Dan Miller Progressive Farmer Senior Editor
Mon Apr 14, 2014 01:35 PM CDT
(Page 1 of 3)

Polaris has added two vehicles to its side-by-side line—the three-passenger Ranger Diesel HST ($15,199) and Ranger Diesel HST Deluxe ($20,999). These Rangers are powered by a 24-horsepower Yanmar diesel power with a hydrostatic transmission (HST doesn't require a clutch and shifting), an industry-exclusive treadle pedal, multi-link coil over De Dion rear suspension and full climate control (standard with deluxe models).

Riders wear helmets and sit with a Operator Protective Structure in this product photo of John Deere's XUV825i.

• With the Ranger Diesel HST in high or low, the treadle pedal allows travel in forward or reverse without shifting gears or taking hands off the wheel. Pushing forward on the front pedal moves the Ranger forward; pressing with your heel on the rear pedal has the machine go in reverse.

• The multi-link coil over De Dion rear suspension gives both models of the Ranger Diesel cargo capacity of 1,250 lbs. and maintains ground clearance when trailering. The Rangers tow 2,000 pounds.

• The Ranger Diesel HST Deluxe includes a fully enclosed, factory-installed cab with climate control including heat, defrost and air conditioning, and features 180-degree opening doors.

Gator features Side Retention Package. John Deere's 2014 Gator features these updates:

• Operator Side Retention (OSR) is now standard on all Operator Protective Structure (OPS) equipped Gator utility vehicles. The OSR comes either as a net or as a poly door. The net OSR is part of the configuration for the Gator HPX, XUV heavy-duty, and mid-duty models. Poly doors can be ordered for some models. The doors feature automotive-style handles and a 90-degree door opening.

• A new Warn ProVantage 3,500 or 4,500 lb. winch increases pulling capacity by up to 1,500 additional pounds over previous models.

• The heavy-duty line of XUVs (625i, 825i, 855D) feature digital displays with a glow plug indicator light (diesel), a flashing water temperature icon, and a power steering indicator (if equipped). Illuminated dash switches provide nighttime visibility.

• An ag management solutions system (AMS) integration kit is available for the heavy-duty models. This kit allows a StarFire receiver and GS display (both sold separately) to be mounted onto the Gator.

Helmets Make You Look Cool (at least Camo-Helmets do). A couple of side-by-side product photographs came across my desk showing driver and passengers riding in the vehicle without helmets.

Can't say it's the first time I saw a photo like that. But it did stand out because I had just returned from riding a new side-by-side from another manufacturer. Helmets, gloves, eye protection, long-sleeve shirts and pants and over-the-ankle boots were required gear. That's true in every one of the new-product ride and drives in which I've participated.

I'm not naïve to believe even most farm- and ranch-operated side-by-side, or even ATV riders actually wear much protective gear, especially helmets.

And, I'm not trying to be a shrill for helmets. I've evolved from being invincible in my 20s to being bit more aware of my immortality in my 50s. People laughed when you wore a helmet back then. I think helmets can be pretty cool today, especially the Raider MX Mossy Oak Infinity Off-Road Helmet I'm looking at (if anyone out there is thinking Christmas (my boss, perhaps), its $111.01 at Amazon. Shipping to my home is free. Just sayin').

I remember the only time my brother wore a helmet is when he rode his motorcycle through the hallways of our high school, both floors, as a senior prank. That was epic and the helmet protected well his identity, if not his head.

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