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A gazelle of a gator

10/01/2012 @ 2:26pm

This is certainly not your grandfather's Gator!

Clocking in at a blazing top speed of 53 mph, the Gator RSX850i lopes across terrain like a predator-pursued gazelle. But there is more than a sizable engine at play here.

True, the RSX850i is powered by a 51-cubic-inch, twin-V, fuel-injected motorcycle engine that turns out 62 hp. in an instant. From a dead stop, the RSX850i races up to 30 mph in just three seconds in four-wheel drive. Yet, the engine delivers impressive lugging ability and offers up to 57.5 foot-pounds of torque, which accounts for this Gator's 1,200-pound towing capacity.

The UTV industry has been holding its breath waiting for the company that pioneered the original UTV in 1987 (the AMT 600 Gator) to introduce a recreational UTV.

“We wanted to take our time and do it right,” says Deere spokesman David Gigandet. “And doing it right takes time. For example, we put over 10,000 hours of testing in this machine before we felt it was ready for the market.”

Superior suspension

That engineering patience paid off. This Gator manhandles extremely rough terrain to the point that even at high speeds you feel in complete control of the vehicle. The credit for the vehicle's ability to stick its wheels to the ground goes to a highly responsive suspension system. All four wheels oscillate on A-arms, a wishbone-like design similar to one employed on pickups.


Spec'ing it Out

• Engine: 839-cc, four-stroke, two-cylinder (V-twin) gas with electronic fuel injection and liquid cooling, turning out 62 hp.

• Transmission: Sealed CVT (continuously variable transmission) with two speeds (53 mph top speed)

• Suspension:

Front: Independent double A-arm with coilover shocks and antisway bar, providing 9 inches of travel

Rear: Independent semi-double A-arm with coilover shocks with antisway bar providing 9 inches of travel

• Capacities:

– 1,200-pound towing capacity

– 800-pound payload capacity in an 8.9-cubic-foot cargo box

– 10.3-inch ground clearance

• Price:

– Base model: $12,999

– Trail model: $14,999

– Sport model: $15,499


The front wheels operate with wide-arch A-arms that provide solid steering while responding to rough terrain with coil springs backed up by shock absorbers. The rear suspension has a modified A-arm design described as a Multi-Link semi trailing arm. Wheels move rearward in compression, reducing the impact of terrain under a full cargo box. Both front and rear wheels deliver an industry-leading 9 inches of travel.

The RSX850i is also feature-rich, and its amenities include:

• The industry's first integrated doors on both operator and passenger sides

• Three-point seat belts

• 12.3-foot turning radius

• Lockable rear differential

• 7.4-gallon fuel tank

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