Several years back, 2012 to be exact, we filmed a television show, “Tough Grit,” in partnership with Tractor Supply Co. that aired on RFD-TV. In a few of the episodes — one episode dealing with using a water pump to deliver water to your garden, another about planting trees and moving mulch — contestants used Tractor Supply’s UTVs to perform various farm tasks. At the time, our filming crew was impressed with the units. They were fairly bare-bones, not a lot of the bells and whistles like you see on some other UTV brands, but they were capable and never gave us problems. That wasn’t always the case with machines while we were filming.
Those UTVs were manufactured by American SportWorks. Today, American SportWorks, now American LandMaster, is still manufacturing UTVs, and has just introduced the 2017 model line, called the LandStar models.
American LandMaster UTVs are made and assembled in the USA, with American and imported parts. Photo courtesy American LandMaster
For the acreage owner who wants a work machine at a substantially less price than what you typically find on the market, these workhorses are worth consideration. No, you won’t be able to fly 55 mph down a gravel road or across a pasture, but if you’ve ever traveled that speed in a UTV, you might realize you don’t want to go that fast. I’ve ridden trails on a UTV in Montana, switchbacks and gravel straightaways both, and I love the thrill of fishtailing at high speed on gravel and flying down trails while trail riding. But I don’t need a work UTV to go super fast on the farm, especially if I’m on pavement or a solid surface. And I definitely wouldn’t want one that was capable of high speeds if we had youngsters on it routinely.
The new LandMaster UTVs top out at just under 25 mph, and their handling, maneuverability, and capability is exceptional for the price. I felt compelled to write something up about them because I think the utilitarian nature of the machine suits our reader to a T. They are solid — at an affordable price.
A couple of insights I can give — after driving the LS48V, LS350, LS450, LS550, and LS670 at a media event up near Fort Wayne, Indiana — are that when you make the jump to the 4-wheel hydraulic brakes (starting in the LS550), you definitely notice a difference. When driving the LS350 model, it felt a little bit as though I had to really stand on the brakes to slow down rapidly. A second thing is that switch-button locking rear differential starts in the LS450, and it makes a heck of a difference, especially if you’re going with a 2-wheel-drive model. Four-wheel drive starts in the LS550. Lastly, if you go with a rear flip seat, it'll rattle around a little bit, especially if no one's in the seat (in which case it's extremely easy to flip down).
The LS350 (2WD, 277cc engine) starts at $4,699. For the money, in my opinion, the LS550 (4WD, 479cc Briggs Vanguard engine, towing capacity of 1,200 pounds, 500 pounds bed capacity) for $6,699 is a tough one to beat. One step up is the LS670 (4WD, 674cc Kohler engine, towing capacity of 1,200 pounds, 500 pounds bed capacity) at $7,099. For $500 more, add independent rear suspension in the LS750.
For basic farm needs, at the price, the new American LandMaster 2017 LandStar models are worth considering. I know several of the models would make a great fence-building partner.
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