It seems there are more exotic, high-performance supercars available now than ever, and several cost more than a million dollars each. Some, like the Bugatti Chiron, which sells for $2.7 million, are considerably more expensive. There’s no denying these vehicles deliver amazing engineering and craftsmanship, along with prestige and power, but how super are they really? Let’s see how the ultimate supercar for the moment, the Bugatti Chiron, stacks up against the Honda Pioneer 500, an entry-level UTV, and other UTVs in general.
In a contest of speed, it would seem the Bugatti, which is capable of 260 mph, would be the clear winner, since the Pioneer 500 hits the rev limiter at 37 mph. The beauty of the Honda is, it can do 37 mph even on bumpy dirt trails. The Bugatti Chiron’s mere 3.5 inches of ground clearance makes riding in the dirt difficult at any speed and damaging to the vehicle if you try to match the Honda’s pace in rough country. It looks like the Pioneer 500 and other UTVs are faster in terrain that really matters.
It could be argued that the Bugatti has a bit of an edge in practicality because it is street-legal, but many states allow UTVs to be used on the road legally. Improving the Bugatti’s off-road capability would be costly and difficult at best, and would surely compromise the vehicle’s handling and safety at high speeds. Who wants problems at over 200 mph? With good off-road capability and the potential for road use with minimal modifications, the UTV looks like the more practical way to go.
When it comes to features, the Pioneer 500 is pretty supercar-like. Both machines have paddle-shift transmissions with automatic and manual modes. Both vehicles also have four-wheel drive—though the Pioneer, like most UTVs, offers selectable 2WD/4WD, while the Bugatti does not. Seems like the UTV is superior to the supercar again!
Like many supercar-makers, Bugatti offers customers nearly unlimited freedom to tailor the vehicle’s appearance with countless exterior and interior color choices. Many UTV manufacturers offer some variety, too, but nowhere near the selection of colors and finishes available from Bugatti. The Pioneer 500’s choices are fairly limited—just red, green and camo for the bodywork, and black only for the seats and interior. Supercar-makers would have UTV manufacturers beaten in the bodywork and interior-finishes category, except for their choices of materials. Bugatti builds the Chiron’s body from carbon fiber—light but hardly as resistant to hits from rocks and trees as the impact-resistant plastic bodywork most UTV body parts are made of. Supercar interiors are largely crafted from flawless, premium, genuine leather; far less durable; and easy to clean than a UTV’s weather-resistant vinyl! Can you hose out the interior of a Bugatti after every ride and leave it exposed to sun and rain for months on end with no harm to its appearance like you can with a UTV? I don’t think so.
Supercar maintenance is often as shockingly expensive as the vehicles themselves. A set of tires for the Bugatti costs $33,000, and Bugatti recommends they be changed every 2500 miles. That’s more than buying any set of UTV tires—mounted to a new UTV! The wheels are to be changed every 10,000 miles and cost $50,000 per set! Yearly service, which includes an oil change, is $20,000. The Pioneer 500 and most other UTVs easily win the cost-to-drive comparison. Tires for the Honda are roughly $70 each, the wheels should last for the life of the vehicle, and yearly service shouldn’t exceed $100 for most drivers.
I can’t speak from experience on the final area of comparison—fun per dollar—because I’ve never driven a Bugatti Chiron. While it’s possible the Bugatti may be more fun than the Pioneer 500, and possibly more fun than some other UTVs, the 2.7-million-dollar Bugatti would have to be 300 times more fun than the $9000 Pioneer 500 to offer more fun per dollar. I have my doubts about that, but no doubt that UTVs are the real supercars.