Go where no man has gone before

10 Best Sportsman’s All-Terrain Vehicles


January 23, 2015 Buying Guides By
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Unless you happen to be Hercules, son of Zeus, and you can single-handedly capture and carry Cerberus the hellhound with your own two hands, you likely don’t have the strength or endurance to cover miles of dirt, sand, mud, gravel and rocky terrain without the assistance of a rough-and-ready all-terrain-vehicle (ATV) or side-by-side utility vehicle (UTV). Designed for sportsmen, farmers, ranchers and outdoor off-road and trail lovers, these vehicles have grown in technology, capability, performance and popularity since their introduction in the 1970s.

More Off-Road Warriors: BMW X6 xDRIVE 50i | Toyota 4Runner | Mercedes-Benz G350

ATVs and UTVs not only offer excellent off-road abilities, they also enable their riders/drivers to carry equipment and game for miles on end in locations with narrow access points that would restrict larger vehicles. What’s more, the ATVs/UTVs of today aren’t the bare-bones models of a decade back when underpowered engines, poor suspension and chunky tires defined the genre. These days, rugged quads make the most of available technology; these mudslingers, rock-crawlers and equipment haulers are more sophisticated and versatile for your outdoor adventures.

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Kawasaki Brute Force 750 4x4i EPS Camo

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For one-man adventures through inhospitable conditions, the top-end Kawasaki Brute Force 750 4x4i EPS Camo is fierce, powerful and rugged as Manuel Noriega’s complexion. Its potent V-twin engine throws power to all four wheels (selectable) to get you through and out of trouble as quickly as you got into it. Plus, it’s not just power, it’s capability. The double wishbone front suspension and fully-independent rear help to manage the not-so-friendly terrain standing between you and hours of outdoor fun. You can pull well over a thousand pounds, thanks to its robust towing capability, and if you need to mount anything on the Brute Force 750’s front or rear rack, there’s a total of 242 pounds of combined carry between the two of them. And the paint job isn’t just camo pretty — it’s also highly scratch resistant. So bring on the brush.

Engine: 749cc, four-stroke, V-twin, SOHC, four-valve
Transmission: continuously variable automatic
Drive System: 2WD/4WD
Starting System: electric
Front Suspension: fully independent double wishbone
Rear Suspension: fully independent double wishbone
Fuel Capacity: 5 gallons
Towing Capacity: 1,250 pounds
Seats: 1

Polaris Sportsman XP 1000 Pursuit Camo

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With a twin fuel-injected 952cc Prostar engine good for 88 horses of dirt-throwing chutzpah, this is the horsepower monster of the group. The nifty EPS system toggles between two-wheel-drive and four-wheel-drive automatically, giving four-wheeled power when there’s slippage below and defaulting back to 2WD when you return to the tarmac. The triple headlights give you 150W of deer-stopping brightness, the rack capacity is a big 360 pounds and towing tops out at a whopping 1,500 pounds. Should anybody in your field group get stuck, the included winch can get things back in motion faster than a grizzly grabs a fresh salmon. The huge 11.5 inches of clearance dwarfs others in its class and ensures you can get over anything shy of Devil’s Tower. And finally, if you’re at all concerned about big drops on your way back after a day in the field, the Active Descent Control (ADC) and Engine Braking System (EBS) work harmoniously to provide smooth and safe descents so you can brag about what you bagged without losing it on the way back.

Engine: 952cc, twin cylinder, SOHC
Transmission: automatic Polaris variable
Drive System: AWD/2WD
Starting System: electric
Front Suspension: fully independent double wishbone
Rear Suspension: fully independent double wishbone
Fuel Capacity: 5.25 gallons
Towing Capacity: 1,500 pounds
Seats: 1

John Deere Gator XUV825i Midnight Black Special Edition

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If you consider yourself an outdoorsman with impeccable style and a fascination with the colors of ninjutsu, then the XUV 825i clad in black is what you crave. Just about everything on this special edition is cover-of-darkness good: matte black paint, matte black alloy rims, black sport bucket seats and a black roll cage. Underneath all of that Vader goodness is the 50 horsepower, 812cc engine that will get you places with haste, and the on-demand 4WD system will get you up and over the nasty stuff. If that’s just not enough darkness to your ride, you can always add a black front protection package that comes with a Hummer-style brush guard and fender guard. Don’t bother wearing camo, either; you’ll wanna break out the spec ops gear in this ride.

Engine: 812cc, inline-3 cylinder, DOHC
Transmission: continuously variable
Drive System: 2WD/4WD
Front Suspension: fully independent double wishbone
Rear Suspension: fully independent double wishbone
Fuel Capacity: 7 gallons
Towing Capacity: 1,200 pounds
Seats: 2

Suzuki KingQuad 750AXi Power Steering Camo

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If you want power in your ATV, the KingQuad’s 722cc engine has oomph: it’s the biggest and baddest single-cylinder ATV on the globe. And for maneuverability, its advanced power steering gives you handling other ATVs would donate a knobby for. The quick-response throttle, as well as the low- and mid-end grunt of the KingQuad make it the sporty ATV of this bunch; plus, over longer hauls, the easier steering setup reduces rider fatigue, giving you more energy to get out and ride the next day. But it’s not all about speed and steering: the KingQuad’s handlebar-mounted selectable 2WD, 4WD and differential-lock 4WD ensure you have just the right drive setup to get to your destination sans frustration, and the fully independent suspension makes for smooth riding over the not-so-smooth surfaces you’ll conquer.

Engine: 722cc, 4-stroke, DOHC
Transmission: QuadMatic™ CVT-type automatic
Drive System: 2WD/4WD/4WD with diff-lock
Front Suspension: fully independent double wishbone
Rear Suspension: fully independent double wishbone
Fuel Capacity: 4.6 gallons
Towing Capacity: 990 pounds
Seats: 1

Yamaha Viking FI 4×4 EPS

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The Viking FI is a side-by-side designed for comfort and company. Its bucket seats fit 3 people in a single row thanks to the middle seat, which reclines slightly rearward for increased shoulder room. Power comes from a 686cc single-cylinder 4-stroke engine that has enough torque to tow a whopping 1,500 pounds, so your hunting party will never be short on supplies or game-hauling power. Select 2WD, 4WD or 4WD front differential lock for ideal traction anywhere. And just so you don’t go barreling down God’s green earth screaming, the Viking FI’s all-wheel downhill engine braking in 4WD mode and in reverse keeps you happy and in control. Big padded headrests, handholds and 3-point seat belts for all 3 occupants ensure security when your driver decides to jump a bog.

Engine: 686cc, single-cylinder, 4-stroke
Transmission: continuously variable
Drive System: selectable 2WD/4WD/4WD with locking diff
Front Suspension: fully independent double wishbone
Rear Suspension: fully independent double wishbone
Fuel Capacity: 9.7 gallons
Towing Capacity: 1,500 pounds
Seats: 3

Polaris RZR 800 XC Edition Matte Black

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The RZR 800 XC qualifies as the stunner of ATVs, looking like a combination Jeep Wrangler Rubicon and a dune buggy, all blacked out and ready to play. From the mean fascia with the angular headlights to the fat Maxxis Bighorn tires to the gaping mud-eating fenders, it’s both off-road business and four-wheeling flair. The 760cc engine launches you through brush and muck with ease, while the Walker shocks with 9 inches of travel in front and 9.5 inches in back keep you planted even when fully undulating. And even when you hit the pavement or hardpack, you’ll be ready for apexing with twin sway bars that keep body roll to a minimum. For enhanced handling performance, the Polaris RZR 800 XC Edition features exclusive front and rear anti-sway bars that keep the chassis flat while cornering. Wahoo, indeed.

Engine: 760cc, 2-cylinder, 4-Stroke
Transmission: continuously variable automatic
Drive System: on-demand true AWD/2WD
Front Suspension: fully independent double wishbone
Rear Suspension: fully independent double wishbone
Fuel Capacity: 7.25 gallons
Towing Capacity: 1,500 pounds
Seats: 2

Can-Am Commander Max Limited

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Roughing it in the field doesn’t mean it’s a requirement in the saddle. The Can-Am Commander provides luxe driving for you and three of your pals to and from your destination with one of the cushiest cabins and sweetest bodies around. In Limited guise, you can opt for fancy pearl white or pewter satin paint — just don’t let the camo guys smirk at you. Or do, because you’ll be riding in style with the 4-speaker sounds system and riding dry with a windshield in front and a roof over your head. But it’s not all show and no go: the big V-twin powertrain will have you hauling ass back to camp well ahead of your camo brethren.

Engine: 976cc, V-twin, SOHC
Transmission: continuously variable automatic
Drive System: 2WD/4WD
Front Suspension: fully independent double wishbone
Rear Suspension: torsional trailing arm independent
Fuel Capacity: 10 gallons
Towing Capacity: 1,500 pounds
Seats: 4

Honda FourTrax Rincon

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Though the Rincon still boasts the same big 675cc engine as last year, Honda ups the Rincon’s game for 2015 with upgrades like a new twin-spark cylinder head, O2 sensor, and catalytic converter — which means the Rincon is now more efficient and better to the environment than ever before. The three-speed automatic transmission doesn’t use belts or clutches, so wear isn’t a factor like other ATVs. Plus, you can even flap the gears yourself with Honda’s electric shifting via a handlebar mounted pushbutton, adding fun-loving control to the off-road equation. And just so you can instill a bit of tire envy in your lesser-shod buddies, the Rincon now gets gnarly Maxxis tires for more bite and brawn.

Engine: 675cc, four-stroke
Transmission: 3-speed automatic
Drive System: TraxLok Selectable 2WD/4WD
Front Suspension: fully independent double wishbone
Rear Suspension: fully independent double wishbone
Fuel Capacity: 4.4 gallons
Towing Capacity: 850 pounds
Seats: 1

Bobcat 3400 4×4 Diesel

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When the name “Bobcat” is on the side of your UTV, you know it’s gonna be a beast of burden ready for big hauls on the farm or in the field. But Bobcat has made their 3400 a pleasurable workhorse with upped horsepower and speed. It’s more than capable of getting tasks done with its 2,000 pounds of towing capacity, and the true 4WD system senses slippage and routes power when necessary to conquer steep climbs with authority. The 3400 will also take hard hits with a protected transmission cover, a bonafide skid plate for those rough approaches and a suspension guard and bash plate. The rear suspension is adjustable as well, so you can make changes when the terrain does the same.

Engine: 1,028cc diesel
Transmission: continuously variable
Drive System: 4WD
Front Suspension: fully independent double wishbone
Rear Suspension: fully independent double wishbone
Fuel Capacity: 9 gallons
Towing Capacity 2,000 pounds
Seats: 2

HuntVe Switchback 4×4 Hybrid Electric

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The HuntVe true hybrid-electric Switchback brings environmentalism in a big way to UTVs. HuntVe is known for their pure electric UTVs, and with the Switchback they add a range-extending electric generator to a 300cc gas engine for a total of 80 miles of range. The Switchback utilizes two direct drive motors to power the front and rear axle, and the gas generator can be utilized for battery charging. Plus, you can operate the 4WD mode in pure electric, something other UTV manufacturers don’t offer. And — final perk — in electric mode the Switchback is virtually silent, making it easier to get to your hunting locations without spooking the wildlife.

Engine: 300cc 4-Cycle w/ Auxiliary Electric Generator + Dual Direct Drive motors
Transmission: Direct
Drive System: 4WD
Front Suspension: fully independent double wishbone
Rear Suspension: fully independent double wishbone
Fuel Capacity: NA
Towing Capacity 1,250 pounds
Seats: 2

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