When the Pioneer line of UTV models hit the market no one knew that in just a few short months the smallest-displacement edition would also make its debut. The Honda Pioneer 500 became the go-to rig for hunters and adventure seekers around the globe with many great features. This compact, almost ATV-sized SxS gave the riders in tight terrain something to get excited about. First debuted in the hills of Kentucky this machine also gives a workable platform to those who need a mobile tool for the ranch or farm.
Honda claims this side-by-side is perfect for aging riders and beginners both, and we would definitely agree with that. The 475cc fuel-injected mill boasts a longitudinally mounted four-stroke engine that utilizes rubber vibration-isolation mounts for added smoothness and rider comfort. The engine orientation also allows for efficient power transfer to the rear wheels while maintaining as much of the engine power from the crank. This might be a mid-bore displacement but Honda still gets as many ponies to the ground as possible to effectively pull two full-grown adults and payload.
Speaking of payload, the Pioneer 500 has a tow rating of up to 1,000 pounds via the rear receiver hitch, and, with an automatic five-speed gearbox including manual mode, moving trailers and gear should not be an issue. If you should ditch the trailer for a smaller load, then you can carry up to 450 pounds of payload on the rear rack. Compact in design, this rig will even fit in full-size pickup-truck beds. It is also still narrow enough for the tightest trails. If trail obstacles begin to litter the trail the Pioneer 500 has an ample 8.5 inches of usable ground clearance to crawl effectively over the trash.
Other fine features that cannot be ignored is the Pioneer 500’s ability to paddle shift in manual mode or simply pre-shift both up or down in the automatic modes. This gives the operator a little more flexibility as to just what gear they deem necessary for the trail in front of them. Either way, the shifting of this 500-class machine is fun and practical.
Keeping the cushion in the ride is the independent front and rear suspensions. The dual rate springs on these shocks give riders smoother transition over smaller bumps and soak up the hits from those unexpected harsher hits in the trail. The independent suspension also allows the chassis to respond with good trail manners to keep the confidence level of the driver up.
- MSRP: $9,099
- 475cc fuel-injected single-cylinder
- 50-inch trail-capable
- 8.5 inches of ground clearance
- 1,000-pound towing capacity
- 450-pound rear rack cargo capacity
- Paddle shift
- AT/MT shifting modes
- No belt