YAMAHA GRIZZLY 450 AUTO ($6399)
The Grizzly 450 has a 421cc, liquid-cooled, overhead-cam
motor with fuel injection, a CV transmission, push-button
diff-lock and all the credentials that allow it to follow larger
4x4s anywhere, but the IRS chassis is smaller in every
dimension. Unlike many ATVs in this category, the Yamaha
can be had with power steering for an additional $800. And,
like all the Grizzlys, it is assembled in Newnan, Georgia.
YAMAHA GRIZZLY 550 FI AUTO ($7999)
The 550 didn’t get the upgrades that graced its big
brother this year, but it remains at the top of its class in
sheer off-road ability. The chassis of the two machines
remain nearly identical, with only mild differences in suspension. The 550 is available in a power-steering version
with variations in trim for $8899, and you can also get a
camo model for another $500.
YAMAHA GRIZZLY 350 AUTO ($5599)
Yamaha dropped the 300 4x2, but the price of the littlest
Grizzly 4x4 is holding steady for 2014 to fill the low-cost
utility void. The air-cooled overhead cam motor is still carbureted, but is hooked up to a CV transmission with push-button four-wheel drive. The front suspension is double A-arm, and the rear has a swingarm and solid axle.
Yamaha offers a camo model for an additional $400.
HONDA RANCHER ($5199)
In the complicated Rancher family tree, the most affordable offering is the base model with two-wheel drive. At a
glance, it looks just like its more expensive siblings, with
the same bodywork, the same racks and the same 420cc,
liquid-cooled motor. You have to lift its dress to see that it’s
a 4x2. The base model comes with a five-speed gearbox,
but you can upgrade to electric shifting for $250.
ARCTIC CAT 300 ($4299)
Arctic Cat offered a price-conscious 2WD utility quad
long before it became a fashion trend. The 300 is powered
by a liquid-cooled, two-valve, overhead-cam, 270cc
motor. The CV transmission has high, low and reverse,
and the suspension is fully independent with double A-arms all the way around. The racks are steel, the wheels
are steel and the price makes it a steal.
HONDA RECON ($3949)
Honda’s 229cc Recon has several similarities to the
Honda 250X sport quad, the most basic of which is the
229cc air-cooled motor, which is mounted with the crank
running lengthwise in the chassis. The chassis is more util-ity-oriented, with racks front and rear. The Recon doesn’t
give you the hybrid manual/automatic Sport clutch, but
you can upgrade to electric shifting for a bargain of $250.