2009 Honda Big Red 700 MUV Side by Side Video Review

Video of the new 2009 Honda Big Red 700 MUV Side by Side

Honda finally jumps into the side by side market with what they are calling their MUV unit (Multi-Purpose Utility Vehicle). After 15 years of development and research, Honda has finally come up with what they are calling a multi-functioning side by side that is great for work and recreation.

I was recently invited by Honda to their press introduction of their new Big Red MUV. What a blast it was! The ride took place on Catalina Island off the coast of California. This island granted special permission to Honda to bring out their new Big Red MUV units and ride some of the back dirt roads. The ride time was actually a little shorter than normal events like this, but Honda did things right in presenting a great new vehicle to the market with a little different approach.

First Impression

My first impression was this new Side by Side was bigger than I had anticipated. This new Big Red 700 boasts nothing but pure Honda quality and putting simplicity/convenience and safety to the forefront.

Here are a couple of quick thoughts as I wanted to get this video posted to give you a first glance at the new Big Red from Honda. They are now available at select dealers now. A more in-depth article will be coming up in a future issue of Hunting Illustrated Magazine.

The fit and finish and overall quality is commendable. Honda is always at the top of their game on quality, but the Big Red seems top notch

This thing is big. This will NOT fit in the back of your truck (64″ wide and 114.7″ long). The cab is very roomy and Honda chose to do the bucket seats with seat belts with the parking brake lever in the middle.

Full cargo nets and doors are not a surprise being how safety is a big concern. However, the full cargo net on the sides was a little surprise and wasn’t bad getting in and out, but was a little obtrusive when looking out while drive, etc.

The foot pedals (brake and gas) are very good and don’t wiggle at all. Nice and tight. A lot of room on the floor and good angle areas for putting your feet on.

Dump box is wide enough to fit a full wood pallet in the back with the tailgate down. Back dump box has composite plastic sides and the bottom is a metal wrapped in composite plastic. Includes nice rubber mat as well and slight rounded corners so dirt and junk don’t get caught.

Maintenance is very convenient and the most thought out of any Side x Side. Easy access to the battery, air filter, oil and dipstick.

All four tires are the same size. At first I think this is what kind of gives the Big Red its “weird” look for lack of a better term. Kind of looks a little disproportionate, but the tires are a 25 x 10-12.

How is the power? Not bad, and for the size of the machine and the motor being a 675cc I think it does fine (1,431 lb. curb weight). Nothing that will blow your socks off, but Honda doesn’t like to blow your socks off with these kind of vehicles. Good low end power for the rough stuff and decent mid and high range. Also comes with fuel injection to help on cold starts, high altitude and performance.

But what about transmission? This was a big question for me as I was curious if they were going to put in their Hondamatic or not. I like the transmission they have in their Rubicon ATVs, etc. However, I was not impressed with the newer transmission they put in their 700 Rincon ATV. It looks like they did a little combination of both, however it leans more to the Rincon-type transmission. They call it an Automotive-style with three gears. The transmission is not a fluid pull of power. This has three distinct forward gears that does shift automatically as it goes through the power train. Overall this worked fine. However, this is still not my most preferred choice of transmission for an automatic.

Four-Wheel drive mode is the best Honda has ever put out. Why? This is Honda’s first attempt at all-wheel drive differential lock in any ATV or MUV. They have a simple lever on the dash that you can slide into two-wheel drive, four-wheel drive with limited slip in front, then you can go into four-wheel drive with all-wheel differential lock. This works very well and for a machine of this size is a must. I am impressed with Honda’s new four-wheel drive system and hope they start implementing their differential lock on their ATVs.

Braking and engine braking is good. For a vehicle of this size you need to get it stopped. The disc brakes does the job and Honda has a good “hold back” engine braking system that helps on steep descents. Put it in four-wheel drive mode and you have all four tires holding you back.

How is reverse? There is no override button on the Big Red so reverse power is just what you get. I stopped coming down a steep hill and purposely put it in reverse and went back up it. There was no problem and the power was good and strong.

Handling is good and overall the machine feels very stable. It is not made to bust in the corners and try and brake the back tires loose. For what it is it does fine. The suspension is also similar, as it works for moderate speeds and roads. The front suspension does have some limitations at higher speeds on rough, bumpy roads.

So what about price? I was actually a little surprised Honda was able to keep this vehicle in the 11,000 range. Not to say that is not a huge amount of money, but puts it competitive with the Ranger and Rhino. List price for the red Big Red is $11,399 and the Natural Gear Camo version of Big Red is $11,899.

Is it a good Hunting Rig?

I had at one time one of Honda’s lead Japanese developers with me riding in the passenger seat. During this ride I was purposely looking for anything I could go over that was rough or nasty. There was a rut that ran up the full length of this hill. I could have clearly avoided this and stayed on the “good” side of the road. As I busted up the ruts and put it into four-wheel drive, scraping the bottom, jerking us around quite a bit, spinning the tires, I could tell he was quite curious and amused.

After we had stopped at the top, he questioned why I choose to take the line that I did. He asked if that was similar to what I would find while out hunting. I told him that was nothing to what you will find out in the West during a hunt, but it was close to the circumstances that you will run into. Ruts, rocks, mud, steep and deep hills, and more are common. I think the Honda’s new Big Red 700 MUV will make a great hunting rig and they have plenty of cool accessories to add.

Early Conclusion

My ride time was limited to what was available at this event and we weren’t able to really let it all hang out due to the location and some of the restrictions that we had on the island. Honda is targeting the new Big Red 700 MUV Side by Side to the hard worker who likes to do some recreation on the weekends or hunts in the fall. More utility minded then sport, but overall recreation is very good. Definitely targets more of the Polaris Ranger crowd than say the Razor RZR or Yamaha Rhino 700.

Dealer Specs

Engine Type 675cc liquid-cooled OHV semi-dry-sump longitudinally mounted single-cylinder four-stroke
Bore and Stroke 102.0mm x 82.6mm
Induction Electronic fuel injection (PGM-FI): 40mm throttle body
Ignition Full-Transistorized type with electronic advance
Starter Electric

Transmission Automatic with hydraulic torque converter, three forward gears, and reverse
Driveline Direct front and rear driveshafts with 3 drive modes: 2WD, 4WD, and 4WD with all-wheel differential lock

Front Suspension Independent double-wishbone; 5.9-inch travel
Rear Suspension Independent double-wishbone; 7.1-inch travel
Front Brakes Dual hydraulic 200.0 mm discs
Rear Brakes Dual hydraulic 200.0 mm discs
Front Tires 25 x 10-12 bias
Rear Tires 25 x 10-12 bias

Length 114.7 inches
Width 64.0 inches
Height 76.9 inches
Wheelbase 75.7 inches
Seat Height 34.0 inches
Bed Length Inside 33.0
Bed Width Inside 52.6
Bed Weight Capacity 500 lbs
Towing Capacity 1200 lbs
Ground Clearance 10.3 inches
Turning Radius 13.8 feet
Curb Weight 1431 pounds
Fuel Capacity 7.9 Gallons

Note Recommended for Drivers 16 years of age and older.
Available Colors Red,Camo
Model ID MUV700

1 year Transferable, unlimited mileage limited warranty; extended coverage available with a Honda Protection Plan

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7 Comments on "2009 Honda Big Red 700 MUV Side by Side Video Review"

  1. larry toeppe says:

    I’m looking to buy a sxs and have been leaning toward the rhino…after reading this article I think I’m going to give this honda some serious thought becouse of the honda quality. I’m wondering if there are any performance upgrades that are available and accessories such as heaters etc. I’m just a little concerned about the power of the single cylinder vs the v twin. What is the top speed of this unit? Will it do ok on moderate mountain trails? Thanks for the imput!

  2. beaver says:

    i jus go one on feb 22. i love it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! it is a great m.u.v.!!!!!! not for the sporty category though, but does just fine for what i need it for .

  3. jerry says:

    i plow my 1 mile driveway with the honda muv and it pushes all the snow with no problem. 2 thumbs up

  4. chris says:

    i love the big red but it needs a programmer or a chip to pep it up some other than that its great just lacking in power!!!!!!

  5. David Ertle says:

    I just purchased one and I’m looking for a good plow system. Can Gerry tell me what system he has?

  6. Ron Smith says:

    I purchased a 2010 Honda Big Red, and LOVE it! They say its not sporty, but they are wrong! We ride about every weekend, and my friends have Rhinos, Razars, Rangers, the after market Rhinos( we call Chino), My Big Red is Awsome! They say it will run 42 mph, well it will. Thats pretty fast. But I love the way it shifts, just like a car. I’ve added lights, stereo. Going to add another battery, hopefully today. Got the box mounted, but was wondering if just adding it to the battery in the bike will hurt anything?

  7. The O says:

    Got a 2012 big red side by side and finding it very hard to start in cold weather, anyone else having this problem and what to do about it?

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