ATV Comparison Review.

Which Budget 4x4 ATV is Best?

What better time for a low budget 4x4 ATV Comparison? Since everyone is stretching their devalued dollars as far as they can - we thought we'd see how much 4x4 ATV you could get for under 6 grand.

We came up with a sampling of seven midsize 4x4 ATVs. Under $6K - under 500cc - and all with 4 wheel drive.

4x4 ATV Comparison - The Players

  • Arctic Cat 366
  • Honda Rancher 4x4 - Power Steering
  • Kawasaki Prairie 360 4x4
  • Kymco MXU 375 IRS 4x4
  • Polaris Sportsman 400 H.O.
  • Suzuki KingQuad 400AS
  • Yamaha Grizzly 350 Auto 4x4 IRS

Our review is based on info from several sources but mainly from the best comparison tests we could find. We just cut through the fluff and give you what you really want to know. Resources are listed at the end of the article.

Testing was done on a variety of terrain including fairly high speed trails, low speed technical trails, mud, water, and a series of "utility" tests". These involved simulations of common work chores like hauling, towing, and pushing calibrated loads.

4x4 ATV Comparison - Results

This ATV comparison showed the strengths and weaknesses of each ATV pretty quickly. Some were better at low speed technical riding and work chores - some were better at high speed fun. But three machines stood out for their performance in all the tests. So we ended up with two groups - the best - and all the rest.

The Best

4x4-atv-comparison-suzukiSuzuki Kingquad 400 AS - $5499

Good - Great suspension - good handling and steering - very roomy. One of the best all-around ATVs at work and play. Good predictable braking. Did whatever you wanted with very little drama. Large racks.

Bad - Handlebar mounted diff lock is hard to reach. Very limited built-in storage spaces.

Conclusion - Good choice for a do everything work/recreation 4x4 ATV. The Suzuki Kingquad is as good as any at towing and hauling stuff - and you can head for the trails on the weekends knowing you can stay with anything in this class.

Suzuki specifications.


4x4-atv-comparison-polarisPolaris Sportsman 400 H.O. - $5699

Good - Sportiest handling in the class. Good at high speed and very maneuverable with a shorter wheelbase in the technical and tight stuff. Big power, the most storage capacity in the class, the best suspension, and good steering.

Bad - Smaller dimensions could be a problem for larger riders. Rear foot brake hard to find and no handlebar mounted rear brake.

Conclusion - If you really want a sport ATV but still need to do some work then the Polaris Sportsman may be your best choice. The best performance 4x4 ATV in the bunch - if you fit on it. It can perform the usual chores with the best utilities in the group.

Polaris specifications.


4x4-atv-comparison-kawasakiKawasaki Prairie 360 4x4 - $5349

Good - Adjustable front diff lock works great. Good power and handling. Steering and suspension are good. Reasonably comfortable. Brakes work well and include a handlebar mounted rear brake.

Bad - You have to look pretty hard to complain about anything. The ergonomics could possibly be better with some complaining about the seat. A little under powered in this class with its' smaller engine.

Conclusion - Good solid all-around package. Performs chores easily and works well enough at higher speeds to be a blast on the trails. The front diff lock turns iffy traction like mud holes into play time.

Kawasaki specifications.


ATV Comparison - Best of The Rest

4x4-atv-comparison-hondaHonda Rancher 4x4 (TRX 420 FM) - $5799

Good - Comfy ergonomics. Great brakes. Storage area. Power steering. Plenty of power with responsive delivery. Great for work chores.

Bad - Rough ride and poor high speed performance from the suspension. A lot of folks didn't like the manual foot shifting. Low ground clearance.

Conclusion - The Honda is a great work horse with plenty of power and lots of storage capacity. Build quality is as good as it gets. But the suspension is enough of a sore spot (in more than one way!) that all the good stuff just can't overcome it.

Honda specifications.


4x4-atv-comparison-yamahaYamaha Grizzly 350 Auto 4x4 IRS - $5999

Good - Very competent as a do everything package. Comfortable with probably the best ergonomics in the group. Good storage capacity with the biggest under seat storage area and decent size racks.

Bad - The smallest engine in the group felt underpowered compared to the others. Bare bones instrumentation with no fuel gauge.

Conclusion - The Yamaha Grizzly kinda hits the middle. Not really bad at anything - but not outstanding anywhere either. It works well at down the middle chores and slow-enough-to-enjoy-the-scenery trail riding. We think it's the best looking ATV here if that counts for anything.

Yamaha specifications.


4x4-atv-comparison-arctic-catArctic Cat 366 - $5649

Good - Low speed handling in technical terrain. Load capacity for work chores. Digital dash. Comfortable ergonomics.

Bad - High speed handling that the steering and suspension just can't cope with. Prone to belt slippage around water. Ground clearance hampered by tow hitch.

Conclusion - A really good utility 4x4 ATV that is let down by sub-par high speed handling. For everyday work that doesn't involve any mud or water, it does a good job. Even tight trail riding or technical terrain don't trip it up. But the handling and steering at higher speeds don't measure up compared to the best.

Arctic Cat specifications.


4x4-atv-comparison-kymcoKymco MXU 375 IRS 4x4

Good - Surprising build quality. Good suspension. Very comfortable. Handles utility work as well as any ATV here. Good value.

Bad - Scary steering. Really ruins an otherwise competent four wheeler at anything other than slow speed. Brakes felt a little weird but did stop OK. Prone to some belt slipping around water.

Conclusion - The quality of the Kymco ATV proves this Taiwanese company is serious about ATVs. They aren't quite there yet - but are getting very close. For now the MXU 375 is a good utility 4 wheeler at a value price. If Kymco irons out some issues - it could easily be in the top group next time around!

Kymco specifications.


Final Thoughts

Since the purpose of this 4x4 ATV comparison was to find the best deals for under $6,000 - we need to add a few more tips.

Save more money by buying last years 4 wheeler model. Most of these same ATVs are available as 2008 models that are almost identical to these 2009s. For $1,000 to $1,500 less! Since this ATV comparison is about sticking to a budget - that could be important.

Upgrade to an ATV model with more features for a little more money. Several of these models are offered with bigger engines or better 4 wheel independent suspensions for a few more dollars. That put them over our $6k limit on retail price for this ATV comparison. But with all the rebates and specials being offered now - it may be possible to get them for a lot less!

Related Articles:


ATV Review Directory

Back to World of ATVs Home.


New! Comments

Have your say about what you just read! Leave me a comment in the box below.

Latest Articles

  1. 2019 Can-Am Maverick Sport Max 1000R DPS 100hp four seat side by side.

    New 2019 Can-Am Maverick Sport Max 1000R DPS. Four seat Maverick Sport doubles the fun with 100hp and electric assist power steering. See the latest details in one spot with info, specs, and photos.

    Read More

  2. 2019 Can-Am Defender Max Xmr. UTV Side by Side mudder for six.

    New for 2019 Can-Am Defender Max Xmr. Special package for mud riding. Get all the details in one place. Photos, videos, info and specs.

    Read More

  3. 2019 Can-Am Maverick Sport Xmr - New package for mud riders.

    Details for the new 2019 Can-Am Maverick Sport Xmr special mud riding package. Photos, videos, specs, and info on all the unique features of this new specialty model.

    Read More

  4. Latest UTV News and Rumors.

    Keep up with all the latest UTV News and Rumors. Coverage of all brands and models. Be the first to learn about all the latest UTV accessories and innovations.

    Read More

  5. UTV Guide - Covers the Fast Growing World of Side by Sides.

    The UTV Guide has pictures, videos, reviews, specs and more about UTVs, accessories, parts, and where to find the best deals.

    Read More

  6. Can-Am Maverick Sport XRC new for 2019! Rock Crawling Special.

    New for 2019 Can-Am Maverick Sport XRC for rock crawling fans. What are the new key features and how do they make it a better rock UTV for rock crawling? Answers to these questions and more.

    Read More

  7. UTV / ATV Rentals - Top How To Tips and Recommendations.

    Top How-To Tips for UTV or ATV rentals. Thinking of renting an ATV or UTV but not sure about all the details? Check out our best how-to tips to keep you on the right track and help you avoid expensive…

    Read More

  8. UTV and ATV Implements Guide.

    Guide to the top UTV and ATV implements. Snow plows, dirt moving implements, ATV mowers, sprayers, discs, harrows, spreaders, rakes, grading blades, front end loaders, cultivators, animal feeders, loa…

    Read More

  9. UTV and ATV Mower Guide for Rough Cut and Finish Mowers.

    Guide to the different styles of UTV and ATV mower available today. Info on front mount, pull behind and offset mowers for UTVs and ATVs. Learn about rough cut and finish mowers. Find out which mower…

    Read More

  10. Snowblower for ATV or UTV? Find Out Which Features are Best.

    Find out what makes the best snowblower for ATV and UTV 4 Wheelers. Learn about the different features and what they do.

    Read More