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Hi all,

My mother and I maintain our small family farm as a hobby/side venture here in west TN. We raise a few cows and lease our crop ground. We have general maintenance to keep up around the place (clipping, spraying, cleaning up, cutting/removing trees and brush, fencing, feeding, landscaping, etc...).

We've about decided that a UTV would be a handy tool to help us. We've never owned a UTV, but I did have a Honda Rancher ATV when I was younger. I really don't know which is best, but it seems the Gator and the Ranger are two pretty popular machines. After talking to a few people around town and doing some initial research, it seems the Gator 550 and Ranger 570 would be the size people are recommending. I would appreciate your thoughts on which you think would be best or if there is another size/model you would recommend. Please explain your preference.

Are there any accessories you would suggest we should definitely purchase? Should we go ahead and spring for the crew model to seat 4 people? I really don't do trail riding, but may possibly do some in the future when my kids get older.

Would appreciate your thoughts...
 

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I'd steer away from the gator 550 and go with the basic tried and true gator TS or TX. Bigger cargo bed. Tried and true design. TX with electric bed lift will fit your needs perfectly.
 

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I am a fan of the body size of the 550 and 850 Gators. For the work I do the 825 and other larger sized Gators would have difficulty in some tight spots. I use my 550 a lot for property maintenance probably similar to what you intend. The big weakness I see with the 550 is the carburetor. The engine does not handle short trips, starting and stopping and sitting and idling which is what I would often do. Drive forward 30 feet and stop for 45 seconds to spray or throw things in the bed, then pull ahead another 30 feet to do it all again. The 550 does well though if you tend to just drive it. It likes to get out and run so it works well for checking fence lines, traveling to check a far field or visit the neighbors.

A few months ago I was also looking at the Polaris Ranger 570 and spent several weeks lurking on their forums. I like the overall size of the machine and was particularly interested in how well their fuel injected engine would handle the short trips and idling that I do. In the end I did not get a comfortable feeling that it would do much better than the Gator in that respect so I stuck with my 550.

Personally I'm not a fan of 4 passenger UTV's unless you have a definite need for them. The turning radius increases not to mention the overall longer physical size making it more difficult to maneuver in tight areas. I also like having the bed right behind me when picking up brush or spraying since I can reach right over to the pump or anything else in the bed. If you have flat, open terrain then the 4 seater may be a good option. Even if you're not carrying 4 the back seat area can be used to carry pretty much anything you can fit in there. My neighbor's back seat area has become a permenant tool & parts storage area.

I will say the 550 has an incredible suspension and a lot of features for a machine at that price point. It soaks up bumps and climbs over rough terrain much better than my neighbor's Mule. There is no Polaris dealer in my town so having a Deere dealer close-by sealed the deal for me.
 

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The 2014 550s s4 or standard single seat have the bugs worked out. I have a 2012 and have had my problems but John Deere have been excellent on getting the upgrades or repairs done. I have a 550 s4 and I love it even with the problems. I live on Padre Island Corpus Christi and love crusing the beaches. The deep sand is no problem with the 4WD. The 550 has a turning radius 19'4" compared to the 34'4" of the 825i S4. The little 15 HP Vanguard Engine has done everything I've ask it to. Including pulling out small trees and bushes and getting through terrain 4WD pickups are stuck in. You'll see that some say it's a Briggs & Stratton but it isn't though it is imported by Briggs & Stratton. It's a very good little engine. Max speed is 28 mph which is perfect for the roads on th island. That's my input.
 

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I have a 550 that has about 40 hours on it and really like it. Its very handy around the farm. I have not had any problems so far. It's a awesome machine for the money and I have a great dealer closer than a Polaris dealer which helped with my decision.
 

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I have a 825, if you need to get some heavy work done, its your machine. Excellent pulling power etc. Don't be to rough on the front while in 4X4. CV joints are a weak link. It is also made to run down 30 inch corn rows if you have a need.
 
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