1025 pounds. Aside from the length of
the wheelbase being 73 inches for the
Pioneer 500 and only 51 inches for the
Rubicon, most of the machine’s dimensions are very similar to a quad.
The 4x4 system is easily operated by
a gated hand lever on the dashboard.
You can switch between two- and
four-wheel drive. The Pioneer does not
have a fully locking front differential,
but the 4x4 system works well.
SUSPENSION AND STEERING
While the Pioneer does not come
with power steering, the steering
effort is light enough that we didn’t
really miss it. The suspension is one
area where we wish that the Pioneer
had stolen more tech from sibling
ATVs. The 4x4 ATVs have 8 or more
inches of travel with dual A-arms,
where the Pioneer 500 has double-
wishbone suspension with 5. 9 inches
of wheel travel. Unlike some Honda
ATV models, the rear suspension is
independent, but more travel would
allow a more compliant ride.
Honda utilizes general-purpose,
tread-pattern Maxxis tires
on this machine to gain
traction. We hit a variety of
terrain from sugar sand
to solid rock and had
(Top left) We appreciated the nimble handling and crisp steering, as well as the four-wheel independent
suspension. More travel would certainly help the ride. (Top right) You may choose to select the auto
setting and let the Pioneer handle all of the gear selecting. We found that we used the paddle shifters
at least 70 percent of the time we were driving. (Bottom left) This clever latch opens the door and folds
back the window nets. On larger Pioneers you must unlatch the doors and unbuckle the nets. We prefer
the Pioneer 500 method. (Bottom right) The engine/transmission is mounted farther to the rear than in a
quad chassis. Honda angled the muffler to help it fit under the rear bodywork and cargo platform.