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The Best ATVs For All-Terrain Thrills & Work Duties

Best ATVs 00 Hero
Photo: Can-Am Renegade X MR 1000R

Starting with the Honda ATC90 (and ATC110) in the 1970s, the ATV segment has absolutely exploded over the last half-century, with an ever-growing selection of models from across an ever-increasing number of ATV subsegments. Also commonly referred to as quads or four-wheelers, ATVs have only grown more capable over time, with an increased focus on particular uses and applications that allow these go-anywhere machines to thrive in a variety of different off-grid environments. With so many models currently available on the market, however, it can be difficult to sort through the seemingly endless sea of quads in order to hone in on the few standout models in the space — the latest and greatest of which we’ll be highlighting today in this guide to the best ATVs. 

The Best ATV Breakdown


    Best Value ATV


  • 2023 Honda TRX250x

    Best Lightweight Quad

    Honda TRX250X

  • Best Sport ATV

    Yamaha Raptor 700R

  • Best Sport-Utility Quad

    Suzuki KingQuad 750AXi Power Steering SE+

  • Arctic Cat Alterra 600 TRV LTD

    Best Passenger ATV

    Arctic Cat Alterra 600 TRV LTD

  • Show more

Traits For Any Terrain

The Main Factors To Consider When Buying An ATV

Buying an all-terrain vehicle is a markedly different experience than buying any type of road-going machine, as they are built for drastically different uses. As such, the areas to take into account when shopping are largely unique. In an effort to help you get a better grasp on the market, below we’ll briefly be touching on the most pivotal areas to factor in before making your purchase.

Intended Use: Unlike the vast majority of cars that are largely intended to get passengers from point A to point B, all-terrain vehicles are manufactured for off-road thrills and excitement, utilitarian work purposes, or somewhere in between. As a result, you should start your search by asking yourself what your intended uses are, as this will help you determine which style of machine will best suit your specific wants and needs.

Engine & Power: The engine at the heart of any all-terrain vehicle — quads very much included — will play a crucial role in its overall performance characteristics and capabilities. The important areas to explore here are engine displacement, engine configuration, and aspiration — as well as a few lesser-important finer points such as cooling system and cam setup. These elements will collectively determine an engine’s horsepower and torque output, and a machine’s power-to-weight ratio.

Transmission: The transmission paired with the engine powering an ATV has become an increasingly important element when designing a new machine, as features such as paddle shifters are becoming increasingly commonplace in the ATV space. Semi-automatic and fully manual transmissions also remain common options on a great many of today’s most popular quads. 

Suspension & Travel: Alongside its engine, an ATV’s suspension package plays a key role in determining performance and off-road prowess. The type of suspension setup and its manufacturer are both well worth looking into, as is a suspension package’s front and rear suspension travel (i.e. how much distance/play there is before the suspension bottoms out).

Ride Height & Ground Clearance: Determined by the suspension setup and chassis, the distance at which a vehicle sits up off the ground (or its “ride height”) will play a huge role in the machine’s ability to traverse obstacles and different types of terrain.

Approach, Breakover, & Departure Angles: An all-terrain vehicle’s suspension setup and ride height will also ultimately determine the machine’s ability to ascend and descend slopes and clear obstacles — or as it’s more commonly referred to, the machine’s approach, clearance, and departure angles. Because ATVs are purpose-built for off-grid work duties and/or hardcore off-road exploration, these four-wheeled beasts tend to boast markedly superior attack angles (and clearance and suspension travel) when compared to even off-road-focused trucks.

Style: Even a decade ago, many of the ATVs on the market sported a pretty similar appearance, though in more recent years, manufacturers have employed increasingly idiosyncratic aesthetic designs, making them more and more worthy of being factored into one’s purchase. This trait should obviously take a back seat to an ATV’s performance capabilities and intended use, though we’d argue it’s totally fine to take a quad’s looks into consideration when shopping.

Amenities: For the lion’s share of the time that all-terrain vehicles have existed, they’ve largely been spartan, minimalistic creations, built solely to accomplish the task and hand and being almost entirely devoid of any supplementary amenities or creature comforts. In more recent years, however, this has massively changed, as manufacturers have increasingly bestowed models with features like plush seating, high-end stereos, and GPS displays. Similarly, there’s also been a major trend that’s seen manufacturers outfit stock (albeit often upgraded or special edition) models with an array of standard items such as auxiliary lights, towing winches, and hunting packages. 

The Best ATVs Currently On The Market

Now that you’re all caught up on what to look for when shopping and how to find the right machine for you, let’s dive into our choices for the finest quads currently available on showroom floors.


  • Affordable 600 class ATV built for work & play
  • Offers fantastic bang for your buck
  • Engine features Bosch electronic fuel injection & semi-auto CVTech transmission
  • Has a double A-arm independent suspension setup w/ coil over shocks
  • Makes around 30-40% less power than other 600 class ATVs

Best Value ATV: While it may now boast quite the same level of performance as its costlier counterparts, the CFMOTO CFORCE 400 is still a highly-capable and immensely versatile quad that offers some of the greatest bang for your buck of any model on the market. At the heart of the quad is a liquid-cooled 400cc single-cylinder engine with Bosch electronic fuel injection and a semi-auto CVTech transmission. This four-stroke, four-valve thumper puts down 31hp and 24ft-lbs of torque, ultimately allowing for a 620-pound towing capacity. Riding on 12” steel wheels, the CFORCE 400 also sports a double A-arm independent suspension setup with coil over shocks that provides 7.4” of travel up front, 8.8” out back, and nearly 10” of ground clearance. Other noteworthy elements include a 2wd/4wd thumb control with 4wd differential lock, high-intensity headlights with integrated DRLs, hydraulic disc brakes, heavy-duty steel storages racks with a 100-pound capacity, and a 2” hitch receptacle — all as standard amenities. 

Engine: Liquid-Cooled 400cc Single-Cylinder
Power: 31HP
Weight: 750LBs
Ground Clearance: 9.8”
Suspension Travel: 7.4” F | 8.8” R
MSRP: $5,199

Honda TRX250X

2023 Honda TRX250x
Photo: Honda
  • Great for young &/or novice riders
  • Made in Japan
  • Tips the scales at around 50% less than liter-sized ATVs
  • SportClutch allows for manual shifting w/o letting the engine stall if starved of revs
  • Backed by Honda’s legendary bulletproof reliability
  • Limited power & suspension travel

Best Lightweight Quad: The Honda TRX250X is an objectively capable 300cc quad that offers super nimble handling thanks to its svelte weight and punchy engine. It might not come loaded with a ton of bells and whistles, but it features everything needed for some off-road four-wheeled thrills — and does so in spades, borrowing numerous elements from the (now-nonexistent) turn-of-the-millennium era Sport Quad segment. It’s running gear may not be super top-shelf or of the name-brand variety, but the quad nonetheless comes outfitted with solid components, plus the entire thing comes backed by the bulletproof reliability that the Japanese brand has long been famous for. What’s more, the engine’s wide powerband and the fact it comes mated to Honda’s exclusive SportClutch — which allows for manual shifting without letting the engine stall if not given enough revs — paired with this model’s lower weight and generally forgiving nature make the TRX250X ultra-accessible for novice riders. 

Engine: Air-Cooled 299cc Single-Cylinder
Power: 17HP
Weight: 385LBs
Ground Clearance: 5.7”
Suspension Travel: 5.9” F | 5.7” R
MSRP: $5,299

Yamaha Raptor 700R

Photo: Yamaha
  • High-performance big-bore sport ATV derived from race quads
  • Equipped w/ top-shelf suspension modeled after Yamaha’s YZF dirt bikes
  • Sports super aggressive race-inspired design & bodywork
  • Offers great value w/ sub-$10k MSRP
  • Made in Japan
  • Not very versatile or useful for work duties (or anything outside sport riding really)

Best Sport ATV: First debuting in 2006 as the Raptor 660 before releasing the second and current generation, the Yamaha 700R is a relatively affordable sport-quad that offers razor-sharp performance in a rugged and reliable package. These traits have ultimately resulted in the Raptor becoming the best-selling sport ATV of all time – a trend that will likely continue thanks to the host of updates bestowed upon the 2021 model year. Powered by a liquid-cooled, fuel-injected 686cc engine, the Raptor’s competition-winning performance is largely owed to its state-of-the-art suspension package — which affords 9.1” of suspension travel up front and 10.1” out back — that’s been derived from the Japanese brand’s world-class YZF dirt bike models. The latest Raptor 700R also comes standard with an electric starter and a reverse gear.

Engine: Liquid-Cooled 686cc Single-Cylinder
Power: 46HJP
Weight: 422LBs
Ground Clearance: 9.5”
Suspension Travel: 9.1” F | 10.1” R
MSRP: $9,999

Suzuki KingQuad 750AXi Power Steering SE+

Photo: Suzuki
  • Highly-capable & highly-versatile ATV built for both work & play
  • Has steel front bumper & LED lightbar as standard
  • Made in Japan
  • Boasts absolutely stellar reliability
  • Can be fitted w/ available Rugged Package
  • Dated-looking appearance

Best Sport-Utility Quad: For those looking for an immensely versatile quad capable of delivering genuine utility along with some occasional thrills, it’s hard to do better than Suzuki’s KingQuad 750AXi — a machine made all the more impressive when fitted with the optional power steering SE+ and Rugged package which includes more hardwearing bumpers and a 2,700-lumen auxiliary LED light bar. At the heart of the KingQuad is a liquid-cooled, 722cc, DOHC single with fuel injection, an aluminum radiator and cylinders, and a sportbike-derived chain-and-gear camshaft drive system. The ATV offers selectable 2WD and 4WD modes, four liters of storage space, full floorboards with raised foot-pegs, a steel rube cargo rack, a receiver-style hitch mount, and a towing capacity of more than 1,322lbs. The KingQuad is also praised for being one of the easiest-to-operate quads currently in production and boasts Suzuki’s bulletproof reliability.

Engine: Liquid-Cooled 722cc Single-Cylinder
Power: N/A
Weight: 721LBs
Ground Clearance: 10.2”
Suspension Travel: 6.7” F | 7.7” R
MSRP: $11,249

Arctic Cat Alterra 600 TRV LTD

Arctic Cat Alterra 600 TRV LTD
Photo: Arctic Cat
  • Purpose-built two-rider ATV
  • Features a massive 12.25″ of ground clearance
  • Has custom front bumper w/ integrated 3,500-lb WARN winch
  • Equipped w/ plush passenger backrest, hand grips, & footrests
  • Offered w/ optional dash-mounted Garmin Tread Off Road GPS unit
  • Requires $1,200 premium over already pricey base model

Best Passenger ATV: An ultra-capable two-passenger go-anywhere quad that comes fully-loaded straight off the showroom floor, the Arctic Cat Alterra 600 TRV LTD is an impressive ATV on several levels. Powered by a 45-hp 600-class EFI engine that was designed in St. Cloud, Minnesota, the TRV LTD-spec Alterra 600 features selectable front locking differentials, aluminum wheels shod in 26” tires, electronic power steering, a 1,050-pound towing capacity, and a double A-arm suspension setup with upgraded shocks and springs that provides 8.75 of travel fore and aft, plus a whopping 12.25” of clearance. Additionally, on top of an optional factory-installed dash-mounted Garmin Tread Off Road GPS unit, the Alterra 600 TRV LTD also comes outfitted with over-molded front and rear racks with a 300-pound weight capacity, front tow hooks, a 2” rear receiver, a premium steel front bumper with an integrated WARN winch rated at 3,500lbs, driver-accessible storage, and a passenger seat complete with a backrest, hand grips, and footrests — all as standard equipment straight from the factory. 

Engine: Liquid-Cooled 600cc Single-Cylinder
Power: 45HP
Weight: 897.5LBs
Ground Clearance: 12.25”
Suspension Travel: 8.75” F & R
MSRP: $11,699

Polaris Sportsman 6×6 570

Polaris Sportsman 6x6 570
Photo: Polaris
  • Ultra-rugged industry-leading 6×6
  • Great for work duties, hunting, & off-grid exploration
  • Designed & made in America
  • Offered w/ huge slew of available factory add-ons
  • Six-wheeled platform offers even more capable go-anywhere performance
  • Feels a bit underpowered with 44hp output & 1,075lb weight
  • Massive wheelbase greatly hinders cornering & turning radius

Best Hunting ATV: From the mountains to the desert to the forests, the Polaris Sportsman 6×6 570 stands as an exceptionally capable six-wheeled ATV that’s just as conducive to hunting and exploration applications as it is to work duties. Equipped with a versatile one-up or two-up seating arrangement, the Sportsman 6×6 570 is kicked along by a 567cc ProStar single-cylinder engine with Active Descent Control, one-touch on-demand AWD and 2WD, and 44hp on tap. Coupled with its MacPherson Strut-equipped front suspension and independent rear suspension, this powertrain affords the 6×6 with the ability to conquer a wide variety of terrain types and reach remote off-grid locales — making it perfect for hunting, especially when you consider the model’s ample storage capabilities. This includes both a rear rack with a massive 800-pound weight capacity, along with a 1,115-pound payload capacity. 

Engine: Liquid-Cooled 567cc Single-Cylinder
Power: 44HP
Weight: 1,075LBs
Ground Clearance: 11.5”
Suspension Travel: 8.2” F | 9.5” R
MSRP: $13,499

Can-Am Renegade X MR 1000R

Photo: Can-Am
  • Offers stellar performance in mud & deep sand
  • Has ultra-unique & aggressive look w/ integrated winch & front bumper
  • Powered by class-leading 91-hp Rotax V-Twin engine
  • Comes loaded w/ 3,500lb winch & skid-plate
  • Fitted w/ FOX 1.5 PODIUM QS3 shocks
  • Rides on 14” cast-aluminum beadlock wheels w/ 30” tires
  • Weighs nearly half-a-ton
  • Expensive price

Best Mudding ATV: The most powerful quad currently made by Can-Am with a 91hp output, the Renegade X MR 1000R is a modern ATV with a unique, and at times divisive aesthetic design. What isn’t up for debate, however, is the 1000R’s immense performance capabilities, with a liquid-cooled 976cc Rotax-made V-Twin engine with Can-Am’s Intelligent Throttle Control (and multiple power modes), and recalibrated rear preload-adjustable FOX 1.5 PODIUM shocks, revised A-arms, sway-bar, and wheels that result in a wider stance with bolstered ground clearance, coming in at 12.5”. This model is also available with a host of optional items including a Visco-4Lok differential, a 3,500lb winch, and upgraded front and rear bumpers, just to name a few.

Engine: Liquid-Cooled 976cc V-Twin
Power: 91HP
Weight: 971LBs
Ground Clearance: 12.5”
Suspension Travel: 9.2” F | 9.9” R
MSRP: $16,799

Polaris Scrambler XP 1000 S

Photo: Polaris
  • One of the fastest & most powerful ATVs ever made
  • Offers roughly 80-mph top speeds
  • Has 14.5″ of clearance & around 14″ of travel
  • Comes fitted w/ Walker Evans 3-Way Adjustable Shocks
  • Equipped w/ ProArmor LED lightbar as standard
  • Expensive price
  • NOT beginner-friendly

Best High-Performance ATV: Tougher, meaner, and more capable than its predecessor, the Polaris Scrambler XP 1000 S features a newly designed steel tube chassis that’s 31% larger and an 89hp ProStar engine mated to a revised transmission with 25% stronger components. Borrowing the race-proven half-shafts and front differential from Polaris’ mighty RZR XP 1000 SxS model, the Scrambler also packs an exclusive ProSteer Design linkage, a fully integrated 11″ Pro Armor lightbar, and premium Walker Evans shocks with a dual coil spring setup that offers both high and low-speed compression and rebound adjustment and a whopping 14” of rear suspension travel (and 12.5” of travel out in front). Riding on 27” Duro Powergrip all-terrain tires, this high-performance ATV also boasts 14.5″ of ground clearance, a 55” stance, True On-Demand AWD, and sealed high clearance arched dual A-arms.

Engine: Liquid-Cooled 952cc Parallel-Twin
Power: 89HP
Weight: 881LBs
Ground Clearance: 14.5”
Suspension Travel: 12.5” F | 14” R
MSRP: $17,799

The Best Electric Off-Road Vehicles for Outdoor Adventure

Photo: Volcon Stag

Want to check out some other immensely-capable go-anywhere rigs? Then be sure to head over to our guide to the best electric off-road vehicles for a curated selection of state-of-the-art all-electric exploration and adventure machines.