SIDE BY SIDE vehicles (SSV) are steadily gaining in market share among farmers, meaning the Honda site at this year’s CRT FarmFest was a popular destination.
Dalby Moto owner Craig Hartley said the Honda corporate stand was particularly busy coming up to end of financial year.
“Last June was the largest month we have ever done in 35 years,” he said.
“Even with the dry weather, we are expecting fairly good figures for June 2018.”
On display at the stand was the new Honda Pioneer SXS 700 M2 SSV.
Mr Hartley said the SSV featured an automotive-style transmission with a hydraulic torque converter, three forward gears and reverse.
Three drive modes are available – two-wheel drive, four-wheel drive and four-wheel drive with differential lock.
“It has rear and front independent double wish-bone suspension and power steering,” he said. “It also has a gearbox you can drive either as a full automatic, or a paddle-shift three speed on the steering column.”
Mr Hartley said the heavy duty front and rear tyres came as a standard feature, along with a roof.
“It has a 700cc fuel injected, water-cooled petrol engine,” he said.
Other features include a heavy-duty torque converter and three hydraulic clutches to provide positive engine braking.
The two-seat variant includes a conventional hydraulically assisted tilt bed.
Mr Hartley said the SSV market had increased dramatically over the past couple of years.
“Honda made an announcement last year stating they believed in the next five to eight years SSV sales will go close to equalling four wheel all-terrain vehicle sales,” he said.
“This is down to several different things. With the cost of new utilities these days, people don’t want to drive a $70,000 utility in the paddock.
The SSVs are also better in the wet; they are basically as capable as a four-wheel all terrain vehicle
“The SSVs are also better in the wet; they are basically as capable as a four-wheel ATV in the wet.”
Mr Hartley said the SSV was also potentially better suited to the family farm.
“There are a lot of mums wanting to get out in the paddock to help out and take the kids with them,” he said.
“For that reason, we have also seen a lot of the four or five seat models being sold.”
Honda said it had included a seat belt Interlock feature which prompts drivers to wear their seatbelt.
This feature limits the speed of the vehicle when the seatbelt is not engaged, reducing the likelihood of an injury.
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