When we first laid eyes on the Polaris Ranger EV nearly five years ago, we thought we’d seen the beginning of a big electric push from the major manufacturers. Save for BRP’s very quiet release of the Can-Am Commander EV two years ago, we clearly misjudged the direction off-road manufacturers were headed.
For fans of electric power, however, all may not be lost as Kawasaki recently filed patent documents for an electric UTV, which you can see for yourself here.
The big news from BRP for 2015 is the new Can-Am Outlander L family, which you can read about here. However, several other new models have made their way into the Can-Am ATV and Side-by-Side lineup for 2015, along with a few other key updates.
Outlander 6×6 XT
New to the North American Can-Am ATV lineup is the Outlander 1000 6×6 XT ($15,549) and 650 6×6 XT ($13,649). BRP calls it the toughest, most versatile ATV it has ever made.
Transport Canada has recalled the 2014 Arctic Cat Prowler 500 HDX due to a fire hazard.
According to the recall notice, the fuel line may have been improperly secured. This could result in the fuel line fitting at the engine to break, which could increase the risk of a fire. Authorized Arctic Cat dealers will inspect and correct fuel line routing as necessary.
Polaris has unveiled a pair of new work-specific Ranger Side-by-Sides – the Ranger Diesel HST and Ranger Diesel HST Deluxe.
The new Ranger vehicles offer features that are familiar are to agricultural and rural customers who have experience with tractors. Each of these new Rangers is equipped with diesel power, hydrostatic transmission, industry-exclusive treadle pedal, multi-link coil over De Dion rear suspension, and full climate control (standard on the Ranger Diesel HST Deluxe).
Visit the Polaris Brutus Forum
“Polaris continues to innovate our product offerings to provide solutions to a wide variety of customer needs,” says David Longren, vice president of Polaris’ Off-Road Division. “In developing the Ranger Diesel HST and Ranger Diesel HST Deluxe, we wanted to create vehicles that offered maximum comfort and ease-of-use to cater to the needs of the agricultural or rural lifestyle customer.”
Sometimes we can gain a new appreciation for a particular item in our lives when we find uses for it beyond those for which it was intended. While Yamaha’s new-for-2014 Viking 700 is certainly built to withstand the rigors of working at the ranch or on the farm, there will inevitably come a time in just about every Viking’s life when concerns for towing capability and cargo capacity are thrown to the wind in favor of good old-fashioned, Hooowee!-style fun.
Visit the Yamaha Viking Forum
That was our mission this year when we procured a non EPS-equipped Viking 700 for photo chase work and after-hours play at the King of the Hammers ultra 4×4 race in Southern California’s Mojave Desert. Our test rig was subjected to a solid week’s worth of Baja-style butt-kicking over the Johnson Valley OHV Park’s diverse desert terrain, which included trails with trophy truck-sized whoops, dunes-style sandy hills. And rocks—not just the occasional rock here and there, but wheel-bending, “I’m gonna tear your underbelly to shreds,” jagged rocks. We also found the occasional boulder to scale.
The annual SHOT Show in Las Vegas seemed like the ideal spot for Yamaha to introduce the latest version of its new UTV – the Special Edition Tactical Black Viking.
Yamaha took the covers off the military-themed Viking at the shooting, hunting and outdoor show. The new SE Viking combines a flat black painted appearance, molded sun top, overfenders, mud flaps, under-seat storage box, bed rail accessory mounts and black cast aluminum wheels.
The Yamaha Viking was first introduced this past June as a replacement for the longstanding Yamaha Rhino.
ATV and Side-by-Side owners often spend thousands of dollars modifying their machines to make them perform better and look sharper. Instead of seeing all that money go to the aftermarket, Polaris likes to offer some Limited Edition models with a host of upgrades to entice buyers to get everything they want in a Polaris dealership.
For 2014 Polaris is offering nine Limited Edition models. Some just feature unique paint jobs, while others offer what should be impressive performance gains. All of these Limited Edition models will be available in Polaris dealerships in January.
2014 Polaris Sportsman XP 850 EPS – Blue Fire
The last few years have been a race in displacement and track width to see who could carry the crown for the wide-open world of no limits suspension and BRP has been a big part of the thunder. Seemingly forgotten in this off-road arms race were folks who spend most of their time in tighter, wooded trails. BRP has righted that wrong with the release of the new Can-Am Maverick 1000R X xc.
BRP took us up north to Albany, New York to see just what this newer, narrower Maverick had to offer. Just outside of New York state’s capital city lies a private club of off-road riders who have secured a 2000-acre parcel of land just to get down on. This vast landscape of wide open gravel roads, tight twisty root-laden and rock-covered trails gave the Maverick 1000R X xc a chance to shine. Our goal was to get to know the machine that would fit the common areas where we ride very well in hopes that we may see one here soon!
As you would expect, the Maverick X xc shares much with its big brother. At the heart of this monster machine is Rotax V-Twin power and it gets very sensitive when you step on its go pedal. The liquid cooled, fuel injected, four valve per cylinder, four-stroke engine pumps out massive power to the tune of about 101 ponies. That’s plenty of juice for any ride down the trail and then some. The Maverick breathes its life through a 54mm throttle body and spits napalm into the cylinders with twin VDO Seimens fuel injectors via a throttle-by-wire arrangement. A specifically tuned dual exhaust system with a beastly, throaty sound just gets better as the RPMs get higher. A push button start gets the adventurous-minded driver right into blastoff mode.
While no single vehicle can do everything for everybody, there are a handful of machines that are up to many a task. Perhaps our favorite off-road Swiss Army knife is the Kawasaki Teryx.
Whether you need some help moving people and towing cargo around the property or are in the mood to push the throttle to the floor and rip up your local trails, the Kawasaki Teryx has your back. Thanks to its powerful V-Twin engine and rugged build quality the Teryx really feels like it has hit the sweet spot between Sport and Utility.
In The Beginning
After weeks of calling Polaris dealerships and searching every place imaginable, I finally got my hands on a stock 2014 Polaris RZR XP 1000 for testing.
Jerry Matthews of Starting Line Products (SLP) was able to loan me his unit and I quickly jumped at the opportunity to put some miles on the new horsepower king – he even joined me for a day of intense testing. Also joining us was Kevin Allred, who owns the RZR XP 900 LE we tested extensively this past summer. The RZR 900 features SLP-tuned clutches for high altitude use, which you can read about here.
Shortly after sunrise we set off for some early morning desert trail riding followed up by an afternoon ride at the St. Anthony Sand Dunes. At both locations, we mirrored the courses from our July shootout between the RZP XP 900 LE and Can-Am Maverick 1000R X rs – minus the timing lights.
Unless you’ve been living off the grid and away from your fellow man for the past six years or so, you have surely noticed the rapid growth of the UTV (Side-by-Side) market. While this era was primarily ushered in with sporty two-seat models, it didn’t take manufacturers long to realize that multi-passenger units would be attractive to families looking for ways to enjoy the great outdoors together.
While you can argue about which manufacturer introduced the first machine capable of carrying a driver and at least two passengers, we can all agree that the technology has come so far and diversified so much that consumers have benefited greatly from better and more useful machines.
We’ve never seen a vehicle evolve as quickly as the Arctic Cat Wildcat. It doesn’t look like that’s going to change any time soon as the Minnesota manufacturer has unveiled a new cat to its stable – the Wildcat X Limited.
Setting these new cats apart from the rest of the Wildcat family are Elka Stage 5 shocks, full-aluminum doors, molded roof, aluminum beadlock wheels and 27-inch ITP Black Water Evolution tires.
The trick Elka Stage 5 shocks feature dual speed compression adjustment and rebound adjustment with preload adjustable and dual rate springs.
About three months ago we broke the news that Polaris would be releasing both a RZR XP 1000 and RZR XP 4 1000. The release of the RZR XP 1000 followed six days later, but Polaris held off on the four-seat version…until now.
“RZR has defined the recreational side-by-side market, outselling the competition five to one, and owning a RZR has become a lifestyle allowing for social adventure,” says Craig Scanlon, general manager for the Off-Road Vehicle Division at Polaris. “Our four-seat RZRs provide off-road enthusiasts the ability to share that lifestyle with more of their family and friends, and the new RZR XP 4 1000 is the ultimate in outdoor adventure for four.”
It seems Yamaha was making a point when it chose the location for its 2014 Yamaha Viking 700 press event – the Viking is a machine made for real working men and women.
The sun comes up in Ten Sleep, Wyo., hiding a big sky full of stars. Before the rooster can crow, farm hands at Red Reflet Ranch are scurrying around getting cattle rustled up, horses fed and pivot irrigation arms running to start the day. The fields are rich for harvest and the Elk are bugling off in the distance as if to let the workers know they will be along soon to chew on the alfalfa they work so hard to grow. The red dirt reflects in the water of a small pond down below us and it seems like the sheer mountain cliffs are on fire. A cool breeze blows out of the west and groups of Mule deer wander around the Chalet where I am standing. This working cattle ranch is where the new 2014 Yamaha Viking was presented to us.
BRP unveiled some new products at its recent dealer meeting, including the mud-specific 2014 Can-Am Maverick 1000R X mr.
The 101-horsepower Rotax powered Can-Am Maverick 1000R X mr is built to attack a muddy trail or closed-course bog. The new vehicle is based off the two-seat Maverick platform, but includes an industry-exclusive and mud-specific X package, as well Tri-Mode Dynamic Power Steering, Visco-Lok QE and an updated gauge package. The Maverick 1000R X mr also wears an Air Control Suspension (ACS) with FOX Air Assist HPG Piggyback shocks (with a four-inch range of adjustment) and 30-in. Gorilla Axle Silverback tires. In addition, to keep the engine air intake, CVT air outlet and CVT air inlet free of water and debris, they have been snorkeled to strategic locations on the machine. A 4000-pound WARN winch will help you get through any mud hole that was a little more challenging that you expected.
While the Can-Am Maverick has been getting the lion’s share of attention lately, BRP hasn’t forgotten its original Side-by-Side. At its annual dealer show, BRP unveiled a new four-seat Can-Am Commander MAX 1000R in two iterations.
Based on the Can-Am Commander 800R and 1000 two-seat Side-by-Side vehicles, the Commander MAX platform features a 29.5-inch longer wheelbase and boasts unmatched comfort for the rear passengers. Available in both a DPS and XT package, the Commander MAX measures 147.8 inches long and 58.6 inches wide and comes in three colors (including camouflage). It also includes Dynamic Passenger Comfort, rear stadium seating and also has large 220mm front brakes.
We were fortunate enough to join more than 1500 people at the Kawasaki Dealer Show for the unveiling of the 2014 Kawasaki Teryx. Kawasaki redesigned its sport/utility two seater and we like what we see. We’re hoping to get behind the wheel in the coming weeks, so stay tuned for a complete review.
The new two-seat Teryx sees many of the same upgrades as its big brother – the Teryx4. In the engine compartment, the Teryx gets a power boost from its upgraded 783cc V-Twin, which gets a claimed 26% more horsepower and 12% more torque. This is a substantial increase considering the Teryx4 only managed an increase of about 7% in horsepower and 10% in torque. Regardless these numbers mean something is happening in the Kawasaki development room and we hope the numbers transfer well to the ground when we get our hands on the steering wheel.
To test out the new 2014 Kawasaki Teryx4, Kawasaki invited me to a two-day ride across the mountains of Utah, from Beaver to Marysvale. Checking in at the Butch Cassidy Best Western Hotel in Beaver, I was about to be formally introduced to the newest version of Kawasaki’s flagship four-seat UTV and all-inclusive family fun machine.
Kawasaki made some really interesting changes to the Teryx4 for 2014. Some changes would be in the power department and even more in the suspension, but for our ride the most colorful changes we noticed right off the bat were the bright metallic green and orange paint schemes that were not only on the plastics but dripping down onto the suspension arms and shock springs as well. With a full tank of fuel it was almost time to get rolling.
Test Driver Jerry Matthews offers his thoughts on the 2013 Can-Am Maverick 1000 X rs vs. Polaris RZR XP 900 LE shootout. You can read the full shootout article and see our video report here.
Occupation: Operations Manager, Starting Line Products
Hobbies: In the Winter I spend the majority of my spare time snowmobiling…in the Spring and Summer months my time is split between my love for boating and fishing, riding ATVs, off-road motorcycles and UTVs. In the Fall, my spare time is spent hunting. And no matter what I’m doing I can’t leave anything stock.
Senior ATV.com Test Driver Kevin Allred offers his thoughts on the 2013 Can-Am Maverick 1000 X rs vs. Polaris RZR XP 900 LE shootout. You can read the full shootout article and see our video report here.2013 CanAm Maverick 1000R X RS Scorecard
Steering input and feedback – 2 Good
Engine power – 3 Excellent
Clutching – 2 Good
Traction – 2 Good
Cockpit (gauges, leg room, steering wheel fit to hands, ergonomics) – 3 Excellent
Seats – 3 Excellent
Fit and Finish – 2 Good
Overall looks and appeal – 2 Good
Test Driver Roger Raymond offers his thoughts on the 2013 Can-Am Maverick 1000 X rs vs. Polaris RZR XP 900 LE shootout. You can read the full shootout article and see our video report here.
History: Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering and diesel system engineer. Designed, prototyped, and tested a mechatronic CVT for use on recreational vehicles (particularly snowmobiles). Published in “Transactions,” the professional journal for the Society of Automotive Engineers ( SAE); “Best of Show” at the SAE conference in Gras, Austria.
Just days after Polaris punted its popular Sportsman 500 for the new Sportsman 570, Arctic Cat seems to have filled the hole left behind with its 2014 Arctic Cat 500 – now the lowest priced 500-class ATV in the industry at $6,199.
Also new for 2014 are the two-up TRV 500, three 500-class Prowler UTVs (500 HDX, 500 HDX XT and 500 HDX Limited) and two new Wildcat models (Wildcat 4 X and Wildcat 4 Limited).
Arctic Cat 500
The heart of the Arctic Cat 500 ATV is Cat’s liquid-cooled 443cc 4-stroke engine featuring Electronic Fuel Injection and a Duramatic Automatic transmission with High/Low/Neutral/Reverse and Park.
As much as we like to hear about the latest high-speed Sport UTV, consumers buy a whole lot more Utility Side-by-Sides and Polaris is very much aware of this. For 2014, Polaris introduced a number of new and updated Ranger utility vehicles to its stable.
Starting at the top, all the benefits of the Ranger XP 900 we reviewed last year can now be found on the all-new, multi-passenger Ranger Crew 900.
As its name suggests, the Ranger Crew 900 is powered by the 60-horsepower ProStar 900 engine – a significant step up from the 760cc inline Twin it replaces. More than just horsepower, the Ranger Crew 900 has the ability to tow a ton, features a new high capacity battery and stator, and offers integrated Lock & Ride PRO-FIT cab accessories.
Ever since BRP came to market with the 101-horsepower Can-Am Maverick 1000R, the industry has been waiting impatiently for Polaris’ response. It’s finally here in the form of the 2014 Polaris RZR XP 1000. If you’ve been paying attention, you heard about it here last week.
Polaris has owned the Sport UTV segment since the original RZR was introduced, so it’s no surprise the Minnesota-based manufacturer wanted to seize control of the horsepower wars. With 107 horsepower on tap, the newest RZR stands alone in the power department. That’s not to say the 88-horsepower RZR XP 900 was a slouch. In fact, we named it the best ATV/UTV of the year for 2012. We’re giddy just thinking about how an extra 19 horsepower is going to feel!
Polaris Industries builds popularity.
Take for example its line of snowmobiles, which includes the mountain-specific RMK Pro 155. For the past three winter season, this has been North America’s most often purchased sled.
Moving from snow to dirt, Polaris’ RZR is the most often purchased Sport Side-by-Side. This keeps the company making money while keeping an army of people employed and helping the economy recover. But that’s not what we like best about it. Simply put, the RZR is a wickedly fun sand, mud and dirt buggy.
This summer season, ATV.com received a RZR XP 900 EPS LE, in stealth black and evasive green. The green on black RZR was initiated and hazed on the lava rock trails, sagebrush hillsides and sand dunes in Southeast Idaho. We punished the RZR for being good.
First introduced last September at the Sand Sports Super Show, BRP finally gave the off-road media a chance to test out the 2014 Can-Am Maverick MAX recently at an event outside of Albany, NY. In particular, we had an opportunity to flog the Maverick MAX X rs with Tri-Mode Dynamic Power Steering (DPS).
The very first thing you will notice about the new four passenger, long travel, high horsepower machine is the stadium-style seating just behind the driver and front passenger. Unsurprisingly, the four-seat Maverick MAX shares much in common with its twin-seat little brother. Just because BRP engineers found a little extra length for the wheelbase (113.8 inches to be exact), doesn’t mean they had to revamp the key components that make Maverick such an impressive Side-by-Side.
When Polaris introduced its new Ranger XP 900 last summer, it immediately became one of the biggest and baddest Utility UTVs available. It’s a versatile machine that just about anybody would love to own. Unfortunately, it comes at a cost – $12,999 to be precise.
If you can’t afford the nearly $13,000 to buy the Ranger XP 900, all is not lost. During the XP 900 introduction, Polaris also unveiled a new mid-size UTV that may be just what you need. More compact that its big brother but with impressive power on tap, the new Raner 800 EFI Mid-Size is a capable workhorse with the power-to-weight ratio to let it rip out on the trail. For $2,500 less than the XP 900, it’s also a machine more of us can afford to own.
Though the original Kawasaki Teryx4 is less than two years old, it has received massive upgrades for the 2014 model year – including the first 800-class engine ever in a Japanese UTV.
Replacing Kawasaki’s much-loved 749cc V-Twin is a new 783cc 90-degree V-Twin, which generates 10 percent more torque and 8 percent more horsepower. And while you’d expect a more powerful engine to drink more fuel, Kawasaki boasts a 20-percent increase in fuel economy – from 13.1 mpg to 15.7 mpg.
It has been a while since Honda has introduced a new machine, but with the release of the 2014 Honda Pioneer 700 (available in two- and four-seat versions), the wheels seem to be turning once again. Getting the call to attend the Pioneer line off ceremony in Timmonsville, SC, I was excited to get behind the wheel of the newly developed machine.
Visit our Honda Pioneer Forum
First off, this machine was designed by Honda research and development in the great state of Ohio and then assembled in Timmonsville. This machines introduction to the Timmonsville plant added 65 new jobs for locals in South Carolina.
It was just a few weeks ago that we had speculated about Yamaha’s growth and where they may be heading in the industry. The industry rumor mill was even silent for years as engineers planned the next generation of Utility Side-by-Sides from the Newnan, Ga. manufacturer. Well, the wait is over as the 2014 model year will bring forth a brand new workhorse from Yamaha – the 2014 Yamaha Viking 700.
While many in the industry were clamoring for Yamaha to build the next great pure sport SxS (ATV.com included), producing a work-oriented vehicle likely makes the most fiscal sense. While the desert-eating, long-travel machines get most of the press, working vehicles are being bought in far greater numbers than the sport-specific models pumping out hoards of horsepower – even Polaris sells more Rangers than RZRs.
BRP has unveiled its 2014 off-road lineup, which features the new four-seat Maverick MAX 1000R we first heard about last September. Though no other completely new models were announced, BRP is offering some interesting option packages – including a narrower Maverick for trail riders. You’ll also find BRP’s Tri-Mode Dynamic Power Steering (DPS) now available on both the Maverick and Commander. Can-Am’s ATV lineup offers nothing new for 2014 outside of an updated gauge on select models.
Maverick MAX 1000R
When BRP introduced the Maverick last September, we were told a four-seat version would follow this summer. We’re happy to report BRP was true to its word. In fact, the four-seat Maverick MAX is available in two options – the standard Maverick MAX 1000R and the Maverick MAX 1000R X rs DPS.
Honda surprised us back in February when it unveiled the new multi-passenger Pioneer 700-4 and announced it would be replacing the Big Red. Just a few months later Honda has expanded the Pioneer line with a two-seat version – the Pioneer 700.
If you take a look at the specs, there really isn’t a whole lot of difference between the Pioneer 700 and 700-4. Basically, the two fold-down seats and the extra rear roll cage are gone and that’s about it. This sheds about 135 pounds in weight (from 1,396 pounds to 1,261 pounds) – 172 pounds less than the Big Red. It will also probably reduce the MSRP by a few hundred dollars, but we’ll have to wait and see as pricing has not been announced for either model.
COMPARE: Read about Honda’s new Pioneer 700-4
Less than two years ago Polaris sat basically unchallenged as the king of the Sport Side-by-Side class. While it still controls the majority of the market share in this lucrative segment, Polaris now has to look over its shoulder at two challengers – including one hungry cat in its own backyard.
Like Polaris, Arctic Cat calls Minnesota home. Also like Polaris, Arctic Cat now has multiple vehicles to choose from in the Sport SXS class – with more on the way soon. Arctic Cat took a little longer to capitalize on sport-specific UTVs, but it has jumped in with both feet with five models in the works. Is there something in the water in Minnesota? Or maybe it’s just a northern thing? After all, the only other manufacturer to dabble in this segment is BRP/Can-Am, which calls Quebec, Canada home. Seeing as these machines are most at home kicking up sand in the desert, this seems a little odd.
We’ve ridden the Polaris RZR S 800 in the wide-open Nevada desert and the hilly grasslands of Montana. Up until recently, however, we hadn’t had the opportunity to take it for spin in the tighter confines of the eastern half of the United States.
Once the pinnacle of the Sport side-by-side (SxS) world, the RZR S is now something of a tweener. With the standard RZR 800 and 570 owning riding areas with tight 50 in. trails and the RZR XP 900 and its rivals battling for supremacy of rough high-speed trails, where does this leave the RZR S? In southern Ohio we are surrounded by a number of off-road parks that allow jeeps and buggies, in addition to ATVs, so a majority of the trails are easily wide enough for the RZR S (60.5 in. wide). However, most of the trails are tight enough that you don’t really need the explosiveness the XP’s engine or its longer wheelbase and suspension travel. On paper the RZR S looks like the perfect solution for the east coast, wide-trail rider, so we decided to put it to the test where we live to find out.
Once upon a time, Yamaha was at the forefront of the side-by-side (SxS) world. The Yamaha Rhino was the vehicle to own if you wanted to have fun with a passenger. An entire industry was born out of the desire of Rhino owners to go faster, carry more passengers and otherwise suit any number of specific needs.
Other manufactures, mainly Polaris, saw the potential to expand the SxS class and in a few short years changed the off-road landscape completely. Yamaha, however, was dealing (successfully) with some legal issues surrounding the safety of the Rhino (click here and here for some examples) and the progression of the much-loved machine stalled. Sure, Yamaha has made some minor tweaks and offered some nice Limited Edition models, but Rhino fans have been eagerly awaiting a revamped Yamaha SxS that’s more 2014 than 2004.
Bobcat has recently unveiled an innovative new line of hydrostatic drive utility vehicles – the 3600 and 3650. The 3650 model has the capacity to operate front-mounted PTO attachments.
If this sounds familiar, that’s because Polaris released its new Brutus line of work vehicles with similar PTO capabilities earlier this week Polaris and Bobcat worked together on these machines.
Both the 3600 and 3650 offer cabs with both heat and air conditioning, making these true four-season work vehicles.
Powered by 24.8-horsepower diesel engines, the new 3600 and 3650 join the 3200, 3400 and 3400XL in Bobcat’s utility vehicle family, along with the Toolcat 5600 and 5610 utility work machines.
One of the main drivers behind the 3600 and 3650 was the development of a hydrostatic drive system. The hydrostatic system in the new Bobcat UTVs provides durability, and uses a single two-speed motor with fewer moving parts.
Since Can-Am upped the ante in the bid for sport side-by-side class supremacy with the release of the Maverick back in September, anyone keeping score has been waiting anxiously to see what Polaris would release to combat the new 101- horsepower brute.
It’s been rumored that Polaris has a deep inventory of vehicles just waiting in the wings and suspicions about a new model were confirmed in December when Polaris announced the new limited edition RZR XP 900 H.O. Jagged X Edition. As this is a limited edition machine, we crossed our fingers and hoped we could land a hard-to-find demo unit for testing. The generous folks at Polaris granted our wish and we excitedly picked up a brand spanking new black and blue Jagged X RZR from Carter Powersports in Las Vegas, Nev.
Looking to expand into the commercial vehicle market, Polaris has launched the new Brutus family of work vehicles. According to Polaris, the Brutus is the first side-by-side utility vehicle in the market to deliver front-end power take-off capability.
“The introduction of the Brutus product family is part of our commitment to offer the commercial customer innovative and relevant vehicles that best suit their needs,” says David Longren, Polaris vice president, Off-Road Vehicles (ORV) and ORV Engineering said. “Through our 60 years of engineering experience, strategic alliances with other industry leaders and our incredible network of dealers, we are able to provide the commercial market with the most productive, reliable and versatile vehicles.”
Honda has just unveiled an innovative four-seat UTV – the 2014 Honda Pioneer 700-4. It’s certainly not the first four-seat UTV on the market, but it is the first we’ve seen that quickly converts from four seats to two.
Unlike other four-seat UTVs that feature long wheelbases, the Pioneer 700-4 is sized like a two-seat model. Exactly how close the Pioneer is in size to the two-seat Big Red is still unknown. Full vehicle specs and other information is coming in May. In the meantime, Honda says the Pioneer will replace the Big Red rather than be sold alongside it.
During the last few months we have had some great adventures in our 2012 Polaris RZR XP 900. This machine has a bloodline that has essentially set a precedent for the remaining manufacturers in our industry. The 50-inch RZR made its way into the world of off road and from that point everything else is compared to it. Yes there are many manufacturers that have built competitive machines to gain a piece of the SXS market share, but up to this point Polaris has ruled the class.
We had an opportunity to ride the RZR XP 900 at its press introduction in Arizona about two years ago. We came away very impressed, but were eager to get a model in our garage.
Just before be celebrated the new year, Arctic Cat gave us a little teaser of what was to come in 2013 – the Wildcat 1000 X. We did our best to guess what Arctic Cat had up its sleeve, but we were left with far more questions than answers. Fortunately, Arctic Cat has now provided us with the answers we were looking for.
Our biggest issue when reviewing the original Wildcat 1000 was its power. We wrote: When we look at the Wildcat we think of an unbridled thrill-slinger from the word go, and yet it isn’t that complete of a package. Don’t get us wrong, as this machine has loads of power, but we think it just needs a bit more right off the bottom to make the driver feel like he has a 1000i in his control.
While Arctic Cat and BRP/Can-Am have been getting the headlines lately for their new super-sport side-by-sides, Polaris has been hard at work on its latest and greatest RZR – the limited edition RZR XP 900 H.O. Jagged X Edition.
“We’re very excited to offer the Jagged X Edition which provides a whole new customer solution featuring the most popular options straight from the factory,” says Craig Scanlon, general manager, Recreational Off-Road Vehicles for Polaris. “This vehicle is the most complete RZR ever built, combining the ultimate in performance, comfort and incredible styling.”
In name the newest RZR sounds similar to any other LE model in the XP family except for two very import letters – H and O. Polaris took the 88 horsepower ProStar 900 that’s been powering the RZR XP 900 and RZR XP 4 and made it a high output engine – the first ever on a RZR. Changes include new profiles on the intake and exhaust camshafts, and the addition of stiffer valve springs. These changes were paired with a new engine calibration and a stainless steel SLP exhaust with dual outlets for increased exhaust flow and what Polaris calls an aggressive race-inspired sound. To accommodate the power increase, the clutches were updated with new weights to provide increased acceleration performance. The ProStar 900 H.O. now boasts 94 HP, with acceleration on par with the RZR XP 900 and 17 percent faster acceleration (0-60mph) than the RZR XP 4 900.
When BRP began the promotional campaign for the Can-Am Commander a couple of years ago we knew it was on to something good. The fresh models from the Canadian company keep getting better each year, but it’s the little things BRP adds that seem to hit home with consumers. Making the Commander even better for 2013 is the addition of Dynamic Power Steering (DPS).
Though we are excited about the introduction of DPS to the Commander, this UTV has plenty of other things to like. To start, it benefits from one of the most comfortable cabs in the industry. When you slip into the driver’s seat of the Commander it is very apparent how much BRP paid attention to driver and passenger comfort.
In perhaps the least surprising news of the year, Arctic Cat has announced it will launch a four-seat version of its popular Wildcat side-by-side in February. The Wildcat 4 will be competing directly with the Polaris RZR XP 4 900, as well as the upcoming Can-Am Maverick 1000R MAX.
“The Wildcat 4 1000 answers the call for pure-sport ROV enthusiasts who want to carry two or more passengers,” Arctic Cat says in a release.
While the Wildcat 4 is outfitted with many of the features found in its predecessor, it’s more than just a stretched out version of the two-seat Wildcat.
We are in the midst of a full-scale war…and we couldn’t be happier about it. Instead of bombs, guns and weapons of mass destruction, we’ve got RZRs, Wildcats, and now Mavericks. It’s a good time to be a side-by-side enthusiast.
BRP joined the pure sport side-by-side arms race in September when it took the covers off the Can-Am Maverick for the first time at the Sand Sports Super Show. As luck would have it, one of our writers got to take the Maverick out for a spin before just about anybody else and wrote about here. However, we didn’t have a chance to really put the Maverick through the gauntlet until now – and we had our video team on hand to document it all.
We put the Maverick through the ringer in the dry, dusty desert landscape of the Logandale Trails System. Aptly known as the Valley of Fire, this would be an ideal spot to see the true result of what seemed to be a direct punch to the face of the competition.
Editor’s Note: ATV.com contributor Seth Fargher worked with Can-Am as it gathered promotional photos and videos for the new Maverick. He’s the one you can see driving in most of the photos in this article, as well as the articles from most other publications. These are his impressions from putting the Maverick through its paces. ATV.com will have a complete review of the Maverick from another of our contributors in the coming weeks.
Since its release to the public just weeks ago at the Sand Sport Super Show, the Can-Am Maverick has been creating quite a buzz. My social media channels have been flooded with images, articles and plenty of opinions about this innovative new side-by-side.
While ATVs and UTVs are our favorite toys for outdoor fun, they can be incredible work vehicles if you’ve got the right implements and attachments. And we’re not talking about lightweight jobs here. In fact, some of these implements can take over a lot of the work a small tractor would normally handle.
Editor’s Note: Click here to read our ride impressions of the Can-Am Maverik.
You just knew the performance-minded team at BRP had something up its sleeve. While the Can-Am Commander is a fine sport/utility machine, BRP has a rich history of boundary-pushing performance machines. This is where the 2013 Can-Am Maverick 1000R family comes in. A high-performance Maverick 1000R X rs package is also available and the four-seat Maverick 1000R MAX will join the lineup next summer.
One look at the new Maverick and any illusions of utility quickly vanish. BRP has taken direct aim at the Polaris RZR XP 900 and Arctic Cat Wildcat 1000. With 101 horsepower on tap, you can bet Polaris and Arctic Cat have taken notice.