University Reveals aCar: An Electric Utility Vehicle For Africa

aCar electric utility vehicle

A frontal view of the aCar on test in Ghana,

aCar electric utility vehicle

The aCar was developed by the  Technical University of Munich.

Technical University of Munich (TUM) scientists have introduced a prototype electric powered utility vehicle designed for use in rural Africa. Four years in development, the prototype is called aCar, as in “all-rounder”, and was developed specifically to meet the needs of sub-Saharan countries.

The aCar is a cross between a UTV and a small truck, and is off-road capable and can transport heavy loads with a total load capacity of 1 ton. The aCar has four-wheel drive and electric powered to minimize maintenance, provide plenty of torque and be environmentally friendly. The battery can also be used to power winch or as an energy source. The modular design for the rear of the vehicle provides versatility to carry cargo, passengers, a mobile physicians office, a water treatment solution or other functionality. Other key specifications and features include:

  • 20 kW battery capacity
  • 48-volt system
  • 80 km range
  • Top speed:  60 km/h
  • 7 hour recharging time from 220 volt household socket
  • Optional solar sheets
  • Price: under 10,000 euros
  • 3.7m x 1.5 m x 2.1 m
  • Seating capacity:  2
  • Simple production and low manufacturing costs

The vehicle was tested in Ghana for a month and was well received by locals. The aCar will first be produced in Europe to understand and optimize production, but the goal is to move production and eventually component manufacturing to Africa.

Learn more:  TUM.de

This project highlights some of the obstacles in creating a capable and affordable vehicle for customers in developing countries. Not only does such  vehicle have to be affordable to purchase but also to operate. One might think that a large UTV manufacturer could just export their lower priced models. However, the complexity of the design, the need for a reliable fuel supply, and the additional cost of shipping the vehicle all create obstacles.

In terms of design, complexity invites potential for more breakdowns and requires a robust supply chain for parts and more technical expertise for repairs. A simple but robust design alleviates these issues. A leading UTV manufacturer would likely have to develop an entirely different platform for this market.

The modular approach for the aCar is different from the accessories and options approach in the UTV market. Developing modules for specific applications provides some flexibility but, in comparison to the UTV market, limits the level of customization that can be achieved. On the other hand, developing the modules and the requisite supply chain, is likely more cost effective than developing and supplying a wide range of accessories and options in areas where a dealer network will be very limited. A next step in this project may be to look at how the modular design approach can best balance cost, supply and complexity issues with vehicle customization to increase productivity and value.

Marc cesare, Smallvehicleresource.com

Yamaha Introduces 2018 Wolverine X4 UTV

2018 Yamaha Wolverine X4

The new 2018 Yamaha Wolverine X4, a 4-passenger UTV designed to be more compact and nimble for recreational use.

Yamaha recently announced their new 4-passenger 2018 Wolverine X4 side-by-side. The Wolverine X4 features a new 847cc, twin-cylinder engine and stowaway full-size rear seats for flexible cargo space. To improve efficiency, the engine features a dry-sump design for a more compact layout, and an offset cylinder block to reduce friction loss, while rubber engine-mounts and a geared counterbalancer are designed to greatly reduce vibration at idle and throughout the RPM range, as well as reduce noise. The X4 also includes the new Yamaha Chip Controlled-Throttle (YCC-T®), a drive-by-wire system providing precise throttle control, and a key controlled speed system for restricting the vehicle’s top speed to 25 mph. The dimensions (59.8″ wide and 82.7″ wheelbase) of the new Wolverine X4 are purposely on the compact end of the scale to provide a more nimble vehicle for more technical trail riding. Other key features and specs include:

  • Ultramatic V-belt transmission with all-wheel engine braking
  • Yamaha On-Command 3-way locking differential; 2WD, 4WD, full diff-lock 4WD
  • 8.7″/8.9″ of front/rear suspension travel
  • 10.7″ of ground clearance
  • Rear self-leveling shocks
  • 26″ Maxxis tires
  • Electronic power steering
  • Hydraulic disc brakes
  • 600 lb. cargo bed capacity
  • 2,000 lb. towing capacity
  • Full underbody skid plates
  • Fully enclosed doors
  • Wide fenders
  • LED headlights and taillights
  • Two 12V DC outlets
  • Four pre-wired accessory switches
  • MSRP $15,999 in Graphite

Model variations include the Wolverine X4 in:

  • Yamaha Blue with overfenders and cast aluminum wheels (MSRP $16,499)
  • Realtree Xtra camo with overfenders and cast aluminum wheels (MSRP $16,899)
  • Matte Silver and Matte Carbon Special Edition (SE) models with overfenders, painted bodywork, color-matched interior and shock springs, and cast aluminum wheels (MSRP $17,249)

According to Yamaha managers they are trying to deliver a 4-seat UTV with some of the handling and size characteristics of a two seater and a high degree of versatility. They believe this segment of the market is currently underserved.

Learn more:  Yamahamotorsports.com

Comment:  The fact that the Wolverine X4 has been designed from the ground up and includes an entirely new engine shows the level of commitment Yamaha has made to the UTV space. They have rolled out new Wolverine and Viking models for 2018 after making a big push in the last two model years in the sport end of the market with the YXZ. The UTV market has become highly competitive and manufacturers will need to be introducing innovative new models on a regular basis to drive sales.

Marc Cesare, Smallvehicleresource.com

Textron Off Road Announces 2018 Models

Textron Off Road Logo

Textron Off Road announced their 2018 UTV lineup, the first since Textron Off Road replaced the Arctic Cat name for UTVs and ATVs. The 2018 UTV lineup includes 15 different models including Wildcat, Stampede, Recoil and Prowler nameplates. While Textron Off Road kept many of the Wildcat offerings they have ditched the HDX and most of the Prowler offerings which had previously been sold under the Arctic Cat name. They also dropped their non-EPS base model for their Stampede lineup and changed the names of the other Stampede models.

  • Stampede EPS is now Stampede
  • Stampede EPS+ is now Stampede X
  • Stampede XTR EPS is now Stampede 4
  • Stampede XTR EPS+ is now Stampede 4X

Here is a summary of the 2018 lineup:

  • Recreational UTVs:  Wildcat X, Wildcat X LTD, Wildcat Trail, Wildcat Trail XT, Wildcat Trail LTD, Wildcat Sport XT, Wildcat Sport LTD, Wildcat 4X LTD
  • Crossover UTVs:  Stampede X, Stampede 4X, Stampede, Stampede 4
  • Electric UTVs:  Recoil, Recoil iS
  • Work/Entry Level UTV:  Prowler 500

The lineup is quite broad covering a range of segments from high performance to sport recreational riding, trail riding, 4-passenger and crew, electric powered, work, crossover and even entry level general utility with the Prowler 500. The following are key specs for some of the 2018 models:

Textron Off Road Prowler 500

The 2018 Prowler 500 from Textron Off Road.

Prowler 500

  • 443cc liquid-cooled 4-stroke, twin cylinder single overhead cam engine with EFI
  • On-Demand 4WD and Duramatic CVT
  • Double A-arm front and rear suspension with 7.5″ of travel
  • 10″ of ground clearance
  • 25″ Maxxis tires on steel wheels
  • 500 lb. dump bed capacity
  • 1,500 lb. towing capacity
  • Halogen low/high headlights and taillights
  • Door nets and 3-point seatbelts
  • 2-passenger
  • MSRP $8,499
Textron Off Road Wildcat X LTD

The 2018 Wildcat X LTD now under the Textron Off Road brand.

Wildcat X LTD

  • 951cc liquid-cooled 4-stroke, V-twin cylinder single overhead cam engine with EFI’
  • Electric 2/4WD with 4WD lock
  • Rapid response clutches
  • EPS
  • Double A-arm front suspension and 5-link rear suspension with Elka Stage 5 shocks with dual speed compression adjustment and rebound adjustment
  • 17″/18″ of front/rear suspension travel
  • 13″ of ground clearance
  • 27″ ITP Blackwater Evolution tires and aluminum ITP beadlock wheels
  • 300 lb. cargo box capacity
  • Dual LED headlights, brake lights and taillights
  • Half doors
  • 3-point seat belts and seat belt rev limiter
  • MSRP $18,499
Textron Off Road Stampede X

The 2018 Textron Off Road Stampede X previously known as Stampede EPS+.

Stampede X

  • 80 hp, 846cc liquid-cooled 4-stroke, twin cylinder single overhead cam engine with EFI
  • On-Demand AWD with automatic locking front differential and selectable locking rear differential
  • EPS
  • Double A-arm suspension front and rear with Performance shocks
  • 9.5″/10.5″ of front/rear suspension travel
  • 11.25″ of ground clearance
  • 27″ Maxxis Bighorn 2.0 tires and aluminum alloy wheels
  • 600 lb. dump bed capacity
  • 2,000 lb. towing capacity
  • Standard doors
  • Front steel brush guard
  • LCD display
  • USB outlet
  • Low/high beam headlights
  • Extended cab storage space
  • 3-point seat belts and seat belt rev limiter
  • 2-passenger
  • MSRP $14,799

While the Textron Off Road brand has absorbed the Arctic Cat brand, production for the Stampede models is being integrated into existing Arctic Cat production facilities. The Stampede model production is moving to the Thief Falls River, MN facility to join the Wildcat and Prowler production. Stampede engine production will move from Germany to St. Cloud, MN, which produced engines for Arctic Cat UTVs, ATVs and snowmobiles.

Current owners of Arctic Cat side-by-sides and ATVs can continue to visit their Arctic Cat dealer for vehicle service, parts and accessories.

Learn more:  Textronoffroad.com

 

Nikola Powersports Announces Nikola Zero Electric UTV Specs

Nikola Zero electric UTV

Nikola Powersports has released the finalized specs for their Nikola Zero electric UTV.

Nikola Zero electric UTV Nikola Zero electric UTVNikola Powersports, which had previously revealed a prototype electric UTV, has announced the final specifications and design for their Nikola Zero four-passenger UTV. The specs are quite impressive with a 415 hp and 3,675 lbs of torque base option that can be bumped to 555 hp and 4,900 lbs of torque. The company is also touting the vehicle as a potentially street legal ready vehicle. The Nikola Zero has three battery options:  75kWh, 100kWh and 125kWh. The Zero will have a 200 mile range in 4×4 off-road mode with the largest battery pack. According to CEO Trevor Milton,

The Nikola Zero will be the first UTV to come with optional Anti-Lock Braking Systems (ABS), stability control, anti-roll-over, traction control and torque vectoring. Normally these options are reserved for high-end sports cars and not normally found in UTVs. We have worked hard to make these UTVs street legal, and in many states, you may be able to drive the Nikola Zero UTV to work. Once you test drive the Nikola Zero, you will want to trade in your current UTV. No other competitor UTV can match the Nikola Zero’s performance. We are not talking about a few seconds faster than the competition, we are talking about laps faster, with speeds up to 0-60 in 3.9 seconds with four passengers inside.

Key specs of the Nikola Zero include:

  • 4 passenger
  • 400-volt AC Motors
  • On-Demand 4×4 or 2×4 at any speed
  • Baja style hubs and disc brakes with Motor Regenerative Braking
  • Active descent control
  • 20″ of front/rear travel with 3.0″ FOX Podium Internal Bypass Shocks
  • Electronic power steering
  • 4-Wheel Hydraulic Disc brakes with Triple-Bore Front & Rear Calipers
  • 32″ tires with Method Wide-5 beadlock wheels
  • 14″ of ground clearance
  • 62″ wide and 74″ high
  • 3,500 lbs dry weight
  • LED headlights and taillights
  • Digital gauge
  • 10″ and 7″ displays
  • Options
    • Anti-lock braking
    • Street legal package
    • 555 hp
    • 100 kWh and 125 kWh battery packs
    • 4×4 torque vectoring system
    • Anti-roll protection
    • Traction control
    • Front and rear 4,500 lb. winches
    • Factory audio system
    • Windshield
    • Mirrors
    • Cameras

Some additional information about the Zero:

  • The lithium battery pack ranges from 500 to 1,500 lbs depending on the size and is waterproof
  • Each wheel has an electric motor
  • The solar option will provide about 40 miles per day in range
  • There are several charging options providing charging times of anywhere from 3 to 14 hrs to full charge
  • Over-the-air software updating

Nikola Zero pricing starts at $35,000 and you can currently reserve one with a $750 deposit. A dealer ride and drive event is being planned in December 2017 in St. George, Utah. The company expects to start delivering the UTVs sometime in 2018. Nikolamotor.com

Comment:  These are really big battery packs, similar to what Tesla’s use. This raises questions about whether they can really hit that price point and where do they fit the batteries and cooling system for packs that large. On price Tesla’s battery pack is in the range of $190 per kWh from what I have read with the aim to reduce that by 30% for the new Model 3 which would reduce the cost to $135 per kWh. At $135 the cost of a 75 kWh pack is $10,125 and at $190 the cost is $14,250. This is assuming Nikola Motor can match Tesla’s costs which is unlikely considering Tesla is thought to have the lowest battery pack costs in the market and has much higher volumes than Nikola Motor.

I am skeptical about the price point but the technology is certainly available to build such a vehicle. The pricing has to be considered in the context of the high end UTVs that the Nikola Zero will be competing against which are already in the $25-30k range. This segment of the market is certainly driven by product features and performance and a portion of the segment may be willing to pay a sizable premium if the vehicle performs as advertised.

Another issue is whether consumers in this segment want to switch from ICE to electric powered vehicles regardless of performance. The sound of a high-powered engine is part of the fun, is it not?

The street legal aspect of the Nikola Zero could change the value proposition and make the price premium more palatable. From the local ordinances SVR tracks, more and more municipalities are allowing UTVs to be used on local roads. Granted, these are usually low speed roads, but if you can use the vehicle to also make local trips downtown then it becomes more like a second car.

Possibly the biggest issue is if the company can ever get the vehicle to market. There have been plenty of electric vehicle startups that have had impressively designed vehicles but are never put into production. I would like the vehicle to actually make it to dealers. Then we can see if it can disrupt the market.

Marc Cesare, Smallvehicleresource.com

Polaris Announces 2018 UTVs

2018 Polaris Ranger XP 1000 EPS

The new 2018 Polaris Ranger XP 1000 EPS.

Polaris recently introduced their new UTVs for model year 2018. An updated Ranger XP 1000 priced at $16,299 features a redesigned exterior and interior. Key changes include:

  • Increased hp from 80 to 82
  • New large-ratio clutch and redesigned driveline
  • Redesigned under-hood air intakes and a new clutch cover provide increased air flow for cooler, longer-lasting belt life.
  • Improved driveline geometry is designed to increase efficiency and produce a quieter ride.
  • Increased towing capacity to 2,500 lbs.
  • Stiffer chassis
  • 27″ Maxxis tires with Black Xcelerator 2.0 aluminum wheels
  • New front end, larger headlights, new grill and larger front bumper
  • Integrated Polaris Glacier plow mount
  • Reduced steering ratio and tighter turning radius,
  • New front sway bar
  • Polaris engine braking system is now standard
  • More entry/exit clearance, more legroom and better bottom seat cushions
  • New flip-up passenger seat
2018 Polaris General 1000 EPS Limited Edition

2018 Polaris General 1000 EPS Limited Edition with military graphics.

For the GENERAL line a GENERAL 1000 EPS Limited Edition has been added with custom military-themed graphics on Matte Sagebrush Green automotive-style paint, and cut-and-sew leather-like custom seats. This model also has a:

  • 4,500 lb. Polaris HD Winch
  • Front Bumper
  • Maxxis Coronado Tires
  • Lock & Ride Headache Rack
  • $18,999 MSRP
 Polaris RZR XP Turbo EPS Dynamix

The new Polaris RZR XP Turbo EPS Dynamix Edition for 2018.

The RZR line in 2018 will include the RZR XP Turbo Dynamix Edition which features RZR DynamixActive suspension. Dynamix tunes the suspension on the fly with 200 adjustments per second and is integrated with the Polaris Ride Command system. The MSRP for this model is $25,999.

2018 Polaris ACE 570 EPS

The 2018 Polaris ACE 570 EPS

The ACE lineup now includes an all new ACE 570 EPS for $8,999. This model is $500 more than the ACE 570, but features:

  • Electronic power steering
  • Trail premium dual A-arm front suspension with more ground clearance
  • Factory installed quarter doors
  • Mud guards
  • Stainless steel exhaust
  • Improved seat slider
  • Slightly less weight

Learn more:  Polaris.com

Honda Introduces 2018 Pioneer UTVs

2018 Honda Pioneer 1000-5 Deluxe

for 2018 Honda has increased pricing slightly on their popular Pioneer UTVs like the Pioneer 1000-5 Deluxe shown here.

Honda has introduced their 2018 lineup of UTVs and it looks a lot like their 2017 lineup. There are six variations of the Pioneer 1000 including crew versions and four variations of the Pioneer 700. Honda has increased prices slightly for the 2018 model year with each of the Pioneer 1000 models including crew versions receiving a $300 increase in their MSRP. The Pioneer 1000 lineup price range is now from $14,199 to $21,899. For the Pioneer 700 models the MSRP has been boosted by $200 for each model except for the base model Pioneer 700, which increased only $100. The Pioneer 700 models now range from $10,599 to $13,699. A 2018 version of the entry level Pioneer 500 with a $8,999 MSRP has not been introduced.

Common specifications across the Pioneer 1000 lineup include:

  • 999cc engine
  • 6 speed automatic dual clutch transmission
  • High/low sub-transmission
  • QuickFlip seating for 5-passenger crew versions

Except for the base model the lineup also includes:

  • Electronic power steering
  • Tilt steering wheel
  • Manual shift mode (paddle shift)
  • “Sport” mode

The limited edition models add:

  • I-4WD brake traction control system
  • FOX QS-3 shocks
  • 27″ tires and 14″ aluminum wheels
  • Colored door and bed panels
  • LED head lights
  • Painted bodywork
Pioneer 700-4 Deluxe

The Pioneer 700 lineup also received a small price increase for 2018. The Pioneer 700-4 Deluxe shown in Pearl Orange.

The Pioneer 700 models feature:

  • 675cc, OHV engine
  • 2WD, 4WD and 4WD with Differential lock and  AT/MT modes with paddle shifting on the deluxe models.
  • 7.9″/9.1″ of front/rear suspension travel
  • 10.7″ of ground clearance
  • 1,000 lb. bed capacity
  • 1.500 lb. towing capacity
  • Tilt bed
  • Quickflip seating for crew versions to seat 2, 3 or 4 persons
  • EPS on the Deluxe models

All 2018 Honda Pioneer models will be available in August 2017.

Learn more:  Powersports.honda.com

Yamaha Adds New Viking UTVs to Lineup for 2018

Yamaha Viking EPS Ranch

The new Yamaha Viking EPS Ranch for 2018.

Yamaha Viking VI EPS Ranch Edition

Also new for 2018 is the Yamaha Viking VI EPS Ranch Edition

Yamaha has announced the addition of the Viking EPS Ranch and Viking VI EPS Ranch Edition UTVs for model year 2018. The Viking EPS Ranch features a hard sun top, aluminum wheels, over fenders, color-matched interior, underseat storage, comfort-grip steering wheel, center rearview mirror and Ranch Edition badging, and is available in Metallic Sand. Key specs for the 2018 Viking EPS Ranch include:

  • 686cc SOHC engine with EFI
  • On-Command 3-way locking differential – 2WD, 4WD, locked 4WD
  • Engine braking
  • EPS
  • 8.1″ of front and rear suspension travel
  • 11.8″ of ground clearance
  • 600 lb. cargo bed
  • 1,500 lb. towing capacity
  • MSRP:  $14,199

The six-passenger 2018 Viking VI EPS Ranch Edition features Metallic Sand painted bodywork with a color-matched interior, aluminum wheels, a soft sun top, rearview center mirror, mud flaps, over fenders, underseat storage, a bed grab bar, an aggressive front brush guard and Ranch Edition badging. Except for slightly lower ground clearance this model features many of the same key specs as the Viking EPS Ranch including:

  • 686cc SOHC engine with EFI
  • On-Command 3-way locking differential – 2WD, 4WD, locked 4WD
  • Engine braking
  • EPS
  • 8.1″ of front and rear suspension travel
  • 11.4″ of ground clearance
  • 600 lb. cargo bed
  • 1,500 lb. towing capacity
  • MSRP:  $15,599

Learn more:  Yamahamotorsports.com

Kawasaki Announces 2018 UTVs

Kawasaki Mule Pro-FXR

New for 2018 is the Kawasaki Mule Pro-FXR shown here in Atomic Silver.

Kawasaki recently announced their 2018 line-up of UTVs. One of the key additions is the new Mule Pro-FXR. The Pro-FXR builds on their successful Pro-FX and Pro-FXT models with new styling highlights and recreational features. In the styling department the Mule Pro-FXR  features a “truck like appearance” with painted bodywork, low-profile LED inner and halogen outer headlights, front and rear bumpers and contoured two-tone seats. For recreational riding the FXR is shorter than the other Pro Mules (about 12″ shorter than the FX) and sports a shorter turning radius (14.0 ft. compared to 16.0 ft. for the FX) and higher ground clearance (about 0.5″). Pricing has not been released for the vehicle. Other key features of the 2018 Mule Pro-FXR include:

  • 812cc, DOHC, 3-cylinder engine with EFI
  • 2WD/4WD/4WD with rear differential lock
  • Engine braking
  • EPS
  • 10.8″ of ground clearance
  • 1,000 lb. steel cargo bed
  • 2,000 lb. towing capacity
TeryxLE Matrix Camo Gray

The 2018 Teryx LE in a new color – Matrix Camo Gray.

Teryx4 LE candy Plasma Blue

The Teryx4 LE in Candy Plasma Blue, a new color for LE versions in 2018.

New for 2018, the Teryx LE can be purchased in Candy Plasma Blue or Matrix Camo Gray paint, while the 2018 Teryx4 LE is available in Candy Lime Green, Candy Plasma Blue, and Matrix Camo Gray graphics. It also appears that they lowered prices across the Teryx and Teryx4 models by $1,250 compared to 2017.

For the rest of the lineup in 2018 there appear to be no major changes except for some new MSRP pricing. The 2018 models for the Mule Pro-FX, Pro-FXT and Pro-DX lines all received a small $100 increase in their MSRPs compared to 2017. The Mule SX model lineup maintained the same pricing for the 2018 models as did the 2018 Mule 4000 and 4010 models.  Learn more:  Kawasaki

Can Am Introduces 2018 Side-by-Sides

Maverick X3 X RS Turbo R

The Can Am Maverick X3 X RS Turbo R is one of the new 2018 models getting a horsepower boost.

Can Am Maverick X3 Turbo

A 120 hp entry level model, the Can Am Maverick X3 Turbo, has been added to the lineup.

can am Maverick X3 Max Turbo

An entry level crew version was added as well, the Maverick X3 Max Turbo.

Can Am introduced their new 2018 side-by-side models including a 172 hp Maverick X3 Turbo R model with a 0-60 mph time of just 4.4 seconds. This is a 12% increase in power from the previous 154 hp models. The MSRP for the Turbo R is $22,999. Other models featuring the 172 hp turbocharged engine include the Maverick X3 X DS Turbo R ($24,999) and Maverick X3 X RS Turbo R ($26,899) as well as the MAX/crew versions for all three models ranging in price from $24,999 to $29,399.

In a sign of the competitive nature and some slowing in the side-by-side market, Can Am also introduced entry level models, the Maverick X3 Turbo and the Maverick X3 MAX Turbo priced at $19,999 and $21,999, respectively. Both of these models feature a 120 hp turbocharged engine.

Can Am Defender Max

The Can Am Defender Max is a lower priced crew option for 2018.

Can Am Defender Max XT Cab

The Defender Max XT Cab features some improved off-road capabilities.

Similarly, an entry level crew model was added for the Defender line, the Defender MAX with an HD8 engine option. This model is priced at $12,399 but does not have power steering like the Defender MAX DPS priced at $14,699. Also added to the Defender line for 2018 is a new Defender MAX XT Cab model with the HD10 engine. This model features an enhanced ground clearance of 11″, arched A-arms, larger 220 mm brakes, and a wider 67″ width.

Can Am Commander XT

1000R variations of models like the Can Am Commander XT now feature more horsepower with a 92 hp engine.

For the Commander line the 1000R versions of the Commander DPS, XT, Limited, Mossy Oak Hunting Edition as well as the MAX crew models receive a boost in engine horsepower from 85 hp to 92 hp as well as larger brakes and a wider stance that is increased to 61.2 inches. The price of the entry level Commander 800R has been reduced $1,000 to $11,199.

Learn more:  BRP.com

Can Am is dedicated to rolling out new models on a regular basis. These newest models indicate that the horsepower competition between manufacturers is likely to continue. At the same time, the introduction of lower-priced entry level models show there is a sizable part of the market that is price conscious which manufacturers consider worth pursuing. New entry level models are also another indication of the increased competitiveness in the side-by-side market, which is experiencing both more manufacturers targeting specific market segments, as well as, slower overall market growth compared to just a few years ago. The pie is not growing as fast and there are more mouths to feed.

Marc Cesare, Smallvehicleresource.com

Hustler Turf Enters UTV Market with LEVELIFT™ Bed Technology

Hustler Turf MDF LevelLift

The new Hustler Turf MDF LevelLift utility vehicle features a patented bed technology.

The new Hustler Turf MDV utility vehicle.

Hustler Turf, a manufacturer of zero-turn mowers, is entering the utility vehicle market with two models, including one with their patented LevelLift bed technology. LevelLift allows the bed to be lowered to the ground or raised back up for easier loading/unloading of material. The bed can lift up to 750 lbs and can dump material from any point in its arc of motion.

The two models being offered by Hustler Turf are the MDV and MDV LevelLift. MDV stands for Maximum Duty Vehicle and as the words suggest the vehicles are designed for heavy-duty applications on ranches or farms, parks, campuses and industrial locations. Some of the key features common to both models include:

  • Kohler, 1038cc, 23.4 hp diesel engine
  • 2WD/AWD
  • 37 mph top speed
  • Independent front suspension with flex swing arm
  • Floating rear axle
  • 4-wheel hydraulic disc brakes
  • 25″ wheels
  • 1,650 lb. towing capacity
  • 8″ of ground clearance
  • Power steering

The most significant difference between the two models is that the MDV has a 1,200 lb. cargo box capacity and the MDV LevelLift has the bed technology with a 750 lb. cargo box capacity. The manufacturer’s website does not list any MSRPs for the models but I found vehicle pricing on an Internet listing the MDV MSRP at $15,999 and the MDV LevelLift MSRP at $20,999.

Hustler Turf adds to the list of power and farm equipment manufacturers that have been updating or starting utility vehicle lines over the last several years. While some like Cub Cadet are offering  value priced vehicles with a nice package of features and others are offering utility vehicles to fill out their stable of products, Hustler Turf is providing a vehicle with a unique technology. The significant price premium for the technology in the MDV LevelLift model suggest that it will probably have a relatively limited market appeal. However, it may prove highly useful for specific applications. This is in line with recent trends in the commercial UTV market, where manufacturers are offering pre-configured vehicles or special option packages designed for specific end-use applications.

Marc Cesare, Smallvehicleresource.com