– Detailed 2018 Rancher Automatic DCT / IRS / EPS ATV Buyer’s Guide: Price, HP & TQ, Features + More! –
Alright guys, today we’ll be breaking down the ‘Cadillac’ Rancher. Why am I using the term “Cadillac” to describe this model Rancher (TRX420FA6)? Because it is the highest spec Rancher you can buy for 2018! What exactly is the 2018 Honda Rancher with the model ID TRX420FA6J? If you’re asking yourself this, trust me you are not the first and definitely not the last. Honda has so many different model variations of the Rancher for 2018 it can be rather confusing. Honda has tried to combat this over the last year as they have dropped or discontinued so-to-say certain model variations to not only make it easier to decide which model variation of the Rancher is right for you but to also make it easier on dealers to stock all of the different models and colors. This post is going to be an overview of this specific model, the 2018 Rancher DCT / IRS / EPS (TRX420FA6J) which is the Automatic DCT Rancher with Independent Rear Suspension + Electric Power Steering. The other Rancher models with Manual Shift, ES (Electric Shift), Straight Axle, EPS (Electric Power Steering), DCT with Straight Axle instead of IRS etc will be covered in other posts as well as the other options available should you want a 2×4 instead of a 4×4 like the models mentioned above. Due to all the differences in models I want to break down each one individually so there’s no confusion.
* If you’ve already read my previous review on the 2018 Rancher DCT / IRS (TRX420FA5) model then you can skip this review as this model is identical from the front to the back EXCEPT for the fact that this model (TRX420FA6) does have EPS (EPS = Electric Power Steering)
(Entire ATV Model Lineup Explanation on what all of the letters and number mean are Here. Learn what TRX420FM1, TRX420FE1, TRX420FA2J and all of the others mean.)
2018 Rancher 420 DCT / IRS / EPS ATV Performance Numbers:
- 2018 Rancher 420 DCT ATV Horsepower: 27 HP @ 6,250 RPM
- 2018 Rancher 420 DCT ATV Torque: 24.6 lb/ft TQ @ 5,000 RPM
- 2018 Rancher 420 DCT ATV Miles Per Gallon: 41.4 MPG
2018 Rancher 420 DCT / IRS / EPS 4×4 | TRX420FA6 Price / MSRP:
- 2018 FourTrax Rancher 4×4| DCT / IRS / EPS : $8,099
- Phantom Camo 2018 FourTrax Rancher 4×4| DCT / IRS / EPS : $8,549
2018 Rancher 420 DCT / IRS / EPS 4×4 Release Date:
- You will be able to find the 2018 Rancher DCT / IRS / EPS model on showroom floor’s in July of 2017.
2018 Honda TRX420 Rancher Model Lineup Color Options:
- TRX420TM Rancher: Red, Olive Green
- TRX420FM1 Rancher: Orange, Red, Olive Green
- TXR420FE1 Rancher: Red, Olive Green, Phantom Camo
- TRX420FA2 Rancher: Vapor White, Red, Phantom Camo
- TRX420FA5 Rancher: Red, Olive Green
- TRX420FA6 Rancher: Active Yellow, Phantom Camo
*–> Phantom Camo: $450 more than ‘standard’ colors.
2018 Honda TRX420 Rancher Model Lineup Options / Explained:
- TRX420TM Rancher: 2×4 Manual / Foot-Shift model with straight axle
- TRX420FM1 Rancher: 4×4 Manual / Foot-Shift model with straight axle
- TXR420FE1 Rancher: 4×4 ES model (ES = Electric Shit) with straight axle
- TRX420FA2 Rancher: 4×4 DCT Automatic with EPS (EPS = Electric Power Steering) and a straight axle
- TRX420FA5 Rancher: 4×4 DCT Automatic with IRS (IRS = Independent Rear Suspension)
- TRX420FA6 Rancher: 4×4 DCT Automatic with EPS (EPS = Electric Power Steering) and IRS (IRS = Independent Rear Suspension)
*–> When I say “manual” above, I do not mean a manual clutch. It has a semi-automatic clutch so all you have to do is push the shift-lever up and down to choose the next gear versus the Electric Shift where you click a button and the DCT where you can choose between fully-automatic or electric shift position to choose the gear.
Do you want even more details on how to tell all of the 2018 Rancher 420 models apart from each other? How to read their model ID’s etc? Check out my Detailed Rancher 420 Model Breakdown / Explained by Clicking Here.
Alright guys, now that we’ve got that out of the way let’s dive into the nitty-gritty details about the 2018 Honda Rancher DCT / IRS + EPS model…
Honda’s water-cooled fuel-injected 420cc Rancher ATV model lineup over the years have built quite the impressive number of loyal followers and with good reason. When you think of the word “reliable” or “durable” what manufacturer comes to mind first? I’d almost bet money you thought of Honda but I’m not a betting man so we’ll skip the answer on that haha.
When you pair up that legendary reputation Honda has built over more than half a century with more options than any other mid class on the market, it’s easy to see why the Rancher model lineup is Honda’s best-selling ATV bar-none. In 2014 Honda did a complete overhaul & redesign on the FourTrax Rancher models with a straight axle rear suspension. The Rancher 420 IRS model had a few more changes being designed and needed the extra R&D. That is why the 2014 TRX420FA was still the body style and frame etc as the 2013 and earlier Rancher. Looking at the 2014 TRX420FA Rancher IRS model in comparison with a 2014 Rancher straight axle model you’ll see what I’m referring to. The Rancher 420 IRS models received their latest big redesign in 2015 and carries through to what you see today as the 2018 Rancher 420 DCT / IRS models.
The IRS Ranchers incorporate a host of upgrades, starting with an all-new double-cradle steel frame developed with Computer Aided Engineering and new independent dual-arm rear suspension (IRS) design with suspension travel increased front and rear. This new frame features increased stiffness for even more precise handling, while more effectively transferring energy for a smoother ride. In addition, that new chassis can be easily identified because it’s wrapped in all-new bodywork matching the newer style on the straight axle Rancher that it received in 2014.
What does IRS offer you when compared to a straight axle? Not only increased travel and ground clearance but also a smoother and more supple ride while going through the trails. How much extra does the IRS DCT Rancher cost versus the straight axle DCT Rancher for 2018? The IRS comes with a slight price bump, if you’re comparing apples to apples feature-wise except for the fact that one has a solid rear axle and the other has independent rear suspension – you’re looking at a $500 up-charge.
That’s only the start though as the Rancher 420 IRS model was just worked over by the finest engineers in the world. All of Honda’s utility model ATVs like this Rancher were designed, tested, built, etc right here in the good ole US of A! Between the Honda geniuses in South Carolina and Ohio – they hit the nail on the head with the new Rancher.
The FourTrax Rancher 420 DCT / IRS has a one-piece tank / side cover that allows easy access for maintenance – no tools are required for removal. This newly styled bodywork also provides better protection from the mud when you are in the mood to go hit the mud pits. If playing in the mud isn’t your thing then you’ll benefit from the added protection from the elements while working with your Rancher or just simple trail riding.
Rancher DCT Automatic Transmission Spotlight
A first in the world of ATVs, Honda’s premium Automatic Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT) in the Rancher 4×4 Automatic DCT model makes it a standout. As mentioned in the main body of the Rancher story, for the Rancher 4×4 Automatic DCT now employs a new-generation DCT with an elevated level of sophistication: new updated dual-zone shift logic offers improved adaptation to all riding conditions based on rider and vehicle inputs, effectively and intuitively adjusting shift points whether riding under normal or aggressive conditions. Thanks to this change, the DCT significantly reduces gear “hunting” – that is, shifting back and forth repeatedly between two gears – as it performs the most appropriate shift actions automatically. As a result, the net benefits to the rider are manyfold: better automatic transmission feel as the Rancher reacts more intuitively to the rider’s operational style and intentions; enhanced power feel; increased response; reduced engine lugging; plus less fatigue and more rider comfort.
The Automatic DCT provides the compact size and strength of a manual transmission (no belts to slip, break or burn out) with the convenience of an automatic transmission, while giving you the option of push-button manual control via Honda’s Electric Shift Program (ESP). At times this is also just referred to as Electric Shift (ES).
With the Automatic DCT transmission on the 2018 Rancher you have a dual shift-mapping program that automatically selects between two transmission shifting modes which are:
Cruise Mode / Sport Mode
With these two modes you have optimum shift timing depending on your pattern of throttle operation. During aggressive riding, the Sport Mode kicks in and holds the transmission in gear longer and closer to redline before shifting to deliver more aggressive performance. During more casual trail riding, the Cruise Mode allows the transmission to shift up sooner for more casual performance and enhanced fuel efficiency. What is the result of all this technology at your fingertips? The best-performing Automatic DCT transmission Honda has ever put in an ATV that offers the right gear, at the right time, all the time, all automatically without any needed input from you to create an entirely new riding experience. Something that no other ATV on the market whether it be Polaris, Suzuki, Kawasaki, Arctic Cat, Yamaha, etc can match. When you compare the nitty gritty details you’ll see why Honda dubbed their ad slogan “Follow the Leader”…
This new Automatic Dual-Clutch Transmission is light-years ahead of the conventional automatic transmission Honda used on the 2014 and prior Rancher AT models. This new setup is something you truly have to hop on and ride to appreciate. It’s amazing the technology Honda has crammed into the transmission of an ATV. Just a few years earlier, the only thing with a DCT transmission were high-end sport cars and super cars.
The key to the DCT design is the innovative dual-clutch configuration coupled with a two-piece mainshaft. The first mainshaft has first, third and fifth gears all driven by the first clutch. The second mainshaft is sleeved over the first shaft. It carries second, fourth and reverse gears, and it’s driven by the second clutch. This designs allows two gears to be engaged at the same time, and each gear is pre-shifted before power is applied. Shifting is then accomplished by disengaging once clutch and engaging the other.
One advantage to this DCT system is extremely quick shifts for less driveline lurching between shifts, especially under load, which means the chassis attitude remains more consistent during gear changes. When engaging downhill slopes, this system also provides true controlled compression braking. In addition, this automatic five-speed transmission’s maintenance needs are greatly reduced, while power-transfer efficiency is improved to make the riding experience all the more enjoyable. Furthermore, since this DCT uses conventional transmission gears, it’s as rugged and durable as Honda’s conventional manual transmission. This fully automatic transmission also gives the rider the option of using the ESP push-button shifting mode as desired.
With the DCT Automatic transmission you have the option of using the ESP mode (Electric Shift Position) also known as ES in years past (Electric Shift). With ESP, an onboard Electronic Control Module (ECM) monitors information from four sensors – engine rpm, countershaft speed, shift drum angle and shift spindle angle – to control the speed of the electric-shift motor’s gear and clutch engagement. Gear-engagement speed varies according to rider usage: The transmission shifts more quickly when the riding style turns sporty. A Neutral lockout at speeds greater than two mph ensures available engine braking when descending hills. For smooth shifting, the transmission cannot be shifted from Neutral to First gear or Reverse at engine speeds above 3000 rpm. ESP is not dependent on battery power; it operates whenever the engine is running. Should the rider ever need to shift manually, DCT model Ranchers are also equipped with an auxiliary shift lever in the toolkit. Honda builds a “backup” into everything. Just in case you do have a problem on the trails, your DCT Rancher will not leave you stranded and having to walk back out of the trails. On the subject of emergency situations, the Rancher also has an optional auxiliary backup pull-start should your battery die.
Rancher DCT 2WD / 4WD
The Rancher 4×4 models also feature TraxLok selectable 2WD/4WD capabilities that enable the rider to quickly shift between the nimble handling of a 2WD and the extra traction of a 4WD ATV. TraxLok incorporates a two-way mechanical roller clutch with a series of hardened-steel rollers that lock up in a mere six degrees of rotation for a smooth, virtually instantaneous response while either accelerating or decelerating on flat ground or an incline. This system also operates in Reverse. To ensure smooth operation, the TraxLok system only engages when the speed differential between the front and rear wheels is less than six mph. Once engaged, the system remains engaged on downhills for true 4WD braking.
In addition, when TraxLok 4WD mode is engaged, a torque-sensitive limited-slip front differential reduces steering effort for a lighter feel. This torque-sensitive limited-slip front differential automatically sends power to whichever front wheel has the most grip. This system also allows both wheels to maintain essentially the same speed and drive regardless of traction conditions. It also virtually eliminates torque steer and drastically reduces the effort necessary to initiate a turn, thus shortening the turning radius and improving handling. The new Rancher IRS models also receive new tougher, plastic CV joint boots supply added durability thanks to their more puncture – and tear-resistant qualities.
2018 Rancher 420 DCT / IRS / EPS Key Features
2018 Rancher 420 Engine / Drivetrain:
- Rugged OHV liquid-cooled, fuel-injected 420cc longitudinally mounted engine allows direct driveshaft alignment to both front and rear wheels for maximum drivetrain efficiency.
- Overhead-valve design provides compact engine dimensions for excellent ground clearance while maintaining a broad, easy-to-use powerband.
- Super-heavy-duty automatic clutch with a low-rpm engagement point for excellent driveability and towing capability.
- Handy TraxLok 2WD/4WD selector lever, mounted on the left-front panel, allows 4WD with TraxLok torque-sensing front differential when needed for the tough stuff and 2WD when conditions permit.
- Stainless-steel exhaust system includes a USDA-qualified spark arrester/muffler designed for quiet operation without servicing for long-lasting performance.
- All Ranchers have a five-speed transmission with Reverse, including an ultra-low First gear. The three Automatic models and the Rancher 4×4 ES incorporate Honda’s exclusive ESP for easy shifts with the touch of a handlebar-mounted button.
- The three Automatic Rancher models have Honda’s Automatic Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT), which provides the compact size and strength of a manual transmission (no belts to slip, break or burn out) with the convenience of an automatic, while giving the rider the option of push-button, manual control via Honda’s Electric Shift Program (ESP). The Automatic DCT features a dual shift-mapping program that automatically selects between two transmission shifting modes—either Cruise or Sport mode—for optimum shift timing depending on the rider’s pattern of throttle operation. During aggressive use, the Sport mode kicks in and holds the transmission in gear longer before shifting, delivering more aggressive performance. During more casual operation, the Cruise mode allows the transmission to shift up sooner for more casual performance and enhanced fuel efficiency.
- In addition to the fully automatic transmission mode, riders can also employ Honda’s exclusive Electric Shift Program (ESP) for easy shifts with the touch of handlebar-mounted buttons.
- Dual-purpose lever makes it easier than ever to engage Reverse gear as well as setting the parking brake. Simply pull the lever to engage Reverse; push the lever to set the parking brake.
- Transferable one-year limited warranty; extended coverage available with a Honda Protection Plan.
2018 Rancher 420 Frame / Suspension:
- Double-cradle steel frame developed with Computer Aided Engineering features increased stiffness (up 20 percent) for even more precise handling and a smoother ride.
- Independent double-wishbone front suspension gains an additional 1.0 inch of travel.
- Independent dual-arm rear suspension design offers a more optimal shock ratio and increased suspension stroke for a gain of 2.2 inches of travel.
- Adjustable spring preload now featured on all shocks to allow suspension tuning to match varying loads and riding conditions.
- One-piece tank/side cover allows easy access (no tools required) for maintenance.
- Aggressively styled bodywork also provides better mud protection.
- Rear fender and IRS decals separate this Rancher from the rest of the lineup.
- Increased AC generator output of 450 watts to power more electrical accessories.
- High-performance, maintenance-free Yuasa GYZ16H battery for added dependability.
- Honda Phantom Camo blends into a wide range of field environments, and the application procedures provide better graphic durability and improved resistance to fuel spillage.
- Digital meter display with added functions like a Maintenance Minder system that notifies when it is time for service.
- Fuel pump is derived from Honda automobile technology. It mounts in the fuel tank for better heat isolation and offers increased filter life.
- Larger 3.9 gallon fuel tank (including 1.3 gallon reserve) so you can ride farther between fill ups.
- Plastic CV joint boots are more durable and tear-resistant.
- Sealed steering knuckle bearings for extended durability.
- Optimized rider triangle ergonomics for added comfort.
- A 20mm (0.8 inch) increase in seat foam thickness and softer seat foam increase rider comfort.
- Larger 190mm dual hydraulic disc brakes up front and 170mm hydraulic disc brake in back for strong stopping power.
- Full-length synthetic lower skidplate with integrated front brush guard.
- Front carrier capacity is 66 pounds and larger rear carrier is 133 pounds.
- Revolutionary Electric Power Steering (EPS)—EPS model only.
- Optional Electric Power Steering (EPS) system is a next-generation setup that incorporates new ECU mapping for improved linearity in steering response, reduced low-speed steering effort for enhanced maneuverability and decreased kickback traits for improved all-around steering action.
- Three-point mounting setup for the EPS system makes the entire steering mechanism more rigid for even more precise steering.
- Heavy-duty trailer hitch with 848-pound towing capacity.
- Twin-headlight system has been redesigned and now features 35-watt headlights with a more focused light distribution pattern for improved visibility after dark.
- Assembled in Timmonsville, South Carolina, using domestically and globally sourced parts.
Rancher 420 Engine
In the engine department, all Ranchers make good use of the rugged and proven OHV liquid-cooled, fuel-injected 420cc engine. In signature Honda style, these Rancher engines are longitudinally mounted to allow direct driveshaft alignment to both front and rear wheels for maximum drivetrain efficiency. The overhead-valve design provides compact engine dimensions for excellent ground clearance while maintaining a broad, easy-to-use powerband.
Newer mapping for the Programmed Fuel Injection (PGM-FI) system combined with new oxygen sensor feedback technology improves power delivery and throttle response, while also improving emissions and fuel efficiency for greater range and reduced tailpipe emissions.
How do Honda’s ATV models benefit from the technology in the Honda automobile line? It would take a 100 page novel to touch base on just a few of the key components but I’ll save that for another write-up. The Rancher 420 has a new fuel pump that is using technology trickled down by their cars. The pump mounts in the fuel tank for better isolation from the heat of the engine and other working components. What happens when you reduce the heat? It prolongs the life, in return saves you money $$ in maintaining the ATV throughout the years.
Rancher Electric Power Steering / EPS (Standard on TRX420FA6)
The 2018 Rancher Automatic DCT model with IRS and EPS has the model ID: TRX420FA6. Honda debuted EPS back in 2007 on the Foreman 500 (TRX500FPE) and was only available on the ES model as a trial run per say. In 2008 and on, Honda has decided to throw it on every model in their ATV lineup (except Rincon). It was been a huge hit and with good reason. Once you ride a Rancher with the latest generation of the EPS module there is no going back! Aboard the Ranchers that incorporate Honda’s Electric Power Steering, a new attachment layout using a three-point mount for the EPS mechanism makes the entire unit more rigid in its placement, and that makes for even more precise steering. This EPS system is a next-generation setup for redone in 2014 that incorporates new settings for improved linearity in steering response, reduced low-speed steering effort for enhanced maneuverability and decreased kickback traits for improved all-around steering action.
Honda Phantom Camo ATV Finish
Have you had a chance to check out the All New Phantom Camo finish from Honda? If not, you need to! Honda went back to the drawing board in 2014 and surprised us all when they brought this to the table. They haven’t changed their camo color scheme or application of the camo for quite some time but it was definitely welcomed as some have had problems with their camo finish peeling on their ATV. The Honda Phantom Camo colors not only provides excellent camouflage properties that help the ATV blend into a wide range of field environments, but new Honda application processes also provide better graphic adhesion, excellent durability and improved resistance to fuel spillage to keep things looking better, longer.
The 2018 Rancher 420 gauge display has more features than any other previous generation in the Rancher models history. What do you have on your 2018 Rancher display? Anything and everything you would want and or need to view including: electronic fuel gauge, clock, coolant temperature gauge and a “maintenance minder” system that tracks both hours of run time plus miles driven. Also, the twin-headlight system has been redesigned and now features 35-watt headlights with a more focused light distribution pattern for improved visibility after dark. And a newly optimized rider triangle promotes added comfort, while a 0.8 inch-increase in seat foam thickness and softer seat foam density add further to rider comfort.
|Model||Rancher 4×4 Automatic DCT IRS EPS
|Rancher 4×4 Automatic DCT IRS
|Rancher 4×4 Automatic DCT EPS
|Rancher 4×4 ES
|Engine Type||420cc liquid-cooled OHV wet-sump longitudinally mounted single-cylinder four-stroke|
|Bore x Stroke||86.5mm x 71.5mm|
|Induction||Programmed Fuel Injection (PGM-FI), 34mm throttle body|
|Ignition||Full transistorized with electronic advance|
|Starter||Electric with optional auxiliary recoil|
|Transmission||Automatic Dual Clutch Transmission; ESP 5-speed + Reverse||ESP 5-speed + Reverse||5-speed + Reverse|
|Driveline||Front/Rear Driveshaft w/ TraxLox® and torque-sensing front differential||Rear Driveshaft|
|Front||Independent double-wishbone; 7.28 in. travel||Independent double-wishbone; 6.69 in. travel|
|Rear||Independent dual-arm; 8.46 in. travel||Swingarm w/ single shock; 6.69 in. travel|
|Front||Dual 190mm hydraulic discs|
|Rear||Single 170mm hydraulic disc||Single 160mm sealed mechanical drum|
|Front||24 x 8-12|
|Rear||24 x 10-11|
|Length||84.6 in.||82.8 in.|
|Height||46.8 in.||46.2 in.|
|Seat Height||34.9 in.||33.7 in.|
|Ground Clearance||9.2 in.||7.2 in.|
|Wheelbase||50.9 in.||49.9 in.|
|Turning Radius||11.5 ft.||9.2 ft.|
|Fuel Capacity||3.9 gal., incl. 1.3 gal. reserve|
|Colors||Active Yellow, Honda Phantom Camo®||Red, Olive||Vapor White, Red, Honda Phantom Camo||Red, Olive, Honda Phantom Camo||Red, Olive|
|Curb Weight*||686 lbs.||672 lbs.||642 lbs.||611 lbs.||573 lbs.|