ATVs Product Showcase: This season’s sporty ATVs
Published on Mon, 06/16/2014 - 11:24am
Last fall we looked at higher-end ATVs that could segue effortlessly from workday chores to weekend fun. This spring, we decided to look in the middle of the pack and showcase a few machines with a primary focus on fun—but with enough utility to justify a spot in the barn.
We tried to keep models similar and within a price range of $7500 to $8000. An obvious standout is the Kawasaki—the mean green company had a hole in that range, forcing us to bump up. Another curve ball came from Polaris: We’re not quite sure just where their new Sportsman ACE fits in with the rest of the pack, but we’re pretty sure the steering-wheel equipped fun-machine deserves a closer look.
2014 Arctic Cat 550 MSRP: $7999
The 2014 550 is powered by Arctic Cat’s 545cc single-overhead-cam liquid-cooled 550 H1 engine. The 550’s “ride-in” suspension is based on a lower center of gravity to give added stability while still offering plenty of ground clearance and travel. A multifunction digital gauge and on-the-fly selectable 2WD/4WD with differential lock helps get you where you want.
Arctic Cat Inc. Thief River Falls, MN / 218-681-8558 arcticcat.com
2014 Can-Am Outlander XT MSRP: $7849
With a base model featuring a 46-hp Rotax 500 V-twin engine, the XT also includes a continuously variable transmission, large 5.4-gallon fuel tank, double A-arm front suspension, torsional trailing arm independent rear suspension, tri-mode dynamic power steering, and auto-locking front differential.
Bombardier Recreational Products Inc. Valcourt, QC / 800-882-2900 can-am.brp.com
2014 Honda FourTrax Foreman Rubicon
Honda’s latest offering features electric power steering and “Hondamatic” CVT transmission. Power comes from a 499cc liquid-cooled overhead valve engine. Front bumps are absorbed by a independent double wishbone suspension, while the rear is smoothed-out by a swing arm with dual shocks. Front discs and rear drum brakes help slow things down, while the 4-gallon fuel tank offers plenty of room to roam.
American Honda Motor Co., Inc. Torrance, CA / 866-784-1870 powersports.honda.com
2014 Kawasaki Brute Force 750 4×4i MSRP: $9299
“Brute Force” is right: The most expensive ATV in our round-up is powered by Kawasaki’s 749cc 90° V-twin. Other highlights include six-spoke cast aluminum wheels, cargo racks with integrated tie-downs, and a multi-purpose digital display. A fully-automatic continuously variable transmission, selectable two- and four-wheel drive, and independent suspension gets that power to the ground.
Kawasaki Motors Corp., U.S.A. Irvine, CA / 800-661-RIDE kawasaki.com
2014 Kymco MXU 500i MSRP: $7499
The Kymco deliver 36hp through its 499cc DOHC four-valve liquid-cooled engine with electronic fuel injection. The continuously variable automatic transmission has high, low, neutral, reverse, and park, while drive modes include shift on demand two- or four-wheel drive. Two-inch receiver hitch is standard, as is dual A-arm front and fully independent rear suspension and disc brakes.
Kymco USA Spartanburg, SC / 864-327-4744 kymcousa.com
2014 Polaris Sportsman ACE White Lightning MSRP: $7499
Polaris’ ACE takes a new tack in ATV design by combining key features of traditional ATVs like center-seating position and integrated front rack with a fully-enclosed cab and steering wheel like those found in side-by-sides. Power comes from a 32hp ProStar engine with dual overhead cams, four valves per cylinder and EFI. On-demand all-wheel drive and plenty of storage and towing capacity keep the utility quotient high.
Polaris Industries, Inc. Medina, MN / 888-704-5290 polaris.com
2014 Suzuki KingQuad 500AXi MSRP: $7899
A fuel-injected 493cc single overhead cam liquid-cooled “thumper” powers the KingQuad, while Suzuki’s QuadMatic transmission with selectable high/low moves that power to the wheels. Selectable two-, four-, and differential lock four-wheel drive keeps things moving, while dual hydraulic front disc and sealed multi-plate rear brakes handle stopping duties.
Suzuki Motor of America, Inc. Brea, CA / 714-996-7040 suzukicycles.com