It’s no secret that side-by-sides and similar models have replaced the traditional four-wheeler as the farm vehicle of choice. The surge in demand for side-by-sides has opened up the options available to the average Prairie farmer, with an ever-increasing range of models offered from familiar brands including Can-Am, Polaris, Honda, John Deere, Kubota, Yamaha, and Mahindra.
Here’s a list of similar UTVs built for the average Prairie farm operation to help farmers see what’s available for a relatively similar price.
Last September former Grainews machinery editor Scott Garvey travelled to Texas to spend a couple of days field testing the full line of 2020 model year Defenders. The rough terrain and heat of West Texas made an ideal proving ground to put the new Defender models to work.
Defender Pro HD10
With a 13-inch ground clearance, the Pro was able to climb over large rock outcroppings even with a load. And it was easily able to keep up with other unloaded Defenders over the same trail at the same speed when travelling in a group, with no obvious lack of power. The 82-horsepower 976 cc V-Twin Rotax engine had plenty of torque, even at relatively low revs. The Defender didn’t run away on downhill grades either, with the engine braking doing a reasonable job of holding it back even with the load, and braking was pretty good as well. All in all, the Defender Pro handled the rated load with ease.
“What really makes this machine different from any of last year’s models is it has a six-foot cargo bed on a 115.5-inch wheelbase. Fold the tailgate down and the deck becomes nearly seven feet long. That makes it much more useful than the three-foot bed, which was the only size available on previous HD10 Defenders,” Garvey said.
Defender Max HD10
If traction as well as load and towing capacity are what you need, Can-Am has taken the same basic chassis and put it on three axles to offer six-wheel drive in the Defender Max. The Max has the same six-foot box and 1,000-box load rating, but the second axle lands where the under-box storage compartment would be on the Pro, so the Max doesn’t include that feature. The suspension on this model is also stiffer than the Pro.
“Towing capacity is 3,000 pounds for the Max; we put 1,000 pounds behind it and ran it over the trails. That had virtually no impact on its performance. The Max ran up and down the hills so easily we had to look behind to remind ourselves the trailer was actually there. So we didn’t find any shortage of power on this model either,” said Garvey.
MSRP for the 2020 Defender Pro and Max models start around $20,000. Final prices vary depending on available options.
Looking very similar to older Jeep models, the Roxor from Mahindra has a few differences that make it a great fit for an all-around farm vehicle. Keep in mind that while this looks like it can go on the highway, it’s strictly rated for off-road use only.
“Essentially, it’s an all-new platform,” says Gerry Picard, Mahindra’s Canadian sales director.
“For us as a manufacturer, we’ve kept it strictly off road. To put it on road, there are airbag tests, and side impact. There are so many tests, then the price of the vehicle went through the roof.”
Base MSRP is $21,088, and buyers can go online to build and price a model to their liking.
Polaris Ranger and General
Polaris is usually known for its highly popular RZR models, but they also offer two UTVs that are great for farm and ranch life.
The Ranger 1000 from Polaris gets its power from an all-new, single overhead cam engine that delivers 61 horsepower and 55 lb.-ft. of torque at lower r.p.m. Its smooth, quiet power and outstanding low-speed performance help you take full advantage of the improved 2,500-lb. towing and 1,000-lb. box capacity, and you can expect a smooth ride with 10 inches of suspension travel. The Ranger is also available in two-seat and three-seat models and MSRP for the Ranger models start around $14,000 dependent on available options.
The Polaris General lineup offers farmers another work-hard, play-hard option as it combines aspects from its fast-paced RZR and workhorse Ranger models. The Polaris General stands out with its versatility and eye-catching graphics that still give it a race-like feel.
The General XP 1000 Deluxe is outfitted with more aggressive styling that distributes 100 horsepower to its 30-inch Pro Armor Crawler tires, while offering 13.5-inch class-leading ground clearance to negotiate even the toughest terrain. MSRP for the Polaris General XP 1000 Deluxe starts at $28,699.
Honda Pioneer 1000
The Pioneer 1000-5 model is a great option if you are looking for seating options. In addition to the three-passenger contoured bench seat up front, the bed incorporates a pair of QuickFlip seats that flip up or fold down independently in seconds. Up, they provide secure seating for one or two additional passengers; down, you get a flat cargo bed for utility use.
The Honda Pioneer 1000 series offers a 999 cc fuel-injected twin-cylinder engine with four drive modes with MSRP starting at $19,499.
John Deere Gator UTV
As John Deere offers many side-by-side options in its Gator lineup, we’ll simply introduce the models most suitable for farming, hunting and recreation.
It offers six models in its mid-size Gator lineup and 16 models in its full-size lineup, all including a cargo bed with various seating, cab and power options. With over 20 models in the mid-size, full-size, and traditional Gator lineups there will most likely be an option that suits your operation. MSRP for John Deere Gator models start at $10,331, whereas top-end models will set you back about $33,000.
– With files from Scott Garvey