WINNER: Polaris Sportsman 500 HO
Taking old technology and making it new again is a pretty bright idea in the ATV business – especially if your old technology is better than some of your competitors’ new stuff.
The Sportsman 500 HO is still built on the McPherson strut suspended “Classic” platform with independent, rolled A-arms at the rear and still delivers the same plush-as-a-pillow, long travel ride the original 500 has offered for years.
The designers took the same chassis, cut down and modernized the bodywork, relocated the radiator so it’s three inches higher and away from the mud and suddenly, made this ATV new again.
No skimping on the mechanicals, either. The same no-brainer AWD system is back and its carbureted 498cc single generates plenty of power and torque. There’s a handy enclosed storage area under the front rack and the combination digital-analog instruments is more than adequate.
Polaris says the new bodywork provides a bigger view of what’s ahead on the trail and the whole look has been refreshed and modernized to deliver a lot more sizzle.
Check the price tag and you’ll be blown away. Way too much stuff for the money: Just pray Polaris doesn’t find out how good a deal you’re getting.
Arctic cat 450
Arctic Cat is competing very hard with its all-new 450 and one look at the invoice for this truly loaded ATV seals the deal. There’s a lot offered for the money here and it includes a stellar 4WD system, great suspension, SpeedRacks and, the best part: A new 433cc EFI engine that makes 500-class power.
Cat’s legendary ground clearance comes standard so you needn’t worry about getting bogged down. A great ATV and very tight competition for the winner in this category.
Kymco MXU 500
Dollar for dollar we look for value and true ATV value is when you get what you need without having to give up handling, suspension and power. We’ve put miles on the MXU 500 and have continued to come away impressed even when we compare it to some of the mainstream brands.
Not only is it full featured with all the necessary 4WD items you look for but the whole package works incredibly well both off-road and in the workplace. This Kymco is chock full of surprises and is a bargain at the price.