The 2014 Honda Pioneer 700 and Pioneer 700-4 are now a reality, and members of the media enjoyed the opportunity to take both models of this exciting new side-by-side for a day’s journey over a wide variety of terrain. The press introduction took place in South Carolina following a tour of the Honda plant in Timmonsville where these machines are built using domestic and globally sourced parts. Below are press comments published following a hard day’s ride, and not surprisingly, many positive observations were made. Read on to get a feel for what these new Honda Pioneers are all about.
The first thing you notice upon start-up is a lack of vibration found in the Big Red. Thanks to a newly developed engine-mounting subframe and vibration-isolating bushings, every contact point for the driver and passenger now transmits noticeably less engine vibration.
We used that 4WD while exploring a South Carolina swamp and, thanks to an airbox that sits in the vehicle’s cabin between the front seats and the bed wall, the only water we came in contact with was the bottled type stored in the molded cup holders.
While it weighs in at 1,396 pounds, the Pioneer-4 we drove felt light and nimble.
Curving around trails at speed with the correct amount of brake and throttle kept the front tires pointing the vehicle in the desired direction and I felt very little push while cornering rapidly.
During my time testing the Pioneer-4 at Honda's facility in South Carolina, I found it fun to ride. The engine is very torquey and will climb and tow impressively. With four large guys buckled into my test unit, the Pioneer-4 chugged along well.
Handling is crisp and sporty—even with four large adults in the cab, the Pioneer didn't exhibit nasty body roll and the front end didn't push in the corners.
The highlight of the Pioneer is certainly the stowable rear seats. With the seats in the folded position, the bed can be used in the same fashion as a typical SxS, including the ability to dump. With the seats in the upright position, two additional passengers can safely be transported. The task of transforming the seats from upright to folded into the floor and vice versa is simple and only takes a few seconds after getting used to the process.
-Honda nailed the price point for affordability in either 2- or 4-seat categories
-Engine is built upon a very reliable 680cc fuel-injected engine
-Stowable rear seats revolutionize the four seat category of SxS's
-Steering is quick, nimble, and very predictable
-Mechanical differential lock makes this machine a great crawler
-Wide opening front and rear door make egress and ingress pleasant
-Safety mechanism prevents bed from dumping when rear seats are in a usable position
-Small, nimble chassis makes tight wooded trail riding fun
-Built in the USA at Honda's South Carolina plant
When it came to the power and performance side of things, I for sure found the acceleration noticeably peppier than Big Red. It pulled as hard as can be expected for its purpose and reached top speed fairly quickly. It didn't bog down the motor’s power when loaded with all four passengers. I personally was impressed with the stability while I darted through the trees, diving hard into each turn. It did not have that scary rollover feeling, actually planted itself nicely regardless of speed. That goes for off-camber creeping and crawling as well.
For those who need a good quality, hard working UTV, those who need a good vehicle to go fishing and hunting in, and maybe you’d even like to go on some adventures and do some trail riding, Honda Pioneer just might be for you. I think it’s good quality, it’s work able, it’s a ton of fun and it has a decent price tag on it. Oh, and it’s a Honda.
While many variations of the CTV (continuously variable transmission) can be found in ATVs and UTVs, Honda relies on a standard hydraulic torque converter that gives the driver a sense of being in an automatic transmission car. Three forward gears as well as reverse make for a smooth ride in or out of most situations.
Functionally, this Pioneer is smooth riding and the steering requires little effort. I noticed very little bump steer and it was really refreshing to see a steering geometry that worked very well without power steering.