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Honda Pioneer 700 vs. Polaris Ranger 570

1. Overview

The 2017 Honda Pioneer 700 and Polaris Ranger 570 are a good comparison example when talking about fully-loaded models. If you want a machine that's more capable than a utility vehicle, with greater working capacity and better off-road performance, a step up to something like the Honda Pioneer 700 and Polaris Ranger 570 might make a lot of sense. Side by sides have been getting a lot of attention these days, they're easy to drive, fit lots of adults along with some gear, and most importantly, they're just plain fun to use. Shoppers also cross shopping these with loaded up utility vehicles with near the same price point. This article will help prospective buyers be confident in their purchase as we fully break down every aspect of both vehicles. We also included a comprehensive test of these two vehicles in 2015 which can be found here. And keep in mind, these are popular choices for big game hunting. Both vehicles when put into 4x4 mode are nearly unstoppable in rough terrain, they offer plenty of hauling capacity and both vehicles have many accessories for general purpose activities as well as hunting. Both are excellent vehicles, read along and see our take on the Honda Pioneer 700 and Polaris Ranger 570.

1.1. Introduction

This essay is focused on comparing and contrasting the Honda Pioneer 700 and the Polaris Ranger 570. The Honda Pioneer 700 arrived on the UTV scene and to consumers with highly acclaimed features and an attractive price, and has proved its worth ever since. And the Polaris Ranger 570 is the new mid-size value range UTV introduced in late 2014 and into 2015. Both machines have certain things that make them unique and perfect for specific buyers, or perhaps even a buyer debating which of the two is a better fit for themselves. During this comparison, we will analyze and discuss various attributes of both machines, such as features, maintenance, reliability, resale value, utility, aftermarket parts/accessories, and eventually how each machine serves best for specific intended purposes by various buyers in the market. This comparison is aimed to assist prospective buyers in comparing the two machines before they make their purchase. Generally speaking, some might want the best-focused utility machine for hard work in comparison to others who want the utility machine but with more of a focus on trail riding, and there's always the group of buyers with the best bang for their buck mindset deciding what will get the most out of their money. And sometimes the predetermined simple love for a brand or perhaps having owned the past/other models of a brand may influence a buyer's choice, but after this comparison, we hope that buyers will gain a better idea and broader perspective of the machines and buy what better fits their needs. In this instance, we will compare these two machines on most fronts and declare a winner for each category. Note that a "winner" is merely the machine that comes out on top after considering all attributes discussed for a specific category. This does not necessarily mean it's the best overall machine in comparison to the other.

1.2. Purpose of the Comparison

The purpose of this comparison is to give you a better understanding of the specifications and differences between the Honda Pioneer 700 and the Polaris Ranger 570. Sometimes deciphering technical descriptions can be difficult, and a side by side comparison is the best way to determine what vehicle is right for you. Both of these units are advertised as 'work' vehicles. Our definition of a work vehicle comes from an article from ATV.com titled 'What is a Utility ATV?', "The line between work and play can sometimes be a little blurry, but it's usually pretty easy to tell which machine is closer to which side. Just ask yourself what it will be used for more; recreation or labor." This exactly describes the purpose of this comparison. We want to help people using these vehicles for labor to make the right choice. With the rising cost of fuel, purchasing the right vehicle the first time is more important than ever. This is also an unbiased comparison. We understand that brand loyalty is a common thing with ATVs and 4x4s. However, we are simply stating the facts and the ultimate decision of purchasing one of these vehicles will be left up to you.

2. Performance

Moving on to the Ranger 570, it is powered by a 567cc Prostar engine, which has double cylinders and a much more modern design compared to the Pioneer 700's. This grants the Ranger 570 with 44 horsepower and 34 ft lbs of torque. This leads to the engine having more top-end power and the engine will rev noticeably higher than the Pioneer 700's engine. The Prostar engine has proven to be rock solid for its entire model range, but it is no secret it's a bit on the high-strung and rev-happy side for a vehicle of this type. While the power and torque figures are higher than the Pioneer 700's, a suitable transmission and power delivery to the rear wheels are crucial parts of making the best use of the available power, which we feel the Pioneer 700 has done right. The standard Ranger 570 has 2x4 or AWD with Turf mode, while stepping up to the Ranger 570 FS or Full Size model gains a more advanced 1 AWD system. This AWD system has been a nice addition, but on the test and tune, it is the same or not as good as earlier versions of the AWD system used in 1 and 2 gen Ranger or even older Sportsman ATVs with On Demand AWD. On the upside, the newer AWD system is less likely to cause understeering in 4x4 mode due to speed-sensored AWD, and it no longer needs to back up in a straight line to disengage the locked rear differential.

The Pioneer 700 also has an ample amount of torque for a vehicle of its size. Honda does not provide a torque figure, but we would estimate it to be about 35-40 ft lbs. The dual clutch transmission reduces torque loss to a minimal amount. All of this adds up to better drivability in adverse conditions, which promises better control and fewer stucks in harsh conditions compared to an ATV or a MUV with typical auto clutch automatic/ES drivetrain. Step up from the Pioneer 700 to the Deluxe model and you get an improved transmission with paddle shifters and 2 drive modes. High and low ranges and 2x4 and 4x4 gearing with driver-actuated differential lock will bring the Pioneer 700's off-road capabilities to a whole new level.

Pioneer 700 is powered by a 675cc liquid-cooled OHV single-cylinder four-stroke engine. The engine is simple and helps to keep the air filter high in the Pioneer 700's frame to avoid water and debris, which should allow the newer Honda to ford water crossings more readily. It is convenient to follow a regular driveway in reverse or while sitting in the driver's seat. The Pioneer 700 has a dual clutch transmission with a hydraulic torque converter, automatic + manual shift. There are no belts to slip or burn up. The dual clutch transmission is the ultimate drivetrain for a two-wheel drive utility ATV. It is perfect for a vehicle like this because the driver does not need big power in most occasions, but needs durability and reliability in every situation.

2.1. Engine Power and Torque

The most critical difference between the Pioneer 700 and Ranger 570 is the powerplant type - the Pioneer 700 has a 675cc single cylinder engine, while the Ranger 570 has a 567cc ProStar engine. The lower displacement figure may be deceptive, however, as not only does the Ranger 570 rev out at 8000rpm - compared with 6250rpm for the Pioneer 700 - it has a DOHC cylinder head with 4 valves, as opposed to the Pioneer 700's 2 valve, SOHC design. This allows the Ranger 570 to make power more efficiently due to the superior breathing afforded by the extra valves, and the DOHC design allows the engine to rev out higher, which contributes to keeping the power up at higher RPM levels. These factors are quantified by the power output figures - the Pioneer 700 producing a claimed 36hp, while the Ranger 570 boasts a hefty 44hp. A 22% increase in power is significant and will contribute to higher pulling capability and faster acceleration, as well as maintaining higher cruise speeds in tough conditions. The defining feature of the Pioneer 700's engine is the automotive-style semi-automatic transmission featuring a torque converter. Essentially, the Pioneer 700 has a manual transmission which utilizes an automatic clutch and torque converter to provide a fully automatic mode. However, the true benefits are the ability to select specific gears to suit conditions and the removal of a belt-type CVT transmission. The petrolhead types will see the benefit of being able to manually control engine RPM and select the best gear for the task at hand, as opposed to a CVT which often relies on high RPM and slippage to engage. As a result of this, the Pioneer 700 features a high/low transfer case which effectively doubles the number of gears to 6 forward and 1 reverse. The Ranger 570 has a simpler CVT transmission with high, low, neutral, park, and reverse settings. The Pioneer 700's transmission is a clear positive over the Ranger 570 for those who value ultimate control and longevity. However, there are some more adept riders who use automatics for simplicity and the ability to focus solely on controls.

2.2. Top Speed

2.2.1. Pioneer 700 2 person: 45 mph, 4 person: 37 mph 2.2.2. Ranger 570 45 mph Honda with a smaller engine and lighter frame achieved the same speed as a heavier and more powerful 570cc equipped Polaris. This is impressive and is a direct result of Honda's superior engine and transmission design. The reason behind this is the superior engine and drivetrain design of the Pioneer 700. The 700cc class engine produced more usable power and torque throughout the whole power band than the larger 570cc Polaris engine. A benefit of the larger engine was not immediately noticeable as the Ranger topped out at 45 mph; the same as the Honda. Top speed in any given vehicle is a direct result of the power (rate of doing work/producing energy) and torque (force that causes rotation) that is put into the vehicle from the engine. Pioneer 4 seaters had a decrease in top speed of 7 mph which is directly related to loss of 2 person model's efficiency. This statement is based on the physics formula of KE = 0.5mv^2. Energy (KE) is directly related to mass (m) and work is done when energy is transferred from one form to another. This force over time represents engine power on a graph, area under the curve is work done. With a given amount of energy the object with less mass will work more efficiently and as per the change of energy principle the 2 person model had loss of 3 mph represents a transfer of energy required to make the extra mass – less efficient. This means with the same engine and power band the extra torque has been used to accelerate extra mass and not go faster. This a very specific yet valid and important reason to why the Honda 4 person is slower which can be easily observed by time trials between models.

2.3. Off-Road Capability

Honda and Polaris use different design strategies to appeal to different segments of the off-road market. The Pioneer 700 has its roots in the utility segment, but has carved its own niche with a mix of utility and recreation features. The liquid-cooled OHV single-cylinder design offers a good mix of power and fuel efficiency, and is mounted longitudinally in the frame to eliminate power loss to the wheels. An automotive-style transmission with a gearshift and automatic mode with hydromechanical torque converter offers three forward gears and reverse. Choose two-wheel drive or four-wheel drive with the push of a button. A fully locking front differential is also available where the front end is always locked and an open rear differential provides better maneuvering when 4WD is not needed. Another big off-road plus is the independent rear suspension. The compact and lightweight design provides a better 4WD ground clearance of 241mm and 200mm of travel to match the front. This will cope with a wider range of obstacles and keep the wheels in better contact with the ground than the straight axle design. Rack-and-pinion steering is also preferable as it provides better feedback to the driver for more precise steering. The most impressive off-road feature may be the convenient, easy-to-use push-button mode with an electronic control module that will override the standard ECU setting to increase revs for less slippage and better 4WD traction. This will benefit drivers of all skill levels as it has the potential to control power to the wheels better than any driver could with just the throttle. Lastly, all Pioneer 700s come with 25-inch tires. Step up to the Deluxe model and you get the versatile Maxxis M923-AT tires with a tread that works well in a wide range of conditions. This sort of all-terrain tire is the best bet for most Pioneer riders, though aggressive mud or snow riders would do well to install a set of pure mud or snow tires to match their specific riding conditions. An all-terrain tire is preferred for its long tread life and good ride comfort. From there you move on to two different 12-inch wheel options. Steel wheels are available on the base model and suitable for workhorse use. Machined 12-inch aluminum wheels are a great all-around choice and come on the Deluxe and SE models. They save a little weight, have great durability, and the machined finish looks great.

3. Features and Technology

Change this: The Ranger 570 is rated at 500 lb bed capacity and 100 lb rack capacity for a total of 600 lbs. However, the rack system is mostly flat with rear and side rails, so containment of the load is less than that of the Honda design. The test vehicle has some wear on the pivots and latches of the rear seat, and a combined 200 hours of use on similar vehicles has shown that the steel dumping bed becomes hard to remove and/or is prone to rattling after extensive use.

In the area of cargo capacity, the Pioneer 700 offers an innovative dual-rack system, which offers a combined rack capacity of 600 pounds (200 front, 400 rear). Both racks are slanted all the way to the tailgate so no space is wasted. High sides on all sides of the rear rack help contain cargo. Honda's accessory line will offer a full selection of rack boxes, rack bags, and bed-access gear.

The Pioneer 700 comes with front and rear independent suspension, while the Ranger 570 uses only a MacPherson Strut front suspension. In ride comparison, the front Honda suspension is virtually unaffected by the test course with only a few larger bumps taken at speed transmitting any harsh feedback to the chassis. The rear independent suspension design of the Honda comfortably absorbs the impacts of larger obstacles, rocks, and square edge hits at both low and high speeds. The Ranger suspension simply cannot absorb the impacts as well. It tends to crash through larger bumps due to the limited wheel travel, and the feel of square edge hits is quite harsh. Bumps taken at the side of the rear independent suspension, such as logs and lateral g-outs, transmit a moderate amount of harsh feedback to the chassis and on to the occupants. The ride will be rough, and the risk of transmittal of impact energy into the vehicle is greater. In sharp contrast, the Honda rear suspension smoothly absorbs large impacts and effectively isolates the vehicle from rear tire obstacles with little transmission of harsh feel.

3.1. Suspension System

The Polaris Ranger 570, on the other hand, comes with an independent rear suspension with a 22.9cm travel. This obviously gives the above-mentioned benefits of independent rear suspension. However, compared to the Honda, due to the length of travel, it can be said that the Polaris independent rear suspension is of better quality than the Honda in terms of ride comfort and handling.

First, let's distinguish the types of rear suspension the two machines have. The Honda Pioneer 700 comes with a 3-link rear suspension. It is a fully independent type of rear suspension with 185mm of travel. The benefit of this type of suspension is the superior ride comfort and handling quality. A fully independent rear suspension would give each of the rear wheels a complete range of movement. This means that any bump or dip one wheel hits will not greatly affect the opposite wheel. A normal rear straight axle suspension would bind both rear wheels together. This would mean a bump or dip felt by one wheel would affect the opposite wheel and make the ride much more uncomfortable and decrease the handling quality.

Suspension System

Features and Technology Suspension System Cargo Capacity Comfort and Convenience Safety Features

3.2. Cargo Capacity

The Honda Pioneer 700 features in-bed storage space which can accommodate up to 100 pounds of cargo, a heavy-duty receiver-style hitch, and a towing capacity of 1500 pounds. The Pioneer 700 also features a large, tilting cargo bed which can hold up to 1000 pounds of materials. On the other hand, the Polaris Ranger 570 features a small rear cargo space which can carry up to 500 pounds and a large front cargo space which has the same capacity. The Honda Pioneer 700 is equipped with a more adaptable cargo system. The cargo bed tilts to simplify the process of loading and unloading heavy items. The cargo space is fully lined and can be easily washed down after a hard day's work. To moreover satisfy the needs of the customers, Honda offers more than a dozen accessories for its pioneer cargo space such as cargo bed rails, cargo bed net, and a cargo tray. The Polaris Ranger 570's cargo system is much simpler as it does not provide any additional way of customizing the cargo space, and also its smaller cargo space means less capacity. Overall, considering the adaptability and the larger cargo space, the Pioneer 700 provides a more effective and practical cargo solution for its customers.

3.3. Comfort and Convenience

Both the Honda Pioneer 700 and the Polaris Ranger 570 are designed to be comfortable and convenient, yet the differences in design are immediately noticeable. Honda has designed the 700 with comfortable seating for two, with a large and flat seat and roomy dimensions, whereas the Ranger has a designated saddle for both driver and passenger, and a new Pro-Fit Sage to allow further customization for added comfort. Both machines feature a tilt steering wheel to further accommodate the needs of the driver. Design innovation includes a pass-through bucket design on the Ranger to assist in entry and exit for the extra passenger and Honda has their seat mounted on a rail system allowing free adjustment and tilting for custom preferences. There isn't anything fancy about the Pioneer's ergonomics, yet it is simple and effective with an automotive style shift knob and a single dash mounted lever for gear selection. The Ranger is more ergonomically friendly with a widened foot space for easy entry, cut and sew seats with multiple texture fabric, and ample cup holders and storage space. The 700 comes equipped with a fairly basic system yet features a 12v DC outlet, which is useful. The Ranger has a more advanced electrical system complete with a diagnostic port and a dual terminal for easier access. Both vehicles also have the option for a large amount of accessories to further add to convenience and comfort.

3.4. Safety Features

Therefore, efficiency is impaired and they are only available as a fundamental safety feature to crank start the engine. In comparison, the Polaris Ranger 570 has a number of features that allow it to be started safely and efficiently. The electric start enables the car to start up with ease, meaning the user can focus solely on learning the correct riding technique without having to learn how to kick start. The gear selector with reverse gear allows the driver to stop the vehicle and start it without having to touch the accelerator, a useful feature when moving obstacles out of the way. The most advanced safety feature on the Polaris Ranger 570 is the seat belt interlock system. When excessive speed is reached without the seat belt being fastened, the vehicle's engine performance is limited. This is vital when considering the safety of all-terrain-vehicle riders, especially those on Polaris Ranger vehicles due to their capability of carrying multiple passengers. Overall, the Polaris Ranger 570 contains safety features that are functional and practical. This is important when ensuring the ATV/UTV rider is safe throughout the use of the vehicle, securing the likelihood of a return to the starting point after enjoying some off-road fun.

4. Price and Value

Pioneer 700's are priced at $9,999, which is $1,000 cheaper than the SP model for 2014. The base model Pioneer 700 comes with an automatic clutch, switchable from automatic to manual mode, and there's no doubt that spending the extra cash for the SE model would likely be one of the main reasons to do so. Many future Pioneer 700 owners will still find the base model suits their needs quite well. The Polaris RZR 570, which is included in this comparison as an alternative to the (more closely related) ACE 570, comes with a base price of $8,499. With only a $1,500 difference in base model pricing between the Pioneer 700 and RZR 570, the value in the Honda now grows significantly stronger with a base model that has proven to be capable of getting things done and built to last. Honda already has a reputation for building heavy-duty ATVs and UTVs, and although the Pioneer might be viewed as a step in a new direction for Honda, it's always been clear that these machines are still built with long-term reliability in mind. Quite simply, one of the main reasons the Pioneer 700 has a strong advantage over the RZR is reliability, and it will be something to strongly consider. The more desirable RZR 570 EPS comes in at $12,299, $3,300 more expensive than the base model Pioneer 700, and the layoff price is surely still significant between the Honda and the costlier RZR. Saving money is one thing, but reliability aside, the Pioneer 700 and RZR 570 still need to be compared in performance before final conclusions can be drawn between the two. Polaris Ranger 570's range from $8,699-$9,999, the base model 570 is an entry-level machine with no power steering, and the upgraded option provides EPS that raises the price. The Honda has a significant price advantage over all Ranger 570 models, and the way the two compare in performance will be discussed later on. A 700 with power steering will still come in at a cheap slip under $10,000, and there have been deals to be found on these machines below MSRP. High resale value aside, it's clear the Pioneer 700 doesn't come with an oversell that jacks up the price, and that's always a good thing for potential buyers. In a recent decade, Polaris has been near the forefront of overselling for what it's worth versus other brands, but the market competition and higher potential for lemons from Polaris should likely have any potential RZR 570 buyer (pioneer alternative) considering the Honda before making a decision. High reliability and market popularity continue to raise the price on Polaris machines, and while reliability matters most in a UTV, it would seem another viable step in the right direction for Honda in relevance to a potential sales advantage over its closest competition.

4.1. MSRP (Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price)

Honda Pioneer 700 has a MSRP of $10,299, while the Polaris Ranger 570 has a MSRP of $8,999. The price of the Honda Pioneer 700 is 14.4% higher than the price of the Polaris Ranger 570. At first glance, these numbers would quickly lead one to believe that the Polaris Ranger 570 is the better buy, but further examination of the a la carte price to standard feature and overall value of the two vehicles will paint a different picture. It is noted that the Polaris Ranger 570 is priced lower but it is possible that it comes with less for the price. This is further examined by the difference between the two models' standard features. The Honda Pioneer 700 does come with more standard features than the Polaris Ranger 570, which is a key factor that increases the value of the Honda Pioneer 700. One example of this is that the Pioneer 700 has a locking front differential. In order to get a Polaris with a locker, you'd need to move all the way up to a Ranger XP 900 and spring for the top of the line limited edition model. This is one of the top of the line Polaris models and you'll be paying a premium for this vehicle, meant for someone who needs maximum power and speed which is not the intended consumer of our smaller yet better priced original comparison set.

4.2. Resale Value

In terms of resale value, the Pioneer 700 holds a very good resale value. This is partially due to a difference in buyer demographic when comparing the side by side with the ATVs. Usually, side by side buyers are after a utility vehicle as opposed to the biggest and baddest toy available. Of course there are still those that buy them for pure recreation or racing, but there are a lot of side by side buyers that are after the vehicle merely to carry out tasks that are easier done with a side by side than an ATV. When you factor in the price difference between the two models, the Ranger and Pioneer should hold their value well. You can expect to see prices of used base model Rangers and Pioneers around the $5000-$7500 range, with the Polaris still likely holding a slight value edge. Of course this depends on length of use and quality of care for the vehicle, for example storing it indoors as opposed to outdoor storage.

4.3. Cost of Ownership

The cost of ownership is an area in which Honda shines above most competition. The lower initial purchase price of the Pioneer 700 is just the start in savings over the long haul. Comparing the price of OEM parts for each machine, Honda proves to be significantly cheaper and quite honestly a fraction of the price of Polaris parts, it's hard to put a finger on exactly why that is. Also considering reliability and dependability, using less parts to repair a machine translates to less money. The Ranger 570 is not a very problematic machine however, part for part the cost to replace on a Polaris is significantly higher. Annual service, Honda requires oil changes at half the interval as a Ranger 570 requiring it every 100 hours compared to 50, also has a slightly larger oil capacity. The cost of 2 oil changes on a Pioneer 700 is still significantly cheaper than one on a Ranger 570. Air filter changes are equal although parts cost ratios remain and valve adjustments/maintenance are a bit more in depth on the Polaris. Labour aside, the cost of parts more for the Polaris still translates to more money over time. Tires being a regular replacement item are similar in price. The Ranger 570 has a belt drive system and although belts have a long life it is quite costly if you burst a belt on the trail and need to replace one. The Pioneer 700 is equipped with a dual clutch transmission which is maintenance free.

Honda Pioneer 700 vs. Polaris Ranger 570

The Honda Pioneer 700 and Polaris Ranger 570 are popular choices among UTV enthusiasts, offering versatility and reliability. To better understand the differences and similarities between these two models, check out these resources:

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