2021 John Deere Gator XUV835R First Test: Big-Boy Toy

My dad has by no means hesitated to press his vehicles into non permanent off-road agricultural obligation. I vividly recall using with my sister on a big board roped to the rear bumper of our ’70 VW Beetle as Dad ran a sample all through the again yard in an effort to work sand down by way of the Bermuda grass and into the robust purple Memphis clay. He taught me: By no means fence a yard with out preserving car entry. I by no means have. Lately, there’s an entire business that purpose-builds side-by-side ATVs to do jobs like what dad used our Beetle for, and I simply spent three weeks with a fairly cool one: a 2021 John Deere Gator XUV835R.

What’s a John Deere Gator XUV835R?

That is the flagship, full-size mannequin that tops John Deere’s vary of Gator side-by-side ATVs, or extra precisely: UTVs (for Utility Job Autos). That distinction is necessary because the side-by-side market type of subdivides into these designed to do work, and people attempting to be mini Ford Raptor enjoyable machines. Gators are largely the previous, and the lineup opens on the smaller finish with the Work Collection, out there in rear-drive, four-wheel drive, and six-wheel designs with 1,000-pound payload capability restrict and a selection of gasoline, diesel, or electrical energy, with base costs spanning from $7,899–$13,299. Subsequent up is the Mid-Dimension Crossover XUV line, with customary 4WD and two wheelbases for carrying two or 4 passengers and 500 kilos of cargo, with base costs starting from $9,599–$14,999. Deere’s Full-Dimension Crossover XUVs like our check car are billed as “constructed to work like a truck in locations {that a} truck can’t,” and boast a 2,000-pound towing capability, low-range gearing, and locking differentials, with full climate safety and local weather management out there. Base pricing begins at $14,699 and climbs to $27,399 with diesel energy.

Automobile-Like Controls

John Deere doesn’t often mortgage its side-by-sides to the automotive press, however a number of enhancements for 2021 purpose to make the Gator a lot extra car-like that it all of the sudden made sense to take action. These embody improved transmission controls with the addition of a “park” place, an enhanced digital sprint show, simpler gear shifting, and electrical energy steering. Two electrical toggle switches now have interaction the 4WD and the rear differential lock, and the 2021 XUVs can be found with a full vary of over 100 attachments, together with sprayers, snow blades, and winches tailor-made to attacking myriad jobs. I deemed the timing of this provide providential, as I used to be simply ending up some main initiatives round my place on Lake Huron, so I requested for one geared up at a naked minimal with the winch and energy dump field. John Deere set about establishing a well-equipped XUV835R for me that rang the register at a decidedly carlike $29,408.

54 Hp, 47 lb-ft, and a CVT

Energy comes from a mid-mounted 812-cc (0.8-liter) DOHC 12-valve inline-three-cylinder John Deere engine. A centrifugal clutch will get issues shifting, after which a belt CVT routinely adjusts its efficient gear ratio to account for heavy masses, thick mud, steep hills, and so on. And may a load or grade show an excessive amount of for the usual vary—as occurred after I tried to tow a 40-foot useless pine tree high first right into a grassy discipline with all its branches nonetheless connected—participating low vary launched enough torque multiplication to get the XUV going and park that tree the place I wished it. There’s no middle differential, and as famous, the rear might be locked; up entrance there’s an auto-locking differential to profit from the considerable traction afforded by the larger, knobby Maxxis Bighorn tires that got here packaged with our check car’s $900 aluminum wheels improve.

Carlike Suspension

The Gator matches metal management arms, coil-over shock models, and disc brakes in any respect 4 corners, with an anti-roll bar within the rear and strong half-shaft boot safety in entrance. A full 7.9 inches of suspension journey are offered to soak up heavy terrain. And the ability steering isolates the driving force from kickback and supplies three straightforward turns from lock to lock whereas negotiating a U flip with out leaving the street floor on most two-lane roads.

The place Can You Drive a John Deere Facet by Facet ATV?

Guidelines for driving off-road automobiles and unlicensed all-terrain automobiles fluctuate from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. For instance, in Sanilac County, Michigan, the place my place is, buying an ORV license for $26.25 and displaying it on the rear glass makes it authorized to drive on secondary roads, and for brief distances on state highways to entry secondary roads. My property fronts a state street, and everybody assured me that driving the quarter-mile south to a mud street, or the 1.6 miles into Lexington for gasoline or to go to the grocery retailer, could be no downside. My county caps the velocity restrict at 25 mph for ORVs on its roads. Sadly, St. Claire County to the south, which I’d have to traverse to lease must-have gear like a wood-chipper, cedes ORV regulation to particular person townships and those I’d cross by way of en path to the tools rental place don’t allow on-road ORV use. So, if you happen to anticipate needing to depart your individual property, research the authorized panorama before you purchase.

How Quick is the XUV835R?

I slapped our Vbox on the roof and got down to do some testing each on gravel and on pavement. Acceleration proved to be barely faster on pavement, with the perfect runs recorded in four-wheel drive. The XUV835R’s high velocity is listed as 45 mph however ours gamely pulled to 53 mph. It accelerated to 50 mph in 16.Eight seconds on its option to a 22.7-second 52.2-mph quarter mile. That’s slower than simply about each different car we’ve examined, nevertheless it does handily smoke the 2005 Gem e4 neighborhood electrical car through which we clocked an much more leisurely 40.1-second, 23.6-mph quarter-mile run.

What About Stopping and Turning?

Braking distances from 50 mph have been significantly shorter on gravel—87 ft versus 127 ft on pavement—as a result of as we’ve lengthy identified, it helps to pile filth up in entrance of the tires (anti-lock braking will not be supplied). We solely circulated a gravel skid pad as a result of there have been no massive, empty, paved tons close to my lake place. On this floor we measured 0.58 g of lateral grip in 4WD mode with the differential locked. Driving in circles was a bit extra enjoyable and drifty in rear-drive with the diff locked, however that mode shaved about 0.03 g off the outcome. Please word that right here once more, that Gem e4—the one different car in opposition to which we are able to legitimately examine the XUV835R—logged a pitiful 0.35 g.

Carlike in Some Methods, Not in Others…

I’m positive that the carlike shifter with a park place is a boon to many, however we want it had been oriented right-side-up. As is, Park is on the backside and also you shift as much as R, N, H, and Low is on the high. In consequence, I steadily moved the shifter two notches within the improper path when considering I used to be going from ahead to reverse or vice versa. The plastics lining the shift gate had additionally began to discolor from put on in simply 20 miles of use. The turn-signal is a left/proper toggle change with no self-canceling, however that is acceptable for as sometimes because the Gator ought to discover itself signaling in automotive site visitors. The digital gauge cluster is neat, besides that the tachometer and speedometer function no demarcations. They each function a digital readout within the middle of a graphical sweep, however you don’t know what the redline worth is till you attain it (it’s about 4,650 rpm, however the Gator bravely accelerates method past that). The ignition key isn’t omnidirectional; it’s essential to keep in mind which method it goes into the ignition and door lock cylinders. Talking of which, they’re the one option to lock and unlock the doorways—there’s no inside lock button or knob (so if you happen to lock the doorways cylinders, then drive the car, then lock the keys inside, a coat hanger might be of no use).

Cool Gator Options

The windshield might be totally opened with gasoline struts holding it horizontal, or it may be propped open a pair inches on the backside to permit a breeze in whereas driving—type of such as you used to have the ability to do with a Mannequin A Ford. You will want to decrease a aspect window to get a breeze going, nonetheless, as a result of the cabin seals up good and tight (so tight it’s possible you’ll end up re-slamming the doorways when all of the home windows are closed).

Entrance and rear hitch receivers: Generally whereas exploring a path, it’s possible you’ll end up blocked by an impediment, as occurred to me with a fallen tree. Presuming it’s not so massive that you could be want low vary to budge it (low solely engages for driving ahead), simply transfer the trailer hitch to the entrance, loop your tow strap across the tree, and reverse it out of the best way. That 4,500-pound Warn winch (an $881 choice) comes with a distant management that plugs into the glovebox and proved greater than as much as the duty of snatching the whole lot I connected to it. Oh, and the Park place proved enough to carry the XUV835R in place—we by no means missed the optionally available parking brake.

The $874 energy field elevate system made fast work of loading and unloading a heavy water stress tank, to not point out a great deal of wooden chips and filth. And whereas I’m positive one will not be inspired to “hose out” the inside, each cupholder, cubby, and bin on the inside contains a drain gap, as does the deep effectively beneath the passenger seat that doubles as an ice chest. Oh, and just like the fanciest new pickup vehicles, the Gator’s tailgate contains yardstick inch demarcations for measuring cuts within the again nation.

What Does the John Deere Gator XUV835R Compete With?

Concerning the subsequent closest competitor seems to be Bombardier’s Can Am Defender Restricted, which begins at $25,599. It additionally gives a “season proof” totally climate-controlled cab and boasts a stout 82-hp, 69-lb-ft Rotax V-twin engine rated to tow 2,500 kilos (3,000 in 6×6 configuration), nevertheless it lacks the Gator’s breadth and depth of task-specific manufacturing facility equipment. The Arctic Cat Prowler Professional gives full doorways and windshields and roughly matches the Deere’s engine specs, nevertheless it doesn’t provide full HVAC. Many of the Gator XUV835R’s different opponents—together with Honda’s Talon 1000 lineup, the Polaris Common XP 1000, and Yamaha’s Viking EPS—lack the choice of an enclosed, not to mention climate-controlled cab.

Ought to You Purchase a John Deere Gator XUV835R?

Should you’re unwilling to pull your youngsters across the yard behind a Beetle, and also you face plenty of towing and hauling wants round your property in locations not simply accessed by a conventional pickup truck, possibly a devoted aspect by aspect UTV is sensible. This one definitely has a lot to advocate it. For my private use case, I’d be higher off with a narrower Work Collection mannequin I might wedge down some trails I’m blazing on the entrance half of the property. I shut my property down within the winter, so an open cab fits me nice. With a winch, an influence field elevate, and a entrance brush guard, such a Gator HPX615E would worth out within the mid-$13,000 vary.

2021 John Deere Gator XUV/835R
BASE PRICE $25,599
VEHICLE LAYOUT Mid-engine, 4WD, 3-pass, 2-door ATV/ORV truck
ENGINE 0.8L/54-hp/47-lb-ft DOHC 12-valve I-3
TRANSMISSION Cont. variable auto, w/centrifugal clutch
CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST) 2,400 lb (48/52%)
LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT 127.1 x 69.Four x 78.2 in
0-50 MPH 16.Eight sec
QUARTER MILE 22.7 sec @ 52.5 mph
BRAKING, 50-Zero MPH 127 ft (pavement, 87 ft on gravel)
LATERAL ACCELERATION 0.58 g (avg, on gravel)

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