12 Common Owner Complaints With The Honda Pioneer 500

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Let’s get this out of the way first: the Honda Pioneers make for one of the best all-around UTVs you can buy in their respective classes, period.

That said, there are a number of common owner complaints with the Pioneer 500.

You can read more detail on both the good and bad with these models in this full review of the Pioneer 500, but let’s have a look at the 12 most common owner complaints with the Pioneer 500.

12 Common Owner Complaints

Lack Of Storage Space:  There is hardly any storage space in the cramped cab area of these little vehicles.  Many owners grab something like these overhead storage bags to compensate:

No Power Steering:  Lack of power steering can make it harder to steer and control these models, especially when in 4WD.

Frequent Bottoming Out:  Ground clearance is about as minimal as it gets in the class, so if you ride rutted trails or off-road often, you’ll find the machine bottoms out more often than you’d like.

Harsh Shifting For New Units:  The transmission in new units can be harsh when shifting for the first hundred miles or so until broken in.

No Cargo Bed:  The Pioneer 520 is one of the very few UTVs out there these days that doesn’t offer a rear cargo bed.  Aside from not offering the ability to haul cargo, this gives it the look of more of a golf cart than a UTV. 

Many owners will fashion their own rear cargo tray or rack.  Others have added a rear storage bag that can sit on the back, like the Kolpin Rigid Storage Bag:

Gear Shifts Not Quite As Smooth:  The 500’s unique drivetrain has its advantages over a traditional CVT style tranny, but you’ll find the gear shifts tend to be long and are more noticeable while taking place, so it’s not quite as smooth as CVT-style models.

Suspension Not Great For Trail Riding:  The stock shocks are the main culprit of this, along with the minimal amount of travel from the small wheelbase.  The ride is rather stiff on dirt roads, and trails and off-road terrain can be rather jolting.

Glorified Golf Cart Look:  The tires on the 500 are smaller than pretty much every other UTV in the class.  This makes the ground clearance less than you might like and also makes the Pioneer 500 look more like a glorified golf cart.

Cab Space Is Cramped:  If you’re a bigger fella or just have long legs, the cab space and leg room is going to be minimal for you.  And put two big fellas next to each other in this little cab, you’ll be shoulder to shoulder and getting to know each other real well the whole ride.

Low Recreational Riding Appeal:  The Pioneer 500 is not meant to be a recreational vehicle at all, only able to reach upwards of 35-40 mph and not offering a comfortable ride on most trails.

Constant Squeaking & Rattling:  You’ll hear lots of squeaking and rattling from the side doors, motor mounts, body/frame and even the front differential.  Thankfully, nothing this Specialist spray can’t fix:

Shifting Trouble: Among the more common problems with the Pioneer 500 is being stuck in a certain gear, the inability to shift to a certain gear, the paddle shifts not working, and the clutch slipping between gears.  It’s a common issue in many Pioneers but can usually be overcome with a few workarounds when you encounter it.