Polaris Brutus HD review

If you watch the “boss” cow of any cattle herd, you’ll notice she
typically allows other cattle to act as “guinea pigs” to pass through
a new gate first. I try to learn from nature but this past December,
I went through the gate first and purchased a 2013 Polaris Brutus HD
UTV. Prior to my purchase, I read many reviews however most were
written by dealers, the manufacturer or national magazines that
seemed in lock-step with the manufacturer news releases. It may be no
one has a lot of real-world experience with the Brutus as it is so
new. I have owned quite a few tractors, skid-steers and atv’s in my
life and now have a few weeks’ worth of regular-guy experience with
the Polaris Brutus. I would like to offer my own review this week.

The Brutus looks very much like the Polaris Ranger XP900, with some
very important differences. The Brutus has an optional front power
take-off to power attachments such as a snow blower or a finish
mower. The attachments mount on what is basically a three-point hitch
situated at the front of the machine which is call the Pro-Tach
Attachment system. I purchased a bucket and fork-lift for the
front-mount lift. The Brutus was made in partnership with Bobcat and
the technology behind the front-mount lift appears to be all Bobcat,
which is great. The rear dump-box is sized for a wood pallet and can
haul 1200 pounds. My Brutus came with an electric over hydraulic lift
and the dump-box will accept all Ranger accessories. It should be
mentioned that the front lift and steering are both operated by a
true hydraulic pump mounted on the engine. The engine is a Yanmar
diesel backed by a treadle-peddle hydrostatic transmission. Top speed
is right around 30 mph so please enter into your relationship with
the Brutus with your eyes wide open, this is a work vehicle that can
also transport it’s occupants around in comfort, but not with great
speed. You will always be the sweeper on any trail ride and will
probably arrive at your destination after everyone else is well into
their second beer.

“this is a typical scoop of snow”

Okay, lets do this point by-point. I have NEVER driven a four wheeler
faster than 30 miles per hour so the Brutus’ lack of high speed meant
nothing to me. I checked on the 24 horsepower, 904 cc Yanmar diesel
and found it has been used successfully by Polaris in other vehicles
and by John Deere in their small tractors. Also 24 horsepower talks
way louder than whatever 24 horsepower gas engine you have in your
riding mower. The diesel has a ton of torque which in the language of
blue collar means work. The rear cargo box lifts quick and looks a
lot like the box on my pick-up; the tailgate fits like a truck
tailgate. Polaris does mention the automotive “fitment” of the Brutus
which I found true in the windshield, roof and rear-window as they
fit perfectly with no squeaks and a good seal. The power steering
allows me to steer with one finger and I suspect the Brutus would
pair well with tracks. Polaris does not offer tracks on their website
for the Brutus however I checked with Mattracks and they had a
commercial set that would fit however they will set you back about
the same as might a good ,low-mileage sedan.

I have used the Brutus for snow removal so far and it has done well.
The bucket is similar to the bucket on a small skid steer and gives
the Brutus 500 pounds of loader capacity. The Bucket only lifts to
about two feet high but that has worked fine for me and piles the
snow to a good level. The only time I’ve ever used a skid steer or
tractor to lift above my head was for hay bales and the Brutus isn’t
made for moving big rounds. The front-end lift has down pressure and
lifts the Brutus right off the ground so I have been able to scrape
the concrete pad in front of our garages clean. The Brutus offers
three settings for final drive; all wheel drive, two wheel-drive or
“turf mode” which is two wheel-drive without a locking rear
differential. The awd engages when the rear tires slip and it really
digs in and uses all that diesel torque. The front-end lift is very
well made and and impressive, way nicer than I’d imagined. The
interior controls are crisp and the front-end lift joystick is so
intuitive that I just grabbed it and it all made sense. I installed
as much cab as I could afford, the price of a full-on Ranger cab is
often spoken of in hushed tones around small campfires by men with
blanks stares. Suffice to say I got everything except the doors but
maybe if I expand my paper route I will be able to afford those by
autumn. The cab is comfortable and Lisa liked our little joy ride and
found the interior very nice with it’s high-degree of finish and cup
holders for each occupant.

“the use of down-pressure means you can place a lot of
pressure on the bucket for complete snow removal”

My final word on the Brutus is I liked it and not just because I
already own it. I expected lawnmower-style attachments but received
attachments that would feel right at home on a small skid-steer. The
front-end lift and all hydraulics were Bobcat quality while the
Brutus itself was a solid and stable platform for the work I wanted
to perform. Comfort level was very high and the low top-end did not
keep me from enjoying a little cruise on the gravel. The Brutus would
be nice for light landscaping, as a chore-boy for a farmer or really
nice for professional snow removal with the front-mounted snow
blower. The Brutus encompasses several needs into one vehicle. It is
definitely a compromise, however it is a darn fine compromise.

please see my new review on installing the PTO kit for my POlaris Brutus HD at http://rreflection.areavoices.com/2014/11/02/polaris-brutus-hd-pto-installation/

2 Responses to “Polaris Brutus HD review”

  1. Greg Hallstrom says:

    Time to go for a trail ride up the Pembina Trail to Carpenter’s Corner with Lyle and Curt Swanson.

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