UTV TEST: 2016 Honda Pioneer 1000 & 1000-5

The paddle shifters of the 1000 are easy to reach and use while driving slow or fast. You can over-ride the automatic mode of the transmission by shifting when needed, and it will start utilizing gears on its own again automatically.

As the UTV market continues to flourish with an abundance of machines that have new and exciting features, Honda released their 2016 Pioneer 1000 and 1000-5. Honda set a new benchmark in the recreational utility class with this machine. The one standalone feature is the fully automatic, six-speed, dual-clutch transmission that has manual paddle-shift capabilities. No other UTV on the market carries a transmission like this, and that is just the tip of the iceberg for Honda’s newest member of the family.

This machine sports a 999cc, liquid-cooled four- stroke engine that is electronically fuel- injected and paired with a six -speed, fully automatic dual-clutch transmission that has a full manual mode. Gears can be changed by the steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters.

POWERPLANT
Resting inside the Honda Pioneer’s frame is a 999cc, parallel-twin, liquid-cooled, four-stroke engine that is electronically fuel-injected. This engine has a Unicam design that operates eight valves, similar to Honda’s TRX450R engine. Attached to the motor is a six-speed, fully automatic transmission that performs in three different drive modes. The 1000 and 1000-5’s transmission come with an automatic mode, sport automatic mode and a manual-shift setting. There is also a reverse, neutral and high- and low-gear selection.

The dash controls are simple to operate. The Pioneer has four drive modes with its 4×4 system, along with neutral, reverse and high and low gear

The automatic mode allows the transmission to shift gears itself, where the Pioneer senses throttle position, rpm range and follows throttle input to decide what gear to put the transmission in. If you are constantly on and off the throttle, the dual-clutch transmission will wait until it is the right time to shift. The sport mode setting has all the same features, but it holds the gears in a higher rpm range to keep the Pioneer in the powerband longer for faster driving. In both of these modes you can override the automatic transmission by shifting gears. It will accept the shift and then resort back to changing gears on its own. Behind the steering wheel there are two paddles to shift gears in full manual mode. We found this to be the most enjoyable part of the Honda. You can select which gear you want to be in when you want it, which means you are in full control of the Pioneer’s power at all times. There is no other UTV on the market that has an automatic transmission like this with paddle-shifting abilities that still allows you to drive the machine in a fully automatic mode. The Pioneer also has four drive modes with its 4×4 system. It can be switched into two- and- four-wheeldrive, Turf mode, and it also comes with a front differential lock for tricky situations. All modes are changeable by dash-mounted buttons and a selection lever.

The Pioneer 1000 and 10005 come with Maxxis Bighorn 2.0 tires on it that are 27 inches tall. The tires grip well in multiple types of terrain and provide a smooth ride.

SUSPENSION AND HANDLING
Recreational utility vehicles aren’t well-known for having plush suspension that offers a smooth ride in all types of riding conditions. While most of these types of UTVs carry independent suspension in the front and rear, oftentimes they have a rough and sometimes unforgiving ride. Just like the Pioneer’s main competition, the $13,499 Polaris Ranger XP 900, which has a good suspension setup, the Honda’s shocks tackled terrain in a smooth manner. Our test rider put the Honda through its paces with some fast driving, and at times where he felt that the machine was about to take a hard hit, the suspension simply sucked it up and continued on its way in full control.

The front and rear suspension are a dual A- arm setup. The front shocks have 10.5 inches of wheel travel while the rear has 10 inches of wheel travel.

The front suspension of the Pioneer is a double-wishbone style with 10.5 inches of wheel travel, while the rear also carries a dual-A-arm setup and has 10 inches of rear wheel travel. The rear suspension has a load-leveling feature on the Pioneer 1000-5. When a heavy load is placed in the bed of the Honda, the shocks displace oil through high- and low-pressure chambers to push or decompress the shock to a normal ride height. To slow down, four-wheel hydraulic disc brakes do the job. The machine is “light on its feet” in terms of handling. It takes corners well and is not too tippy-feeling, while it also handles rough terrain in a smooth manner. By no means do we consider the Pioneer 1000 a sport-type UTV, but it does feel sporty for a recreational utility machine.

The Pioneer 1000 -5 has two fold-up seats in the cargo bed that can be accessed by doors that are easy to open and close. It takes around 30 seconds to fold up a seat and connect the seat belt to the top of the roll cage.

FEATURES
The Honda Pioneer 1000 ($13,999) and 1000-5 ($16,199) come with great features depending on the model of your choosing. For starts, both versions have full doors and nets in the front. The 1000-5 has seating for three in the front and a rear cargo box that contains two folding seats that are decently comfortable to sit on. Unfolding the seats and hooking up the seatbelt system takes about 30 seconds to do. To get in and out of the rear seats, Honda designed doors into the dumping cargo bed that open and close easily and in a secure fashion. The roll cage on the 1000-5 is extended over the cargo bed to protect riders in the rear. The Pioneer 1000 and 1000-5’s rear dump bed can hold up to 1000 pounds, while the machine can tow up to 2000 pounds out of a rear 2-inch hitch receiver. Electronic power steering doesn’t come on the base model of the Pioneer 1000, and neither do the paddle shifters for the transmission. To get both options, the machine starts at a reasonable price of $15,199.

The cockpit of the Pioneer is spacious and comfortable. The steering wheel tilts, and the controls are easy to reach. There is a glovebox for cargo space, and the bench seat fits three people.

The 1000-5 comes standard with both options. The EPS and Deluxe versions of the Pioneer come with aluminum wheels with Maxxis Bighorn 2.0 tires wrapped around them. Colormatched doors and bed sides come on these versions as well.

The Pioneer 1000 does not come with rear load-leveling suspension or rear seats in the cargo bed, so there is no need for an extended roll cage.

THE TEST RIDE
Honda’s Pioneer 1000 was designed to be a utility workhorse that could also be fun to drive, and they succeeded. Shifting the machine’s six-speed transmission with the paddle shifter is a blast. The engine power is strong and provides a decent amount of torque for fast driving or towing around the job site. The Pioneer has a ground clearance of 12.4 inches and a wheelbase of 80.2. Driving in tight and rocky trails was easy with this machine. One big upside to the Pioneer 1000-5 is that it can carry five riders in it and fit in tight trails, where other machines like the Polaris Ranger Crew 900 has a wheelbase that is over 100 inches and has a larger turning radius. The Pioneer is a predictable-handling machine. It feels planted in corners, the brake system is strong yet smooth and the suspension is forgiving. Rarely did the Pioneer ever feel like it wasn’t well-planted to the ground. The EPS versions have smooth steering, and when you put it into 4WD with the front differential locked, the EPS mapping changes so that the steering still feels light and easy to use. A lot of machines with a front-locking differential are more difficult to operate in that mode.

The electronic power-steering model of the Pioneer 1000 comes with color-matched doors and cargo bed sides.

FINAL THOUGHTS
Honda has a reputation of producing machines that are well-priced and durable. We still have Hondas that we use consistently that require low maintenance and have stayed in great working order for years. The Pioneer 1000 and 1000-5 set a new standard in their class by having the only fully automatic, six-speed transmission that you can drive in manual mode with paddle shifters. Its competition, like the Polaris Ranger, utilizes CVT transmission that rely on belts that can easily break and leave you stranded if you don’t carry a spare. If you want a machine that handles well, has great options and starts at a decent price of $13,999, the Pioneer 1000 and 1000-5 are a solid choice to go with. If you want to check one out yourself, locate you nearest Honda dealer or go to www.powersport.honda.com.

SPECS
2016 HONDA PIONEER 1000/1000-5
Engine ………….Parallel twin-cylinder,
Uni-Cam, liquid-cooled, 4-stroke
Bore x stroke… …… 92.0mm x 75.15mm
Displacement… ………………………..999cc
Starter… ……………………………….. Electric
Fuel System… ………………….. 44mm EFI
Fuel Capacity… …………………….. 7.9 gal
Transmission…6-speed automatic or
paddle shift
Final Drive… …………………………….Shaft
Suspension/wheel travel:
Front… …………… Dual A-arms w/ 10.5”
Rear… ……………. Dual A-arms w/ 10.0”
Brakes:
Front… ……………..Dual hydraulic discs
Rear… ………………Dual hydraulic discs
Tires:
Front… ………………………………….. 27×9-12
Rear… …………………………………. 27×11-12
Overall measurements:
Length/width/height …..116.8”/62.9”/76.4”
Ground Clearance… ………………..12.4”
Wheelbase… ……………………………..80.2”
Curb weight… …………………….. 1709 lbs
Cargo bed capacity: 1000 lbs
Colors……. Red, Metallic silver, white,
Honda Phantom camo
Price… ………….$13,999/$16,199 (1000-5)

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