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Ultimate UTV Evaluation: Day One

Successful Farming magazine is conducting its third Ultimate UTV Evaluation out at the Jackson Lake House Estate in Dahlonega, Georgia, this week. The evaluation officially started Wednesday morning after the fog burned off, opening up a spectacular view of the lake at the estate and the North Georgia mountains.

The estate is connected to thousands of acres of forests by a winding ATV/UTV trail. Evaluator Rick Sosebee has used these trails for years as he tests out machines for ATV.com, Offroad.com, and Fieldandstream.com. Sosebee selected a course that would take about 15 minutes each time around and that would show how the machines performed in a variety of terrain, including steep hills, rocky patches, tight turns, and a few wide-open spaces.

Each evaluator tested each UTV and to see how it performed on the trail in high and low gear as well as in two-wheel drive, four-wheel drive, and four-wheel drive with diff lock. They took each machine through the course two times. With seven machines, that means each person spent 3½ hours on the trails during the first part of the test.

After those two times around in the UTV, each evaluator filled out a form evaluating the machine on these criteria:

  • Ease of shifting the transmission
  • Ease of engaging four-wheel drive, diff lock
  • Steering responsiveness and vehicle maneuverability
  • Acceleration
  • Ease of maintaining a constant speed on the trail
  • Braking
  • Noise level

You can see some initial observations from the first test in the video below:

Ultimate UTV Evaluation: Unloaded Test

Towing Test

For part two of the evaluation, the UTV testing team loaded up a trailer with 1,000 pounds of rock and straw bales. Adding in the weight of the trailer, that was 1,500 pounds total. The maximum towing capacity for the machines at the evaluation ranged from 1,500 to 2,000 pounds, so this was a good indicator of how the machines would perform under the maximum towing conditions.

With all of that weight behind the machines, a smaller course was chosen for this part of the test. The field surrounding the estate has a good amount of rolling terrain with some smaller hills, so this became the designated spot for the towing test. 

Unfortunately, sunset stopped this portion of the testing before all of the machines completed the course. So this test will be wrapped up during the second day of the evaluation. Stay tuned for more updates at Agriculture.com/UTV.

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