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2017 UTV Evaluation: Honda Pioneer 1000

The Honda Pioneer is gaining ground in the UTV market quickly since the machine’s introduction in 2013. The uses for this machine in the field as a true worker were undeniable during the Successful Farming Ultimate UTV Evaluation.

In 2017, Successful Farming magazine conducted its third extensive UTV evaluation to provide you with information about how UTVs perform in ag applications. During the evaluation, we put seven of the newest utility vehicles through four rigorous tests. 

Towing Capability

As for our team’s experience in the Honda Pioneer 1000 EPS, we had the opportunity to load the bed to half and full capacity as well as tow a large trailer with the two-inch receiver hitch. The machine’s reaction to these loads were evident, but different than expected. The Honda Pioneer was one of the few vehicles that maintained ground clearance with the heavy loads in the dumping bed. This alone helped this machine maintain ability needed to get through some rougher trails.

Towing is where we found the Honda Pioneer really shined as the engine had plenty of grunt to get the load started as well as an amazing ability to slow the entire rig and trailer on steep descents. And again, the fact that the suspension never sagged when loaded was impressive. These features put the Pioneer in third place for towing with a score of 20.6 out of 25.

Dual-Clutch Transmission

When it comes to shifting the Pioneer, you have a new option with the EPS version of this UTV: paddle shifting. The up and down paddles are mounted behind the steering wheel and well within reach of the driver. In automatic, the machine will shift on its own. The evaluators found this to be most convenient while towing, so we could focus on steering. There were times when the engine would shift prematurely under load, but a simple bump of the paddle shifter took the UTV right back to the lower gear. The Pioneer is really intuitive to a point.

The only annoyance would be the shifting in some situations as the shifts can be a little jerky in certain tight trail situations. However, the Pioneer is easily switched to manual mode where you can control every shifting aspect and settle actions the innovative dual-clutch transmission might create at crawling speeds. When placed in low gear, the Honda Pioneer would crawl up the same steep hills with passion that begged for more.

One handy item on the Pioneer is the prewired winch harness. If you decide to add a winch, it will be an easy install.

Overall, the Honda Pioneer 1000 EPS is a great working machine that has advanced and usable features in the running gear. If Honda’s past and present innovation is a clue, then you will be seeing even greater things from this manufacturer.

Rick Sosebee is an ATV/UTV journalist and was one of three evaluators during the UTV testing.


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