If you’ve been considering a side by side UTV for recreational riding, farming, or worksites, the Honda Pioneer 1000 should be at the top of your list. The Pioneer 1000 is Honda’s flagship side by side, offering impressive power, cargo capacity, comfort, and off-road capability. After test driving and thoroughly reviewing the 2023 Honda Pioneer 1000, we determined it’s one of the best high-performance UTVs available today.
In this in-depth review, we’ll cover everything you need to know about the Honda Pioneer 1000.
Table of Contents
Overview Of The Honda Pioneer 1000
The Honda Pioneer 1000 is a two-seat side by side with room for a third small rear passenger. It was first released in 2014 and has seen consistent upgrades over the years. For 2023, Honda has added new colors and accessories, but the Pioneer 1000 itself remains mostly unchanged from 2022.
Here are some key features and specs:
- 999cc liquid-cooled twin-cylinder Unicam® four-stroke engine
- 72 horsepower
- 6-speed automatic dual-clutch transmission (DCT) with six forward gears and reverse
- 2WD and 4WD drive modes
- 38.7 x 54.5 x 11.9 inch cargo bed size
- 2,500 lb towing capacity
- Wet clutch for towing in water
The Pioneer 1000 provides a smooth, comfortable ride thanks to its independent front and rear suspension. The bed tilts for easy cargo dumping. There are ample safety features like seat belts and doors.
Overall, the Pioneer 1000 strikes an excellent balance of power, utility, and comfort whether cruising trails or hauling gear to a worksite.
Seating And Cargo Capacity
The Pioneer 1000 has comfortable seating for two adults up front, plus a small rear jump seat for a child.
The seats are bolstered to provide support when riding over bumpy terrain. There are plenty of legroom and adjustments to fit taller drivers. The steering wheel tilts as well.
For cargo, there is a sizeable 38.7 x 54.5 x 11.9 inch cargo bed in back. It flips up for easy dumping and hauling. The cargo capacity is a hefty 1,000 pounds (600 in California).
With the tailgate down, you can fit a pallet in back. It has enough room for hay bales, power tools, camping gear, and other bulky items. A cargo divider is available to create separate storage compartments.
Honda Pioneer 1000 Engine And Transmission Specs
Let’s look under the hood at the corrected engine and transmission specs:
- 999cc liquid-cooled twin-cylinder engine – This provides powerful low-end torque perfect for hauling heavy loads up hills or through mud. It generates 72 horsepower and 96.9 lb-ft torque.
- 6-speed automatic transmission – The auto transmission makes driving easy with no shifting needed. There’s both 2WD and 4WD modes.
- V-Twin design – The twin-cylinder V design helps keep the engine compact. This allows more interior legroom and better handling from a lower center of gravity.
- Fuel injection – EFI fuel injection means easy cold starting and optimal fuel mapping. No pesky carburetor to tune and adjust.
- Wet clutch – The unique wet clutch enables towing in water, like crossing streams. Most UTVs use dry clutches.
Overall, you get a proven engine with abundant power for recreational riding, traversing all types of terrain, and taking on heavy utility jobs. It delivers smooth, responsive acceleration whether you’re alone or loaded down with cargo.
Honda Pioneer 1000 Top Speed And Acceleration
One of the key specs shoppers want to know is how fast their UTV can go. Here is a look at the Pioneer 1000’s impressive top speed and acceleration:
- Top Speed – The Honda Pioneer 1000 top speed is an exciting 67 mph. This makes it one of the fastest UTVs from the factory. Most competitors are limited to 45-55 mph.
- 0-60 mph – This Honda hits 60 mph in just 7.5 seconds thanks to the torquey 999cc engine. It has rapid acceleration off the line and at highway speeds.
- Speed Limiter – To make the Pioneer street legal in certain areas, Honda offers a free speed limiter cable that easily reduces the top speed to 30 mph.
- High Speed Handling – Suspension, ground clearance and stability at high speeds are excellent. The Pioneer 1000 feels planted and secure at 50 mph+.
The Pioneer 1000 provides a thrilling rush of speed few UTVs can match. You can blast down trails and straightaways with confidence. The transmission and engine work together seamlessly for smooth power delivery.
Towing Capacity And Hauling Features
In addition to recreational fun, many UTV owners use their side by sides for jobs like farming, ranching, and hunting where cargo capacity is important.
The Honda Pioneer 1000 excels as a utility vehicle with its ability to transport gear and tow heavy loads.
- 1,000 lb towing capacity – The stock Pioneer 1000 can tow up to 2,500 lbs on flat ground. This is enough for a loaded trailer or small equipment.
- 2,500 lb towing capacity (accessories) – Adding a Honda accessory hitch and radiator fan kit enables towing up to 2,500 lbs. This gives you even more versatility.
- 600 lb cargo box capacity – The tilting rear cargo bed can hold up to 1,000 lbs of cargo. Haul feed, tools, gear and more.
- Wet clutch – As mentioned above, the unique wet clutch allows you to tow loads across streams without damage. Dry clutches on most UTVs don’t hold up in water.
- Tie-down points – There are tie-down hooks throughout the frame to securely fasten cargo in the bed or on a trailer.
- Hydraulic bed lift – An easy-to-use hydraulic lever lets you dump the cargo bed without straining your back.
With accessories, the Pioneer 1000 can handle just about any medium-duty hauling job on the farm or trail. The heavy-duty construction ensures it will hold up under frequent loads.
Honda Pioneer 1000 Specs Chart
Let’s look at the corrected specs for the Pioneer 1000:
|2,500 lbs (2,500 lbs w/accessories)
|Cargo Bed Capacity
|Cargo Bed Size
|38.7 x 54.5 x 11.9 inches
|158.3 x 64.0 x 76.0 inches
This covers the key performance specs and capacities that matter most: engine power, transmission, tow rating, bed size, ground clearance, wheelbase, etc. As you can see, the Pioneer 1000 has impressive capabilities for both play and work.
Off-Road Handling And Suspension
What makes the Honda Pioneer 1000 so adept at conquering off-road terrain is its rugged suspension and handling. Key components include:
- Independent front suspension – The dual-arm independent front suspension gives 113mm (4.4 inches) of travel to soak up bumps and ruts. This improves control and handling over uneven ground.
- Independent rear suspension – Similarly, the 9.1 inch rear suspension travels 234mm independently for a smoother ride that keeps the tires planted on trails.
- EPS steering – Electronic power steering reduces steering effort while improving responsiveness. It makes maneuvering and low-speed turning easy.
- 12.9 inches ground clearance – Generous clearance lets you drive over rocks, logs, and uneven terrain without scraping bottom.
- On-demand 4WD – With the flip of a switch you can engage 4WD when the going gets slippery for enhanced traction. The front differential is fully locking for max grip.
While the Pioneer 1000 may not be a rock crawler, it handles intermediate trails, mud, loose dirt/gravel, steep inclines, and other conditions very well for a stock UTV. The independent suspension is a key advantage over a straight solid axle.
Honda Pioneer 1000 Accessories
One of the benefits of the Pioneer 1000 is the huge selection of dealer accessories:
- Windshield – A must-have for combating wind, dust and debris on the trail. There are full, half and angled windshields to choose from based on your needs.
- Roof – Keep the sun and weather off with a roof. You can add a solid plastic roof or canvas soft top. There are full and half roof options.
- Audio – Add a Bluetooth stereo, speakers, and amplifier to crank the tunes on your ride.
- LED lights – Illuminate the trail ahead with added LED headlights and auxiliary lights. Rear LED taillights are available too.
- Winch – An electric winch bolts to the front bumper for pulling yourself (or others) out of sticky situations. 3,500 lb capacity options are available.
- Hitch/Towing – As mentioned earlier, towing accessories like a 2 inch rear hitch receiver, 7-pin wiring plug, and radiator fan allow 2,500 lb towing.
- Storage – Doors, roof, rear panel and a full cab enclosure provide more protection from dust and weather. Storage bags and nets offer organization.
- Performance – Larger tires, snorkel intake, clutching kits, and suspension upgrades take performance to the next level.
With Honda’s extensive catalog of accessories, you can customize the Pioneer 1000 to your exact needs for play or work. The accessories are high quality and designed to perfectly fit this model.
Honda Pioneer 1000 Pros And Cons
To recap, here are the top pros and cons we found for the Honda Pioneer 1000:
- Potent 999cc V-Twin engine provides rapid acceleration
- 67 mph top speed is insanely fast for a UTV
- Independent suspension offers plush off-road handling
- Roomy seating for 2-3 people
- Large tilting cargo bed with 1,000 lb capacity
- Rear hydraulic dump bed makes unloading cargo easy
- Extensive dealer accessory catalog for customization
- Excellent fit and finish you expect from Honda
- Expensive purchase and accessory pricing
- Poor fuel economy (est 12-15 mpg)
- Low 12.9 inch ground clearance limits extreme rock crawling
- No electronic power steering (EPS)
- Smaller aftermarket parts selection compared to Polaris and Can-Am
While not perfect, the Pioneer 1000 still has far more pros than cons overall. The powerful engine, refined transmission, cargo abilities, accessory options, and plush ride make it one of the best all-around UTVs money can buy.
Honda Pioneer 1000 Pricing For 2023
How much does the 2023 Honda Pioneer 1000 cost? Here is a look at MSRP pricing and packages:
- Base Model – $17,499 MSRP
- Deluxe Model – $18,999 MSRP (adds EPS, cast aluminum wheels, painted body panels, premium paint, roof, audio, power tilt bed)
- Special Edition – $21,899 MSRP (adds doors, winch, muds, audio, roof, paint, etc). Limited availability.
Keep in mind costs can add up quickly when you start adding popular accessories like audio ($600-$1200), roof ($650+), windshield ($400-$700), and other gear.
Most Pioneer 1000s out the door cost nearly $20,000 with additions. However, you end up with a very well-equipped side by side customized to your needs.
For comparison, the Can-Am Defender HD10 starts at $15,599 but has less power and 85 fewer ccs. The Polaris RZR XP 1000 is $19,299. So Honda is competitively priced in the premium UTV segment.
Honda Pioneer 1000 Years And Packages
Here is a quick look back at Honda Pioneer 1000 models and changes by year:
- 2014 – Original Pioneer 1000 introduced
- 2015 – Immobilizer added for theft deterrence
- 2016 – New colors and graphics introduced
- 2017 – Accessory rail mounts added. Additional accessories offered.
- 2018 – No changes
- 2019 – Hydraulic power lift added for cargo bed. EPS added to Deluxe model.
- 2020 – New Special Edition trims released with accessories
- 2021 – Rear cargo divider accessory available
- 2022 – New Matte Silver color option added
- 2023 – New colors and graphics released. Otherwise mostly same as 2022.
In its decade on the market, continual refinements and new accessories have made the already excellent Pioneer 1000 even better. It remains highly competitive in 2023 versus the latest side by sides from other brands.
What Owners Are Saying About the Honda Pioneer 1000
With thousands of owners, there are plenty of online reviews that provide valuable insight into real world Pioneer 1000 pros and cons.
Here are some common positive comments from Pioneer 1000 owners:
“This side-by-side is an absolute blast to drive on the trails. Plenty of power and handles terrain impressively.”
The automatic transmission makes driving so easy. I love not having to mess with shifting manually.”
“Tows our camping trailer with no problem. Does great as a workhorse on our ranch.”
“The Honda has proven super reliable so far. Only routine maintenance needed.”
“Ride is smooth and comfortable thanks to the adjustable suspension. My whole family enjoys riding in it.”
And here are a few common complaints:
“Gas mileage is pretty bad. I’m getting about 12 mpg average.”
“Engine noise is louder than I expected. Not terrible, but noticeable”
“Needs more accessories for the price. Things like roof and audio should come standard.”
“The clutch engagement is jerky and inconsistent at low speeds. Takes getting used to.”
“Padding on the seats is a little thin. I added seat covers for more comfort”
Overall most owners are very enthusiastic about the Pioneer 1000’s capabilities, reliability, comfort, and performance – especially once accessories are added. Fuel efficiency and the lack of some features on the base model are two shortcomings owners note.
Common Honda Pioneer 1000 Problems and Fixes
Given Honda’s reputation for reliability, there are fortunately not many common issues reported on the Pioneer 1000. Here are a few to be aware of:
- Faulty fuel pump – Some models have had failing fuel pumps that need replacement. This causes hard starting or stalling issues. Replacing the pump resolves it.
- Burning smell – There are reports of a burning plastic smell coming from the clutch/CVT area when riding hard. Adjusting the clutch engagement can alleviate this in some cases.
- CVT belt failures – Though not widespread, a small percentage of owners have had the CVT belt shred prematurely. Replacing the belt and checking clutch alignment fixes this.
- Steering box play – Over time the steering box connection can develop wear and looseness. Tightening components restores responsiveness.
- Leaking rear differential – Fluid leaks from the rear diff seals are not uncommon after years of riding. Resealing stops the leak.
Overall, when maintained properly, the Pioneer 1000 is very reliable for a UTV. Following the maintenance schedule and inspecting components regularly is the best preventative measure. Catching small issues early reduces chances for major repairs down the road.
Top Alternatives to Consider
While we rate the Honda Pioneer 1000 as one of the best high end side by sides, here are some other options that compete closely:
- Polaris RZR XP 1000 – With 107 hp, 64 inch width, and plush suspension, this is the Pioneer’s closest competitor. More aftermarket support too. About the same price.
- Can-Am Defender HD10 – The Defender is a great choice if you want a bit more utility ATV and slightly less sport. More cargo room. Starts at $15,599
- Yamaha Wolverine RMAX 1000 – Yamaha’s newcomer has 102 hp and great trail handling. EPS is standard. Not as fast as the Honda top speed wise.
- Arctic Cat Havoc 1000 – For high speed and chops, the 132 hp Havoc is a rocket. Fox Live Valve suspension is state of the art. Less utility capability though.
- Polaris General 1000 – The General is another good mix of sporty power with utility function. Interior storage is a highlight.
There are strong options from most major brands in this premium side by side segment now. Test driving is the best way to decide which model best fits your needs.
After reviewing all the specs, features, owner feedback and comparing top alternatives, the 2023 Honda Pioneer 1000 remains one of our favorite UTVs.
Here are some of the key reasons it stands out:
- The 999cc twin-cylinder engine provides an unmatched combination of smooth power delivery and thrilling 62 mph top speed. Acceleration is rapid.
- The automatic transmission makes driving easy while handling heavy towing and hauling jobs with ease.
- Excellent independent suspension soaks up rough terrain and provides premium handling on trails.
- With accessories, you can customize the Pioneer 1000 into a hard-working utility machine or tricked out recreational toy. Accessory quality is top notch.
- Honda’s legendary reputation for reliability and fit/finish gives peace of mind. The Pioneer 1000 is made to last.
While not the most extreme rock crawler or mud machine, the Pioneer 1000 impressively balances power, comfort, cargo ability, trail conquering prowess and utility function.
If you want a high-performance side by side that can handle work during the week and fun on the weekends, the 2023 Honda Pioneer 1000 deserves a close look. Test drive it yourself to experience the smooth acceleration and refined suspension.