When it comes to engine options, the Ranger can’t be beaten. There’s a selection of gas engines ranging from 500 to 1,000 cc, a Kohler diesel engine, and even an electric motor. Smaller displacement models have seating for two or four people, while big displacement Rangers can seat either three or 6 passengers depending on whether the buyer chooses the standard or Crew body.
Instead of the usual driver-selectable four wheel drive system found on most UTVs, the Ranger lets the driver select between two wheel drive or an all wheel drive mode. The AWD system decides by itself where the power should go and which axles should lock, a feature that will please casual users but will frustrate technical drivers who want to set up the driveline themselves to fit the terrain. All models have 12 inches of ground clearance, putting it in line with more sport-oriented side-by-sides.
These UTVs come in utility versions and hunting-focused models with Mossy Oak Pursuit camo, while the Northstar comes with an enclosed cab and an automotive-style HVAC system. Currently, it’s the only UTV on the market with air conditioning.
Two seater models can tow up to 1,500 lbs and have a maximum 1,000 lb. payload including up to 500 lbs. loaded into the rear box. Three seater models can tow 2,000 lbs. and carry 1,500 lbs. including 1,000 lbs. in the rear box. Crew versions get a 250 lb. increase in payload to handle the added passengers.
Attachments for the Ranger focus on farm use, including sprayers, a snow blade, snow blower, mower, disc plow, rake and both a T-post holder and wire spooler for putting up fencing. There’s even a way to fit a three point hitch, albeit without a hydraulic lift. However, most buyers would be better served with a tractor, which would have hydraulics, a PTO and a lower overall price tag. Accessories include the usual cab components, audio systems, and lighting options, as well as gun racks to compliment the hunting model.
While an XTV and a Ranger may take completely different approaches to off-road utility, they’re similar in a lot of ways. Tow ratings range from 1,400 lbs. in the Frontier to 2,000 lbs. in the Conquest, while total cargo capacity is roughly in line with the Ranger, varying slightly between models depending on equipment. Want a Kohler diesel? Argo offers this engine in two 8×8 models. Want a hunting vehicle with Mossy Oak camo? Argo uses their Break-Up Infinity pattern on their Outfitter models. Need to carry several people? Most XTVs have space for up to 6 passengers.
From there, they start to diverge. Argo doesn’t let you choose your powertrain’s traction mode because there’s only one: locked drive to all 8 wheels for maximum traction all the time. Thanks to the tire design and brake-based steering, it can do this without causing steering problems or excessive scrubbing that makes handling unpredictable. Ground clearance is 2.5 inches lower than the Ranger, but the tires reduce ground pressure to let the vehicle float over soft terrain, making the difference negligible in real world use.
When it comes to work tasks, Argo has chosen to focus on jobs that require maximum off-roading ability including their medical care and fire fighting-focused Responder and the electrical repair-focused Lineman, as well as the universal mounting system that can turn an XTV into a mobile workstation. The Outfitter also comes fully loaded and ready for hunting expeditions, including a brush guard, gun rack, and cargo rack.
Do you live in a really hot climate or want a vehicle that can run on electricity? The Ranger is pretty much your only choice on the market. Want a vehicle that can use some farm tools? The Ranger fits the bill, but you might be better served with a tractor.
Want attachments that compliment the type of work that needs to be done in remote locations? Argo has what you need while providing all the cargo and towing capacity of a Ranger. Better still, it does this with a drive system that won’t get in the way when tackling difficult terrain.
Want to see how you can put an XTV to work? Shank’s Argo isn’t just a major Argo dealer, we’ve spent over 30 years helping owners get the most from their outdoor equipment. Stop by our showroom, located at 4900 Molly Pitcher Highway in Chambersburg, PA. That’s one mile east of I-81 from Exit 10. You can also order parts and schedule a demo at our website, www.shanksargo.com.