MASSEY FERGUSON 20 MD – Best handling at speed

First impressions

With its canvas cab, it looks like a dune buggy/rickshaw hybrid. Overall, it feels like a low budget machine, but equally it has high-quality engine materials like aviation grade brake pipes.

Chassis and suspension

The engine is bolted directly to the chassis which would explain the vibration and racket that it produces. But the MF employs a double wishbone suspension at each corner with coil springs and adjustable dampers. This makes the ride and handling very stable and there’s even an anti-roll bar linking the two rear units.

Engine and Transmission

A loud 20hp Perkins three-pot lurks under the seat along with a two-range belt-drive CVT. The shift lever presides over a difficult-to-engage, close-gated range box with a flimsy selector linkage. There’s a mechanical diff-lock for the rear and limited-slip diff up front.

Driveability

The gear layout is straightforward and gears easy to engage. The buggy has plenty of poke and tackled all tasks without complaint.

However the starting procedure is tedious – you need to have the handbrake on as well as putting the gear selector in neutral. If the handbrake is applied while the engine is running and it’s in gear, it’ll cut out.

The jerky foot throttle also means it’s near-impossible to inch forward or backwards and the heavy steering makes it difficult to manoeuvre in tight places.

Watch the test

Braking

Discs on each corner provide good stopping power and there’s no chance of brake fade thanks to aviation-grade aluminium oil-lines. Engine braking, too, is better than other belt-driven models on test.

Practicality and Servicing

Access to the engine is limited by the tricky-to-lower, gas-strut-tipped load deck. Once tipped, a plate has to be removed to get to the engine but once there everything’s easy to get at.

Cab

The MF was the only buggy on test to have an adjustable, sprung seat. However you can’t pressure wash the cab straight through as the drivetrain in the way. The floor also gets slippery when wet, too.

Pros

* Double wishbone suspension plus anti-roll bar

* Front limited slip diff as well as mech rear diff-lock

* Electric 4×4

Cons

* Difficult to shift/awkward gear arrangement

* Handbrake auto engine shut-off

* Cheapest build

To see results from the other buggies click on the link below:

Kawasaki Mule 4010 Trans 4×4 – best all-rounder

John Deere Gator XUV 850 D

JCB Groundhog 4×4 – best load independentsuspension

Kubota RTV 900 – best at braking

And for more pictures from the tests click here.