If getting chores done is priority
number one, we feel your pain, but
thankfully all of these machines have
what it takes to do the job. We did note
earlier that the Pioneer’s bed was just
not large enough to hold a full-size
pallet, but too many that might not be
a big deal. What we do like about the
four-seat Pioneer is that its surrounding roll cage out back makes it easier
to stack items and secure a full load.
This past summer we literally filled
two Pioneers with camping supplies
and ventured into the woods for a few
days. On the downside, the rear cross
bar at the top of the roll cage makes it
difficult to load taller items. However,
if needed, you could remove this bar
temporarily if you are hauling bulky
cargo instead of passengers out back.
Polaris and Yamaha have nearly
identical bed sizes. Unlike the other
two, the Viking uses a steel dumping cargo box, while the other two
use plastic. Furthermore, Honda and
Polaris both have preload-adjust-able rear shocks and recommend a
bed capacity of 1000 pounds, while
Yamaha caps it at only 600 and has
no preload adjustments. The reality is
that typically you would only be carrying an average of 200–300 pounds.
Furthermore, neither the Honda or
Polaris would be able to make a turn
very well carrying a full 1000 pounds.
With 400 pounds loaded into each
bed, we didn’t find that one machine
performed better than the others. We
did like that the Polaris had the ability
to increase the preload on the rear
shocks for such a situation. We did
find that the Polaris had a tighter turning radius than the other two. It took
an area more than 28 feet wide to turn
the Yamaha around in. The Honda
could do it in a slightly tighter space of
27 feet, while the Ranger only needed
22 feet to make a U-turn.
Inside the cabin Polaris does the
best job supplying pockets to carry
loose items, like gloves and small
tools. The Viking has the most roomy
and comfortable cabin out of the three.
In fact, we did a passenger test where
the key focus was the “third” passenger. Our guinea pig took a long trail
ride in the center of three people in
the Yamaha and the Polaris and sat
behind the driver in the Honda.
For short distances on flat ground,
all three get the job done. The Polaris
with its bench seat is probably the
easiest to get in and out of. Out on
the trails, you have more space in the
back of the Honda. Your feet are a bit
cramped, but at least you are not rub-
bing shoulders like in the other two.
The center passenger has a much
better footing in the Yamaha, and
the hand-hold makes a world of dif-
ference riding over the bumps and
going up and down hills in the Viking.
The center passenger of the Polaris
bottoms out through the seat foam
on a steel brace under the seat base,
and the seat belt rests uncomfortably.
It was a toss-up between the Honda
and Yamaha for the most comfortable
third seat. Honda tops them all, being
it can hold a fourth passenger com-
fortably if needed. Keep in mind, if
you do haul four people, cargo room
is pretty much eliminated.
Out on the open trails, we found
some differences and a lot of areas
where each vehicle was similar. Even
though these aren’t racers, we clocked
the top speed of the machines, as well
as put them into some head-to-head
Surprisingly, the Honda always got
a quick jump off the starting line.
That lead was short-lived, however,
when both of the other machines
would quickly overtake it. The Viking
would lead the pack for a while until
it topped out at 48 mph. The Polaris
doesn’t top out until it hits 53 mph.
Honda’s speed limiter is set 10 mph
less at 43.
All three of these machines perform work chores as well as can be taken out on
the weekends for fun. These three can all carry more than just one passenger too.
The Honda fits easiest in the back of a full-size pickup. The Polaris can also be
hauled in the back of a truck as long as the Ranger’s bed is empty. If the back end
squats, the machine gets wide and may not fit in some trucks.