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TEST: CUB CADET CHALLENGER 750

June 16, 2017
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— Cub Cadet is a big name in power equipment that is also very serious about UTVs. Established in 1961, the American company has 1400 dealers, and its utility UTVs are rugged and affordable. Cub Cadet entered the recreation/utility class with its Challenger 500 and 700 in 2015, and the new Challenger 550 and 750 join the line with more performance, comfort and standard features. We tested the new 750 to see what it’s all about.

Excellent suspension with front and rear sway bars give the Challenger 750 sure, stable cornering.

 

WHAT’S NEW?

The Challenger 750 isn’t an updated Challenger 700; it’s a whole new vehicle with new styling, more power, more suspension travel and numerous upgrades to improve comfort and usability. The engine is larger, and the chassis is longer and narrower than the 700’s.

A new formed cab over the ROPS cage features an integrated roof, and it creates a frame for the sealed windshield and the doors. The cab can be weather sealed in minutes with the optional upper doors and rear window. Sculpted seats, a tilt wheel and automotive-style analog instrumentation located in front of the steering wheel give the vehicle a car-like feel.

In addition to the roof, windshield and doors, the base Challenger 750 includes premium features, including a 3500-pound winch, aluminum wheels, side mirrors, LED headlights and turn signals. Power steering is available as an option, along with numerous accessories, and there is a power steering model on the way.

The automotive-style instruments are right in front of the wheel where they’re easy to read at a glance.

 

HOW DOES COST COMPARE?

The Challenger 750 is $10,999 or $11,299 in camo. Honda’s Pioneer 700 Deluxe is $11,899. Kawasaki’s Mule Pro-FX is $11,999. Polaris’ Ranger XP 900 starts at $12,299. Hisun’s Sector 750 is $9999.

WHAT POWERS IT?

A single-cylinder, single-overhead-cam, five-valve, 735cc engine with 35.8 horsepower. The engine is based on the Challenger 700’s. The bore is the same at 102mm, and a 6mm-longer stroke boosts the displacement and power.

WHAT KIND OF TRANSMISSION DOES IT USE?

A dual-range, belt-type, fully automatic continuously variable transmission with engine braking. A centrifugal clutch on the primary clutch provides the engine braking and protects the belt in severe driving conditions.

A 735cc, single-cylinder, single-overhead-cam, five-valve engine supplies 35.8 horsepower.

 

WHAT KIND OF 4WD SYSTEM DOES IT HAVE?

Selectable 2WD/4WD with lockable front and rear differentials. Lockable front differentials are pretty common on UTVs, and they come in handy when you need more traction than standard 4WD can provide. Unlocking the rear differential lets the vehicle turn tighter, and it protects delicate turf.

HOW FAST IS IT?

It’s fast enough to maintain a quick pace on the trail and powerful enough for tough hills and obstacles. Like many recreational utility machines, the 750 isn’t a rocket; top speed is 45 mph.

HOW IS THE POWER DELIVERY?

The Challenger 750 has smooth, strong, low and midrange power and enough top-end pull for relaxed cruising at higher speeds. It’s a good, usable combination for steep, difficult trails littered with turns and obstacles. The machine also pulls well in soft, power-sapping sand. The Challenger isn’t tuned for snappy throttle response like sport UTVs, so it’s reluctant to break the rear wheels loose and slide around turns.

Sair piggyback reservoir shocks are used front and rear. They offer adjustable compression, rebound and spring preload, and provide a refined, well-controlled ride.

 

WHAT KIND OF SUSPENSION DOES IT HAVE?

Double A-arms and sway bars front and rear with compression, rebound and spring preload-adjustable Sair piggyback reservoir shocks. Travel is 9 inches up front and 8.1 inches in the rear, which is typical for recreational utility rigs.

HOW DOES THE SUSPENSION WORK?

It’s excellent. You don’t see fully adjustable piggyback reservoir shocks as standard equipment on recreational utility UTVs very often, but the good they do for sport machines they also do, too, for the Challenger 750. High-capacity, high-pressure gas shocks have numerous advantages over more, basic components, and the Cub Cadet’s are also tuned well for this machine’s mission. You can’t hammer through whoops like a long travel sport machine, but the Challenger 750 delivers a compliant, well controlled ride in a wide range of conditions. Bottoming resistance is also very good.

The Cub Cadet’s smooth, strong engine pulls well even at low revs, which makes difficult sections on the trail easy to deal with.

 

HOW DOES IT HANDLE?

It’s stable, predictable and surprisingly easy to handle. The Challenger 750 has a nicely balanced feel in a straight line and in corners, and the front and rear sway bars help the machine turn without excessive body roll. The machine also feels confidently planted on off-camber trails. We’re so used to power steering, we expected the Challenger to be somewhat challenging to handle on tight, twisty trails, but it wasn’t. It requires more steering effort, but it’s not at all annoying unless the front differential is locked. Like any machine without power steering, bumps send some kick through the steering wheel that power-steering systems filter out.

HOW IS IT FOR HILLS?

It’s up to the Challenge. The 750’s torquey, controllable engine and versatile 4WD system provide plenty of climbing power for difficult hills. Engine braking and the Cub Cadet’s impressively strong brakes make downhills no sweat.

On the Cub Cadet, the rear and front differentials are lockable.

 

HOW ABOUT MUD AND ROCKS?

Locking front and rear differentials and the Challenger 750’s 12 inches of ground clearance let it motor through mud and rocks without snags, and the under-hood air intake provides plenty of clearance for deep crossings. This machine’s bodywork also provides excellent splash protection.

HOW ARE ITS WORK CREDENTIALS?

Solid. The 750’s tilting bed can carry 500 pounds, and the machine can tow 1200 pounds from its 2-inch hitch receiver.

HOW ARE THE DETAILS?

Along with the high-mounted air intake, there’s a huge storage space under the hood.

Most are very impressive, especially for a machine at this price. The range selector has a vague feel at times, but the Challenger 750 is otherwise free of rough edges. The sealed, quick-release windshield is slick, and the sculpted seats are comfortably shaped and well padded. The Challenger’s doors are sturdy, open and close well, and easily accept upper sections to create a sealed cab. The automotive-like instruments are among the best on any UTV. The battery and air filter are easy to access under the seat. Getting a roof, winch, aluminum wheels, mirrors and turn signals is great, but getting them on a machine that costs only $10,999 is outstanding.

WHAT IS OUR FINAL ANSWER?

Cub Cadet’s Challenger 750 offers top-notch suspension performance and comfort, an outstanding list of standard features, and a remarkably affordable price. 

CUB CADET CHALLENGER 750

ENGINE/TRANSMISSION

Engine type Liquid/oil-cooled, 5-valve, SOHC 4-stroke

Displacement 735cc

Bore x stroke 102mm x 90mm

Compression ratio 9.7:1

Lubrication system Wet sump

Additional cooling Auto fan

Induction Delphi EFI w/ 41mm body

Starting/back-up Electric/none

Starting procedure Turn ignition key

Choke location N/A

Air filter:

  Type Washable foam

  Access Tool-less, lift seat and undo clips

Transmission Dual-range CVT w/reverse

Reverse procedure Move range selector to “R”

Drive system Selectable 2WD/4WD w/ diff-lock & EBS

Final drives Shafts

DIMENSIONS/CAPACITIES/WEIGHTS

Fuel capacity 7.6 gal.

Wheelbase 76.8”

Overall length/width/height 118”/61.4”/79.7”

Ground clearance 12”

Wet weight 1,648 lb.

Bed weight limit 500 lb.

Hitch 2” receiver

Towing limit 1,200 lb.

ROLLING CHASSIS

Frame Steel tube

Suspension/wheel travel:

  Front Dual A-arms w/ prel./comp./reb. adj. shocks/9”

  Rear Dual A-arms w/ prel./comp./reb. adj. shocks/8.1”

Brakes/actuation:

  Front Hydraulic discs

  Rear Hydraulic discs

Parking Lever on console

Tires:

  Front AT26x9-14 Wanda

  Rear AT26x11-14 Wanda

ELECTRICAL

DC outlet Console

Lighting:

Front LED headlights

Rear LED brake/taillights

DETAILS

Instrumentation Speedometer, tachometer, coolant

temp, clock, fuel level, drive mode indicators

Colors Yellow, red, camo

Minimum recommended operator age 16

Suggested retail price $10,999; $11,299 (camo)

Contact www.cubcadet.com, (877) 428-2349

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