2012 4×2 BUYER’S GUIDE

The Honda Rancher name covers about a hundred different models, all with the same basic chassis and 420cc, liquid-cooled, EFI motor with its longitudinal crank and driveshaft. The base model is a two-wheel-drive utility machine with a five-speed manual gearbox. Push-button shifting will cost $200 more.
ARCTIC CAT 300 ($4099)
Arctic Cat is well armed in the 300 2WD class with this existing model. It has a 270cc, liquid-cooled motor hooked up to a CV transmission that offers high, low and reverse. The front suspension is through double A-arms, and the rear has a swingarm. The combined rack capacity is 150 pounds, and the little ’Cat can tow 500 pounds.
The Trail Boss is the same machine as the Trail Blazer 330, but it has steel racks that are compatible with the Polaris Lock & Ride system. The motor is air-cooled with a CV transmission that includes reverse. MacPherson struts are used up front and the single-shock rear suspension produces 10.5 inches of travel.
Kawasaki just introduced this model to battle in the newly revitalized 300 two-wheel-drive class. Suspiciously, the price is exactly $100 less than the new Yamaha Grizzly 300. They both offer CV transmissions with high range, low range and reverse. The Kawasaki is reminiscent of the big Brute Force 750, but without the V-twin sound.
The 300 2WD class suddenly has more players because of the demand for inexpensive utility quads. Kymco is still way out in front in the value contest. The MXU300 has a liquid-cooled, 270cc motor with a CV transmission (with reverse) turning a driveshaft. All Kymcos feature a one-year factory warranty.
YAMAHA GRIZZLY 300 ($4099)
It’s clear that all the manufacturers are taking low-cost machines more seriously than ever before. The new Grizzly 300 is a perfect example. It’s priced well despite having a number of nice touches, like a liquid-cooled motor, a CV transmission with high, low and reverse, and hydraulic brakes.
SUZUKI OZARK 250 ($4499)
The Ozark dates back a few years in Suzuki’s line. It remains a solid, air-cooled, two-wheel-drive machine with a driveshaft rather than a chain, as you see on many models in this size. The Ozark has an automatic clutch with a five-speed manual transmission. In the newly revitalized 2WD class, the Ozark might be a little overpriced.
This is the utility version of the Honda 250X. It has the same 228cc, air-cooled motor with pushrod-actuated valves, a longitudinal crank and a driveshaft. The standard model has a five-speed transmission with an automatic clutch, but it’s also available with Honda’s electric, push-button shifting for an extra $200.
ARCTIC CAT 150 ($3499)
This simple utility model is classified Y14 (for riders 14- years old and older). It has an air-cooled motor and electric start. The transmission is automatic with a reverse gear. The front brakes are hydraulic with a drum in the rear. The front and rear racks will hold a total of 75 pounds, and the towing load is 300 pounds.
KYMCO MXU150 ($2999)
Kymco’s 150 utility quad has a bare-bones, air-cooled, 149cc motor hooked up to a fully automatic CV transmission. The suspension in the front is through single A-arms, and in back there’s a swingarm and a single shock producing 3.5 inches of travel. The drive is through a 520 chain, and the front brakes are hydraulic discs.
YAMAHA GRIZZLY 125 ($3599)
Child labor laws notwithstanding, you can now make your kid work for his quad. The Grizzly 125 is very different from the Raptor 125, with more utility-oriented features like the CV transmission (with reverse), single A-arms in front and drum brakes all the way around. The little Griz’ has operational headlights, so your kid can work late.