Having sold over 500,000 Gator utility vehicles, John Deere's Gator
is the best-selling UTV ever built. Today's lineup is evolving rapidly, with far better performance and features than ever before. Deere likes to say there is a whole new species of Gator. We agree.
Deere's heavy-duty, hard-working Gator is the 825i XUV. Rather than an industrial engine, the Gator 825i is powered by a DOHC, liquid-cooled, triple-cylinder, automotive-style engine with EFI that cranks out 50hp. Mated to the engine is a CVT transmission.
We love the oil fill and dipstick locations, and air filter access is excellent as well. On the trail, the 825i tops out at 44 mph. You can expect to be passed by nearly every other machine, but the Gator 825i is extremely stable and predictable. It's also a little loud, and Deere would do well to include a baffle between the cab area and the rear-mounted engine.
The Gator 825i XUV is built for hard work, though, and at that it excels, thanks to a 2-inch receiver hitch at both ends, steel underbody protection, and a 1,000-pound capacity dump box. A super handy, 44-inch ruler is molded into the tailgate.
The RSX 850i is Deere's first model aimed squarely at the sporting and recreational crowd. The 850i shares a chassis platform with the 550XUV, and it's by far the best-looking Gator yet. The overall look is sporty, tough, and ready for action. Cab styling, instrumentation, and driver and passenger accoutrements are outstanding. The digital instrument readout on the RSX 850i is the best in the sport, and the seats are so comfortable we would happily ditch our living room La-Z-Boy for them.
The EFI equipped, liquid-cooled, 837cc, 4-stroke, V-twin engine churns out a claimed 62 hp (59.5 ft-lb torque) with top speed listed at 53 mph. We prefer the RSX 850i over the sometimes underpowered 550XUV. The only weak feature on the RSX 850i is the brakes, which need larger rotors and more clamping force for more reliable stops. As with all UTVs, the RSX gets up to speed with a CVT-style transmission.
The new Gators are a world apart from any previous Gator design. They've still got the heavy-duty dump box, hitches, and working capabilities to handle any tough job, but they can also carry you and your gear on just about any adventure.