When Honda introduced the Big Red utility vehicle in 2008 it had a lot of over-engineering in it for farm and ranch applications.
As the side-by-side UTV market matured it became apparent towing and box load capacity were selling points buyers wanted, and the 2008 design's ratings needed some touch ups. So, the Big Red's in dealer show rooms right now are sporting an upped cargo box rating of 1,000 pounds, up from 500, and a towing capacity boosted from 1,200 pounds to 1,500 pounds.
While no power-train changes were necessary to meet the new ratings, Honda's engineers did beef up the tubing used in the rear suspension. New single-stage springs around redesigned fully-adjustable rear shock absorbers continue Big Red's good ride, even under increased loads. Meanwhile new rims and Maxxis Big Horn tires especially designed for the Big Red round out the heavier-hauling aspects of the machine.
Another change is the new fully contoured bench seat that replaces bucket seats, a nod toward easier ingress and egress, along with roll-up side nets that don't get in the way like the initial design was found to do.
Also, new for 2011 is the Big Red's OSHA-approved ROPS design.
The Big Red continues to be powered with a 675 cc fuel-injected, liquid-cooled single-cylinder driving an automotive style torque converter and fully automatic three-speed transmission. All Big Reds have 2WD mode, along with a 4WD rear differential lock option, and a fully-FWD differential locked mode -- selectable from the dash board.
Honda offers 37 accessories for Big Red buyers who will be paying $11,699 for red or olive models, or $12,299 for a machine in Natural Gear camo.
Tomorrow, we'll feature a driver's experience story along with video of the new machine as members of the off-road and agricultural media get to test the machine along the shores of Lake Irvine in Orange County, California.