Honda Talon 2020 Ultimate Buyer’s Guide

Honda has long had a reputation for quality and reliability. Go to any ATV park around the country and there’s a good chance you’ll see someone still cruising around on their old Fourtrax 300. That bulletproof reliability has become synonymous with the Honda name. This is due, in large part, to their cautious and methodical nature when developing new machines.

While other manufacturers have jumped head first into new segments and bringing out new gadgets, Honda has kept their approach mostly unchanged. They continue to build machines that are durable and well thought out. This approach has served them well with their ATVs and they continued that approach when they entered the UTV market.

Honda’s first UTV, the Big Red was very much a utility machine. While the engine was adequate, the Big Red wasn’t designed with trail riding in mind and that limited the appeal of the machine. Honda’s Pioneer 700 model was a better compromise between recreation and utility and it has been a great success for them.

That success led to the Pioneer 500 and the Pioneer 1000 models. The 500 and 1000 model Pioneers both feature Honda’s Dual Clutch Transmission, which makes these UTVs rather unique in a market dominated by CVT transmissions. Honda has made it no secret that they’re not fans of the belt driven transmission and they’ve provided a compelling alternative. 

These are all great machines and they do exceptionally well on the trails, but they’re still utility vehicles at heart. Honda didn’t have anything to compete with RZRs or Wildcats until 2019.

The all-new Talon 1000R and 1000X were released as Honda’s first foray into the pure-sport side-by-side market. With anticipation for this UTV being sky-high, it’s no surprise that demand has followed suit. Honda then surprised everyone by releasing the 2020 Talon 1000X-4 and Talon 1000X-4 FOX Live Valve, just a few months later.

While there are a lot of similarities between the Talon models, there are some notable differences to keep in mind when looking to purchase. Below is a guide of the different models and features to help prospective buyers decide on which Talon they want to bring home.

Talon 1000X

Honda Talon 1000x

The Talon 1000X may be appropriately described as the trail version of the Talon. At 64 inches wide, it is 4 inches narrower than the 1000R and has a shorter wheelbase, at 87.6 inches. Dual A-arm front suspension with FOX Podium 2.0 QS3 shocks provide 14.6 inches of wheel travel.

Out back, there’s a three-link trailing arm setup with FOX Podium 2.0 QS3 shocks with 15.1 inches of wheel travel. It has 28 inch tires all around, mounted on 15 inch aluminum wheels and 4 wheel disc brakes are standard. This machine can handle tight and twisty trails and stop on a dime, but the heart of any UTV is the engine.

The Talon features Honda’s 999cc unicam twin cylinder engine that cranks out 104 hp. The 6-speed DCT transmission gets that power to the ground effectively and efficiently. You’ll get quick, crisp shifts in auto mode or you can manually shift the transmission yourself, using the steering wheel mounted paddle shifters.

You also have the option to select between high and low range, with low range providing a full 42% gear reduction. To help maintain traction, the Talon has Honda’s I-4wd system that uses brake force to send power to the front wheel that has traction. It does an excellent job at simulating a locking differential, without the increased steering difficulty and negative handling characteristics.

Inside the cockpit, you’ll find an adjustable driver’s seat, tilt steering wheel, and an LCD information display. You also get standard doors, window nets, LED headlights, and it’s one of the few machines on the market that comes from the factory with a roof. The Talon 1000X is available in either a Pearl Red/Metallic Grey combo or Metallic Grey/Metallic Blue combo. MSRP is $19,999.

Talon 1000R

Honda talon 1000r

If the Talon 1000X is designed with trails in mind, the Talon 1000R was intended for the desert and sand. It’s better equipped to handle the wide open, high speed trails out west. It’s wider, at 68.4 inches, and has a longer wheelbase, at 92.7 inches.

The suspension is also better suited to this type of riding. It has dual A-arms up front with FOX Podium 2.5 QS3 shocks with 17.7 inches of wheel travel. In the rear, it features a 4+ link trailing arm setup with FOX Podium QS3 shocks providing 20.1 inches of wheel travel. 28 inch tires are mounted on 15 inch aluminum wheels and it has a full 13 inches of ground clearance.

The Talon 1000R has the same 999cc unicam twin cylinder engine and 6-speed DCT transmission. It also comes standard with doors, window nets, roof, LED headlights, and painted bodywork. The cockpit is the same as the 1000X, with an adjustable driver’s seat, tilt steering, and LCD information center. The 1000R comes in either Pearl Red or Pearl Green and the MSRP checks in at $20,999.

Talon 1000X-4 

HOnda talon 1000x-4

Honda surprised the UTV world with the rather quick introduction of the Talon 1000X-4. Previously, 4 or 5 seat Honda Pioneers had flip up seats in the bed, but the Talon 1000X-4 has an extended frame and wheelbase to accommodate 4 passengers, marking a stark departure from Honda’s previous design philosophy.

The width remains 64 inches, but the wheelbase was increase to 116.4 inches. The rear seats in the new 1000X-4 are raised nearly 3 inches to provide a better forward view for those sitting in the back. With this design, you also maintain the full storage space in the bed, even if you have passengers, unlike the Pioneer models. 

The Talon 1000X-4 shares the same 999cc unicam twin cylinder engine as its 2-seat counterpart, as well as the 6-speed DCT transmission. Suspension is mostly the same, with dual A-arms up front and a 3-link trailing arm setup in the rear. It has FOX Podium 2.0 QS3 shocks providing 14.6 inches of wheel travel in the front and FOX Podium 2.5 QS3 shocks with 15 inches of travel in the rear.

It comes standard with 28 inch tires on 15 inch aluminum wheels and ground clearance is a solid 12.8 inches. You also have the I-4wd system to help keep you moving, should you run out of ground clearance. Doors, window nets, LED headlights, and LCD information display are also standard. This model is available in a Metallic Grey/Pearl Red combo. MSRP for the 1000X-4 is $21,999.

Talon 1000X-4 FOX Live Valve

Honda talon 1000x-4 fox live valve

The FOX Live Valve model gives you all of the great features of the Talon 1000X-4, but with a serious upgrade in suspension. You’ll get the fantastic 999cc unicam twin cylinder engine producing 104 hp and the 6-speed DCT transmission with manual shift option and sport mode.

This is also the only automatic UTV on the market with a Launch Mode. Just hold the brake, hit Launch Mode, and pull in both paddle shifters. When you’re ready to go, floor the throttle and let go of the paddles and the Talon will launch off the line with some serious force.

While Launch Mode is a pretty cool feature, it’s the suspension that really sets this Talon apart from the rest. It maintains the dual A-arms up front and the 3-link trailing arm suspension in the rear, but the shocks get a major upgrade.

It has Fox 2.5 Live Valve shocks front and rear that are capable of continuous, active adjustments while you ride. Honda partnered with Bosch to develop an integrated system that tracks inputs from different sensors to determine optimal compression for each shock.

Things like engine RPM, vehicle speed, transmission gear, yaw and pitch, steering angle, and brake pressure, among other things, are all monitored. This data allows the Bosch suspension ECU to make adjustments to shock compression every 5 milliseconds.

If you’re cornering fast, it’ll stiffen the shocks to keep the vehicle planted. If you’re just leisurely cruising about, it’ll soften the suspension for comfort. With 14.4 inches of front wheel travel and 15 inches of rear wheel travel, this UTV is ready to tackle anything you can throw at it. 

The FOX Live Valve suspension steals the show, but this Talon still has all of the other standard features in the Talon lineup. It has standard doors, window nets, roof, and LED headlights. 28 inch tires and 15 inch aluminum wheels are standard. Width remains 64 inches and wheelbase is 116.4 inches. It also comes with Honda’s I-4wd system to keep you moving no matter the terrain. The Talon 1000X-4 FOX Live Valve comes in Metallic Grey/Metallic Orange combo and the MSRP is $23,999.

These Talons are sharp!

Honda has kept a much more moderate pace in the development of their side-by-side lineup than other manufacturers. That methodical approach to developing vehicles that fit their standards for quality, durability, and reliability has led to some really great products.

They have the only dual clutch transmission UTVs on the market and their I-4wd system is one of the best out there. It’s obvious that Honda watches the market closely and develops vehicles that not only fit the needs of consumers, but also meet their strict standards for quality, and the Talon is no exception.

The Talon doesn’t have the highest horsepower or suspension numbers on the market, but it has a lot of features that truly set it apart from the competition. It has the DCT transmission that can be shifted manually or left in auto mode, the I-4wd system from Honda’s automotive division, and fantastic suspension components across the lineup.

It has sporty bucket seats and interior quality is second to none. The engine is strong and sounds great racing through the gears and the 4-seat FOX Live Valve model even has Launch Mode. Honda really focused on the details with this UTV and it shows. If you’re looking for a great all-around sport UTV with Honda’s legendary quality and reliability, then look no further. The Honda Talon is what you’ve been waiting for!