One look at the Coot2 is all it takes to realize that this is not your normal ATV. As a matter of fact, it's unlike anything else on the market, partly because it is the first vehicle in its class to sport hydrostatic drive as well as the very unique ability to articulate at its center.
Why is it called the Coot2? Well, it is based on the Coot, which was manufactured from 1968 through 1982. The original Coot was also articulating, and it looked much like the Coot2. However, the Coot was propelled by a complicated mechanical drive that used, among other things, an engine linked to a snowmobile clutch, right-angle drives, and driveshafts. In 2004, after a 22-year hiatus, Coot2 Inc., based in Fairview, Illinois, reintroduced the Coot2 with a number of upgrades including a hydraulic drive system.
The Coot2's heavy-duty body is constructed of 16-gauge powdercoated steel. Nestled under the front seat is an electric start-equipped, air-cooled 27hp Kohler V Twin engine, which powers a durable foot-pedal-controlled hydrostatic transmission. This transmission powers four individual wheel motors. In high-range, hydraulic fluid flows to the wheel motors in series. When low-range is selected, a flow divider sends hydraulic fluid to each wheel motor at the same time, creating a "locked" as well as a "geared-down" effect. Additionally, the Coot2 has hydraulic four-wheel steering, which helps create a very tight turning radius. There is no suspension on the Coot2 per se. Instead, the Coot2 utilizes the damping effect of the tires, a thickly padded seat, and the articulating movement of the vehicle to soften the ride.
We had the chance to drive a Coot2. Here's what we found:What we liked: The center articulation helps create amazing off-highway capability that far exceeds other utility ATVs due to the fact that the wheels remain in contact with the ground all the time; the vehicle is extremely stable in off-highway situations due to the center articulation-far more stable than a standard nonarticulating utility ATV; high/low-range is selectable on-the-fly; the bottom of the thick steel body tubs are smooth, and all of the hydraulic lines are routed through the center tube to help create a very impressive 12.75 inches of uncluttered ground clearance; 30-inch water fording depth.
What we didn't like: Getting in and out of the front seat requires a bit of gymnastics due to the body design, and becomes even more challenging if you're carrying tools or a camera; the engine has to be idled up (via a hand throttle on the dash) to 2,800 rpm for movement, and this generates a fair amount of engine noise that doesn't go away when you stop unless you manually idle down; the engine creates a fair amount of heat, which is transferred through the front of the engine bay to your legs, which would probably feel great on a cold day, but not so great on a hot day.
The Coot2 is not designed to be a high-speed sport machine. As a matter of fact, its top speed is around 20 mph. Instead, it was designed to be a workhorse that relies on power and traction, not speed, to haul and tow. Soon there will be a diesel option.
Vehicle model: '06 Coot2
Base price: $12,500
Colors: Red Baron, OD Green, optional Camouflage
Engine: Air-cooled Kohler V Twin, electric start
Exhaust: Ultra-quiet spiral design
Transmission: Foot pedal-controlled hydrostatic
Final drive: Four individual wheel motors
Steering: Four-wheel, power
Suspension: Center articulation
Brakes: Dynamic, four-wheel disc
Front tires/wheels: 28x9x12/five-bolt steel, 12-inch
Rear tires/wheels: 28x9x12/five-bolt steel, 12-inch
Weight (lb.): 1,600
Ground clearance (in.): 12.75
Length (in.): 98
Width (in.): 58
Height (in.): 42 (top of rear seat backrest)
Wheelbase (in.): 63
Fuel capacity (gal.): 12
Total payload (lb.): 1,250
Towing capacity (lb.): 1,750