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ATV group test: FG verdict

The scores from our group test reflect the varied results from this wide range of bikes

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Not surprisingly, the Polaris rated highly – it spoilt us with its power, acceleration, traction and features. Considering it is a large bike, its manoeuvrability and handling was not too bad either.

 

However, unfortunately you are locked into buying the manufacturer’s own attachments for the load racks.

 

It is pretty decent value for money, but you would need the heavy workload to justify having one, at which point you may entertain the idea of a diesel-powered UTV.

 

At the other end of the scale was the Kawasaki with its petit proportions. It is a shame we could have not had a larger four-wheel drive version, as we reckon it would have given the others a run for their money. But what we got did not do a bad job, especially in terms of agility and handling. It was also a pleasant surprise to see it do so well in the fuel economy test.

 

Although it lacked in the traction and pulling power departments compared to its bigger rivals, it would certainly find itself at home chasing stock with the odd bit of light trailer work.

  Polaris Suzuki Yamaha Honda Kawasaki
Engine 5 4 2 5 4
Transmission 5 4 2 4 4
Suspension 4 4 1 5 4
Braking 4 3 4 5 3
Handling 3 4 2 4 4
Traction 5 4 4 4 3
Load racks 3 3 4 3 3
Towing 5 4 3 4 3
Controls 4   4    4 4 4   
Storage

5

1    2    3
Total out 50 43 35 30 40 35

ATV group test:

  • ATV group test: Honda TRX 420 FA
  • ATV group test: Kawasaki KVF300
  • ATV group test: Yamaha Grizzly 450
  • ATV group test: Polaris Sportsman 500 Forest
  • ATV group test: Suzuki Kingquad 400

Refinements

As for the Yamaha, just a bit of refinement to a few key areas would do it the world of good. However, it did ride well across most terrain and it could certainly pull, but its flaws meant it was up against it from the off.

 

The Suzuki was the pleasant surprise of the group. Once you get past its boxy looks, its performance in-field and on-road soon became apparent. Its easy-to-handle nature and light steering provided a confident ride, along with some sure-footed towing ability.

 

However, it was a little thirsty, which probably accounted for a lot of its get-up-and-go and some vital storage space was lacking.

For us though, even though it did not come top of the score table, we would take home the Honda. That said, we would probably plump for the simpler, manual, foot-change version – just in case those electrics are not up to the job (and it is cheaper without too).

 

The CVT machines are convenient and simple to operate, but you cannot help thinking when you are driving one, and it is revving away, that you would have changed up a gear by now.

 

In all, the Honda is a great all-rounder and happy carrying out most tasks – as long as you are not hooking trailers on and off a lot.

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