The side-by-side market has seen a flood of new models, but up until now Honda was absent from the party. Well, Honda just made its appearance on the red carpet with the new Big Red. You could say the company was fashionably late, but it was worth the wait.
The Big Red is powered by a PGM-fuel-injected 675cc OHV four-stroke single-cylinder engine. It's cooled by a high-capacity liquid cooling system that features a lightweight aluminum radiator that's mounted high to avoid clogging by mud and damage from trail debris. The powerplant also features a liquid-cooled oil cooler; low-mounted camshaft to reduce engine height; four-valve cylinder head with two short pushrods; 40mm throttle body; 12-hole two-pattern injector and idle Air Control Valve; and stainless steel exhaust system. The result is an engine that provides abundant torque and dependable power.
Power is routed through an automotive-style electronically shifted Honda automatic transmission that features a hydraulic torque converter, three hydraulic clutches, and an Electronic Control Module. It has a filtration system that uses engine oil as hydraulic fluid to simplify maintenance and ensure adequate oil supply in all operating conditions. Honda says that this transmission features positive engine braking that is superior to electronic braking systems that can result in inconsistent performance.
The Big Red's suspension consists of an independent double-wishbone system at both ends with high-quality variable-damping shock absorbers. This system provides 5.9 inches of front travel and 7.1 inches of rear travel and contributes to the Big Red's impressive 10.3 inches of ground clearance. Four-wheel hydraulic brakes (with a patented built-in scraper system that helps prevent buildup of debris between the caliper and rim) reside next to the specially-designed 25x10-12 front and rear tires. The braking system is a balanced automotive-style design that ensures that front and rear braking will continue to operate even if one brake line fails for some reason.
The roomy cab of the Big Red includes rubber-mounted bucket seats with adjustable backs; a waterproof accessory socket; three-point automotive-style seatbelts; an automotive-type right-hand-operated parking brake; and in-cab glovebox and dash storage. The cab is protected by a uniquely designed, four-pillar, six-piece 1.6-inch-diameter Occupant Protection Structure.
Finally, work is the Big Red's forte, so it features a 500-pound-capacity steel tilt bed with progressive-action strut assist and an automotive-bumper-grade plastic liner and a heavy-duty 2-inch receiver-style hitch with 1,200-pound capacity.
So there you have it. The guest list to the side-by-side party just got bigger.
Vehicle model: 2009 Honda Big Red
Base price:$11,399 ($11,899 camo)
Colors: Red, Camo
Type: Liquid-cooled OHV semi-dry-sump longitudinally mounted single-cylinder four-stroke
Displacement (cc): 675
Bore and stroke (mm): 102 x 82.6
Final drive: Shaft
Front: Independent double-wishbone, variable-damping shock absorbers
Rear: Independent double-wishbone, variable-damping shock absorbers
Front: Dual hydraulic, 200mm
Rear: Dual hydraulic, 200mm
Weight (lb): 1,431
Length (in): 114.7
Width (in): 64.0
Height (in): 76.9
Seat height (in): 34.0
Wheelbase (in): 75.7
Turning radius (in): 13.8
Fuel capacity (gal): 7.9
Bed length inside (in): 33.0
Bed width inside (in): 52.6
Bed weight capacity (lb): 500
Towing capacity (lb): 1,200