Honda’s new Pioneer 520 combines the benefits of side by sides and ATVs; marrying up the safety and space found in side-by-sides with the nimble handling and small, narrow footprint of an ATV. The new model slots under the Pioneer 700 and stands to introduce a whole new market to the benefits of a compact yet highly capable UTV.

The Pioneer 520 goes on sale from 12 April  across the Honda network of approved dealers priced at £9,200 excluding VAT.

Packaged within its small, four-square form, is a sophisticated suspension setup that sees it tackle tough ground and heavy cargo, while also helping operators thread it precisely through narrow farm gates and into spaces that traditional, large UTV’s simply can’t access. Aiding this go-anywhere ability is a 518cc engine that drives two or four wheels, at the operator’s discretion, via a five-speed transmission that can be manually controlled to tap into the considerable low-to-mid range torque on hand.

Matching this wide range of performance is the broad functionality that lends the Pioneer 520 to a variety of work applications. Riding two up, loads up to 658kg in total can be hauled between towing and the gas-assisted tilting rear bed.

A tough and compact chassis

The Pioneer 520’s small footprint makes it a nimble yet practical tool. At just 1270mm wide, the narrow width is more comparable with an ATV than that of the Pioneer 700.  Paired to the compact width, is an overall length of just 2667mm that places the four wheels in the corners of the vehicle; improving handling and low-speed manoeuvrability, making the 520 easy to operate regardless of experience.

Mounted to the steel ladder-frame chassis is an advanced, independent double-wishbone suspension layout in all four corners. This allows for dynamic behaviour across smooth and uneven surfaces alike, offering the ability to tackle tough and undulating terrain. The Pioneer 520 also boasts 5.8 and 5.9 inches of suspension travel front and rear respectively, combined with ground clearance of 8.5 inches. Honda’s engineers also retuned the shock absorber damping for increased comfort and control, whilst the rear dampers have adjustable preload, allowing the ride height to be adjusted to match the rear bed’s load.

In each corner of the Pioneer are 12” diameter wheels shod in new, harder-wearing 24” diameter all-terrain tyres that measure 24 x 8-12 up front and 24 x 10-12 at the back. A new tread design with deeper blocks enable greater grip on loose and wet surfaces. This setup also makes for an excellent balance between traction, easy steering, and good manoeuvrability in tight situations. The front brakes comprise dual hydraulic callipers that grip on to 200mm discs, while the rear brake utilizes a single hydraulic calliper on a 170 mm disc to provide substantial overall braking power.

Versatile for all jobs

The key to the Pioneer’s enduring flexibility and all-round ability has always been its layout. The 520 takes this to the next level with the introduction of a gas-assisted tilting rear bed. Measuring in at useful 29” in length, 38.7” in width and 9.8” high, the ample dimensions can swallow a multitude of items from multiple standard hay bales to buckets and crates. The ridged base design, three bed divider slots for ¾” partitions and five D-ring locations ensure the load stays secure regardless of the terrain.

Capable of towing 454kg, the Pioneer 520’s overall load capacity of 658kg makes it a very useful tool for agricultural and commercial applications.

Controlled power

The Pioneer 520 introduces an all-new powertrain to the UK market, with a longitudinally mounted four-stroke 518cc engine paired to a new five-speed transmission.

The fuel-injected engine has bore-and-stroke figures of 96.0 mm and 75.3 mm respectively. This over-square design runs a compression ratio of 9.5:1 and offers increased low-range to mid-range torque over the Pioneer 500, improving driveability in a wide range of speeds and situations. By mounting the power unit longitudinally, packaging is improved as is drivetrain efficiency, thanks to the direct power transfer via driveshaft and not belt drive. This arrangement also reduces the need for regular maintenance and ensures that the driveshafts are perfectly aligned front and rear.

Paired with the improved power unit is a new five-speed automatic transmission, which offers up a number of drive modes to suit a variety of moods and situations. In automatic, the Pioneer does the heavy lifting for you, allowing occupants to concentrate on the road ahead or the task in hand, whilst semi-auto offers a manual override on either down or upshift before returning to fully automatic mode.

21YM Honda Pioneer 520 UTV