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ONDA’S all-new Multi Util­ity Ve­hi­cle the Big Red has hit the tough Aussie mar­ket and is al­ready prov­ing its met­tle by tak­ing on the coun­try’s di­verse con­di­tions in its stride.

What sets the Big Red apart from other sim­i­lar ve­hi­cles is Honda’s leg­endary build qual­ity, safety fea­tures and ease of use.

All of this makes this MUV en­joy­able whether you’re run­ning a prop­erty, a work­site or head­ing to your fa­vorite fish­ing or hunt­ing spot.

The Big Red is sim­ple to drive and de­liv­ers you con­fi­dence in its abil­ity in some pretty tough off-road con­di­tions.

When I had the op­por­tu­nity to test it, I found the pow­er­ful four-stroke, four­valve 675cc, sin­gle-cylin­der en­gine pro­vided a broad power band with plenty of grunt.

Power is fed di­rectly through a shaft drive de­sign, so there are no slip­ping belts to up­set con­stant drive to the wheels.

Honda’s pro­grammed fuel-in­jec­tion sys­tem took care of fuel de­liv­ery and gave a nice crisp throt­tle

Hre­sponse and ex­cel­lent fuel econ­omy.

Un­der the bon­net there is a wa­ter-tight bat­tery box and a high-mounted, well set back ra­di­a­tor to re­duce the like­li­hood of mud, grass seeds or in­sects clog­ging the ra­di­a­tor fins.

On the day of the test, the con­di­tions were wet and greasy with an abun­dance of deep, mud-filled pot­holes on the track.

The con­ve­nient, dash- mounted drive se­lec­tor was easy to use and se­lect the ap­pro­pri­ate gear for the con­di­tions.

There are three dif­fer­ent, fully au­to­matic drive modes — 2WD with open rear dif­fer­en­tial for sen­si­tive ter­rain and lawns, 4WD with rear dif­fer­en­tial lock for rough con­di­tions and 4WD with all-wheel dif­fer­en­tial lock, when you need that some­thing ex­tra.

The hy­draulic brakes were ex­cel­lent even when to­tally im­mersed in thick sloppy mud.

Honda has in­cor­po­rated a bal­anced au­to­mo­tive-style de­sign that en­sures front and rear brak­ing even in the event that one brake line fails for some un­ex­pected rea­son.

The cab on Big Red is re­ally roomy, with two of us in the cab it was not in the least bit cramped.

It also has comfortable rub­ber-mounted seats with ad­justable backs de­signed to fit a wide range of body types and on the rough roads of­fered very de­cent cush­ion­ing.

There is a full, four pil­lar roll cage with plas­tic half-doors and quick-release net­ting on the ei­ther side cov­er­ing the whole of the door open­ing thereby pro­vid­ing ex­cel­lent pro­tec­tion.

You can also fit a full per­spex wind­screen. Keep­ing you in­side the cage are three-point au­to­mo­tive style seat­belts.

As a work ve­hi­cle, The Big Reds tilt­ing tray boasts a 227kg load ca­pac­ity and fea­tures a steel frame for strength.

It also has a heavy-duty re­ceiver-style hitch with 544 kg tow­ing ca­pac­ity.

De­spite its size, it has a comfortable ground clear­ance that helped clear the up­turned rocks, logs and fallen trees on the trail and where it didn’t quite have the nec­es­sary clear­ance the tough steel chas­sis eas­ily slid over the ob­struc­tions.

We also had no prob­lem en­ter­ing or leav­ing some of the nar­row creeks, the Big Red sim­ply did not stop, even in rea­son­ably deep wa­ter.

In the turns, hard on the gas, the back­end is al­most im­pos­si­ble to break loose; de­spite try­ing.

It cor­ners flat and has al­most zero body roll even when go­ing hard.

This is a util­ity ve­hi­cle that can be pressed into hard work through the week and ab­so­lute fun for the week­end.

For more de­tails, see Pre­ci­sion Mo­tor­cy­cles at 2 Ber­rimah Rd, Ber­rimah (Truck City com­plex) or phone 8984 4876.

Re­view: JIM GREEN of Pre­ci­sion Mo­tor­cy­clesPho­tos: AMY BRA­BIN

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