John Deere has been one of Americas top trusting brand names for as long as I can remember. The brand stands for quality, reliability and innovation. Grandparents tell their grandchildren stories that involve the family John Deere. They last generations and are the backbone of American farmers. The Gator has been around for many years. Most people assoiate a JD gator as a five or six wheeled vehicle usually seen at footbal games or on golf courses. The John Deere AMT was a 5 wheeled vehicle that ultimately led to the Gator in 1992. Since then there has been quite a few different styles of Gators produced. Until now no Gator has excelled at both work and play. Over a half a million Gators have been produced. The 825i is designed to work harder than any other UTV and play like any other UTV.
When our local John Deere dealer Buck Bros dropped of the Gator it was brand spanking new, there was zero hours on it. The sporty styling and quality components really stood out. This is one good looking tough machine in its bright lemon and lime color scheme. Right away we put it to work over at the marina. They used it for towing trailers around, hauling dock boxes, tools to the boats and even launching a few boats. John Deere states that the Gator 825i can tow 1500 lbs. We exceeded that by 4x easily with a 26 ft boat that we launched. For obvious reasons do not try this at home as it will void your warranty if anything happens. It pulled the loads without issue, it handled everything we threw at it with ease. The 825i has an Italian built 812-cm, three-cylinder, dual overhead cam, liquid-cooled, four-cycle gasoline engine. It produces 47 lb-ft at 3200 rpm and 50 hp at 6000 rpm. The engine has a good power curve and is governed at 44mph. Fuel injection will get you started fast on cold days and makes the UTV economical on fuel. The engine has a real nice sport growl sound to it and will for sure turn heads out on the trail.
The transmission levers are located on the center console along with a diff lock. They are big and easy to grab even with gloves on. We had no issues shifting gears. Low gear has some massive torque. The 825i has substantial engine braking which made me feel very confident descending grades. 4X4 is simple with a dash mounted switch on the central LCD gauge pod for shift on the fly flexibility. The gauges are big and easy to read. They display vehicle info like fuel level, rpm, speed, 4×4, time and coolant temperature. You can adjust the orange backlight level and change the time settings on the pod also. The electrical system is more automotive style than typical UTV’s, there is a fuse box that holds standard, easy to find automotive fuses.
The 45″x 52″bed of the Gator is made from a composite which resists dents and quiets the unit down. It holds 1000 lbs of cargo. It has tie downs to help keep the load in place and the tailgate has measurements molded in so you can measure wood, etc. The taillights are recessed and protected by a grill so they don’t get damaged while loading and unloading. On the drivers side is a recessed lever to make the bed tilt for dumping. John Deere has tons of accessories available for the 825i including a powered dump feature. You can customize this vehicle any way you want. One thing lacking on the 825i is the amount of enclosed storage, there is hardly any.
We know the 825i is tough and can get the job done but how well does it play? We took it to Rocky Glenn OHV park out in Rockford, Illinois and put it to the ultimate test. We had the throttle pegged to the floor almost the entire time we were out there. This thing is fun and the traction is unbelievable , the 4 wheel independent suspension made for a smooth ride even over the roughest of terrain. We took the Gator in water up to the seats, in amazement we witnessed the water drain through a hole in the seat, now that’s innovation! I can honestly say that the 825i impressed me in almost every test that we did. Handling was predictable and responsive with a bit of understeer. You really had to work hard to get the rear end to kick out even on gravel terrain. The Maxxis bighorn 2.0 tires really aid in traction of this vehicle. Pushbutton on the fly 4 wheel drive will get you out of any situation.
It is one of the most capable offroad and job site working machines on the market Being that it is a crossover gives the 825i an edge on the job site. The aggressive tires and stance will get you through almost any terrain. The suspension will give both the passengers and cargo a smooth ride. You can get this Gator in a few variations like with power steering, a diesel or even a 4 seater. John Deere has set the standard of the crossover UTV with the 825i. Check out John Deere Gators here.