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By: CJ Rena Johnson

John Deere

John Deere Gator XUV 625i 4x4: A Base Vehicle But Far From Basic

John Deere Gator XUV 625i 4x4
John Deere Gator XUV 625i 4x4

I recently attended the John Deere Media event in Winnsboro, SC, where I had the opportunity to test several of the new John Deere cross-over utility vehicles. The one I am going to cover here is the Gator XUV 625i 4x4.

Although considered the base Gator for 2011, there was nothing basic about how it performed or looked. It is available in REAL TREE HARDWOODS HD® Camo, Olive and Black, and the well known John Deere Green and Yellow. It comes standard with everything you need to have fun, be comfortable, and accomplish a full payload whether working on the farm and cutting it up out on the trail.

Performance

The media event and product testing was held at Carolina Adventure World. I have been on almost every trail at Carolina Adventure World on a variety of vehicles, and I will say that the John Deere Gator 625i handled every aspect of the trails we were on without hesitation.


The 23-horse power, 617cc v-twin engine took us to the maximum 30 mph speed very quickly. They also told us there is an optional Speed Limiter™ kit, which will allow full power and acceleration with a keyed lockout so that it limits the top to 20 mph. We did not use a vehicle with that option during this testing.

Even though we did not need it in SC in the middle of June, it was nice to know that the John Deere 625i has electronic fuel Injection so that it will start easier in any type of weather and in higher altitudes.

As soon as I reached the first obstacle on the trail, I reached over and flipped the switch so we were in 4-wheel drive. That worked for most of the course. I did find one area that I felt the need to take advantage of the added feature available on the Gator of locking the rear differential so that both of the rear wheels worked together to get us through that rough spot.

The ride was more comfortable than I expected and the Gator seemed very stable in all the different types of terrain we faced on the trail system. This was partially due to the solid core steel sway bar with double-ball drop link, which helps to reduce body lean and increase durability. The low center of gravity on this vehicle and long 79-inch wheelbase also increases its stability.

It felt very secure even in the rougher areas due to the Independent double-wishbone long-travel suspension and the 11 inches of ground clearance helped as well and kept us from getting stuck on rocks we found in some of the rougher areas of the trail. The full-steel skid plate guards the underbody to help protect it when you test those limits.

The full-clutch enclosure also allowed us to go in through a couple of creek crossings without any problems either. The specifications on this vehicle say it can access water up 22 inches. I am sure we had it in water at least that deep.

This vehicle comes with Standard OPS (Occupant Protection Systems) which includes a passenger side handhold and 3-point seat belts for both driver and passenger.

Safety Gear

This vehicle comes with Standard OPS (Occupant Protection Systems) which includes a passenger side handhold and 3-point seat belts for both driver and passenger.

Cargo

I was impressed with the cargo capabilities of this so-called base vehicle as well. Whether you are at work on the farm, out having fun on the trail or out working on the trail, the John Deere Gator XUV 625i 4x4 has enough cargo and towing capacity to handle any load you want to carry.

With 16.4 cubic feet and 1,000 lb weight capacity, the Gator 625i has one of the largest cargo boxes among its closest competitors. It also has a 1,500 lb. towing capacity, a 1,400 lb. payload capacity. As for the towing, the Gator comes standard with an integrated 2-inch front and rear receiver hitch.

The cargo box comes with 20 tie-down points to make loads easier to secure. It has a standard tailgate with gas-assist for easier dumping. You can also convert it to a flatbed very quickly. There are also a couple of options available including spray-in bed-liners and cargo box power lifts.

One of the things that I liked the most about this part of the vehicle was the Quick-Clamp system, exclusive to John Deere, which makes adding or removing attachments and accessories very quick and simple, which is good no matter what task you are accomplishing.

Attachments and Options Available

There are a ton of options and attachments available for the John Deere 625i. Each of the options come factory installed when you order your Gator, so there is no hassle or trouble getting them put on. The most popular options for the 625i are as follows:

  • Camo Seat Cover (Large)
  • Deluxe Seat Cover
  • Full-size Vehicle Cover, Cab or Structure
  • Heater Fitting Kit
  • OPS and Deluxe Cap Camo Cover
  • OPS Camo Organizer
  • OPS Camo Soft Roof
  • OPS Light Kit
  • OPS Organizer
  • OPS Soft Roof Kit
  • Poly Cart Hard Top
  • Poly Half Windshield Kit, OPS
  • Poly Roof Kit, OPS
  • Winch Accessory Kit
  • 1- 7/8 inch ball hitch
  • 2-inch ball hitch
  • 2-inch drawbar kit
  • 17AT Utility Cart
  • 25-Gallon Bed Sprayer
  • 40-Gallon Sprayer
  • 40-Gallon Tow Behind Sprayer
  • Cargo Box Side Extension Kit
  • Adventure Light Kit
  • Plow Markers
  • Powertack Markers
  • Spray-in Bedliners
  • Cargo Box Power Lifts
Gators Work Hard and Play Hard
Gators Work Hard and Play Hard

Compared to the Competition

John Deere actually makes a point to compare their vehicles to their competitor’s closest related models. The two competing vehicles for this review were the Polaris Ranger 500 and the Kawasaki Mule 4010 4x4.

Engine Comparisons

The John Deere 625i and the Polaris 500 both have EFI (electronic fuel Injection), while the Mule has digital fuel Injection. The John Deere and the Mule both have two cylinders while the Polaris 500 only has one. The John Deere and Mule also both have 617 cc engine displacements, while the Polaris 500 only has 498 cc. All three have liquid cooling systems.

Fuel Systems

Fuel capacity in the John Deere is 5.3 US gallons. In the Polaris, the fuel capacity is 9 gallons and in the Mule, it is 6.2 gallons.

Transmission

The John Deere and the Mule both have CVT (continuously variable transmission) while the Polaris 500 has PVT (polaris variable transmission). The ground speed on each of them is as follows: John Deere: 0-30 in High Forward, Polaris 500: 0-47, Mule: 0-25.

Suspension and Steering

The front suspension varies between the three machines. The John Deere 625i has fully independent Dual A-Arm with adjustable coils. The Polaris has Dual A-Arm. The Mule has Independent MacPherson struts. The front suspension travel is 8 inches in the John Deere, 9.6 inches in the Polaris, and 3.9 inches in the Mule.
The rear suspension on the John Deere is fully Independent Dual A-Arm with adjustable coils and sway bar. In the Polaris, the rear suspension is Dual A-Arm, IRS and in the Mule it is semi-Independent, De Dion axle with leaf springs and shocks. The rear suspension travel is 9 inches in both the John Deere and the Polaris 500 and 2.8 inches in the Mule.

Occupant Protective Systems

The tubular overhead system is almost the same in all of them. They all three have grab bars for the passengers. All three have seat belts. The Polaris has a 2-point seat belt while the John Deere has a 3-point seat belt system.

Ground Clearance

The ground clearance on each of the machines varies. The John Deere has 11 inches of clearance, the Polaris Ranger has 12 inches, and the Mule only has 6.9 inches of ground clearance.

Dimensions

The length of the Gator is 119 inches. The length of the Ranger is 114 inches. The length of the Mule is 118.3 inches. The width of the Gator and the Mule are both 62 inches while the Ranger width is only 60 inches. The height of the Gator is 75 inches, the Ranger is 76 inches and the height of the Mule is 75.8 inches. The wheelbase of the Gator is 79 inches. The wheelbase of the Polaris is 76 inches, and the wheelbase of the Mule is 73.6 inches. The weight of the Gator is 1383 lbs. The weight of the Ranger is 1214 lbs., and the weight of the Mule is the heaviest of these three weighing in at 1406 lbs. Both the Ranger and the Mule have bench seating while the Gator has bucket seats. The towing capacity of the Gator and Ranger are both 1,500 lbs while the Mule is only 1,200 lbs.

Cargo Box and Capacity

The Gator cargo box comes with polypropylene side panels and tailgate, steel floor, and load guard. The Ranger 500 has a plastic cargo box, and the Mule has a steel cargo box. The dimensions of the cargo box on the Gator are 45L x 52W x 11.5D. The dimensions of the Ranger are 36.5L x 54W x 11.5D. The Mule cargo box dimensions are 46.3L x 51.6W x 11.3D. The weight capacity for the Gator and the Ranger are both 1000 lbs and the Mule is rated at 800lbs capacity.

Overall

The John Deere Gator XUV 625i is a great crossover vehicle that would be great for anyone who wants to own one vehicle that can be used on the farm and played with out on the trail. With the pricing starting at just $9,899 this is an exceptional vehicle for the price.

Specifications of the John Deere 625i

John Deere Gator XUV 625i 4x4
John Deere Gator XUV 625i 4x4

Engine:

  • Type: 4-cycle gasoline EFI (Electronic Fuel Injection)
  • Cylinders: 2
  • Horsepower: 23
  • Displacement: 617cc
  • Max Torque: 34.6 @ 2100 rpm
  • Ignition Type:  Solid State 12 v
  • Cooling System: Liquid
  • Muffler: Spark-arresting

Electrical:

  • Alternator: 25.5 amp @ 3200 rpm, regulated, 306 watts
  • Headlights: Two 37.5 watt Halogen
  • Battery: 340CCA

Fuel System:

  • Gas Tank Capacity: 5.3 Gallon
  • Fuel Pump: Electric

Transmission:

  • Type: CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission)
  • Drive Belt:  Spun Top Cog, 31 mm wide
  • Gear Selection: Hi, Low, Neutral and Reverse
  • Max Speed: Hi Forward 30 mph, Low Forward 17 mph, Reverse 20 mph
  • Brakes: Front/Rear hydraulic disk, Park/driveline mechanical disk, hand operated
  • Bearings: Sealed, Double-row ball
  • Axle: 27mm diameter, forged CV-shaft with Double Offset Joint

Suspension and Steering:

  • Front Suspension: Fully Independent, 8 in travel
  • Rear Suspension: Fully Independent, Dual A-Arm with adjustable coils and sway bar, Travel 9 in
  • Steering: Rack and Pinion
  • Turning Radius: 12.4 ft

4WD:

  •  System Type: On-demand true 4-wheel drive
  • Front Differential: Auto-locking (on/off rocker switch)
  • Rear Differential:  Positive locking, mechanically actuated (hand-operated)

Hitch:

  •  Front: Standard 2-in receiver
  • Back: Standard 2-in receiver
John Deere Gator XUV 625i 4x4 Camo
John Deere Gator XUV 625i 4x4 Camo

Dimensions:

  •  Length: 119 in
  • Width: 62 in
  • Height: 75 in
  • Wheelbase: 79 in
  • Weight:  1,383 lb (including fuel & fluids)
  • Seating:  Capacity 2, Type Professional high back, bucket
  • Ground Clearance: 11 in
  • Towing Capacity: 1,500 lb
  • Payload Capacity: 1,000 lb
  • Cargo Box Capacity: Length 45 in x Width 52in x depth 12in
  • Cargo Box Volume Capacity: 16.4 cubic ft
  • Cargo Box Weight Capacity: 1,000 lb
  • Cargo Box Dump: Manual with lift-assist shock (factory installed power lift option)
  • Cargo Box Tailgate: Hinged at bottom, removable

Tires:

  •  Front: 26 x 9 -12 Ancla M-T (Extreme Terrain), 26 x 9 -12 Terrahawk AT (All Terrain)
  • Rear: 26 x 11-12 Ancla M-T (Extreme Terrain), 25 x 11-12 Terrahawk AT (All Terrain)

OPS (Occupant Protective Systems):

  •  Seat Belts: 3-point
  • Tubular overhead structure: 1.75 in steel tube
  • Passenger Grab Handles: Front OPS Post, Front Dash

For more information about this vehicle please go to their website at John Deere Gator XUV 625i.


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