2014 4×2 ATV Buyer’s Guide
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 Aarms
all the way around. The racks are steel, the wheels
are steel and the price makes it a steal.
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 4×2. The base model comes with a five-speed gearbox,
but you can upgrade to electric shifting for $250.
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 utility-
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.
KAWASAKI BRUTE FORCE 300 ($4299)
Last year the ATV industry collectively sensed a need
for an inexpensive, two-wheel-drive utility quad and
there was a miniature space race to fill the void. The
Kawasaki Brute Force 300 was one of the results and is
apparently successful because it’s back for 2014. The little
Brute has a carbureted, liquid-cooled motor and can
carry 300 pounds on its steel racks.
KYMCO MXU 300 ($3999)
Kymco’s 2WD budget utility quad is the MXU300. This
machine bears a strong resemblance to the Arctic Cat
300, with its 270cc, liquid-cooled, overhead-cam motor, CV
transmission, and shaft drive. Even though the two have
some DNA in common, they aren’t identical, each having
proprietary designs and features. The Kymco factory warranty
is one year.
SUZUKI OZARK 250 ($4599)
Suzuki’s two-wheel-drive utility quad has been in the
lineup under various names for years. It’s a proven commodity
with its air-cooled, two-valve motor and five-speed
manual transmission with a centrifugal clutch. The chassis
is solid, with double A-arms in front and a swingarm in
the rear, coupled with a driveshaft. The price remains a
little high for this category, however.