Polaris Industries Inc. of Minneapolis, MN, U.S. intended its Professional Series UTV 1500 for commercial use, but the company finds that many homeowners are buying the product. According to Tony Wixo, product manager, there is a special breed of homeowners now buying commercial products: multi-acre homeowners. "That's a target segment that we're going after with our utility vehicle line," he says. "I think people call them utility vehicles because they do just about anything. People use them across the whole spectrum of what we have in our product portfolio."
Although the UTV 1500 is offered in 4 x 4 and 6 x 6 versions, Mr. Wixo says that 50 percent of the utility vehicle market wants 2 x 4 versions. "It's not a golf cart by any means," he says. "It has the suspension, it has carrying capacity, it has a much larger engine…but people use them in the same way they use golf carts - to get around."
The vehicle comes with an 18-hp air-cooled engine, a continuously variable transmission (CVT), and more than 4 in of suspension travel. Other features include hydraulic disc brakes, seating for three, and a payload capacity of 1,250 lb.
"The biggest thing about utility vehicles is that the accessories help sell the versatility of the machine," says Mr. Wixo. "Very rarely do we have someone buy a machine that they don't put some sort of attachment or accessory on." Accessories available for the UTV include toolboxes, brush guards, and windshields. The cargo box on the back of the vehicle is made of a composite material and has a 750-lb capacity. Mr. Wixo notes, however, that market research has revealed that very few customers actually put more than 100 lb in the cargo box. "Typically, consumers buy based on the features, but whether they use what they buy…. It's like the people that buy sports utility vehicles. They buy them for the 4 x 4 capability, but they probably use the 4 x 4 only once or twice a year," he says.