Power steering, improved braking and suspension and increased load capacity are among 13 new features on John Deere's latest XUV Gator utility vehicle, which is now the fastest and most powerful diesel model in the range.
John Deere manufactures the widest range of utility vehicles in the industry, and the newly styled XUV 855D 4x4 Gator has been designed for even greater performance and productivity, especially in challenging off-road conditions. There are three new versions for 2011, replacing the existing 850D model.
These include the basic 855D in the company's traditional green and yellow livery, and two models equipped with power steering in a choice of green and yellow or olive and black liveries. All retain the XUV's true four-wheel drive traction system, activated by a dash-mounted electronic switch. This on-demand system incorporates lockable front and rear differentials to maintain excellent traction on all types of terrain.
The new Gator's liquid cooled, three-cylinder diesel engine is rated at a full 25hp. This is the most powerful engine in its class, with the highest top speed at 32mph (52kph), working through the usual dual range constantly variable transmission. In addition, the 855D features a slightly wider footprint for extra stability, and now comes with a fully enclosed clutch and driveline to allow the vehicle to travel through water up to 56cm (22in) deep.
Maximum ride quality on and off road is provided by all-new seating, a responsive power steering system, stronger brakes and a redesigned double A-arm front and rear suspension system, as used in the motor racing industry. A new muffler system has also reduced noise levels, and there is a wider choice of all terrain and extreme terrain tyres for all driving conditions.
All three models come with a standard 53cm (21in) bucket seat, featuring a higher back and better side bolstering for added comfort. It also has a convenient drain hole for keeping the seat dry, and is fitted with a three-point seat belt. Options include a 51cm (20in) bench seat for off-road use only, and an 84cm (33in) 'sport' bucket seat.
With the new power steering system, the faster you travel, the more responsive the steering becomes, controlled by a torque sensor and an on-board computer. In addition, the Gator's new brake components double the braking force and reduce stopping distances, while improving the pedal feel. All models also have a new, more powerful parking brake.
Further improvements in steering and overall handling are delivered by the new suspension system, which provides 60 per cent more travel on the front wheels, at 203mm (8in), and 29 per cent more on the rear wheels, at 229mm (9in). The rear suspension is also adjustable, so that the ride can be tuned to suit personal preference and to handle any terrain, and ground clearance is 267mm (11in).
Load capacity of the new deluxe cargo box has been increased from 360 to a best in class 460 litres, while total payload remains at 635kg and towing capacity has increased by 90kg to 680kg. The cargo box features a truck-style tailgate latch for easy operation with one hand, and over 20 integrated tie-down points for securing loads. The side panels and tailgate are removable to provide a handy flat-bed layout if required, and are made of a durable, weather resistant polymer material, while the standard liner for the floor and the load guard are made of steel.
Integrated tail lights are optionally available for road homologated models, and a range of optional cargo box accessories includes tool carriers and dividers. Further options include a front mounted load rack, a bull bar and side extensions. As on previous models, the standard four post ROPS frame can be optionally upgraded to a deluxe full glass cab if required.