When it comes to hardcore ATV users – you know, those of us who have owned more than one ATV in the past, Honda has been a bit quiet the last couple of years.
The company is still number one in ATV sales, though, and this status is testament to the fact consumers still view the brand as durable and appealing.
Perhaps Honda has been a bit tardy with keeping a long list of new features and innovations from appearing on its ATVs the last while and in defense of the company, the desire to build simple, efficient and lightweight 4-wheelers has been a priority.
For instance, logic dictates if an ATV is light enough, its 4-wheel drive system will work much more efficiently on slick or mud clogged surfaces. If an ATV is designed with utmost simplicity, it will tend to last longer and be much more reliable.
We took delivery of a new TRX 420 Canadian Edition (apologies to our US readers and viewers here but the same ATV is called the FourTrax Rancher AT south of the Canadian border).
The idea behind the Canadian Edition moniker is suspension calibration. Someone in the engineering department must have figured out Canadians have much more tender butts because this one has a very plush ride and uses most of its travel to keep the rider comfortable.
What we’ve been particularly surprised at is the combination of a strong feature list (EFI, selectable 4×4 (no diff-lock), dual clutch automatic tranny, great gauge package and IRS) combined with very good handling, exceptional ride and a strong running mill.
Although the wheels are stamped steel, there’s decent rubber boasting a nice semi-aggressive lug configuration.
The dual clutch 5-speed shifts beautifully and gives the rider nice little nudges to remind him that shifts are actually taking place. We found this to add to the fun and definitely creates a different sort of riding experience. This transmission is as smooth as silk and, after using it for a while, even our most CVT addicted testers had to agree it works.
Ergonomically, the 420 is a winner. Full floorboards, comfortable control layout and a great seating position put the rider in a very confident state of mind. Build quality is excellent, too.
Probably the best way to sum up our impressions is to say Honda doesn’t always do things the way everyone else does, but with this 420, the trip to home plate is just as effective as any of the competition.