We figured this was a given, but Honda pulled the covers off of its 4-seat Talon much faster than any of us thought possible.
At Big Red’s dealer show at Texplex in Midloathian, Texas, they unveiled two new four-seat models – the Talon 1000X-4 and the Talon 1000X-4 Fox Live Valve. Not only are both of these four-seaters purpose built to take your family and friends on the ultimate side-by-side ride, but they are also built to the highest standards with Honda durability, quality, and ingenuity.
The overall “look” of the Talon 4-seater is either loved or not, but no matter what you think, it’s made for fun and functionality. The fenders and the flow of the panels on the 1000X-4 follow the established CRF design language that was introduced on both models of the 2-seat Talons. For any of you coming from dirt bikes or quads, the high but well positioned front fenders will be welcomed for both their overall design and for their great sight lines from the driver’s seat.
When you first walk up to the Talon 1000X-4, you notice the signature Honda quality when you open the automotive-style quarter doors. The latches are easy to use and the doors shut with a commanding “click” with no rattles or unwanted noises. The seats greet you with support for your bum and your back, whether you are in the front or the back. When we specifically look at the 1000X-4 family hauler, the rear seats have been elevated and positioned more towards the center of the vehicle. Both of these features enable the rear seat passengers to thoroughly enjoy their experience with a better view of the front of the vehicle.
As I climbed into the rear seats of the 1000X-4 (the front seats are positioned the same as the 2-seat versions), my 6’3” frame easily fit into the rear with plenty of side-, head-, and leg-room. My knees did coddle the outside of the front seats, but the exterior parts of the front seats have a comfortable siding on them, giving me a comfortable place to rest my knees. The footwell in the back has a cross tube where my ankles sat, but that didn’t impede my feet in any way. The footwell is nice and deep. In other words, the seating position in the back is comfortable for pretty much any size person. Plus, the overall position of the rear seats works really well for rear seat passengers to be able to see out of the front. This will help those riders who tend to get carsick when riding in a side-by-side, or those who just want the best view from the back possible.
To make room for the rear seats, the wheelbase was extended to 116.4” (the 2-seat Talon 1000X has an 87.6” wheelbase). While we didn’t get to drive the Talon 1000X-4 at this event, our experience with other 4-seat models in the side-by-side industry will allow us to deduce that this Talon 4-seater is going to excel in the bumps with a smoother overall ride and more stability from this ultra-rigid chassis. This will help the driver navigate in a variety of terrain, but the wheelbase isn’t too long to hinder the machine, either. Competitive models in the industry suffer from a wheelbase that is too long to navigate the tight trails. The Talon 1000X-4 models should not suffer from this hindrance, especially when the woods creep in on you. Confidence when driving on the trails is key!
There are two models offered in the Talon 1000X-4 lineup. The base model, which is simply named the Talon 1000X-4, includes the same standard features of the 2-seat Talon 1000X, including the roof, 28” tires/15” wheels, 3-link rear suspension setup, dual a-arm front suspension setup, and Fox 2.0 shocks on the front (14.6” travel) and Fox 2.5 shocks on the rear (15.0” travel). QS3 adjusters on all 4 shocks allow the driver to manually select compression levels from the 3-position clicker switch on the shock reservoir body.
The upgraded 4-seat Talon model is called the Talon 1000X-4 Fox Live Valve. As you would imagine, the Fox shocks are upgraded in this model, but there are also some additional upgrades to this vehicle, including launch control (Yes!!!) and a striking orange chassis. You might have seen the Fox Live Valve shocks in the past, and these are similar but different units on the Talon. The same Live Valve concept applies here – instead of using traditional manual clickers on the shock bodies to adjust the compression, Fox has installed an electronically controlled compression adjuster on the shock.
This electronic compression adjuster is controlled via a Bosch-developed “brain” of sorts on the vehicle. Driver’s can switch between Normal and Sport modes when driving to adjust the compression settings on the shocks. However, it’s not just the driver’s input that changes the shocks, the Bosch “brain” monitors compression speed, steering, throttle position, braking, RPM, vehicle weight, selected gear, vehicle speed, and vehicle orientation (via a five-axis Inertial Measurement Unit – aka IMU), all of which allow it to make second-by-second adjustments to the shocks. It’s literally on-the-fly, and this is what makes the system so special and fast. Drivers and passengers will be able to enjoy Normal mode for smooth rides over the rough, slower terrain, and then Sport mode will be able to alter how the shock’s compression ramps up under harder driving situations.
Yes, the shocks package is well worth the upgrade to the Live Valve edition of the 1000X-4, but the fact that Honda has unveiled launch control on the Fox Live Valve edition is significant, mainly because this is the first time that this feature has ever been found on a 4-seat side-by-side.
Here’s the inside scoop that you won’t read in the press release: The launch control system can be activated at pretty much any RPM. Instead of only full throttle launches, which is still completely doable with this launch system, the system can also launch on, say, half throttle. Why would you want to do this? Well, for all of us who ride in muddy or slippery terrain, you aren’t going to want to launch at full throttle because you aren’t going to be going anywhere with too much tire slip on the loose terrain. Having the ability to launch at half throttle will help you gain traction in multiple terrains. Plus, I would personally like to try it if/when we ever got the family hauler stuck. The extra bump could be the trick between digging yourself out and being able to use traction to “bump” yourself out of a situation. No matter what you use it for, launch control will be very welcomed on this particular vehicle.
With launch control available on this particular model, we are now wondering when this technology will make its way over to the other Talon models, both 2- and 4-seat, in the future? Also, the 2-seat Talon 1000R could really benefit from both launch control and the Fox Live Valve suspension technology. Will we have to wait until 2021 for these additions? Pending any special edition or other vehicle launches later this year, Honda seems to be keeping this technology on one model to test out consumer demand before putting it on other Talon vehicles in the lineup. If our opinion matters to them, we’d say go for it, Honda. Put that technology on other Talon vehicles, please!
Those special technologies only add to the stock platform that makes the Honda Talon 1000X-4 great right off the showroom floor. Like the 2-seaters in the lineup, the 4-seaters come with the parallel twin 999cc engine, Dual Clutch 6-speed automatic transmission (also features a full manual mode with paddle shifters), i4WD that automatically puts traction to the wheels with the most available grip, advanced engine liquid cooling and lubrication systems, one-piece chassis design, and of course significant drivetrain and chassis protection.
Surprisingly, Honda 2-seat and 4-seat Talon models share about 88% of the same parts. This not only makes service items easier, but it also makes adding accessories easier to any Talon. If you have a 2-seater and want to update because you expand your family in the future, many of your existing Talon 2-seat accessories will fit on your 4-seater.
Stay tuned! We’ll have a full ride report later in the Fall after we drive the Talon 1000X-4 and 1000X-4 Fox Live Valve. We can say this for sure, when these vehicles arrive in dealerships (MSRP’s TBA) this fall, there will be a lot of Big Red fans excited to see these new 4-seaters in person. Only time will tell to see if Honda expands its 4-seat lineup to include an “R” version as well. We’ll be waiting, Honda…
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