John Deere Gator XUV590i Review

2016 John Deere Gate XUV590i Power Steering

MSRP: $11,359

I have to admit I am a bit of a John Deere fanboy. I have cut my grass with a green machine for years, and when I had the chance to test drive the John Deere Gator XUV590i I was really excited. The XUV590i is a cross-over utility offering with power steering that is designed for work and for play. The Gator comes in a few color combinations including the traditional John Deere yellow/green, Realtree Hardwood HD camo and olive/black. My Gator was the olive/black base version, and it came with four wheel drive, power steering, electronic fuel injection, independent front and rear suspention, a 586cc twin cylinder engine all wrapped up in a mid size chassis. 

Style

The John Deere Gator XUV590i has some nice curb appeal. The front grill and headlight configuration have an aggressive automotive feel. The bed and truck style tailgate were very sturdy and easy to use and gave the machine a party in the front and business in the back look. The Gator’s stance has a tough look and black steel rims and tire combination add to that concept.  The body panel styling and the glossy paint job gives the machine a high end finish and is very scratch resistant when trail “junk” rubs against it. The door nets leave a bit to be desired, but I understand they are needed. As a bigger guy I do appreciate the roomy driver compartment. There is plenty of leg room to get in and out. The center mounted digital display was easy to read and understand and the manual controls were easy to operate. In traditional John Deere fashion, the overall fit and finish on the John Deere Gator XUV590i was outstanding!

How Does It Work?

At first blush you would think the Gator is a work horse…and you would be absolutely correct. The cargo box hold 400 pounds and is almost four feet wide and almost a foot deep. It is made of a high density polymer so there are no concerns about rust or excessive noise from tools or freight rattling around in the bed. The bed also manually dumps and I was impressed how easy the bed dumps with one hand. When you add in the truck style tailgate the Gator bed became very versatile and can adjust to almost any job. Another great benefit John Deere offers is an extremely vast array of accessories that can help modify the Gator for any work scenario. In work situations that would call for frequent stops I was impressed with how easily it was to exit and enter the vehicle. The driver compartment has plenty of leg room in the door well. Occasionally, the door nets got in the way when entering the Gator. Towing capacity with the 2 inch hitch receiver is 1,100 pounds. One odd thing with the Gator XUV590i model is the lack of a parking gear. The gear lever starts on top at High then to Low-Neutral-Reverse. That basically means that when you turn the machine off you leave it in gear then engage the foot actuated mechanical parking brake. The parking brake is located to the left of the brake pedal. The parking brake is a little awkward to engage, but is easy to get used to. More importantly, the lack of a parking gear becomes problematic on inclines. Without engaging the parking brake the Gator easily rolls downhill. 

How Does it Play?

I was very curious to see how the Gator rode on the trail. The Gator has 32 hp, eight inches of suspention travel and 10.5 inches of ground clearance. The shock are not premium and are only preload adjustable. Those stats aren’t necessarily awe-inspiring especially when you compare it to some of the ground shaking, turbo powered monsters that are in showrooms across the country. In reality no one is buying the Gator to take to the dunes, and it is not really a fair comparison to make. Like I stated earlier, the Gator is a cross-over and should be compared to other mid-bore cross-over machines. 

I decided to put this to the test at the Anthracite Outdoor Adventure Area (AOAA). The AOAA has a wide variety of trails and is a great place to put the Gator to the test. I took the Gator through almost every type of terrain I could find including; mud, open coal roads and tight trails. The only situation I avoided were double black diamond trails for a couple reasons. 1) It doesn't come equipped with a winch and 2) I don’t own it so if things got a little gnarly I didn’t want to have to explain what happened to John Deere. 

Throughout my test ride, I found the Gator impressively capable. It was able to easily churn through some frame deep mud. The tire and wheel package cleaned out mud with ease. The Gator really shined when I got it in some tight twisty trails. Those tight areas are when the compact size become a huge asset. The 32 hp engine had more than enough power to get me wherever I wanted to go and handled some very steep/rocky inclines with surprising ease. I was also impressed with the smooth power steering. When you add all this up the Gator is a blast on the trails. It was comfortable, smooth to operate and able to go go almost anywhere I wanted to go.

Pros:

  • Easy to gain access to engine with the dump bed
  • Dump bed/tailgate is solid and easy to use
  • Power steering gives the appropriate amount of feedback and excels in slow speed situations
  • Very comfortable to ride 
  • Very easy to get in and out

Cons:

  • Lack of a parking gear
  • No engine brake
  • Electronic display doesn't show what gear the machine is in
  • Door nets do not slide well when they got muddy/icy

Final Thoughts

The John Deere brand bring with it a legendary reputation for quality and has an expansive dealer network. That in itself should be an excellent reason to consider John Deere when making a UTV purchase. If you are in the market for a mid-size side by side that can haul hay bales on Wednesday and your beer cooler on Saturday, the Gator XUV590i is an excellent choice.