Husqvarna all-wheel drive utility ATV puts muscle on job site
By Bruce W. Smith
Husqvarna is the world’s largest producer of chainsaws, lawn mowers and other portable gas-powered garden equipment such as trimmers and blowers. So it’s a bit of a surprise to see them coming out with a machine that challenges the likes of Yamaha, Kubota, Polaris and Arctic Cat side-by-side ATVs and UTVs.
But here it is—the all-wheel-drive, diesel-powered Husqvarna HUV4421. And it’s far more than any glorified golf cart or stretched ATV.
“This HUV4421D XP package is designed for hard-core off-road use right out of the box,” says Jerry Sandy, business unit manager for Husqvarna wheeled goods and project leader on the design and development of this machine.
“It’s by far the stoutest utility vehicle on the market; we didn’t cut corners on strength in the design. And with its off-road capability, this model transcends into the sport-utility ATVs sought by many outdoorsmen.”
A day of “field testing” proved it’s difficult to find any aspect of the diesel-powered Husqvarna 4421 XP model to challenge his assessment.
The chassis is built more like a Jeep than an ATV or golf cart with frame rails crafted from welded-and-boxed corrosion-resistant aircraft-grade aluminum; the certified ROPS canopy/cage is formed from 2-inch steel tube, as are the nerf bars and pushbar/grille guard. Even the rear-mounted receiver hitch is a heavy duty two-inch model.
The rear swing arms holding the solid axle in place are beefy as are the double-A arms for the independent front suspension. Shock mounts are heavy duty, and the tilt bed underframing and pivot points look as if they are built for bigger applications.
Mounted mid-ship is a 20-horsepower Kubota diesel nestled between the frame rails with the 6.1-gallon fuel tank on the passenger’s side and an automotive-style battery on the driver’s side.
The water-cooled diesel is miserly on fuel, providing some 30 hours off-road/work use per fill up of the 6.1-gallon tank. The setup also includes a 60-amp alternator so it’s easy for users to run off-road lights and accessories off the power system just like one would a pickup or SUV.
Although this diesel model weighs nearly 1,750 pounds filled with fuel and equipped with the XP options (skid plates, nerf bars, front bumper, differential guards and big mud tires), it doesn’t feel that way when you’re behind the wheel. The Kabota engine’s great low-end torque coupled with the sealed CVT (continuously variable transmission) as no problem moving the rather agile 4x4.
POWER AND GO
The new Husky utility vehicles are the easiest to drive of any “true” all-wheel drive side-by-sides. The fully automatic all-wheel drive engagement and automatic differential locks at both ends allows the driver to literally turn the key, slide the shift lever into “F” and go juts about anywhere.
Sandy says the CVT transmission used in the 4421 is similar to that found in some other UTVs—with one difference: ”The Kubota diesel’s great low-end torque lets us use a single-speed CVT with a high-ratio, eliminating the need for Low-range.”
Like the other utility vehicles out there, the Husky is not all that speedy. It’s limited to 25mph—the maximum speed determined by some states where regulations prohibit farmers and ranchers from exceeding that speed with “farm equipment” when traveling on public roads between properties.
But speed isn’t what gets you through rough terrain and around tight job sites. What’s needed is traction and pulling power. This unit’s front and rear axles are “live” all the time. The rear axle is full-locking except when the vehicle is in a turn on firm ground.
At that point in time, the differential automatically unlocks allowing the outer wheel in the turn rotate faster than the one on the inside. When traction is compromised, the rear locker instantly re-engages, so power is deliver equally to both wheels. If the front wheels begin to slip, an override clutch system engages the front locker.
The Husqvarna all-wheel-drive system is seamless and incredibly effective in its operation.
Ground clearance is just shy of eight inches, giving the long wheel-based HUV the ability to negotiate some rather dicey terrain. The all-wheel-drive system and belly skid plates further its off-road prowess.
COMFORT AND CONVENIENCE
Spending a day behind the wheel of the pre-production model HUV4421D reveals a number of niceties.
The seat firmness is designed for long hours of comfort and the tilt-steering is nice because it allows a variety of drivers to find a good driving position. The shifter is conveniently positioned on the dash and slides between the three positions (F,N,R) to keep driving as simplistic as possible.
Anyone needing to transport material and heavy loads will love the electric screw-driven tilt bed. It can handle a half-ton of material with ease and the switch on the dash allows precise positioning.
The Mossy Oak Forest Floor camo option is also a nice touch.
“Husqvarna has always considered themselves as a ‘green’ company that prides itself in giving back to the community and helping the environment,” says Sandy.
“The guys involved in the HUV are also avid hunters and outdoorsmen. So it was only natural for us to choose Mossy Oak as our camo partner in this new endeavor because they share the same environmental philosophies and corporate spirit.”
Husqvarna brings four models to the market this year, ranging in price from $9,999 to $12,399. They break out like this:
What it boils down to is if you are an outdoorsman who needs a heavy-duty utility four-wheel-drive machine that can serve duty for both work and play, the new Husky, whether gas or diesel, fits that criteria quite well.—Bruce W. Smith
2007 Husqvarna HUV4421D XP Specifications
Price as tested: $12,399
Seating: Bench (buckets optional)
Engine: 20hp Kubota 3-cylinder diesel
Frame: Aluminum box channel
Drivetrain: Auto 4x4; Single-speed CVT; automatic full-locking differentials front/rear
Brakes: 4-wheel disc
Dry weight: 1,587 lbs
Tilt bed: Electric screw-type in oil cylinder
Bed capacity: 800 lbs (1,050 lbs. high-capacity model)
Fuel capacity: 6.1 gals.
Max towing capacity: not yet rated
Tires: 25”x 11.00-12 Mud
Ground clearance: 7.4”
Warranty: 2 years
Contact: 800.487.5962; www.husqvarna.com