The Gator species has evolved. What began as the humble, hard-working AMT (All Materials Transport) back in 1987 has now become a very capable off-road performer. John Deere has sold over 500,000 of their Gator utility vehicles, but never has there been one as quick, nimble, powerful, or just plain fun as the new RSX 850i, and now there are three! These Gators are meant for much more than the farm!
Entering into the sport market would not be easy or quick for Deere, and it would require an all-new machine from the ground up. About the only feature the new Gator 850i’s have in common with Gators of the past is the color.
Can-Am has upped the ante for every other OEM by going all-in with their new high-performance side x side, the MAVERICK 1000R. The new MAVERICK 1000R is designed to go wheel-to-wheel with the Polaris RZR XP900 and the Arctic Cat Wildcat 1000i, and by wheel-to-wheel we mean flat out across the toughest terrain you can find.
No machine has played a bigger role or has had more impact for a wider variety of owners than the Polaris Ranger. Before the Ranger, John Deere’s Gator and Kawasaki’s Mule were about the only choice for any serious, work capable utility vehicle. Both the Gator and the Mule were solid performers on the farm or the job site, but weekend recreation was not their domain or even much of a consideration. The new Ranger, however, offered the ability to haul everything from bricks to hay bales all week and camping, hunting, or fishing gear all weekend. Plus it did it with more power, more features, better handling, and vastly improved ride quality.
Last year we spent a couple days prowling around the woods of South Carolina on KYMCO’s UXV 500i and it performed extremely well crawling over downed timber, crossing streams and mud holes, and maneuvering through the tight trees. This year we would be giving the UXV an entirely new challenge and rather than the Eastern woods, we would be taking it into some of the toughest, yet most beautiful terrain on the planet. Saddle up for UTAH!
It’s official; John Deere is releasing not one but THREE all-new versions of the sport inspired Gator RSX 850i Side x Side and ATV Illustrated was on hand to see what the new machine is made of. From our first official look it’s clear this machine is designed to carry Deere much further into the sport segment than they’ve ever been before.
The RZR 4 is one of the most fun, all-purpose side by side vehicles we have ever driven. When given the chance to put some miles on it and really see what the RZR 4 LE is capable of, we couldn’t get it on the trail fast enough. With just over 4000 trouble free miles logged on our 2011 RZR 4 LE, you can bet we had a chance to ride in many different conditions, and it met or exceeded our expectations every time.
A Look Under the Hood and a Quick Spin on Deere's Newest Gator
In every manufacturer’s lineup, there are models that mark watershed moments of major change. In the hardworking utility vehicle market, John Deere first found success with the five wheeled AMT, then enjoyed an even greater following with their next generation Gator. Last year they celebrated a huge milestone when the 500,000th Gator rolled off the line at their Horicon, Wisconsin plant, but other companies took notice of the Gator as well. Polaris quickly capitalized on a loyal sportsman following with their Ranger, while Yamaha catered to performance lovers with the Rhino. Kawasaki continues to offer their Mule utility vehicles, but the Teryx also appealed to the sporty crowd.
CAN-AM is a company on the move. Last year they introduced an all-new chassis in their top of the line ATVs and this year we expect the second generation chassis to make it on almost every other Renegade and Outlander model in the lineup as well. Their special edition models come with over-the-top features that make them the luxury vehicles of the off-road world, but they’re much more than just a pretty face. The first mandate for any Can-Am ATV or Side x Side is that it must perform and these are the models that really put them over the top.
We spent the better part of last summer running around the north woods on the friend and family friendly, four seat sensation called the Polaris RZR4. Regardless of whether we were in the driver’s seat or the back seat, it’s impossible not to have a great time on the RZR4 thanks to the long wheelbase, super stable platform, and silky smooth, stock FOX shocks. It’s a blast to cruise down the trail on the RZR4, but we always felt it could use a little more power.
To say the King of the Hammers event is a tough race but might be a fun challenge is a little like saying a Badger has a slightly intolerant disposition but would otherwise make a fine family pet. To even enter the event raises a whole host of questions, especially when you consider that almost 60% of those who start the race never finish, and in some classes the attrition rate is much higher than that!