn the underbelly of the GC1K and the one-year bumper-to-bumper warranty.
Intimidator does build a SXS with a steel dump bed that it refers to as its Intimidator GC1K Truck series. This Utility SXS has a bed with drop down sides for easy loading and semi-flatbed capabilities. It utilizes basically the same undercarriage and driveline, but with a more defined work ready bed with an electric bed dump to help get the cargo out. I didn’t spend much time in this rig, but the time I did get, it seemed to be very similar to the other Intimidator GC1K except for the obvious cargo differences.
Overall, I think the Intimidator GC1K UTV line would be great for those who love to use their machines to work and maybe even a little trail riding when they punch out on the timecard. There is a Crew model in the GC1K line-up, so you can take even more hired hands of grand kids out on adventure.
Intimidator has been and will continue to be well on the road to building up their brand and as for what I witnessed in the short time I had in Batesville, the Foster family is determined to go about it the right way.
More by Rick Sosebee