UTV Product Reviews

Big Bore 1000cc Utility Vehicles

Can-Am Defender 1000

Big Bore 1000cc Utility Vehicle Review

Big Bore 1000cc Utility Vehicles
Polaris RANGER 1000 vs. Can-Am Defender 1000 vs. Honda Pioneer 1000

Surprisingly, not all that long ago, there was a time when the words “big bore” and side by side weren’t exactly synonymous. Fast forward a few years and any OEM hoping to compete in the sport side by side class would have to offer a big bore sport machine to even be considered a real player. Now days, we’re seeing the same rivalry spill into the utility segment where, if we’re honest, overall performance may not be as big of an issue as it is for the sport crowd. None the less, competition drives the industry forward and for that reason we’re excited to see the number of 1000cc displaced utility machines ever increasing.

The newest addition to the 1000cc utility family is Polaris’s 2017 Ranger XP 1000, released just last week at the annual Polaris dealer show. We’d be lying if we said we’re not a little surprised that a 1000 version of the Ranger didn’t come along sooner however with the introduction of the all new General 1000 less than a year ago, we understand that the timing of these things is important.

No matter, we are ecstatic to see that the Ranger has been upgraded to the 1000 club as consumers now have three big bore options to choose from in the utility segment. Here is our comparison of how the three vehicles stack up.

Polaris RANGER 1000
Polaris RANGER 1000

2017 Polaris Ranger XP 1000

As Polaris tends to do when bringing a new vehicle to market, they aimed to take a stab at the next closest competitor in every area possible. At 80 horsepower, the new RANGER XP 1000 has the highest horsepower rating of any vehicle in class thanks to the upgraded ProStar 1000 engine. As previously mentioned, horsepower figures aren’t always a deciding factor for the utility crowd but if you plan on doing a lot of hauling, towing or pulling, it’s something to be aware of. The RANGER XP 1000 will carry up to 1000 pounds in its cargo bed and it matches all other contenders with a 2,000 pound towing capacity.

The RANGER 1000’s three mode throttle controller allows you to maximize performance for the type of environment you find yourself in. Users can choose between Work mode when absolute precision is needed, Sport mode when you’ve got an itch for performance and Standard, which will provide a traditional blend of throttle to power output. The on-demand Pro-Lock AWD system is a unique feature that automatically locks in all four wheels when the vehicle senses it needs more traction and disengages when it doesn’t.

Polaris RANGER XP 1000

The RANGER XP 1000 features 12 inches of ground clearance with dual a-arm suspension and 10 inches of suspension travel on all four corners keeps the 26 inch tires in contact with the ground. Electronic power steering with variable assist is available on the EPS and special edition models. In total Polaris offers 8 variations of the new Ranger XP 1000 ranging in price from $13,999 for the base model without EPS, all the way up to $23,699 for the special edition Northstar HVAC edition.

Polaris RANGER XP 1000Polaris RANGER XP 1000Polaris RANGER XP 1000Polaris RANGER XP 1000

If you’re planning on bringing some friends, the Ranger Crew XP 1000 provides capacity for 6 occupants but it will run you anywhere from $15,199 to $25,999.

Can-Am Defender 1000
Can-Am Defender 1000

2017 Can-Am Defender 1000

With the release of the Can-Am Defender last year, the Canadian manufacturer proved they are serious about meeting the needs of consumers interested in a pure utility side by side. Prior to its introduction, the Commander was the closest thing to a utility vehicle offered and it clearly fits better in the sport utility category. The Defender 1000 is purpose built for getting things done and it will do so at an economical price. Depending on your needs and budget, the Defender is available in two engine configurations; the 799cc HD8 and the 976cc HD10 which is the model we’re primarily interested in for this comparison.

The proven Vortex V-twin engine puts out 61 ft pounds of torque, 72 horsepower and, according to Can-Am, requires no break in maintenance and is completely maintenance free for the first 1865 miles or 200 running hours. The Pro-Torq CVT transmission provides smooth, optimized power delivery and integrated engine braking with electronic hill descent control.

Can-Am Defender 1000

In terms of hauling and towing, the Defender is capable of hauling 1000 pounds in its bed and can tow up to 2,000 pounds without issue. If you find the bed is not quite large enough for whatever it is that you’re hauling, just flip down the tailgate to give you a bit more room. Its 250 pound capacity should be enough to give you that extra space you need.

Dual a-arm suspension provides 10 inches of travel in the front and Can-Am’s patented Torsional Trailing Arm (TTA-HD) suspension is used in the back to supply 10 inches there as well. 25 inch Maxxis tires come standard on the Defender and ground clearance measures at 11 inches. A 10.6 gallon fuel tank will keep you from taking unnecessary breaks and the Pro-Torq CVT transmission provides smooth, reliable power delivery that is optimized for whatever task you may be tackling.

Can-Am Defender 1000Can-Am Defender 1000Can-Am Defender 1000Can-Am Defender 1000

Defender 1000 models range in price from $13,799 for the base model all the way to the Mossy Oak Hunting edition that retails for $19,699. Every model except the base model includes Can-Am’s Dynamic Power Steering upgrade. 6 passenger versions of the Defender Max are available from $16,299 to $19,099.

Honda Pioneer 1000
Honda Pioneer 1000

2017 Honda Pioneer 1000

While we’re still waiting for Honda to jump into the sport side by side market, the Honda Pioneer 1000 is a worthy contender in the utility class with enough get up and go to appease riders who find themselves wandering away from the ranch or job site for the occasional trail ride. Though not the most powerful machine of the bunch, the Pioneer supplies 72 horsepower from its 999cc in-line twin cylinder engine and offers users a unique driving experience thanks to its dual clutch transmission complete with four drive modes and paddle shifters (available on the EPS model.)

This advanced transmission system has the ability to sense the driving style and adjust when the transmission will shift to better suite that persons driving style. The paddle shifters with three user modes allow the user to further customize the driving experience by switching between Standard, Sport and Manual mode for a more precise driving experience and if you hate dealing with broken belts, then you’ll be pleased to know the Pioneer 1000 makes use of direct front and rear drive shafts, completely eliminating the need for a belt.

Honda Pioneer 1000

27 inch tires lend to the tallest ground clearance in the class at 12.4 inches and the Pioneer features 10.5 inches of suspension travel up front with 10 inches in the rear. The pioneer has room for 3 but is available in a 5 passenger trim option thanks to the Pioneer 1000 5’s unique Quickflip rear seats the pop up from the cargo bed.

Honda Pioneer 1000Honda Pioneer 1000Honda Pioneer 1000Honda Pioneer 1000

The base model Pioneer 1000 retails for $13,999 but you won’t get the bonus features like electronic power steering and paddle shifters. That will run you $15,199 for the EPS model. The 5 seat Pioneer 1000 5 model is available in two trim options and ranges from $16,199 to $17,199.

Utility Vehicle Specification Comparison:

Model Polaris RANGER XP 1000 Can-Am Defender 1000 Honda Pioneer 1000
MSRP $13,999.00 $13,799.00 $13,999.00
Engine Displacement 999cc 976cc 999cc
Horsepower 80 72 72
Power Steering Available on EPS Model Available on DPS model Available on EPS Model
Electronic Fuel Injection Yes Yes Yes
Suspension Travel Front/Rear 10”/10” 10”/10” 10.5”/10”
Shocks/Suspension Gas charged / Dual A-Arm with IRS Gas charged / Dual A-Arm front with TTA-HD IRS Gas charged / Dual A-Arm with IRS
Tires Front/Rear 26×9-12 / 26×11-12 25×8-12 / 25×10-12 27×9-14 / 27×11-14
Overall Dimensions LxWxH 116.5 x 60 x 76 inches 120 x 62 x 76 inches 116.8 x 62.9 x 76.4 inches
Bed Capacity 1000 lbs 1000 lbs 1000 lbs
Bed Dimensions LxWxH 36.5 x 54 x 11.5 inches 38 x 54.5 x 12 inches n/a
Payload Capacity 1275 lbs 1500 lbs n/a
Towing Capacity 2000 lbs 2000 lbs 2000 lbs
Wheelbase 81 inches 83 inches 80.2 inches
Overall weight 1336 lbs (dry) 1414 lbs (dry) 1709 (includes all fluids & fuel)
Ground Clearance 12 inches 11 inches 12.4 inches
Fuel Capacity 10 gallons 10.6 gallons 7.9 gallons

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