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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was looking into the differences between the Honda Big Red and the Honda Pioneer, but honestly I couldn't find that much difference between the two. On most measures the two vehicles are identical. Both have the same 1,500lbs towing capacity, 1,000lbs rear cargo capacity, same OHV single-cylinder four-stroke engine, and same 675cc displacement.

The differences I found were the fuel capacity. The Big Red can hold 7.9 gallons of fuel while the Pioneer can hold 8.2 gallons. The other difference I found was in the Chassis, but I'm not sure how that affects driving experience and other than a few inches in measurements, the chassis are basically the same.

What are the big differences between the Big Red and the Pioneer? Since the Big Red will undoubtedly be cheaper, maybe I should just buy that one instead if there is not much difference between the two.

More detailed comparison here.
 

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What's New
The Pioneer replaces the Big Red in Honda's line up, bringing more capability to a lower price point.
Big Red was a two-seat utility SxS, retailing for $11,699. The two-seat Pioneer starts at $9,999 and the four-passenger convertible model seen here retails for $11,699.
The Big Red to Pioneer 700-4 story is about much more than just some extra seats though. With it, Honda wanted to create a SxS that could handle both work and play. The bed, which can raise at the front to dump its load out the rear can carry the same 1,000lbs payload as Big Red and both vehicles use the same 675cc, liquid-cooled, four-valve, single-cylinder motor and three-speed, torque-converter, automatic transmission. But, the similarities end there.
The Pioneer is equipped with independent suspension front and rear with 7.9 inches of travel at the front and 9.1 at the rear. In an effort to keep the price down, no power steering is fitted, with Honda saying that the combination of front suspension geometry with a new, 8-inch front tire should keep steering light.
The mid-mounted engine drives the rear wheels through a non-differential rear end in default, Two-Wheel Drive mode, directing power to the front in 4WD or locking the front differential when "4WD Diff Lock" is selected. There's no low-range transfer case or hill descent control, but the low gearing and sensitive brakes are able to walk you down steep hills in complete confidence.
The automatic transmission is equipped with three forward speeds and a reverse, as well as programming that allows it to detect rider input and adjust itself automatically between "sport" and "cruise" modes, with the former kicking down noticeably sooner and holding onto gears longer and the latter delivering a much more relaxed ride.
The Pioneer is also equipped with a car-style parking brake that makes deactivating it while parked on a hill simple and easy. Some other Side-by-Sides require rocking the vehicle to remove pressure from the mechanism before it will release. Honda is targeting user friendliness in nearly every aspect of this vehicle.
The company is also serious about safety. Unclip the standard safety net, reach inside to unlatch the standard door, climb through the heavy-duty roll cage and clip yourself into the three-point safety belt and you'll find the Pioneer's cabin spacious and comfortable, if extremely utilitarian. The only potential problem with ergonomics comes from the unadjustable steering wheel, which may get in the way of very large riders' beer bellies.
Believe it or not, but the rear seats are even more comfy. Fold the backrest up and the cushion down - which takes about 15 seconds - and the tilt bed locks in place. Rear seat passengers also get doors, safety nets and three-point belts, but also more leg room than is available in the front seat. Even at 6' 2" tall, with a 34-inch inseam, I was able to ride back there in complete comfort, with inches between my knee and the front seats. Rear seat passengers are also treated to a plusher ride thanks to the rear suspension's longer travel.

RideApart Review: Honda Pioneer 700-4

The Pioneer is a better Big Red.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I am still considering the Big Red because of the price differential.

Did people have big complaints about it???
 

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people considered it a joke and a poor product to enter the sxs market with, yeah apparently it's THAT bad.
Um....i think the real complaint was that the BR is decidedly utilitarian in nature, almost to the point of something like a Kawasaki Mule. Most wanted something with some sporting aspirations. Like the Pioneer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
ok, so the Big Red is big, red, and boring, where the Pioneer is more fun and sporty. I didn't realize that the Big Red got such terrible reviews. I'll have to scratch that off ,my list of possibilities.
 

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ok, so the Big Red is big, red, and boring, where the Pioneer is more fun and sporty. I didn't realize that the Big Red got such terrible reviews. I'll have to scratch that off ,my list of possibilities.
Yup, one of the reasons why i didn't vote for it on the recent poll on this forum. BR sucks.
 

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ok, so the Big Red is big, red, and boring, where the Pioneer is more fun and sporty. I didn't realize that the Big Red got such terrible reviews. I'll have to scratch that off ,my list of possibilities.
I don't think it got terrible reviews for what it was intended for. For purely utility use and casual trail riding it probably works fine.

I don't know what your off road history is, but i started out on a Quadrunner 250 back in 1990. Most people would probably describe it as boring today and it would get terrible reviews, but that didn't stop thousands of people from having a lot of fun on them...and other utility ATV's from the era.

If you like the BR, then get it. Just know what it's about. IMO, the biggest thing holding a BR back in recreational use is its sheer size.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I don't think it got terrible reviews for what it was intended for. For purely utility use and casual trail riding it probably works fine.

I don't know what your off road history is, but i started out on a Quadrunner 250 back in 1990. Most people would probably describe it as boring today and it would get terrible reviews, but that didn't stop thousands of people from having a lot of fun on them...and other utility ATV's from the era.

If you like the BR, then get it. Just know what it's about. IMO, the biggest thing holding a BR back in recreational use is its sheer size.
But the Pioneer isn't much smaller. Maybe I can find something else that is smaller than the Big Red and the Pioneer. As long as there isn't a major issue with the vehicle than I am sure it will be a fun thing to have around.
 

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well the big red may have been a flop but one good thing came out of it .......the big red gear reduction for the rincon ..... still no engin braking but can spin 29.5s all day long in the mud
 

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^ just a fun factor on the big red!

what else was it that drew people away from the big red? They still sell it though.
 

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Well Pioneer has an extra inch between the wheels although Pioneer and Big Red are the same overall length. Look at the picks of BR and Pioneer and you can see Pioneer has had its wheels pushed out to the corners, Car makers do this all the time to give the car/truck a more aggressive stance and athletic characteristics.

Pioneer also gains ~ .5 inch in height but shaves 3 inches off the Big Reds width, 64 inch BR, 61 inch Pioneer.

Pioneer loses the adjustable preload the BR has in the rear double wishbone, but Pioneer has big gains in front/rear travel likely as a consideration for those of us who prefer driving a bit more sporting than BR allowed. BR is 5.9 in Travel in the front and 7.1 out back, while the Pioneer is 7.9 inches of travel in the front and 9.1 inches in the rear.

Pioneer gets smaller brakes than BR. BR has 200 mils at all corners while Pioneer gets 200 mils up front but only 170s in the rear.

Overall the Pioneer shows up 170 lbs lighter than BR. 1433 lbs for BR and 1261 for Pioneer.

So it certainly seems the Big Red was designed to clean up while the Pioneer was designed to make messes.

One works, one plays...
 

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Got to love the great extra amount of travel, guys that go on the crazier trails will love the Pioneer more than a BR.

Someone should do a review on the Pioneer and BR.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Got to love the great extra amount of travel, guys that go on the crazier trails will love the Pioneer more than a BR.

Someone should do a review on the Pioneer and BR.
What do you mean by the "extra amount of travel?" How does that translate to driving experience?
 

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Nope, the Big Red got the axe. Once inventory is sold out they are done. Last time I looked Honda had no more so it would just be dealer inventory.
 
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