John Deere has taken its line of utility vehicles up a big notch this year. The new Gator RSX850i is the first in the Gator line designed primarily for recreational purposes, with the power and agility to handle just about any terrain.

“Gators have always been known for durability, utility and safety,” says David Gigandet, marketing manager, Gator utility vehicles. “The RSX maintains all these qualities at its core, but the incredible power, exhilarating speed and precision handling are what set it apart in our portfolio. It’s the Gator fully evolved.”

The RSX850i is available in three models: standard, sport and trail, with each offering different features for the driver’s needs. Members of the media traveled from around the country to meet in Moab, Utah, this July, where John Deere unveiled the new Gators for the first time. They test-drove the Gator sport models on the rocky, rough recreational trails throughout the desert.

Need for speed
At top speeds of 53 mph and with precision handling, the Gator swiftly navigated through the trails. The Gator can reach speeds of 30 mph in just three seconds.

“It has the acceleration and the top speed these customers are looking for,” Gigandet says. “The thing you’ve got to do when you put that kind of power and speed in a product is work on the suspension. We brought in experts to help us from IndyCar and from NASCAR to help us design the chassis.”

The Fox 2.0 Performance Series shock system, along with the alloy wheels and Maxxis tires, allow the vehicle to handle multiple types of terrain – from jagged, rocky patches to sandy, flat stretches.

The Gator’s 830cc, 62-hp, V-twin, liquid-cooled, four-cycle engine performs well under extreme circumstances and long days of riding. The powerful engine propels the vehicle up steep hills and around sharp turns.

Creature comforts
Body-hugging bucket seats allow for a comfortable ride, and a sport-style power steering wheel lets the driver powerfully maneuver the vehicle around curves. With 10.3 in. of ground clearance, drivers need not worry about traveling over bumpy surfaces. Large headrests keep the driver comfortable during aggressive driving.  

While the new Gator was designed for recreation, it has a number of utility features for getting work done. The 8.9-cu.-ft. cargo box can haul up to 400 lbs. of gear and can be tilted for unloading purposes. Storage compartments are located under the hood, in the glove box and in the rear cargo box. The safety features exceed industry standards, keeping the driver at ease when out on the trails.

Several add-ons are available, including a stereo system, gun holders for hunting trips, extra storage units and more.

Prices start at $12,999 for the base model; $14,999 for the trail model; and $15,499 for the sport model. Visit www.johndeere.com.