2016 Honda Pioneer 500 Review of Specs / Development | SxS, UTV, Side by Side ATV (SXS500M2G)

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– 2016 Honda 500 Pioneer Side by Side ATV / UTV Overview of Features + More! (SXS500) –

If you’ve watched Honda’s Side by Side model lineup announcements over the last year you’ve probably stumbled across the Pioneer 500. The Honda Pioneer 500 (SXS500M2) was released to dealers back in July of 2014 as a 2015 model. It was Honda’s first entry into the 50-inch SxS / UTV market which is a corner of the market that is growing year after year as not everyone wants a “full-size” side by side that you have to purchase a trailer to haul out to the trails. You also have some trail-heads that aren’t allowing the typical side by side on their trails and they are putting up 50″ posts so only ATVs can ride on those trails and with a 50″ side by side ATV like this you’re able to ride where others can’t.


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2016 Honda Pioneer 500 SxS / UTV / Side by Side ATV Review

The 2016 Pioneer 500 returns with no real changes or upgrades when comparing the 16′ to the 15′. We do get to welcome a new color for 2016 on the Pioneer 500 as Honda is replacing yellow with metallic blue to help mix things up a little bit. Honda will 90% of the time always keep the standard red, green (olive) and camo and then mix it up for the 4th option.

Since we still have a lot of people who aren’t familiar with all the details on the Pioneer 500 when it was originally released last year I’m going to go over all the details below to make the information easier to find for those of you hunting for an overview of specs, features, pictures, videos etc on the 2016 Pioneer 500.

2016 Honda Pioneer 500 / SxS - Side by Side ATV - UTV

With the Pioneer 500, you have a compact, affordable and fun side by side. The steering-column-mounted paddle shifters add to the fun, while the Pioneer 500’s 50-inch width lets it fit on recreational trails with width restrictions, as well as in the back of a full-size truck. And its tight 13-foot turning radius reflects its agile handling. From long-time off-road enthusiasts to new side by side drivers, the Pioneer 500 will become an instant favorite. Some people are concerned by the power output of the 500 cc engine and it’s top-speed on the Pioneer 500 but that’s not what this side by side ATV is all about. I’ve driven some of the 100+ horsepower SxS / UTV models out there and to me the Pioneer 500 is a lot more fun. It can’t hold a candle to them in acceleration or performance number comparisons etc but you can’t judge the “fun factor” of a machine by spec-sheet shopping. The paddle shifters is where all the fun lies! Instead of the typical side by side where you just hit the gas and go, you actually get to be more involved with the machine on the Pioneer 500 slamming through the gears. You also have to think about our trails here in the southeast… We don’t have the open sand dunes like the guys out west where you can really open up those 140+ horsepower UTVs and see what they’ll do. You’re lucky to get up to 40-45 mph around here before you’re hard on the brakes trying not to clip a wheel on a tree, boulder and so on.

The Pioneer 500 is a brilliant concept: Like a full-sized side-by-side, it lets you take a passenger along and has the off-road capability to get you where you need to go. But the Pioneer 500 is a new take on the SxS formula: it’s narrow, fits on tight trails, is fun to drive, and easy to load into a full-size truck bed.

Are you on the fence about which Honda Pioneer to buy? Pioneer 500 vs 700 vs 1000? Check out this performance / horsepower comparison on Honda’s entire 2016 SxS / UTV model lineup here.

2016 Honda Pioneer 500 / SxS - Side by Side ATV - UTV

– Key Features & Benefits:

  • – New chassis with compact dimensions: 102.5-inch overall length and 73.1-inch wheelbase.
  • – 50-inch overall width allows access to width-restricted trails.
  • – Fuel-injected engine provides great performance and excellent fuel efficiency in a variety of conditions.
  • – Five-speed gearbox with reverse and a LOW first gear uses an electric shift system featuring paddle shifters mounted on the steering column.
  • – Twist-action door release knob opens the door and net together as one unit.
  • – Hydraulic disc brakes front and rear.
  • – Large, flat rear carrier offers a load capacity of 450 pounds and multiple hook points for tie-downs.
  • – Towing capacity of 1000 pounds to take on tough jobs.
  • – Full line of Honda accessories adds weather protection, storage capacity and expanded functionality.
  • – Transferable one-year limited warranty; extended coverage available with a Honda Protection Plan.

2016 Honda Pioneer 500 / SxS - Side by Side ATV - UTV

Below, you’ll see a more in depth breakdown on some of the innovations behind the 2016 Honda Pioneer 500.

– Pioneer 500 Innovations:

  • Open Front Differential
    – The front differential’s open design makes steering easier and more precise, even in four-wheel drive.
  • Liquid Cooling
    – Our time-tested Honda engine is liquid-cooled, which provides more consistent operating temperatures and more power than a comparable air-cooled motor. This adds up to better performance and longer engine life.
  • Narrow Overall Width
    – This is a huge bonus. Whether it’s for a trail restricted to 50-inch overall width, or the convenience of not having to buy a trailer, the Pioneer 500 can go where just about no other side-by-side can!*
  • TraxLok 4WD
    – Our rock-solid system lets you choose either 2WD or 4WD, giving you the freedom to choose between lighter steering (in 2WD) and maximizing available traction (in 4WD) when you need it most.
  • Fun, Sporty Ride
    – With 5.9 inches of travel at the front wheels and 5.9 inches of ground clearance, the Pioneer 500 can negotiate tough trails with ease. And the Pioneer 500’s suspension is tuned for a fun, sporty ride too.

2016 Honda Pioneer 500 / SxS - Side by Side ATV - UTV

 

  • Paddle Shifter
    – Upshift and downshift without ever having to take your hands off the wheel. You get to choose the exact gear you want for challenging terrain, and it’s engineered for precise, smooth shifts.
  • Single Operation Door / Net
    – The Pioneer 500 comes standard with doors, and the occupant net is directly attached—just unlock and open the door, and the net automatically swings aside making entry and exit easier.
  • Side-By-Side Seating
    – With a comfortable bench-style seat, individual backrests and seatbelts for both rider and passenger, the Pioneer 500 offers side-by-side comfort and excellent maneuverability.
  • Strong Gearbox
    – Unlike the belt-drive automatics out there, the Pioneer 500 features a transmission that uses rugged, steel gears. You get true compression braking for superior controllability (especially when descending hills), as well as long transmission life.
  • Semi-Dry-Sump Engine
    – Compact and lighter weight, the Pioneer 500’s overhead-valve, semi-dry-sump design creates an engine that’s not only shorter from top to bottom, but one that enhances handling by lowering the center of gravity and increasing ground clearance.
  • Longitudinal Engine Mounting
    – The Pioneer 500 is built around our strong, single-cylinder, 475cc longitudinal engine. By orienting the crankshaft front to back in the chassis, we route the flow of power straight to the wheels without any right-angle detours, reducing powertrain friction and putting more grunt to the ground.
  • Closed-Loop Fuel Injection
    – Better cold-weather and high-altitude running, effortless startups, great fuel efficiency and less pollution—that’s what the Pioneer 500’s “closed loop” fuel-injection system means—a first in the industry.

2016 Honda Pioneer 500 / SxS - Side by Side ATV - UTV

  • Rear Carrier Design
    – With the unique steel rear carrier design, the Pioneer 500 gives you tremendous versatility when it comes to securing loads. Special tiedown-hook securing points make it even easier. And the rack’s 450-pound rating gives you plenty of carrying capacity, too.
  • Independent Rear Suspension (IRS)
    – The Pioneer 500’s fully independent rear suspension means you get a smooth ride and great traction, especially over rough terrain.
  • 1000-Pound Towing Capacity
    – The Pioneer 500 has a heavy-duty receiver-style hitch and 1000-pound towing capacity.
  • Locked Rear Axle
    – With the IRS rear end and a locked-axle design, the Pioneer 500 gives you great traction and a smooth ride.
  • Compact, Yet Capable
    – With the Honda Pioneer 500, you and a passenger can get there, whether it’s a narrow, 50-inch trail or the remote regions of the ranch. And with our steering-wheel mounted paddle shifters, you’ll enjoy the drive.
  • Powerful 500-Class Engine
    – Coupled with an efficient five-speed transmission, the Pioneer 500’s engine features electronic fuel injection for effortless cold-weather and high-altitude operation. It’s specially tuned for low-rpm torque, too.
  • Better, Not Bigger
    – The Pioneer 500’s overall size and responsive handling make it fun to drive. Best of all, since it’s a Honda it’s also durable, reliable, and offers superior engineering. There’s nothing like it on the trails.

Want to do some more reading up on the 2016 Pioneer 500? Honda’s main Pioneer 500 details page is located here.

2016 Honda Pioneer 500 / SxS - Side by Side ATV - UTV


2016 Honda Pioneer 500 Development Story

Following the successful launch of the revolutionary 2014 Pioneer 700 and Pioneer 700-4, Honda continues its side-by-side expansion with the 2015 Pioneer 500. Compact, versatile and fun, the two-person Pioneer 500 side-by-side is equally adept at off-road recreation or tackling a wide variety of work applications. Best of all it provides and outstanding value for the market: It combines Honda’s legendary durability, quality, and reliability with an $8,499 suggested retail price.

Sized to fit on trails that impose width restrictions—as well as in the bed of a full-size pick-up truck—the Pioneer 500 was designed by Honda R&D in Ohio, and built at Honda South Carolina (HSC) in Timmonsville using domestically and globally sourced parts. Its compact size and affordable price provides attainable access into the side-by-side category for a larger group of four-wheel customers.

2016 Honda Pioneer 500 / SxS - Side by Side ATV - UTV

 

Size matters
Recreational riders are encountering restrictions in more and more off-road areas: trail access for off-road vehicles is limited to those with a width no greater than 50 inches—narrower than many full-sized side-by-sides. With its brand-new steel ladder-frame chassis and compact 50-inch width, the Pioneer 500 is designed to fit 50-inch limited access trails and allows for convenient home storage. Overall length is 102.5 inches, and a modest 73.1-inch wheelbase helps return agile handling and a tight turning radius of only 13 feet. Double-wishbone suspension front and rear with durable steel A-arms yield 5.9 inches of travel that’s plush enough for a comfortable ride, yet progressive enough for most off-road trails. The rear shocks offer spring preload adjustability to alter the ride for light or heavy loads. The rear suspension also features a stabilizer bar system, reducing body roll when cornering. 24 x 8-12 tires help give the Pioneer 500 a quality steering feel and ride.

Powered by Honda’s proven longitudinally mounted 475cc liquid-cooled overhead valve single-cylinder four-stroke engine, the Pioneer 500 features plenty of low-end torque, and a smooth easy-to-use powerband that makes it fun to use in a wide range of environments. Honda’s Programmed Fuel Injection (PGM-FI) system ensures accurate fuel metering and great throttle response under many different riding conditions, including high-altitude operation. Additionally, the Pioneer 500 incorporates an oxygen sensor and catalytic converter in the durable stainless-steel exhaust system, which increases fuel-metering precision while also allowing the Pioneer 500 to meet exhaust emissions requirements.

2016 Honda Pioneer 500 / SxS - Side by Side ATV - UTV

Phantom Camo… If you haven’t had a chance to check out the All new Phantom Camo that Honda released in 2014, do yourself a favor and check it out in person. The difference between the old camo that Honda used on the ATV model lineup and Big Red can’t hold a candle to the new Phantom Camo finish. The detail is amazing to say the least… It’s rather difficult to catch those fine details in a picture but I tried my best above. Honda also informed us that the new camo is also a lot more durable than the previous finish which is definitely a big deal when you’re splurging out an extra $600 for the Phantom Camo finish on the Pioneer 500 compared to the olive, red and metallic blue.

Power is transmitted to the wheels through a five-speed gearbox with reverse that uses an electric shift system featuring paddle shifters mounted on the steering wheel. Pull the paddle on the right side for upshifts, or pull the paddle on the left for downshifts. The familiar layout and function of this system is similar to what’s found in Honda automobiles and provides the driver with a fun recreation feature and useful gear control for work. Reverse is easily engaged via a dash-mounted lever, and gear position is displayed on the centrally located digital meter for convenient reference. Shift engagement from one gear to the next in the Pioneer 500 is notably smooth, thanks to a shock-absorbing judder spring in the clutch assembly and a momentary fuel cut during shifts that helps smooth the transition from one gear to the next—two innovative bits of Honda bright-think.

Honda Pioneer 500 SxS / UTV / Side by Side ATV in Pickup Truck Bed

On downhill slopes, the Electric Shift transmission allows the driver to hold a gear for positive engine braking that supplements the 200mm hydraulic front and rear disc brakes for slowing power, a welcome feature. With its 1,000 pound towing capacity and ability to hold a lower gear, the Pioneer 500 has the ability to tackle big jobs in a variety of terrain. Final drive is handled via shaft, and a handy gearshift selector makes it easy to switch from 2WD to 4WD when the going gets tough.

Convenient access for you and your gear
To climb into the Pioneer 500, you merely twist the door release knob, and the door and net open together as one unit—an ingenious and simple design. The knob is easily accessible from inside or outside of the vehicle. The door swings open a full 180 degrees for easy entry and exit. Inside, there’s a roomy and comfortable bench seat for the driver and passenger. The Roll Over Protection Structure (ROPS) meets OSHA requirements, and there are three-point Emergency Locking Retractor (ELR) seat belts.

In back a large, flat rear carrier built of sturdy steel tubing provides a big space measuring about 30 inches by 46 inches wide. With a deck height of only 37.5 inches, the rear carrier is an easy lift for packing your gear on board. The rack is rated for a load capacity of 450 pounds, and multiple hook points for tie-downs are conveniently provided all around. There’s plenty of room on the rear carrier for users to add specialized equipment or an enclosed box for parts, tools, or camping gear. The options are nearly endless. There’s also more than 40 Honda Genuine and Signature Accessories that allow owners to configure their Pioneer 500 to meet their specific needs right off the showroom floor.

2016 Honda Pioneer 500 / SxS - Side by Side ATV - UTV

Attention to detail counts for plenty, and as would be expected, the Pioneer 500 is up to full Honda spec in this area. Access for pre-ride maintenance items, such as brake fluid, coolant level, and oil level, is simple and requires no tools. Thoughtful touches in the rider compartment include dual headrests, two cup holders and a 12-volt power outlet. The hood, seat back and seat bottom can be easily removed as needed for access to the oil dipstick and air filter. And multi-reflector halogen headlights offer plenty of illumination should your rides stretch past sundown.

With new people entering the growing side-by-side market, the Pioneer 500 provides a whole new level of accessibility—both in its versatile capabilities as well as its exceptional value. Compact, easy handling and trail-ready, the Pioneer 500 offers a highly affordable fun alternative for recreational riding, outdoor sports, chores around the homestead, the job site, and so much more. From side-by-side enthusiasts to new riders, the Pioneer 500 is likely to become an instant favorite.


2016 Honda Pioneer 500 / SxS - Side by Side ATV - UTV

Honda Genuine / Signature Pioneer 500 Accessories

Made with the same exacting standards as every Honda part, build your 2015 Pioneer 500 with high-quality Honda Genuine Accessories to make it fit your needs whether it be a work-horse on the farm, hunting or just recreational use. Here’s a few of the items available for your Pioneer 500 from Honda: Hard Roof, Fabric Roof/Rear Panel (Black and Camo), Bimini Top (Black and Camo),Full Poly Tip-Out Windscreen (Optical Grade), Full Poly Tip-Out Windscreen (Hard Coat), Wind Deflector, Fabric Doors (Black and Camo), Fabric Rear Panel, Front Bumper, Rear Bumper, Aluminum A-Arm Guards (Front and Rear), Aluminum Skid Plate, Underseat Storage Box, Cargo Tray, Front Underhood Tray, Cab Frame Cargo Bag, Rear Luggage Bag (Large and Small), Cargo Box, Winch, Winch Mount, Plow Push Tube, Plow Mount, Plow Blade, Draw Bar, Hitch Ball, Work Light, Light Bar, Auxiliary Lights, Light Bar/Auxiliary Lights Wire Harness, Work Light Accessory Harness, Rubber Floor Mats, Rear Cab Net, Accessory Sub Harness, Back Up Alarm, Back Up Alarm Wire Harness, Rearview Mirror, Side Mirrors, Horn Kit, Horn Kit Wire Harness, Flag with Mount, Storage Cover. You can find the entire Pioneer 500 parts & accessory catalog from Honda here.

2016 Honda Pioneer 500 / SxS - Side by Side ATV - UTV


The Biggest Difference Is The Honda

The Pioneer 500 is a groundbreaking concept, combining a narrow stance with two-up side-by-side carrying capacity. As innovative as that is, it’s only the beginning: The fuel-injected 500-class engine mates with a five-speed beltless transmission, which offers reliability and true compression braking.

Though it’s compact size means it’ll fit in the back of many pick-up trucks, it’s a fully capable work or rec machine. The steel rear carrier’s unique design boasts a 450-pound capacity, and offers you the flexibility to outfit it to match your needs.

What are your thoughts on the Pioneer 500? Anything you think Honda should have changed for 2016?

Personally, I think the Pioneer 500 is a blast to drive. I have a bad habit of wanting ridiculous amounts of horsepower though haha. To me, a perfect machine would be the 50″ wheelbase of the Pioneer 500 but throw the 1000 cc engine out of the Pioneer 1000 into it. Put some long-travel suspension under it. Pair all of that up with the added horsepower mated to that DCT 6-speed transmission and WOW! That’d be one ridiculously fun sport SxS from Honda! I can dream… haha. It will be interesting to see if Honda answers back to the recently announced 2016 Yamaha sport SxS YXZ1000R and released a big bore sport side by side ATV / UTV. That’s another conversation though as the Pioneer 500 and new Yamaha sport have nothing in common since they are two separate segments of the market and I’m getting sidetracked from the topic at hand.

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2016 Honda Pioneer 500 / SxS - Side by Side ATV - UTV

2016 Honda Pioneer 500 Price / MSRP: $8,499 (* Phantom Camo $9,099)

2016 Honda Pioneer 500 Color Options: Metallic Blue, Red, Green (Olive), Phantom Camo

2016 Honda Pioneer 500 Model ID: SXS500M2G

2016 Honda Pioneer 500 Release Date: Available now

2016 Honda Pioneer 500 Specifications:

Model: Pioneer 500
Engine Type: 475cc liquid-cooled OHV longitudinally mounted single-cylinder four-stroke
Bore and Stroke: 92.0mm x 71.5mm
Compression Ratio: 9.5:1
Induction: Programmed Fuel Injection (PGM-FI), 36mm throttle body
Ignition: Full-transistorized with electronic advance
Clutch: Automatic
Transmission: Electric-shift five-speed with reverse (First gear is L = LOW)
Driveline: Direct front and rear driveshafts
Suspension Front: Independent double-wishbone; 5.9 inches travel
Rear: Independent double-wishbone with pre-load adjustability; 5.9 inches travel
Brakes Front: Dual hydraulic 200mm discs
Rear: 170mm hydraulic disc
Tires Front: 24 x 8-12
Rear: 24 x 10-12
Length: 102.5 inches
Width: 50.0 inches
Height: 72.4 inches
Seat Height: 28.7 inches
Ground Clearance: 9.6 inches
Wheelbase: 73.1 inches
Turning Radius: 13.0 feet
Towing Capacity: 1000 pounds
Payload Capacity: 450 pounds
Fuel Capacity: 4.1 gallons, including 1.1-gallons reserve
Colors: Red, Olive, Yellow, Honda Phantom Camo®
Curb Weight*: 1010 pounds

*Includes all standard equipment, required fluids and full tank of fuel—ready to ride.


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