2020 HONDA PIONEER 700 4-DELUXE UTV

2020 HONDA PIONEER 700 4-DELUXE: Versatile, effective, and fun for a bargain By the staff of Dirt Wheels 

We weren’t sure how the Honda Pioneer 700-4 would handle rough-and-tumble trails without low range or monster ground clearance, but it was pretty great. Diff-lock helps a lot.

2020 HONDA PIONEER 700-4 DELUXE

The point of view is important in the case of the 2020 Honda Pioneer 700-4 Deluxe. If you are looking for a capable work machine that looks stylish but will also provide fun for recreation, then you have good reasons to look at a Honda.

If the idea of no drive belt to deal with is attractive, you’re getting even warmer. Looking for an affordable four-seat machine with a short wheelbase that is easily transportable and will conquer tight trails?

You have narrowed your point of view right to the Honda 700-4 Pioneer. The 700 lets you spend less than you would for the stellar Pioneer 1000. You still get the double-row seating of the 1000-5 and no CVT belt. Sure, there is less power and no low range in the automotive-type automatic transmission but you did save about four grand.

If the Pioneer 1000-5 Deluxe’s belt-less geared transmission, convertible multi-passenger seating, power steering, painted bodywork, and aluminum wheels fit the budget, you won’t be disappointed.

But if your budget is about $14,000 and not $18,000, the 700-4 Deluxe gets you everything you’re after for $13,899.

WHAT IS “DELUXE”?

The base Pioneer 700-4 comes with the same belt-less, geared automatic transmission and convertible seating for up to four.  A ” Deluxe” model adds manual-shift mode to the automatic transmission, painted or camo bodywork, power steering, aluminum wheels, and contrasting shock springs. On that list, the power steering is the most important to us.

The Pioneer 700-4 starts at $12,399, and the 700-4 Deluxe is $13,899 or $14,099 in camo. As a comparison, Polaris’ Ranger Crew 570-4 starts at $11,399. Can-Am’s Defender HD8 Max starts at $13,599.

We’ve tackled this trail before with faster, wider, long-travel UTVs. The narrow but nimble Pioneer 700-4 allowed line choices in areas that other machines squeeze through.

2020 HONDA PIONEER 700 4-DELUXE

WHAT ABOUT POWER?

The Pioneer 700 is powered by a version of the 675cc, single-cylinder, push-rod, 4-valve engine motivating Honda’s most powerful 4×4 quads. Also, the engine is mounted with the crankshaft in-line with the driveshafts for more efficient power transfer.

Instead of the more common CVT, it uses a reliable three-speed automatic with a hydraulic torque converter and manual-shift mode. This well-proven automotive-style transmission has no drive belt, and the Honda is the only 700-class UTV that uses it.

Paddle shifters behind the steering wheel are used for manual shifting, but the transmission also downshifts automatically when you come to a stop. The shift lever and the paddle shifters have a smooth, positive feel. You can use the paddle shifters to override the auto mode.

We most frequently chose that option to upshift early for a more relaxed ride at a casual pace or to force a downshift to bump up a sporty pace. At times we upshifted on descents to ease the positive engine braking feel.

With manual and automatic shift modes, you get to match the power delivery to the driving you’re doing. Being able to shift manually lets you hold the machine in first for challenging mud or heavy hauling or towing. Manual shifting also gives the 700 a sporty feel for trail riding. Automatic mode is better if you just want to relax and cruise.

The 3-speed automatic isn’t as smooth as a belt-type automatic. There is a definite lunge with each shift rather than the step-less, smooth feel of a CVT. On the other hand, you don’t have to worry about belt wear. We haven’t heard of Pioneer 700 transmission problems, but we would assume that if you did need to repair the mechanical/hydraulic automatic, it would run more than a CVT belt change, and you won’t be fixing it on the side of the trail.

FOUR-WHEEL DRIVE, BABY

The 700-4 Deluxe has selectable 2WD/4WD with a lockable front differential, but not an unlockable rear differential like the Pioneer 1000. You select 2WD or 4WD and lock or unlock the front differential with one lever on the dash. We didn’t use the diff-lock a ton, but when we did, the traction capability was remarkable.

The 700-4 Deluxe accelerates well for a 700cc four-seat recreation utility machine. Top speed is 40 mph. The subtle acceleration, modest top speed, and suspension travel are all reasons to select the Pioneer 1000 if you are craving speed.

We honestly didn’t have any real problems with ground clearance. We appreciated the forward visibility and accurate steering. We did drag the top of the cage once.

WHAT ABOUT SUSPENSION?

The 700-4 has double-A-arm suspension front and rear with a rear sway bar to limit body roll. Upfront, it has 7.9 inches of travel and non-adjustable shocks. There are 9.1 inches of travel in the rear with spring preload-adjustable rear shocks. This allows you to adjust the ride height, for heavy loads, or the firmness of the ride.

At a reasonable pace, it’s plush and comfortable. Even on challenging surfaces, with rocks, ruts, and ledges. It’s perfect for cruising dirt roads or two-tracks, even if they’re in rough shape. Hunters, trail riders, and explorers will like the ride. If you drive the Pioneer like a sport machine, you’ll easily find the suspension’s limits. The front end will bottom first, on big bumps and G-outs, and the rear bucks in whoops.

There is not much real estate required for the digital gauge display, but it has important information. Warning lights around the display offer even more information.

2020 HONDA PIONEER 700 4-DELUXE

DOES IT HANDLE?

It’s so agile, we barely noticed that it’s a four-seater. That’s because the Pioneer 700-4 uses much the same chassis as the two-seat Pioneer 700. With a compact 76.8-inch wheelbase, it helps it turn easily, and maneuver without snags on tight trails. The Honda’s 59.7-inch width gives it room to spare on most trails and very good stability when the going gets steep or off-camber.

The Pioneer 700-4 is very capable on challenging terrain.  It has enough power, traction and ground clearance to get you where you want to go, even if mud, hills, or rocky sections are in your way. Honda’s 4WD system provides plenty of traction in slippery or steep terrain. It also has four-wheel engine braking for technical downhills. Engine braking is more consistent and immediate than the braking systems that have been adapted to CV transmissions.

Here in the back, the notable features are the large, usable dump bed with a nice tailgate. Note that the cage is tied to the chassis around the bed to protect rear-seat passengers.

THE DETAILS

2020 HONDA PIONEER 700 4-DELUXE 700-4

The Deluxe trim level is nice, but it could be more “deluxe” in a couple of areas. While the steering wheel isn’t tilt-adjustable, as on many UTVs, we like the angle of the wheel. A roof would be a nice touch, but it’s not standard equipment. You can get one from Honda and sources like Super ATV  http://superatv.com   and EMP http://extrememetalproducts.com  

We like how quiet the Honda’s engine and transmission are. The QuickFlip seating lets you change the cargo bed space and seating to suit your needs. You can dump the 1000-pound-capacity bed with the rear seats folded down.

With the seats stowed under the bed floor, when you open the rear side doors, there are nice storage areas between the seats and the floor. Shut the doors and you close the areas securely. The rear seats are pretty tight for large adults but are surprisingly comfortable considering the thinly padded sections.

Like the front seats, the rear seats have three-point shoulder belts and side window nets to keep the passengers secure and safe.

IN CONCLUSION

2020 HONDA PIONEER 700 4-DELUXE

If you’re after a recreation utility UTV, with a belt-less automatic transmission and multi-passenger seating, then this is your machine. If you don’t want the power or price of Honda’s Pioneer 1000, then the Pioneer 700-4 Deluxe is a great choice.

It isn’t the best for chasing down an RZR or a Honda Talon over fast terrain. With no low range in the transmission, we were curious whether the Honda would handle steep, technical climbs. It did and handled anything we dared attempt.

On the other hand, it is supremely nimble. It slices through tight terrain and narrow openings. Those side window nets do make you feel highly secure inside the cage, but they do degrade visibility to the side somewhat.

This is a lot of recreation or work machine for the money. It is easy to park, easy to trailer, and fun to drive.

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If you open the rear doors with the second-row seat stored, you’ll see that the footwells for the rear seats have available, secure storage under the bed. The seats pop up easily.
Shift levers for the transmission (drive, neutral, and reverse) and drive options (2WD, 4WD, and 4WD diff-lock) are easy to reach and work well.

2020 HONDA PIONEER 700-4 DELUXE SPECS

Engine type Liquid-cooled, EFI, 4-valve, OHV, 4-stroke single

Displacement 675cc

Transmission Automotive-type 3-speed automatic

Final drive Shaft

Fuel system EFI

Fuel Capacity 7.9 gal.

Length/width/height 114.8”/59.7”/78.5”

Ground Clearance 10.7”

Wheelbase 76.8”

Curb Weight 1426 lb.

Suspension/wheel travel:

Front Dual A-arms & non-adj. shocks/7.9”

Rear Dual A-arms & preload adj. shocks with sway bar/9.1”

Tires:

Front 25×8-12

Rear 25×10-12

Brakes:

Front Dual hydraulic disc

Rear Hydraulic disc

Total bed capacity 1,000 lbs

Towing capacity 1,500 lbs

Colors Silver, Pearl Red, Camo

MSRP $13,899 (camo, $14,099)

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Contact Honda, https://powersports .honda.com/pioneer.aspx

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