First off, it tips the scales at a feathery light 550 lbs. Compared to a 450 Sportsman, that’s just shy of 150 bacon-melts lighter.
Handling is light feeling, very crisp and precise and you can ride the Hawkeye all day long and not be worn out from cranking the bars.
With eight inches of ground clearance and independent rear A-arms with eight inches of travel, rough trails feel as smooth as they would on a Sportsman.
McPherson struts deliver seven inches of travel to do the job of softening the impact of square edged bumps and hits to the front suspension.
Polaris uses a unique (to Polaris), CVT belt driven transmission with a sprag clutch so both clutches are rotating at all times. This system, not used on other Polaris models, saves on belt wear and makes for smooth, linear engagement on take-off.
On-Demand all-wheel drive automatically engages when the rider needs more bite and a single lever, hydraulic disc brake system with braided, stainless steel lines gives a strong and more consistent stop.
The storage and cargo racks are pure Sportsman with an integrated front cargo box to keep your gear clean and dry. We’re big on these storage variations and on top of the Hawkeye’s front storage lid there are several unique and practical tie down points that make carting a cooler or gear bag easy.
Instrumentation is top drawer for an ATV in this category: a digital odometer, speedometer, trip meter and hour meter. The gas gauge is non-digital.
If you look around and compare, you’ll find many of these features are normally only found on pricier models. You can add on a selection of Polaris’s nifty Lock & Ride accessories if you’re thinking about using the Hawkeye for hunting or fishing – or even work.
Also worth mentioning is the Hawkeye’s voluminous 4.5 gallon fuel tank to get you all the way to camp and back and a 1.25 inch receiver hitch, good for towing a pretty hefty trailer.
Find more in Volume 9, #1