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 and diesel engine.

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

 

Self-Driving Vehicles = Growth For STOVs?

Google Prototype self-driving low-speed vehicle.

My colleague recently penned an article exploring the nexus of self-driving cars and golf car-type vehicles. Some of the key takeaways:

  • Hardware costs are dropping precipitously and may soon be within striking distance of being affordable for golf car type vehicles.
  • Golf car manufacturers are already exploring the technology and in some cases conducting testing.
  • Other companies are using GEM vehicles as self-driving test vehicles.
  • Gated communities with low speed vehicles provide a lower complexity environment that is more conducive to self-driving solutions.
  • Self-driving technology could expand potential growth avenues in non-golf car markets, an area of focus for golf car manufacturers

The article points to gated communities and urban fleets as potential market segments for deployment of self-driving technology. There are also other potential market impacts not addressed in the article that this technology can have.

For one, self-driving technology could provide an impetus for LSVs sales in the personal transportation sector. Purpose made LSVs have not quite reached their potential in this segment due to the relative cost of LSVs compared to the available market alternatives such as used golf cars, golf cars modified to be LSV compliant, customized golf cars and new golf cars. Put simply, not enough customers have found the additional price of LSVs to be worth the additional benefits. LSVs for personal transportation have done best where local regulations have favored them such as where golf cars or modified golf cars are not allowed on public roads but LSVs are, or where night time driving or other driving restrictions require LSV compliant technology.

Self-driving technology could be a differentiator for personal transportation LSVs. Since they are higher priced, LSVs are likely to feature self-driving technology before traditional golf cars. While it is possible existing golf cars could be retrofitted with self-driving technology, it may prove cost prohibitive and, more importantly, likely to encounter regulatory issues. It’s one thing to slap on some lights and an auto-style windshield, it’s quite another to install the software and hardware components necessary to create a self-driving vehicle, not to mention supporting the system with updates moving forward.

Regulatory issues brings to mind another consideration in regard to self-driving technology, medium speed vehicles (MSVs). While a few states in the US allow medium speed vehicles, at the Federal level NHTSA has never created a MSV classification and, in fact, has strongly opposed the idea on safety grounds. A MSV would require prohibitively expensive safety features akin to a highway capable vehicle.

Can self-driving change this dynamic? It is a possibility worth considering. In January, 2017 NHTSA completed their investigation (PDF file) of Tesla’s Autopilot and Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) system, which was initiated following a fatal crash of a Tesla with a tractor trailer in Florida. Their conclusion was that, “A safety-related defect trend has not been identified at this time and further examination of this issue does not appear to be warranted.” However, for the purposes of this discussion, the most important finding of the report was related to Tesla vehicles before and after they had Tesla’s Autopilot Technology Package (ATP) installed at purchase or through updates. “The data show that the Tesla vehicles crash rate dropped by almost 40 percent after Autosteer installation.”

This is an astonishing drop, and even more so considering it does not take into account whether Autopilot was in use. Therefore, this improvement is likely a conservative finding. The question is straightforward. Can MSVs use self-driving technology to make them safe enough to pass NHTSA’s regulatory rigor? Why rely on a package of older and likely more expensive safety technology to improve MSV safety when a potentially cheaper and possibly more effective solution is on the horizon. It may soon be time to revisit the possibility of creating an MSV classification, which could open up a range of potential growth markets.

Marc Cesare, Smallvehicleresource.com

Textron Partners with New Holland on Rustler UTV

New Holland Rustler 850

A partnership between Textron and New Holland bares fruit with the launch of the New Holland Rustler 850.

Textron Specialized Vehicles continues to expand their footprint in the small, task-oriented vehicle market partnering with New Holland to produce the Rustler 850 utility vehicle. New Holland, a leading manufacturer of agricultural machinery, turned to Textron 18 months ago to help them update their Rustler brand of utility vehicles with a new vehicle. The partnership makes sense for both companies. For Textron Specialized Vehicles, the partnership gives them access to New Holland’s well-established distribution channel in the ag market. For New Holland, they can more efficiently use their product development resources by taking advantage of Textron Specialized Vehicle’s expertise in utility vehicles. One challenge for the new vehicle will be the relatively depressed demand in the ag market that has been ongoing for a number of quarters.

The Rustler 850 is based on a Textron chassis but has a number of features and characteristics based on New Holland’s market knowledge and feedback from their dealers. These include:

  • 1,000 lb. capacity cargo bed that can fit a full pallet
  • 1,500 lb. payload capacity
  • 2,000 lb. towing capacity
  • 45 mph top speed for more speed than some other farm focused UTVs
  • Front end design that recalls their T6/T7 tractors
  • Trademark New Holland blue color

Other key features include:

  • 62 hp, OHC, EFI engine
  • All-Wheel Drive with automatic locking front differential and selectable locking rear differential
  • Dual A-arm front and rear suspension with performance shocks
  • 9.3″/10.4″ of front/rear suspension travel
  • 11.25″ of ground clearance
  • Electronic power steering
  • 4-wheel hydraulic disc brakes
  • 26″ Kenda All-Terrain tires
  • ROPS and 3-point seat-belts
  • Front steel brush guard

Current available attachments include a LED light package and winch with a cab with heater, electric dump bed and camo graphics in development. A four-person version is also in the product line plan. The Rustler 850 will be available this spring.

Learn more:  Farmindustrynews.com

Marc Cesare, Smallvehicleresource.com

E-Z-GO Launches ELiTE Lithium Powered Fleet Golf Cars

Marc Cesare, Smallvehicleresource.com

E-Z-GO RXV

The E-Z-GO RXV fleet golf car is one of models that will be offered with the lithium battery pack.

E-Z-GO has announced their EliTE series of golf cars, a lithium battery powered offering for the fleet market. The ELiTE vehicles will use Samsung’s SDI lithium technology and provide zero maintenance batteries with a five-year unlimited amp-hour warranty and increased energy efficiency. The technology will be offered in the RXV® ELiTE, Freedom® RXV ELiTE, Freedom RXV 2+2 ELiTE, TXT® ELiTE, Freedom TXT ELiTE and Freedom TXT 2+2 ELiTE. According to E-Z-GO some of the advantages of these lithium powered vehicles include:

  • Zero-maintenance batteries that don’t require watering, terminal post checkups and cleaning like traditional lead acid batteries
  • 59% more efficient than the Club Car Precedent and 52% more than the Yamaha Drive AC
  • Reduced charging time allows for short “opportunity charging” between rounds
  • Reduced energy costs
  • Longer run times
  • Lighter weight can reduce turf damage and soil compaction

These advantages are similar to what SVR heard from LiV Golf Cars, a start-up golf car manufacturer that tried to break into the fleet golf car market with lithium powered golf cars not to long ago. While the technology sounded promising, the company had trouble trying to muscle in on the big boys turf. However, the technology has the potential to be quite disruptive as golf car leases are typically tied to the life of the vehicle’s battery pack.

Economically it makes more sense for a golf course to changeover a fleet than just replace the battery packs. A golf course will typically turn over their fleet when the battery pack needs to be replaced, 3-4 years depending on use. Why spend $600-$1,000 per vehicle for a new battery pack when you can lease a whole new set of vehicles for not much more than your current payments? If the lithium battery packs are kept through their warranty period, 5 years, or even longer, you are potentially doubling or almost doubling the changeover time. Obviously, this has implications for fleet golf car sales volume.

How disruptive lithium golf cars will be depends on whether they perform as advertised and how much more they will cost than current fleet golf cars. If the energy cost savings are significant and the pricing not to high the payback time could be relatively short. In the long term the maintenance free aspect of the battery pack may prove to be a significant factor as well, since maintaining lead acid batteries properly continues to be a challenge. This will probably not manifest itself until the vehicles are out in the market and golf course managers better understand how much less maintenance they require.

The full press release from Textron follows:

E-Z-GO® Launches Innovative ELiTE™ Series Vehicles to Industry

Lithium-Powered Golf Fleet Vehicles Developed in Partnership with Samsung SDI

AUGUSTA, Ga. (January 26, 2017) — E-Z-GO, a Textron Specialized Vehicles business, is proud to yet again revolutionize electric golf cars with the introduction of its ELiTE Series lithium golf cars as a fleet offering. Activated by Samsung SDI lithium technology, ELiTE vehicles offer zero-maintenance batteries with a five-year unlimited amp-hour warranty and increased energy efficiency.

E-Z-GO vehicles are designed and manufactured in Augusta, Ga. by Textron Specialized Vehicles Inc., a Textron Inc. (NYSE: TXT) company.

“The E-Z-GO partnership with Samsung SDI resulted in a giant step forward for the industry when it comes to high-efficiency vehicles and zero-maintenance battery power,” said Michael R. Parkhurst, Vice President, Golf for Textron Specialized Vehicles. “ELiTE Series vehicles are the biggest advancement in golf car technology since E-Z-GO introduced the E-Z-GO RXV® golf car, with its groundbreaking AC drive and IntelliBrake™ technology.”

New ELiTE Series vehicles are powered by hundreds of Samsung SDI lithium cells that are loaded into a single battery pack. The battery pack is controlled by an advanced Battery Management System that monitors efficiency, temperature, state of charge and the health of the batteries. These batteries are used to safely and reliably power electric cars, e-scooters, power tools and many other electrically powered vehicles, equipment and appliances.

The revolutionary ELiTE Series vehicles are powered by zero-maintenance lithium batteries that don’t require watering, terminal post checkups and cleaning like traditional lead acid batteries do. This means less time in the shop for maintenance and repairs, and more play time for the vehicles.

ELiTE Series vehicles are 59 percent* more efficient than the Club Car Precedent and 52 percent* more efficient than the Yamaha Drive AC. Charging time is significantly reduced, and ELiTE vehicles allow courses to “opportunity charge,” plugging vehicles in for quick charging sessions between rounds that can rapidly restore significant levels of energy to the battery system, as opposed to the lengthy recharge cycles required by lead-acid batteries.

With less power required to charge ELiTE Series than leading lead-acid competitors, golf course managers can cut energy costs while enjoying the extra revenue that comes from all-day uptime.

The batteries in ELiTE vehicles are also lighter than traditional lead acid batteries. ELiTE Series vehicles batteries are half the size and a fraction of the weight of lead-acid batteries, reducing turf damage and soil compaction due to vehicle weight.

E-Z-GO is confident in the reliable and enduring performance that ELiTE vehicles will bring to courses, which is why the vehicles’ batteries are backed by a five-year, unlimited amp-hour warranty.

E-Z-GO ELiTE Series vehicles were tested at Tijeras Creek Golf Club, in Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif., where last year, 73,000 rounds of golf were played. The award-winning course is known for its challenging hilly, brutal terrain. Tijeras Creek Golf Club regularly rotates vehicles in the current lead-acid golf car fleet in and out of service daily to allow for ample recharge time.

“From day one, the ELiTE Series vehicles have been going around our golf course anywhere from 36 to 54 holes a day, and during that time frame, we aren’t having to recharge them,” said Rob Heslar, Director of Golf at Tijeras Creek Golf Club. “There’s a confidence factor in the ELiTE Series lithium car for me. I’m not concerned about putting my customers in an ELiTE Series golf vehicle because I know they won’t worry about becoming stranded in an uncharged vehicle.”

The exclusive ELiTE lithium technology will be available in the following 2017 models:

RXV® ELiTE, Freedom® RXV ELiTE, Freedom RXV 2+2 ELiTE, TXT® ELiTE, Freedom TXT ELiTE and Freedom TXT 2+2 ELiTE.

ELiTE Series vehicles will be on display during the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando, Florida. Learn more about ELiTE Series vehicles, by visiting www.ezgo.com/elite.

Contact:
Brandon Haddock
Director, Communications
706. 772.5931
bhaddock@textron.com

– See more at: http://investor.textron.com/news/news-releases/press-release-details/2017/E-Z-GO-Launches-Innovative-ELiTETM-Series-Vehicles-to-Industry/default.aspx#sthash.pK3tx7Dp.dpuf

Polaris Announces New UTV Models

Marc Cesare, Smallvehicleresource.com

Polaris General 1000 EPS Ride Command Edition Black Pearl

The Polaris General 1000 EPS Ride Command Edition Black Pearl headlines the mid model year UTV additions.

Polaris announced a number of new utility vehicles across their General, Ranger and RZR product lines. As is typical for these mid-year additions, the models are variations of existing vehicles and many are new color options.

Most notable is the Ride Command edition of the General 1000 EPS, the General1000 EPS Ride Command Edition Black Pearl. Ride Command was launched last year on a limited edition RZR XP 1000 EPS and met with enough success to carry over the technology to the General line. Ride Command “…enables riders to connect with other riders and provides centralized, seamless device control, including integration with mobile phones, cameras and audio.”

The RIDE COMMAND system includes the RIDE COMMAND mobile app and a weather-resistant, glove-touch RIDE COMMAND 7-in. display. The centralized display is the central hub for GPS mapping, listening to favorite music through Bluetooth® or AM/FM radio, controlling a GoPro® camera and to receive texts. In tandem with the RIDE COMMAND app, the display allows riders to track other riders in their group without needing to physically see them. The app also enables riders to map routes in advance, as well as track and share their ride directly to their social feed.

The Polaris GENERAL 1000 EPS RIDE COMMAND Edition Black Pearl features the RIDE COMMAND 7-in. display and several accessories that integrate into the system including front and rear cameras, and a MTX® Premium 8-Speaker Audio system. Other standard accessories include a front bumper, Polaris HD 4500 lb. Winch, Poly Sport Roof and FOX® QS3 Shocks.

The MSRP for this model is $21,499.

Ranger XP 900 EPS Silver Pearl

The Ranger XP 900 EPS in Silver Pearl.

A Ranger XP 900 EPS Silver Pearl option has also been added and features automotive style paint, aluminum wheels and electronic power steering (EPS) with an MSRP of $13,999. For the Ranger 500 a Sage Green color option was added with the MSRP remaining unchanged at $8,999.

For the RZR product line the new additions consist of new color options for various models with no changes to MSRPs compared to similar models. New color options include:

  • RZR S 900 EPS Titanium Metallic
  • RZR 4 900 EPS Titanium Metallic
  • RZR S 1000 EPS Spectra Orange
  • RZR XP 1000 EPS White Lightning with Reflex Blue
  • RZR XP 4 1000 EPS White Lightning with Reflex Blue

It is not surprising that there aren’t any big additions to their line-up. Not only is it mid model year but Polaris has been putting a lot of resources toward fixing their recall issues with Rangers and RZRs. The recall issue also impacts dealer inventory which Polaris is trying to closely manage and any major additions would require adding to dealer inventory. While Polaris is not likely to stop launching significant new models, they will probably be launched mid calendar year by which they hope to have resolved a majority of the recall issues.

Learn more:  Polaris.com

Intimidator UTVs Added To SVR Database

Marc Cesare, Smallvehicleresource.com

Intimidator utility vehicles just have been added to the Smallvehicleresource.com vehicle database. Intimidator UTVs are manufactured in Arkansas and include a Classic, Truck and Crew series of vehicles. Depending on the series a range of powertrain options are available including a 1000cc Kohler diesel engine, a 750cc Kohler gas engine, Intimidator’s own 800cc gas engine and a 48V AC electric motor. While the Intimidator UTVs are designed for work and trail riding, the feature set and lower top speeds indicate they lean more towards work applications. However, they do feature 27″ tires, 10″ of suspension travel and 12″ of ground clearance that should work nicely on trails. There is also an Enforcer model more targeted at trail riding which will be detailed later.

Intimidator Classic utility vehicle

Intimidator Classic UTV

The Classic series includes all four powertrain options and includes features such as a 1,200 lb. capacity cargo bed, 2,100 lb. towing capacity, 27″ tires with steel wheels, 12″ of ground clearance, dual A-arm suspension, hydraulic disc brakes and front brush guard.

Intimidator Crew utility vehicle

Intimidator Crew UTV

The Crew series includes all the powertrain options except for the electric powertrain. This series has similar features to the Classic series but seats six.

Intimidator Truck utility vehicle

Intimidator Truck UTV

The Truck series is available with either Kohler powertrains and has similar features as the Classic series but is outfitted with a 6-foot cargo bed that can fold-down into a flat bed.

Intimidator Enforcer utility vehicle

Intimidator Enforcer UTV

The Intimidator utility vehicles vehicle is designed for trail riding. With a SxS Gear portal lift the Enforcer features 4″ gear lift, 30% gear reduction, 32″ motoboss 6-ply tires, true beadlock MSA wheels, 18″ ground clearance, wide track width, Elka shocks and power steering. This model is powered by Intimidator’s own 800cc gas engine with EFI and 65 hp for a top speed of 55 mph.

A number of Intimidator dealers have also been added to the SVR Dealer Directory. If you are already in our directory you can create an account, link to your directory listing and enjoy a free trial of SVR’s Request for Quote service. If you aren’t in our dealer directory then join our directory and signup for SVR’s Request for Quote service for free.

Polaris Ranger XP 1000 Reviews

Marc Cesare, Smallvehicleresource.com

The Ranger XP 1000 EPS in Nara Bronze.

The Ranger XP 1000 EPS in Nara Bronze.

This past summer Polaris introduced the Ranger XP 1000 lineup for model year 2017 that featured a 80 hp engine. The lineup includes a Ranger XP 1000 base model priced at $13,999, three EPS models at $15,999 and four special edition models with MSRPs ranging from $16,999 for the Hunter Edition to $23,699 for the Northstar HVAC Edition. The latter comes with a full cab and a heating, ventilation and air conditioning system. There is also High Lifter Edition model for mud riding and a Ranch Edition for work. Similarly there is a new lineup of Ranger Crew XP 1000 models including one base model priced at $15,199 MSRP, three EPS models at $16,999 and High Lifter and Northstar HVAC Editions priced at $20,499 and $25,999 respectively. Key features of the Ranger XP 1000 include:

  • 80 hp, 999cc ProStar engine with EFI
  • True On-Demand AWD/2WD/ VersaTrac Turf Mode
  • 10″ of front/rear suspension travel
  • 12″ of ground clearance
  • Hydraulic disc brakes
  • 25″ tires on steel wheels
  • 1,000 lb. cargo box capacity
  • 2,000 lb. towing capacity and 2″ receiver hitch
  • 3 person capacity
  • Tilt steering

The EPS models include the following:

  • EPS
  • 26″ tires on aluminum Black Xcelerator wheels
  • Pro-Lock On-Demand AWD/2WD/ VersaTrac Turf Mode
  • Adjustable driver seat

www.texasoutdoorsnetwork.com – Video walk through, first drive and review of the Hunter Edition which adds camo bodywork, winch, cut and sew seats, gun scabbards and active descent control.

  • Tilt bed has standard tailgate like a pickup truck
  • Industry leading horsepower
  • Engine behind the seat makes it less noisy and cooler
  • Lots of storage

Video review – Dealer walkthrough of Range XP 1000 Ranch Edition.  More of a walkthrough than a review. The Ranch Edition includes:

  • 4,500 lb. winch
  • Brush guard
  • Rear view mirror
  • In cab gun mounts
  • Poly sport roof
  • Maxxis tires
  • Headache rack
  • Wire spool
  • T-post hauler
  • Self-leveling suspension
  • Rear brush guard
  • Pro-Lock On-Demand AWD/2WD/ VersaTrac Turf Mode

Polaris – Video comparison of Ranger XP 1000 and Honda Pioneer 1000. This is produced by Polaris so obviously it shows the Ranger in a better light. More interesting is some of the comments left by users. First though, some of the advantages of the Ranger XP 1000 as pointed out by Polaris.

  • More horsepower
  • Better acceleration
  • Easier to use on-demand all-wheel drive
  • More leg room
  • Better throttle control
  • Better sealed cab system

As users point out, the comparison is between the three person Ranger vs. the 5-person Pioneer instead of the 3 person Pioneer, which users think is an apples to oranges comparison. Other comments include:

  • No mention of Honda Pioneer’s paddle shifters and dual clutch system which avoids blown belts and some consider more fun to drive
  • Some consider Honda to be more reliable and longer lasting
  • Shorter wheelbase of Pioneer 1000-5 vs. the Crew version of the Ranger XP 1000 and thus better maneuverability on trails
  • No comparison of towing, fuel or storage
  • General comments about Polaris skewing the comparison

 

Polaris General 1000 EPS Reviews

Marc Cesare, Smallvehicleresource.com

The base model General 1000 EPS is Indy Red with an MSRP of $15,999.

The base model General 1000 EPS is Indy Red with an MSRP of $16,299.

The Polaris General 1000 EPS was developed by Polaris to fill the void between the RZR lineup designed for recreational riding and the Ranger lineup designed primarily for work or utility applications with some recreational use. The General sits in the middle as more of a true recreational-utility crossover vehicle.

The General 1000 EPS is powered by a 100 hp, 999cc ProStar engine with EFI and engine braking system standard. It also has On-Demand True AWD/2WD/ VersaTrac Turf Mode. The high performance close ratio AWD will automatically engage all four wheels when more traction is needed and then revert back to 2WD when more traction is no longer needed. Other features include:

  • Broad torque range – 65 ft. lbs. of torque
  • Electronic Power Steering
  • 12.25″/13.2″ of front/rear suspension travel
  • 12″ of ground clearance
  • Front and rear sway bars and dual rate springs to maintain clearance under load
  • 4-wheel hydraulic disc brakes
  • 27″ Maxxis Coronado tires
  • Cast aluminum wheels
  • 600 lb. capacity dump cargo bed
  • 1,500 lb. towing capacity
  • LED lighting
  • Half doors
  • Bolstered bucket seats
  • Tilt steering
  • Adjustable drive seat
  • MSRP:  $16,299

Compared to the Ranger XP 1000 EPS the General offers less cargo and towing capacity but more horsepower, more speed, more suspension travel, half doors and larger tires.

The following are some of the comments from various expert and user reviews of the Polaris General 1000 EPS. Some common themes across the reviews include:

  • General is a good crossover vehicle that handles both trail riding and work applications
  • Powerful and fast with good torque
  • Interior comfort and ergonomics better than RZR and Ranger with nice seats and instrument cluster
  • Doors protect against the elements well and allow for easy ingress/egress
  • Good suspension and ride

www.utvguide.net – Test ride for a day in New Mexico

  • Suspension borrowed from RZR S 900/1000 works well and many aftermarket parts are available for customizing
  • Good engine power and torque and placement behind cab limits noise
  • Comfortable and roomy seats
  • Well proportioned bed for the range of crossover uses
  • Doors work great and offer protection from elements
  • Well positioned instrument cluster
  • No turf mode (Note: This doesn’t seem to be true as the specs list Versa Trac Turf Mode)
  • Would prefer a larger tire size for rock crawling and clearance in the desert or mud riding
  • Better equipped versions like the Deluxe edition are pricey
  • Overall the General fills a hole in Polaris offerings and the overall feature set is better than competitors.

www.fourwheeler.com – Day of test riding near Santa Fe, New Mexico

  • “Great for dirt sport enthusiasts who need a versatile, all-wheel-drive utilitarian side-by-side.”
  • Low-range gearing worked well on steep inclines and rocky trail conditions
  • Speed reached 60+ mph even at elevation
  • AWD “terrific” for trail riding
  • “…Quite capable of traversing snow, mud, sand and other terrain and doing so with ease…”
  • Agile, powerful and fun to drive
  • Roomier interior than the RZR or Ranger
  • Comfortable seats
  • Seats and center console an improvement over the RZR and Ranger
  • Doors provide good protection from the elements and offer better ingress/egress than the RZR or Ranger
  • Solid at soaking up bumps on the trail
  • Rides level and has sway bars to reduce body roll
  • Engine Braking System performed well
  • Hydraulic assist dump bed is selling point
  • Really good choice for a crossover vehicle

Dirttraxtelevision Video – Review of Polaris General 1000 EPS Deluxe

  • Deluxe version with FOX QS3 is great because of the easy to adjust 3-position shocks for soft, medium or firm.
  • Rides great – plush suspension but avoids bottoming out
  • Awesome power and excellently tuned clutches
  • Good torque
  • Close to 80 mph on top end
  • Seat position more upright than RZR but more laid back than Ranger
  • Easy ingress and egress with doors
  • Instrument panel moves with tilt steering
  • “Highest quality and best laid out interior from Polaris, ever” and more car like than any side-by-side on the market
  • Center console cover is not padded and is slippery as an armrest
  • Performs both recreational and work applications well

User Video – Polaris General 1000 walk around and short drive

  • Tops out at 71 mph
  • Comments on video
    • 0-60 mph took 7.0 seconds
    • Good crossbreed between RZR and Ranger
    • Better seating and more legroom than RZR

www.polarisgeneralforum.com – Comments from various users on General and in comparison to Honda Pioneer 1000. It is the 2016 Polaris General being discussed.

  • Car like dash and controls
  • Better seats than Pioneer – feel like you are sitting in the seat rather than on it
  • Quick
  • Sportier than Pioneer
  • Nicer than the RZR 900
  • Long discussion on the Polaris AWD system with auto-locking front differential vs. manual locking front differential in the context of more difficult riding such as rock crawling

2017 Arctic Cat Wildcat X Models

The 2017 Wildcat X from Arctic Cat with RG Pro suspension.

The 2017 Wildcat X from Arctic Cat with RG Pro suspension.

Arctic Cat Wildcat X Limited

The Wildcat X Limited adds full doors, front and rear aluminum bumpers and a molded roof.

Arctic Cat Wildcat 4X

The four-seat Wildcat 4X rounds out the lineup.

Arctic Cat recently unveiled their 2017 Wildcat X, X Limited and 4X models. The first two are two-passenger models and the latter 4-passenger.  One of the key features of the 2017 Wildcat lineup is the RG Pro suspension. The RG stands for Robby Gordon who helped develop the new models. The suspension includes a rear trailing arm similar to what Gordon used on his off-road Dakar Hummers. The trailing arms allow the wheel to trail up and down. Compared to competitive vehicles the Wildcat X will hop around less and the tire patch will tend to remain in the same location, and this translates into more speed through the bumps. Other features include larger diameter tie-rods, King shocks, race-inspired ROPS with additional front braces, stronger chassis and KMC aluminum wheels with 27″ ITP Ultracross tires. (Gordon talks about the suspension)

Other features include:

  • 951cc, H2, liquid-cooled V-Twin EFI engine
  • 2WD/4WD with electronic front differential lock
  • 17″/15.5″ of front/rear suspension travel
  • King gas shocks
  • 12″ of ground clearance
  • Rapid Response clutch
  • Electronic Power Steering
  • Hydraulic disc brakes
  • Dual LED headlights and taillights
  • Half doors
  • Highback bucket seats

The Wildcat 4X is similar to the Wildcat X except that it has seating for four. The Wildcat X Limited has full rather than half doors, front and rear aluminum bumpers and a molded roof. MSRPs are Wildcat X $18,499, Wildcat X Limited $19,499 and Wildcat 4X $20.499.

Kubota RTV-X900 Reviews

Kubota RTV-X900 utility vehicle

The RTV-X900 utility vehicle from Kubota

The Kubota RTV-X900 (See Specs) was introduced for model year 2014 and was an update to the RTV-900 which had been on the market for a number of years. Key improvements compared to the older model include changes to many physical dimensions and capacities to improve ergonomics and increase towing, tipping capacity and improve off-road comfort and performance. The variable hydraulic transmission (VHT-X) was also updated with a wider torque band from the engine with larger oil coolers to boost performance and durability. The wider torque band results in a a two speed (High,Low) drive compared to the previous three speed drive that required more shifting. The new drive also provides finer throttle control for operation on extreme terrain or under heavy loads.

There are three versions of the RTV-X900 the General Purpose in Kubota orange, the Worksite in Kubota orange and the Worksite in RealTree AP Camo. The Worksite version includes a hydraulic rather than manual bed lift, a brush guard in the front, a spray-on bed liner option and the camo paint option. Pricing ranges from around $13,500 to $15,000 depending on the model.

Kubota RTV-X900 Feature Walkthrough – This video walkthrough is from Kubota in the UK and points out some of the key features.

  • 21 hp diesel engine
  • New front design
  • 60/40 bench seats
  • Digital instrument cluster
  • Adjustable steering
  • Easy to reach parking brake
  • Glove box and underseat storage
  • Wider cargo bed than previously
  • Independent rear suspension added to independent front suspension
  • Adjustable susension

ATV.com – A day riding the full RTV X series lineup of vehicles including the RTV-X900.

  • Plenty of legroom and comfortable throttle pedal
  • The RTV-X line in general has heavier vehicles made for work with engines that deliver torque but not quick acceleration
  • Dynamic braking works well and makes steep descents worry free
  • The power steering is “the lightest we ever tested”, even at low speeds. Should reduce driver fatigue after long work days.
  • Vehicle feels planted
  • Turf tires had difficulty on muddier climbs
  • RTV-X900 only has lap belts instead of 3-point seat belts

Tractorbynet.com User Forum – Owner comments on the RTV-X900

  • Seating is comfortable.
  • H & L ranges are appropriate for most use.
  • Not fast, but strong.
  • Good storage under both seats. Glove box with door.
  • Good instrument panel.
  • Shifter is extremely hard to move between L H N R. Takes a lot of muscle to move it.
  • Shifter can become stuck in reverse when stopping on incline. Engine won’t restart if stuck in reverse, needed another piece of equipment to take pressure off reverse linkages before shifter would move and restart engine.
  • Dump bed must be raised to check oil, therefore starting engine before checking oil.
  • Factory supplied battery is very small, doubt it would have enough power to heat glow plugs and still start motor in freezing weather.
  • Engine seems to labor and slow down on inclines, let off & full on gas and resumes original speed.
  • Shifting problem was an issue that came up but other commnenters noted that the driver needs to brake while shifting which is tied into a release valve for the hydrostatic pressure. This valve may also require some adjustment.

www.agriculture.com – For four days a team of 12 experienced riders put eight of the newest UTVs through their paces in the Successful Farming Ultimate UTV Evaluation.

  • Hydrostatic transmission and hydraulics allow for easier driving, PTO accessories and engine-braking
  • Excellent downhill control but heavier weight can be an issue on inclines
  • Not built for speed
  • Can carry a heavy load and the suspension handles the load well so the vehicle maintains drivability
  • Nice features – Adjustable driver seat, tilt steering and horn