Few companies have build 500,000 of any product, but recently John Deere reached a milestone when the 500,000th Gator Utility Vehicle rolled off the end of the Horicon, Wisconsin line. No UTV is more closely associated with American agriculture than the John Deere Gator, and wherever we go there are Gators doing just about every job on the farm. They’ve become a modern day pack mule, extra hand, cattle herding Border collie, draft horse, and pickup all in one green and yellow package. Brutal operating conditions and almost no regular maintenance seem to be the norm for most Gators we’ve seen, yet they’ve more than proven themselves day in and day out.
If you’re the owner of a Can-Am Commander you have a lot to be happy about. In all of our miles and testing with our Commander we haven’t found much negative to say about them. They have great power, excellent ergonomics, and over-the-top features that put many other UTVs in the runner-up position. The handling of the Commander is also very good, but several times we did wish that the base and XT packages had the precise steering and flat cornering of the X package. Fortunately, that flat handling is only as far away as your local dealership.
After more than 20 years of service, the Mule name has come to define a whole category of hardworking utility vehicles. For 2010, there’s an entirely new take on this beast of burden: The Mule 610 4x4 XC appears to have been crossbred with Kawasaki’s Teryx RUV. Aggressive 26 inch Maxxis Bighorn 2.0 radial tires mounted on 12-inch wheels give it newfound off-road ability—and a slew of upgrades designed to complement its suddenly more aggressive nature infuse the new Mule XC with something it’s never really been known for: This Mule is cool.
Loyalty and old rivalries die hard and one the fiercest and most long standing rivalries in motorsports began when one guy figuratively kicked snow in the other guys face. Those old rivalries have expanded far from the frosty north all the way to the sweltering desert and today Polaris, Can-Am, and Arctic Cat go toe-to-toe with each other on every type of terrain. Whether it’s ATVs, sleds, or Side x Sides, as one company releases a new model you can bet the other guys will up the ante with one of their own. In the Side x Side world Arctic Cat was the first to push high end performance with their Prowler 1000.
Whenever we test any all-new ATV or UTV, whether from Arctic Cat, Yamaha, Honda, Polaris, or any of the OEMS, we usually don’t stray too far from the truck on our first day. After all, we don’t know exactly what to expect from the new model, and we might need to make adjustments or even repairs. Not this time however. Our initial ride on Arctic Cats new heavy duty 700 HDX, and 700 XTX wouldn’t be a casual ride through familiar woods, farm, or trail, but a go-for-broke, no turning back trek spread over 3 days and 400 miles of some of the most remote and toughest terrain in North America.