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Oct 15, 2010 - 3:12 PM - by dascrow

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2016 Honda Pioneer 1000 Review: Discovering the Crossroads between Utility and Rec

Nov 05, 2015 - 1:37 PM - by NickJ

It's pre-dawn in the Blackfoot Valley just east of Missoula, MT when my iPhone chimes to life. I look out the window and fog hangs in the valley, heavy and transparent as flour sacks. I quickly dress and step out onto the front porch of the cabin. In the cold, damp distance, the echoes of sparring elk and clattering antlers are muffled by the thickness of cool water suspended in air. On this frigid morning, I will be meeting Honda’s newest side by side, the Pioneer 1000.

A short time later, I reach the barn where the members of the Honda team have lined up the 3 and 5 seat models for the press fleet to choose our steeds for the day. I am drawn to the 5-seat model in eye-popping red because I knew it would photograph well on this hazy day. The nets hanging from the cage and roof leads my mind to think that I am going on safari in the mountains of Montana.

The press fleet organized into a line of machines and wound our way up the fire roads seeking the top of the foggy conditions. We did not break the surface of the haze until we were high into the Lewis and Clark Range. On this ascent I tried to not freeze my hands off by fiddling with the modes and driving options on offer in the Pioneer. Leaving the barn, the machine was in 2wd and the rear axle was unlocked. Getting out on the fire roads in this mode results in a… lively driving experience. I didn’t even think about it being in a “turf mode” and was a little worried that this machine was going to be a handful.

As I was looking around the cab, I finally noticed that I was in fact in “turf mode” and gave the centrally-located lever a slap. She sunk down into 2wd with the rear diff locked with the assistance of a spring, as if this was its preferred operating mode. This brought the Pioneer 1000 under predictable control, and the rear end stopped trying to walk around the front. Apparently, Turf mode is not designed to tackle rough fire roads at 40+ mph… Who knew?!

Now I could check this thing out and see what she can do. The 5-seat model sits nice and solid in the suspension, as it is a couple hundred pounds heavier than the 3 seater. This gave the 1000-5 a supple... [Read More]
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