Diesel farm buggies on test

Diesel-powered farm buggies are all the rage right now. Oliver Mark and Nick Fone crossed the Channel to compare some of the biggest sellers with Farmers Weekly’s partner magazine La France Agricole

Rewind 10 years and the closest you’d get to a UTV was down your local golf course. That’s probably still their most suitable market, but sales have boomed on the farming side of things, too.

In fact the shift in sales has been seismic – last year ATVs dropped another 13% to 6,100 (down from 9,000 in 2004). Comparatively, buggies were up 20% to 3,800.

Why? Side-by-side vehicles are more comfortable and practical. They’re also more difficult to steal – it has been said that 50% of all ATVs are stolen at some point in their lifetime.

The ATV still wins in terms of speed, agility and price, though.

All six of the contenders in our test had four-wheel drive and enough under-body clearance to make them suitable for farm life.

Transmissions were mainly belt-type CVTs – the Kubota proved the only exception, using a hydrostatic driveline instead.

Click below for the full test on each buggy:

John Deere Gator XUV 855D

Kawasaki Mule 4010

Kubota RTV900

JCB Workmax 800D

Kioti Mechron 2210

Polaris Ranger Diesel

THE TESTS

  • One mile time trial – a sack full of seed was dumped into the load bay and we timed how long each buggy took to complete the uphill route
  • Off-road course – we set up a route across ditches, mounds and boggy patches
  • Turning circle
  • Suppleness of suspension
  • Noise level
  • Ease of gear engagement