Simplicity, affordability, and design are all attributes of the Trail Wagon UTV, an all-around utility vehicle by American LandMaster. Formerly known as the Chuck Wagon, this dependable four-wheeler is perhaps America’s best-kept secret in utility vehicles to date.
The American LandMaster Trail Wagon UTV is a utilitarian vehicle re-marketed as the Chuck Wagon 265 in 2008. This quad boasts 80% American-made components, a spacious cabin, dump bed, and professional-grade performance. It is reliable, sturdy, and affordable.
The Trail Wagon UTV was re-designed in 2008 to fit a wide range of professional landscape and industrial applications. These enhancements reflected the directional shift from fun go-karts to efficient utility vehicles. They provided a solid foundation for the current Landstar and Crew Cabin series. Are you wondering about how this UTV compares to established UTV name-brands? Let this article explain.
About Trail Wagon UTV
The Trail Wagon UTV is a mid-performance, practical, rugged utility vehicle re-introduced in 2008 as the American Sportworks Chuck Wagon 265. It is a well-made, all-American vehicle that boasts of a robust suspension and work-efficient design. It has a 2WD system and an Arctic Cat Prowler-Bobcat UTV aesthetic, front and back. A heavy-duty tubular frame supports the dump bed, which can be manually tilted. Its front bumper is boxy with yellow plastic for the TW265 model. It later changed to a contoured front for the CW265 model, and came in red, black, and camo.
Initially, the Trail Wagon series had 150-class UTVs alongside the 265-cc ones. But after the 2016 company rebranding, American LandMaster marketed only 400-class vehicles and above. 400-class models and above used a Honda, Briggs & Stratton, or Kohler LandMAXX Commercial Power engines, while older, lower-displacement models ran on either Honda or Subaru. The earlier trims had rectangular headlights but switched to oval with the Chuck Wagon series.
The Trail Wagon UTV and the rest of the American LandMaster product line are very cost-competitive. This competitive price point is largely due to the all-American manufacture of the vehicle. The steel used for the frame comes from Texas. The vehicle hood, top, and poly bed come from Spencer Industries and Fort Wayne Plastics – both Indiana-based companies. Furthermore, this vehicle’s design and mechanism is very utilitarian but still resonates with the consumer’s needs. If you want a daily driver, a recreational ride, or a sport ATV, you can turn this four-wheeler into one.
Since its Brister’s and Manco days, the Trail Wagon series (now Landstar and Crew Cabin) sells as a base unit. There is no top and windshield, which gives owners the freedom to customize their vehicle how they want. An array of optional equipment can fit a Trail Wagon UTV, ranging from a stereo player to an electric bed lift kit. You can also get a windshield, top, and a ton of accessories from the company or dealers nationwide.
American LandMaster Rebranding History
The American manufacturer began as Manco Products in 1967 and later became Manco PowerSports in 1999. To re-design their go-kart line, they acquired Brister’s Design and Manufacturing, a popular UTV producer. Together, they pioneered many of the dealer and retail standards that currently exist.
In 2007, Manco partnered with outside companies and became American Sportworks. Their growth resulted in the further enhancement of the company’s product line. After another 10 years of successful vehicle production, the company became American LandMaster.
Trail Wagon UTV Specs & Features (TW265 / CW265 Model)
- Engine – Powered by a four-stroke, single-cylinder Subaru Trail Wagon UTV 265cc engine OHV with a low oil shutdown. Fuel tank capacity is 5 US gallons/18.93 liters. Fuel consumption is at 32 mpg (7.35 L/100 km).
- Drivetrain – Power travels via an automatic CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) with DANA oil-filled transaxle, which can be replaced with a General Transmissions Transaxle RT400 GT87137 (view on Amazon) if needed. The American LandMaster Trail Wagon UTV (then 2008 American Sportworks CW265) is a 2WD with a top speed of up to 22 mph – may vary depending on driving conditions, terrain, and climate.
- Ignition – It has a 12-volt keyed ignition with an auxiliary recoil mechanical backup. It requires a 12V, 360-CCA (Cold Crank Amp) utility-class battery and has a 10-amp alternator.
- Tires – The front wheels use 22x9x10 tires, while the rear wheels have 22x11x10 tires. The recommended tire pressure is 12 psi. The vehicle wheelbase is 71 inches. You can buy same-size replacement rear tires like Carlisle All Trail ATV Tire (view on Amazon), which works best for trail riding.
- Brakes – Stopping is handled by 6.25-inch dual rear drums with a hand-operated parking brake.
- Suspension – The front suspension features double A-arms with adjustable shocks that allow 3 inches of travel. An articulated rear swingarm features twin adjustable shocks and a steel finish that allow 3 inches of travel.
- Dimensions – The vehicle dimensions are 102.5″ L x 47″ W x 74″ H. Ground clearance is 12 inches. Dry weight is 760 lbs (344.7 Kg); GVWR can go up to 1,300 lbs (589.7 Kg) – including curb weight, passenger, and cargo. Towing/hitch capacity is up to 1,100 lbs (499 Kg). Bed capacity is 400 lbs (181.4 Kg).
- Exterior – The Trail Wagon UTV is composed of a welded steel frame and plastic body material with polyurethane powder paint, and structural foam poly bed with stake pockets. Creature comforts include a full-width bench seat with headrests, a glove box for essentials, and drink holders. You can get a QuadGear UTV Deluxe Storage Cover (view on Amazon) to weatherproof your quad.
Cost of a Trail Wagon UTV
The original price of its 2008 model (American Sportworks CW265) was $3,999, which remained unchanged through the course of the vehicle’s production. The resale price range is anywhere from $1,470 to $2,642, depending on stock or modified vehicles. In stock form, second-hand Trail Wagon UTVs hold their value really well. A 2009 CW265 sold for $3,700 – barely $300 less than its original MSRP 12 years ago. The price may even go higher than $4,500, depending on add-on accessories.
Combining the Trail Wagon and Chuck Wagon series, American LandMaster produced ten classes. Depending on the engine displacement, auction prices fall between $1,409 and $3,500 for the Trail Wagon series (up to Trail Wagon UTV 4×4, otherwise known as TW450E) and below $4,000 for the Chuck Wagon series. 500-cc and above are rare to find and would be priced higher.
Trail Wagon UTV Pros and Cons
The most obvious benefit of the Trail Wagon UTV is its price and function. It easily attracts consumers looking for a moderate, budget side-by-side. It also appeals to farmers and homestead owners who prefer a workhorse over a race-ready vehicle. The UTV is quite a comfortable ride, very customizable, and can take on hauling tasks. It also requires minimal repairs when pampered, and sourcing replacement parts throughout the country are easy.
Despite the brand image that American LandMaster establishes, Trail Wagon UTV reviews reveal that its consumer base has full confidence in the product.
For some, they see the UTV as just a modified golf cart. Although they appreciate the bed capacity and the generous legroom, there is not much difference from a golf cart except for the all-terrain tires, the dump bed, and a 2-inch hitch receiver.
Another downside of this UTV is its Subaru engine. Used Trail Wagons often have problems with the electric start system or with shifting. An inexperienced mechanic will especially find this troublesome. He also may have to check the battery condition, including a chassis ground connection. Usually, a solenoid repair will resolve this issue, but owners do not prefer this inconvenience.
The Trail Wagon UTV’s biggest challenge, perhaps, is competing with institutionalized manufacturers like Honda, Yamaha, Polaris, Bobcat, and John Deere, to name a few. In 2017, the company made small but significant strides in engineering and aesthetics by reformatting the UTV’s entire dashboard, replacing the choke location, and re-designing the cabin to improve entry ease. But compared to the competition, American LandMaster’s product line still has a long way to go.
Turning the Trail Wagon UTV into a Daily Driver
The Trail Wagon UTV’s design is utilitarian-heavy but can modify for consumers’ individual needs. If you plan on purchasing one, below are upgrades to make it suitable for daily use:
- LED headlights – stock headlights are not fully adjustable as advertised and may provide limited side visibility.
- Winch for recovery – you can do a front hookup or weld a front extension to attach a winch.
- Radio and pockets – for accessories.
- Speakers – they can mount to the ceiling of the vehicle
- LED dome light – attached inside the quad for lighting past daylight hours. You may need to have another battery to power the dome light as the stock battery may not be enough.
- Cup holders – the built-in cup holder is in the way of the shift while reversing.
American LandMaster also has an impressive list of factory Trail Wagon UTV parts and accessories that you can choose from for a reasonable price, namely: folding windshields, soft enclosures, a convertible dump bed/flip seat, brushed aluminum wheels, gun and hood racks, hardtops, side mirrors, and plow blades.
Trail Wagon UTV FAQs
- Who makes Trailwagon UTV? American LandMaster (formerly known as Brister’s and Manco and American SportWorks) manufacturers Trail Wagon UTVs. The firm is based in Indiana.
- Are American LandMaster UTVs any good? Given the rich history of the company, these UTVs are great vehicles. They don’t go very fast, but they are utility vehicles that can get mid to heavy work done.
- Where is American LandMaster UTV made? These utility vehicles are manufactured and assembled in facilities in Louisiana and Indiana, respectively. The vehicle is 100% made in the U.S.
About American LandMaster
American LandMaster was formerly known as Brister’s and Manco and American SportWorks and is the Trail Wagon UTV series maker. The company is 100% American-owned with all the manufacturing entirely done in Indiana. The company currently has over 1,000 service centers across the U.S. that service consumers through domestic sales, parts, and maintenance. Its manufacturing facility is located in Roseland, Louisiana, and corporate offices in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
Conclusion – Trail Wagon UTV
The Trail Wagon UTV may have only enjoyed a one-year production run, but its quality is not to be undermined. Its simplistic design and well thought of features make it ideal for work purposes. It may not be able to deliver hair-raising speeds on the trail, but it is a dependable mode of transportation that can push, pull, and haul when you need it to. The Trail Wagon UTV is the perfect vehicle of choice if you’re looking for great value and a reliable, hardworking quad!
Kris is an avid off-roader and outdoor enthusiast who loves to brave the elements and take on challenging terrain. He also enjoys sharing his passion and knowledge with others so that they, too, can appreciate the ride.