Six ATVs Under $6,000
Flip through ATV magazines or visit websites and you’ll find a barrage of machines with massive power, unmatched performance, and all the latest amenities. If you look closer, you’ll also find price tags that might be too much for your wallet to handle.
But fear not, faithful reader. Off-road bargains really do exist and we’re here to tell you about them. To highlight some of these price-conscious models, we’ve put together a list of six ATVs under $6,000 from the 2016 model year that are well worth considering if you just want to get out and ride and are willing to forgo a bit of power and some modern conveniences.
This list is presented from least expensive to most expensive, with both Sport ATVs and Utility ATVs included.
Intended for riders 14 years of age or older, the Can-Am DS 250 is an entry-level Sport ATV. Its 249cc liquid-cooled engine helps produce a top speed of 38 mph, though that can be lowered by making use of the built-in throttle limiter. Despite its Sport ATV looks, the DS 250 comes with a CVT transmission that requires no shifting within its Forward, Neutral and Reverse gears. Front and rear suspension is equipped with motion-control shocks that are five-way preload adjustable. Stopping power comes from dual hydraulic discs up front and one in the rear with braided stainless steel brake lines.
Kawasaki introduced the Brute Force 300 in the 2012 model year as the entry point into the Brute Force lineup and as a replacement for the Bayou 250. Power comes from a 271cc single cylinder engine that produces a claimed 20 horsepower. Though ideal for slightly smaller riders, we tested it with a 250-pound man on board who didn’t complain about a lack of power. Since this is a Utility ATV, it is designed to help you get the work done and can hold 44 pounds on the front rack and 66 pounds out back. Controlling the machine is a double wishbone suspension up front with 5.2 inches of travel and a swingarm suspension in the rare with 5.6 inches of travel.
The sporty Honda TRX250X has been part of our industry for many years and has served as an entry point in the Sport ATV market. This model features a 229cc single cylinder engine and a manual transmission with Honda’s SportClutch, which allows new riders learn clutch control without worrying about stalling. Other features include electric start, independent double wishbone front suspension (5.9 inches of travel), swing arm rear suspension (5.7 inches of travel), aluminum wheels, dual hydraulic disc brakes up front and sealed drum in the rear. When we reviewed it a few years back, we noted steering felt light and lauded the aforementioned SportClutch, which allowed our test rider to “rev the motor into submission while cornering.”
Honda offers the venerable FourTrax Rancher dressed in a number of different ways, but you’ll have to forgo four-wheel drive, independent rear suspension and electronic fuel injection to slip under the $6,000 barrier. We chose to go with the Rancher ES, which comes with electric start. Like all Rancher models, this one features a single-cylinder 420cc engine. Other features include independent double wishbone front suspension (6.7 inches of travel), swing arm rear suspension (6.7 inches of travel),and 848 pounds of towing capacity. We like the Rancher so much we named it our 2015 ATV of the Year.
New for 2016, the Alterra 400 4×4 falls in Arctic Cat’s midsize ATV family. Power comes from Cat’s 366cc single cylinder 400 H1 engine. This is the least expensive ATV on our list with independent front and rear suspension and boasts 7.0 inches of travel at all four corners. It is also the cheapest ATV on this list with four-wheel drive and electronic front differential lock. Other features include Duromatic automatic transmission, front and rear hydraulic disc brakes, two-inch hitch receiver, 1,050-pound towing capacity, and 225 pounds of rack capacity (75 pounds front, 150 pounds rear).
The Polaris Sportsman 450 H.O. may have a misleading name, but its 325cc liquid cooled ProStar engine is the most powerful on our list, producing a claimed 31 horsepower. This ATV also tops our list in towing capacity (1,225 pounds), rack capacity (270 pounds total), and suspension travel (8.2 inches front, 9.5 inches rear). Speaking of suspension, the Sportsman 450 HO has a McPherson strut front end and independent double A-arm design out back with preload adjustable rear shocks. Other features include 6.5 gallons of storage space, on-demand all-wheel drive, and 10.5 inches of ground clearance.
I have been working exclusively in digital media since 1997. I started out with TSN.ca, spending nearly nine years creating and editing content on Canada's leading sports website. I left to join VerticalScope, Inc., one of the world's largest online publishers, to start a number of powersports publications. While at VerticalScope, I've helped create and oversee content for a wide variety of different publications, including ATV.com, Off-Road.com, ArcheryTalk.com, Tractor.com, RVGuide.com, and many more.
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