May debut for Honda Pioneer

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The Pioneer 520 side-by-side is Honda’s pitch to new target among Australian farmers after officially withdrawing from the ATV market.

May debut for Honda Pioneer
Honda is planning to focus on side-by-sides, or UTVs, after withdrawing its ATVs from the market


Honda’s latest addition to its side-by-side range is due to be released in Australia this month.

The Pioneer 520 was announced late last year as an improvement on the Pioneer 500, which is currently the smallest model in the Japanese manufacturer’s range.

At the time, Honda only said it would be released in the second quarter of 2021 but have since confirmed it would be headed to Australia in May.

Its release is particularly relevant as Honda has identified side-by-sides as its new target for Australian farmers, following the company’s decision to abandon quad bikes due to the Federal Government’s rollover protection laws.

Honda describes the Pioneer 520 as a side-by-side "that punches well above its size and weight".

It is compact, having the same 127cm width as the Pioneer 500, however its 518cc engine is 43cc larger than its predecessor.

Honda says the engine is the same used in its TRX250 series, but tuned for a side-by-side application and with a wider bore which it says helps offer an increased low-to-midrange power and torque.

The Pioneer 520 has a five-speed transmission with automatic and manual modes, and two and four wheel drive is selectable on-the-fly via an easy-to-reach dash-mounted knob.

Other new features of the Pioneer 520 include a strut-assist tilt tray plus improved shock damping and front and rear suspension.

It also has a 453kg towing capacity.

"Whether customers are looking for an entry-level side-by-side, moving from an ATV, or just seeking a vehicle that can work hard without taking up a lot of room, the Pioneer 520 should be at the top of their list," Honda MPE Australia general manager of motorcycles Tony Hinton said when the model was first announced last year.

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