When my dealer drove the Gator off the delivery trailer, its new 50-hp, 3-cyl. electronically fuel-injected motor made it sound as if it were a race car. With dual overhead cams and four valves per cylinder, the motor is probably the most advertised part of the machine.

The motor is very snappy and sounds pretty cool. Watching the rpm display on the digital gauge display tells me that at 20 to 25 mph this engine is running somewhere in the neighborhood of 3,800 to 4,800 rpm. At the top published speed of 44 mph, the motor runs just shy of 6,000 rpm. 

I was able to use the machine all day without having to refill the 5.3-gal. fuel tank, which is easily accessible, located directly under the driver’s seat with an easy-to-read gauge on the tank.

The Gator is well built with a full metal covering on the underside of the machine. This was important to me because I did a lot of travel in the cornfields driving over corn stalks. I also used it to put up fence to graze the cattle in the cornfields after harvesting. It seemed to straddle the 30-in. corn rows well; it could be used when spraying fence lines without running down the corn.

Because it is well built, the ride is extremely smooth. I believe it rides even better than a pickup truck would through the field. The Gator handles well, but if there ever was a place for power steering, this would be it. In fact, John Deere reports it will release power steering models in the coming year.