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Discussion Starter #1
Hello,
I am new to the forums, and currently in the market for a smaller sxs. I have been researching the Ranger 500 and the Honda Pioneer 500. I know all the “on paper” differences between them, and I’ve driven both a few times. Both dealers are relatively close, and the cost difference is minor (Honda maybe $350 less).

I am new to atv’s and utv’s - never owned either. I am older (59), so no crazy riding - nothing super fast or dangerous. My main uses are:


  • Taking my 17 year old son, who has autism, for rides in the bush and teaching him to drive it.
  • Plowing my driveway.
  • My older son may drive it on bush roads near our home.
  • Minor, occasional yard work.
I have researched to the point of paralysis, and I’m looking for some advice from those who mayknow these machines. Any help would be appreciated!

Thank you!
 

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When I was shopping for a larger machine last fall I found that the Honda was considerably noisier (engine noise) than the Polaris. I previously had Yamaha Rhino 400 and the only knock on the Yamaha was it was very noisy.
 

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The Honda 500 doesn't have a locker in the front differential which might be a problem plowing snow.
The Ranger is a step above the Honda in my opinion.

Smoother ride.
More stable.
Less noise.
Has a dump bed with a tailgate.
Has turf mode, which you will come to love if you get the Ranger.
Etc.
 

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The Honda 500 was a little disappointing to me, now the 700 and 1000 is a different story, the 500 ranger is a good machine but to me the 570 for a few hundred more is a lot more power packed, 44 HP. That's as much as some of the 700s out there, the Yamaha Viking 700 is only 46HP
 

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The Honda 500 was a little disappointing to me, now the 700 and 1000 is a different story, the 500 ranger is a good machine but to me the 570 for a few hundred more is a lot more power packed, 44 HP. That's as much as some of the 700s out there, the Yamaha Viking 700 is only 46HP
Sorry, I know I probably made decision harder:)
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Sorry, I know I probably made decision harder:)
A month ago you’d have really complicated my decision, but I think that the 500 will be fine for me. My neighbor has a 570 and he plows driveways as a side job. He thinks a 500 is enough for me.

I did drive a leftover ‘17 Honda Pioneer 400-4, and it was really nice - 4 seater with flip down seats that converts to a dump bed, front locking diff, but a little too big and a little too much $$$.

https://m.rdpowersports.com/Utility-Vehicles-Honda-Pioneer-700-4-2017-Palmerton-PA-9a9916df-2286-4afc-af42-a951015837bd

The Pioneer folks always say that Polaris machines are more maintenance intensive - need to grease them, be careful with the belt, etc., and that they tend to wear bearings, bushings, etc., where the Hondas are all sealed - nothing to grease, etc. Is that all true, and for my use, will that matter?
 

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Yes there are things that need to be greased. But if the bushings get water in them, which they will, the grease will push it out. I have never had a problem with wheel bearings in 23 years. I have never replaced a belt in 23 years. You need to drive a cvt rig a little differently than a torque converter in that when you take off you need to give it enough gas to start moving. You can't just give it gas and just let it sit still and if you are going slow you need to use low.

The Honda 700 doesn't have a low range which it needs.
It also doesn't have turf mode.
I did replace a set of bushings on the rear of my Ace but none of my other rigs have needed it.
Did you drive the Pioneer 500 and the Ranger 500 on anything other than pavement or smooth hard pack?
If you could drive both on a trail with bumps and hills, especially side hills, etc you will get a better idea of the differences.
 

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Just saying for 500.00 or less than 10$ month in payment, if u shop around!!
U will go from 32 to 44hp, it's a big difference
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Yes there are things that need to be greased. But if the bushings get water in them, which they will, the grease will push it out. I have never had a problem with wheel bearings in 23 years. I have never replaced a belt in 23 years. You need to drive a cvt rig a little differently than a torque converter in that when you take off you need to give it enough gas to start moving. You can't just give it gas and just let it sit still and if you are going slow you need to use low.

The Honda 700 doesn't have a low range which it needs.
It also doesn't have turf mode.
I did replace a set of bushings on the rear of my Ace but none of my other rigs have needed it.
Did you drive the Pioneer 500 and the Ranger 500 on anything other than pavement or smooth hard pack?
If you could drive both on a trail with bumps and hills, especially side hills, etc you will get a better idea of the differences.
How often do the Rangers need to be greased with moderate, non-extreme use, and occasional Pennsylvania plowing in the winter? Is it a pain, i.e. grease fittings hard to reach, need to jack it up, etc? I drove the Pioneer only on pavement, as both dealers were in towns, and the Ranger in a hilly field, with some bounces, but nothing intense.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Yes there are things that need to be greased. But if the bushings get water in them, which they will, the grease will push it out. I have never had a problem with wheel bearings in 23 years. I have never replaced a belt in 23 years. You need to drive a cvt rig a little differently than a torque converter in that when you take off you need to give it enough gas to start moving. You can't just give it gas and just let it sit still and if you are going slow you need to use low.

The Honda 700 doesn't have a low range which it needs.
It also doesn't have turf mode.
I did replace a set of bushings on the rear of my Ace but none of my other rigs have needed it.
Did you drive the Pioneer 500 and the Ranger 500 on anything other than pavement or smooth hard pack?
If you could drive both on a trail with bumps and hills, especially side hills, etc you will get a better idea of the differences.
Good points about the P700. How often does the Ranger need to be greased with light to moderate usage, including PA snow plowing (not too frequently)? Is it a pain to grease, i.e. hard to reach fittings, need to jack it up, etc?

I tested the Ranger in hilly grass field near the dealership, but the Pioneer was only on flat ground - both Honda dealers are in towns, so I didn't get a true picture of both. The Ranger was smoother and easier, of course, and I thought the P500 was "sportier" - a little more rough, and of course you could feel the 5 speed downshift and upshift.
 

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I grease mine maybe a couple of times a year. If I am riding in wet conditions I grease it more often, when I remember to do it.
The fittings are easy to get to, no jacking up. Maintenance is easy on my 900. Everything is easy to get to. Same on my Ace. Should be easy on a 500 Ranger too. Just tilt the bed up and the motor and air filter are right there. I use a funnel with a hose to change the oil on the 570 Ace. The oil fill is on the top of the valve cover on the 900. The oil filter is easy to get to on the front of the motor on the 570 and 900.
The transmission fill is at the rear just above the hitch and the drain is easy to access through a hole in the skid plate.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I grease mine maybe a couple of times a year. If I am riding in wet conditions I grease it more often, when I remember to do it.
The fittings are easy to get to, no jacking up. Maintenance is easy on my 900. Everything is easy to get to. Same on my Ace. Should be easy on a 500 Ranger too. Just tilt the bed up and the motor and air filter are right there. I use a funnel with a hose to change the oil on the 570 Ace. The oil fill is on the top of the valve cover on the 900. The oil filter is easy to get to on the front of the motor on the 570 and 900.
The transmission fill is at the rear just above the hitch and the drain is easy to access through a hole in the skid plate.
Not sure why my last post didn't appear, but thanks for you answer - very helpful information.

That said, I did like the compact, sporty feel/ride of the Honda, but without a dump bed and no way to even "squeeze" a third person in for short rides, I'm leaning toward the Ranger. Honestly, if I wouldn't be hearing and reading so much about "Honda reliability", and how much P500 owners love their machines, the Ranger would already be in my garage.

Thanks to all who have responded so far!
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I grease mine maybe a couple of times a year. If I am riding in wet conditions I grease it more often, when I remember to do it.
The fittings are easy to get to, no jacking up. Maintenance is easy on my 900. Everything is easy to get to. Same on my Ace. Should be easy on a 500 Ranger too. Just tilt the bed up and the motor and air filter are right there. I use a funnel with a hose to change the oil on the 570 Ace. The oil fill is on the top of the valve cover on the 900. The oil filter is easy to get to on the front of the motor on the 570 and 900.
The transmission fill is at the rear just above the hitch and the drain is easy to access through a hole in the skid plate.
Thanks for your posts - valuable info. Anyone else have anything to help me decide?

Btw, can you tell me why my replies/posts don't show up in this thread?

Thanks again!
 

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For some reason three of your posts went to the moderated page. I approved all of them so we will see it that fixed it.


I have been avoiding the 'Honda reliability' thing, but now I will speak up. I read the major forums on the Honda Pioneer, Yamaha Wolverine and some of the other mixed sites and have for years. I researched the Wolverine and Pioneer 1000 extensively before I bought my ranger 900. The reason I didn't buy a Pioneer 1000 was mainly because of its unreliability. This was back in 2017.

Like I said before, Honda's (except for the 1000) generally can't compete directly with Polaris and Can Am because of of the lack of features. They also have had their share of transmission problems, welds breaking, suspension A-arm brackets folding up, water ingestion in the motors and transmissions and instability compared to some other brands on uneven terrain on the 500 because of its stiff suspension, etc. Honda owners generally are willing to put up with their shortcomings just because it is a Honda and that is fine. The general buying public is not willing to do that and that is why there are so many more Polaris Rangers than Honda Pioneers out there.

I want you to enjoy your new sxs and not have buyers remorse and you are doing the right thing with your research. But seat time in both rigs in some real world use terrain would be invaluable. As a person gets older the more important comfort and convenience seems to be. You can include ease of maintenance in that category too. I am an old guy with almost a decade and a half on you and I ride with a couple of guys that are quite a bit older than me and we all three ride Polaris. One came from a couple of Yamaha Rhino's and the other was a multiple Honda ATV owner. Over all the reliability with all the brands has been good in our experience in the way we ride. Mostly Polaris with a few Kawasaki, Yamaha and Can Am.

All sxs's have their problems. That perfect one hasn't been built yet.
 

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I think Rockit has made some good points, but you are still looking for help deciding. This is a Ranger forum, so most of us will lean towards the Ranger. I bought my 500 midsize due to a long, good, history with Poo products. I bought my new 570 mid because I was happy with the first one, and the features that the Ranger has for the money. I got mine shipped to my door for less than $8800. I fully agree about going with a 570 over the 500, you will enjoy the extra power. Lastly, I will NEVER own a ATV/UTV again without turf mode again.
 

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OK, so here's what I've come up with so far:

Ranger 500 pros:
  • Dump bed
  • Better susp. travel/smoother ride
  • ADW (lock front diff.)
  • Turf mode (Ranger folks say critical benefit, very important to them)
  • Nice, friendly dealer a little closer to home, with a good reputation
  • A little wider/more comfortable for 2, can squeeze 3 for short rides
  • A little more power
Ranger 500 cons:
  • Questionable brand reliability?
  • More utility oriented (not really a priority for me) - seems like a farm/ranch utility vehicle
  • Belt driven (many think that's a con, but many Ranger folks say it's not)
  • Don't like the nets/doors, and expensive to upgrade to P500 style 1/2 doors
  • Need bigger trailer
Pioneer 500 pros:
  • Brand reliability?
  • Fun to drive
  • Doors (I like them a lot)
  • Tranny flexibility (AT/MT)
  • More trail-oriented (to me) than a Ranger
  • More active model-specific online presence
  • Smaller trailer to purchase, or use pick up truck to transport (although I have a Colorado and would have to borrow my nephew's truck)
  • Dealer was OK and has a good rep, but don't know them as well as Polaris dealer, who's family business been around for 70+ years.
Pioneer 500 cons:
  • No dump bed (no pressing need, but I think I'll miss it if I don't have it)
  • Limited susp. travel/rougher ride
  • No front diff. lock
  • No turf mode
  • Some say it's a pain to get into reverse quickly while plowing
Still not decided. Some days I feel like the Ranger 500 is for me, other days the P500. I'll continue to read, maybe drive them again, and follow these posts. Thanks everyone!
 

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Only thing I see u have wrong is u say it's not really a trail rig, the midsize rangers perform great on the trails, that's another reason I recommended the 570, it will fly on the trails, fun to ride, if u gonna trail ride more than work on it, I definitely recommend the 570, u will thank me every time u ride it
 

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OK, so here's what I've come up with so far:

Ranger 500 pros:
  • Dump bed
  • Better susp. travel/smoother ride
  • ADW (lock front diff.)
  • Turf mode (Ranger folks say critical benefit, very important to them)
  • Nice, friendly dealer a little closer to home, with a good reputation
  • A little wider/more comfortable for 2, can squeeze 3 for short rides I cram three in all the time
  • A little more power
Ranger 500 cons:
  • Questionable brand reliability? I disagree strongly
  • More utility oriented (not really a priority for me) - seems like a farm/ranch utility vehicle
  • Belt driven (many think that's a con, but many Ranger folks say it's not) I've always had CVT, so I don't really know any different. To me, shifting gears is for fun, not work. Couldn't imagine plowing with gears
  • Don't like the nets/doors, and expensive to upgrade to P500 style 1/2 doors Agreed
  • Need bigger trailer
Pioneer 500 pros:
  • Brand reliability?
  • Fun to driveEverything I have read, this is absolutely true, but I find my mid Ranger is pretty fun to drive. But it is oriented more towards work
  • Doors (I like them a lot)I'll definitely give you this, the nets suck
  • Tranny flexibility (AT/MT) Would be fun, but so is mashing the gas and it just going
  • More trail-oriented (to me) than a Ranger True, but the Ranger mid is a pretty trail worthy rig. And you can haul firewood and dump it, at the end of the day.
  • More active model-specific online presence
  • Smaller trailer to purchase, or use pick up truck to transport (although I have a Colorado and would have to borrow my nephew's truck)
  • Dealer was OK and has a good rep, but don't know them as well as Polaris dealer, who's family business been around for 70+ years.
Pioneer 500 cons:
  • No dump bed (no pressing need, but I think I'll miss it if I don't have it) Although I bought it to work, then play, the dump bed is invaluable. 99.9% of the time I don't need to drag a trailer around behind me
  • Limited susp. travel/rougher ride
  • No front diff. lock Going to make plowing a lot more difficult in big/heavy snows
  • No turf modeAs I said on the other forum, I will NEVER own another ATV/UTV without this
  • Some say it's a pain to get into reverse quickly while plowing
Still not decided. Some days I feel like the Ranger 500 is for me, other days the P500. I'll continue to read, maybe drive them again, and follow these posts. Thanks everyone!
Just a few points above highlighted in red. You really need to determine your usage, then decide. For the $, I strongly recommend the upgrade to the 570. I know you said you don't need the power, but you won't be disappointed it's there. I've said it before, no turf mode, no deal for me.
 
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