2019 Honda Talon 1000X Test

No Trail Too Tough

When we started to hear that Honda would build a sport UTV, we assumed it would be a single model motivated by some version of the proven Pioneer power train. We never imagined that there would be two models released at the same time! In addition to the 68.5 inch wide, 20-inch travel Talon 1000R, Honda used the same frame and 104-horsepower Talon engine package to create a true trail weapon named the Talon 1000X.

The car’s exterior and interior specifications are all the same, but the 1000X double-wishbone front suspension uses Fox Podium 2.0 shocks with Quick Switch 3 damping adjustments instead of the 2.5 shocks one the R. Where the R has 20.1 inches of travel in the rear, the X has 15 inches of travel. The R uses Honda’s 4+ link rear suspension, but the X employs a 3-link rear suspension with high-clearance trailing arms. The X is also narrower at 64 inches (though that is wide for a trail specific model). The R has a 92.7 inch wheelbase, but the X has a much shorter 87.6-inch wheelbase for tight trail maneuverability.

These are the traits the two models share:

  • 999cc Unicam® parallel-twin engine, performance-tuned for strong torque and linear power delivery
  • 6-speed Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT) with high-low sub-transmission and automatic and manual modes
  • Ignition Feedback Control for faster gear changes
  • On-the-fly changing between 2WD and 4WD via dash-mounted switch that operates at any engine speed
  • Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD) for stability under braking
  • Brake Traction Control System (BTCS) directs torque to wheels that have the most grip
  • 44% front weight bias for balanced handling
  • Center console and creature comfort dual cockpits
  • Tuned intake and exhaust for performance and sound quality
  • Hill Start Assist (HSA)
  • Piston oil jets for cool engine temperature and engine longevity
  • Oversized radiator and fan
  • Driveshaft boot protectors
  • Comfortable, weather-resistant supportive seats
  • Clutch temperature warning light
  • LED Headlights with high/low beam

After a full day in Sand Hollow with the R, we headed for a tight, fun 42-mile out and back trail that took us from near the Utah/Arizona border to the edge of Zion National Park. Much of the trail was tight and twisty through cedar trees with lots of elevation changes. Near the end the designated route had multiple river crossing with steep, muddy banks. We also encountered snow and frozen mud.

With its lower center of gravity the Talon X feels glued to the earth, and we were able to rail corners with tremendous g-forces. Despite that, we never felt the inside wheels lift at all. The same was true on the multiple cambers we had to deal with. We did feel the skid pan hit dirt a few times, and certainly more than in the Talon R. The suspension did a great job on the trail. It protested on short, choppy acceleration edges, but the conditions were so rough that we doubt any car would have soaked them up.

Just as at Sand Hollow with the R, the I4WD performed brilliantly. At places the trail was tight and twisty but with multiple opportunities to accelerate full throttle, slam brakes, full-throttle again. We kept at this repeatedly, and that is a situation that would be brutal on a belt, but the Talon uses no CVT belt! The 6-speed DCT transmission performed incredibly well. For the trail we preferred the standard auto mode, then used the paddle shifters to tailor the power when we wanted to be more aggressive.

In all, the Talon X was a joy on the trail, and a true weapon in tight going.

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