Silver Honda Pioneer 1-5 on Tracks! Custom 2016 Honda Pioneer

Honda Pioneer ATV

Honda / June 4, 2018

While the Pioneer 1000 is new, the road that led to it is long. Honda has been at the forefront of the ATV market since 1970, when it offered the three-wheel US90 (later to be called the ATC90), and its ATV lineup now includes a full spectrum of four-wheel vehicles, from the sporty TRX family to the versatile Rincon, Rubicon, Foreman, Rancher and Recon lines. From 1977 to ’89, Honda sold a four-wheel powersports vehicle called the Odyssey, and although that model did have a roll cage, it was just a single-seater; Honda’s first true side-by-side was the utility-focused Big Red, introduced for 2009. Big Red was replaced by the 2014 model-year Pioneer 700—a midsize multipurpose model that’s available in two-person and four-person configurations. The following year, Honda added the two-person Pioneer 500, an entry-level side-by-side whose narrow stance allows it to drive on tight trails and fit in the bed of a pickup truck. Now, Honda rounds out its Pioneer family with the 2016 Pioneer 1000.

Unicam Powerplant & 6-Speed Dual Clutch Transmission

The 2016 Honda Pioneer 1000-5 features a 999c liquid-­cooled OHC Unicam parallel-­twin four‐stroke powerplant. This is Honda's largest UTV mill to date, and only matched by Can-Am's new Defender 1000 UTV. The Longitudinal engine mounting eliminates unnecessary right angles in the driveline, and the engine and exhaust system are rubber-mounted to reduce vibration and noise. It's one of the more peaceful rides available. Despite it's quiet ride, it's big power and torque can pull over a ton of cargo!

The side-by-side market’s first fully Automatic Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT) is a six-speed automatic. This all-gear, no belt, system is similar to the one found in the Acura NSX sports car. It provides a direct, connected feel between the accelerator and the wheels. It's more durable than the belt-driven CVTs, found on competitive models, and offers more efficient power transfer for maximum engine torque and true engine braking. As the name suggests, Dual Clutch Transmissions have two clutches—one that controls odd-numbered gear sets (first, third, fifth), and another that controls even-numbered gear sets (second, fourth, sixth). A hollow outer transmission shaft contains a separate internal shaft, and each holds one of the two clutches. Multiple gears are engaged simultaneously so that the transmission is constantly prepared for the next shift. For gear-changes, one clutch disengages and the other engages, resulting in shifts that are quick, smooth, seamless. Data, collected by a series of sensors, is processed by the ECU, which uses an advanced algorithm to determine when the shift-control motor should electronically trigger gear-changes. The clutches are controlled by sophisticated electronics and hydraulics.

The Honda Pioneer 1000-5 Deluxe model, we tested, can be switched between two fully automatic modes (Standard and Sport), or Manual paddle-shift. In Automatic, the Advanced Transmission Logic senses the driver’s style and adapts, upshifting earlier when input is relaxed and holding gears longer for sportier driving. The system even detects descents and provides real engine braking. Even in automatic mode, the driver can override the gear selection at any time by using the paddle shifters. The selected gear will be maintained for several seconds before the transmission seamlessly reverts to fully automatic shifting. Sport mode can be switched on the fly, which immediately alters the character of the machine, from quiet and relaxed to exciting and powerful. While in difficult terrain or towing heavy loads, the Pioneer's low-range sub-transmission has a 1.42:1 ratio (like a 4WD truck), which will reduce the gear ratio by 42 percent, essentially doubling the number of gears from six to 12.

The Honda Pioneer 1000's multiple drive-system modes enable correct driveline selection for almost any situation: 2WD (locked rear differential), 4WD (locked rear/limited-slip front differential), Differential Lock (locked rear/locked front to maximize available traction), Turf Mode (2WD with limited-slip rear differential, to protect lawn or crops).

Stout & Versatile Chassis

Like the engine, the 2016 Honda Pioneer 1000’s chassis is incredibly stout. It rides on a fully independent suspension front and rear, and it's double A-arm design offers 10.5 inches of travel up front, 10.0 inches in back and has 12.4 inches of ground clearance (12.9 inches on the 3-seater). Standard on the five-person models (and available as an accessory for the three-person models) is a self-leveling rear suspension system, which automatically maintains the appropriate ride height when fully loaded. Even at full loads, the Pioneer 1000 remained comfortable and handled great.