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 UTVs built for the average Prairie farm operation with similar options and price points.
Polaris Ranger and General
Polaris is usually known for its highly popular RZR models, however the company also offers 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, which delivers 61 horsepower and 55 pound-foot of torque at lower RPMs. Its smooth, quiet power and outstanding low-speed performance help you take full advantage of the improved 2,500-pound towing and 1,000-pound 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. MSRP for Ranger models start around $14,000, depending 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, which 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 which flip up or fold down independently in seconds. When flipped up, they provide secure seating for one or two additional passengers; when 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. The MSRP starts at $19,499.
Looking very similar to older Jeep models, the Roxor from Mahindra has a few differences that make it a great fit for an all-round 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.
The Roxor offers a heavy-duty steel frame and body, a Mahindra 2.5 litre turbo diesel engine with 3,490 pounds of towing capacity. You can also build your Roxor from the ground up for unlimited customization.
Base MSRP is $21,088, and buyers can go online to build and price a model to their liking.
John Deere Gator
John Deere offers many side-by-side options in its Gator lineup, with models suitable for farming, hunting and recreation.
John Deere offers six models in its mid-sized Gator lineup and 16 models in its full-sized lineup, all including a cargo bed with various seating, cab and power options. With more than 20 models in their mid-size, full-size and traditional Gator lineups, there will likely be an option that suits your operation. MSRPs for John Deere Gator models start at $10,331, whereas top-end models will set you back about $33,000.
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. Here are the highlights from that story, which first appeared in the December 3, 2019, issue of Grainews.
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.