TOP 11 BEGINNER ATVS UNDER $6,000 – AFFORDABLE ALL-TERRAIN ADVENTURE
These machines will have you blazing down the trail in no time!
So, you’re looking to buy your first ATV, but much of what you see reviewed in the media looks big, fast, and intimidating – sorry about that. As off-road journalists and longtime enthusiasts of these alloy horses, we tend to gravitate to big and loud machines that throw a tremendous amount of dirt into the air. However, many ATVs are comfortable and very friendly for new riders, and most are very affordable. For this list, we’re going to focus on machines intended for riders who are 16 years and older in the 200-400cc range. These machines vary between sport and rec-utility disciplines and are listed alphabetically.
ARCTIC CAT ALTERRA 300 – $4,799
Like most entry-level ATVs, Arctic Cat’s Alterra 300 is as easy to ride as it is to maintain. The 270cc engine is air-cooled, carbureted, has an electric starter, and is driven by a fully automatic continuously variable transmission (CVT), so new riders can concentrate more on the view ahead rather than the controls. Gear selection includes high- and low-range plus neutral and reverse.
It’s 2WD and propelled by a drive shaft and locked differential integrated into the rear swingarm, which provides five inches of wheel travel. Dual front A-arm front suspension also sports 5 inches of travel, and hydraulic disc brakes halt all four wheels.
For light chores, the Alterra 300 is up to the task with 150 pounds of rack capacity and the ability to tow 500 pounds. At 517 pounds dry, it’s easy to handle and excellent for moderate trail use with 6.5 inches of ground clearance. A 3.2-gallon fuel tank will have you blazing trails for hours on end.
The Alterra 300 is available in Coyote Tan with a 12-month factory warranty.
CAN-AM DS 250 $4,899
The Can-Am DS 250 is a sport-focused ATV designed for a wide range of riders, from beginners to experienced enthusiasts. First introduced in 2007, it features a lightweight chassis and a comfortable ergonomic seat, making it suitable for long rides on various terrains.
Powered by a 250cc liquid-cooled engine, the DS is fed via a carburetor. Its automatic CVT ensures smooth acceleration without the complication of shifting multiple gears but still includes reverse and electric start. Independent double A-arm front suspension offers 5.5 inches of wheel travel, and a rear swingarm provides up to 6.7 inches. Twin tube shocks are preload adjustable, and a chain drive system turns the solid rear axle.
It has hydraulic disc brakes front and rear to bring the MX-style Kenda tires to a quick halt. The DS is one of a few ATVs on this list that drops the age requirement to 14 years, and it has an adjustable throttle limiter that can dial down acceleration and top speed until rider skill improves.
Available in black and Can-Am red color combo, a factory 6-month warranty is included with purchase.
CFMOTO CFORCE 400 – $5,199
The CFMOTO CFORCE 400 ATV is a bargain, with a liquid-cooled 400cc engine putting out 31 horsepower for well under $6k. It uses a CVT with high- and low-range, neutral, park and reverse gear selections. This ATV delivers ample power for both recreational riding and light utility work, rated for up to 175 pounds of combined rack capacity and 620 pounds of towing with a standard 2-inch receiver. It’s one of the few machines on this list with EFI, which automatically adjusts air intake for changing temperatures and altitudes.
It’s also the only ATV on this list to come standard with front and rear independent suspension, boasting 7.5 inches of wheel travel up front and 8.85 inches at the rear. Ground clearance is also optimal at 9.8 inches. This setup provides a comfortable and controlled ride, absorbing bumps and rough terrain with ease.
It is also the only ATV in this price point with selectable 2WD/4WD and a front-locking differential. It’s the best choice for riders who wish to eventually tackle more difficult trials. The Cforce 400 is loaded with other big features like front and rear hydraulic disc brakes, a digital dash display, and a 4.4-gallon fuel tank.
It comes with modern styling in multiple color choices. The factory warranty is good for 12 months.
HONDA RECON/ES – $4,799 / $5,049 ES
The Honda Recon ATV is a compact and reliable all-terrain vehicle designed for both recreational riders and those needing a dependable workhorse. Its simple yet rugged design is powered by a 229cc air-cooled engine, providing ample power for a variety of tasks while maintaining fuel efficiency. The Recon comes with a standard foot-shift 5-speed transmission, while the ES model gets Honda’s Electric Shift Program (ESP), allowing riders to effortlessly shift gears with the touch of a button on the handlebars. Both versions include an electric starter and a recoil backup starter.
With its comfortable and ergonomic seating, the Honda Recon ensures a pleasant ride on trails or rough terrain. Its double wishbone independent front suspension allows 5.1 inches of wheel travel, and the single-shock rear swingarm provides 4.9 inches. It rides on 22-inch tires, which take ground clearance to six inches. Wheels get braking assistance from dual hydraulic drums up front and a single mechanical drum at the rear.
Whether it’s for light utility work on the ranch, or for exploring off-road trails, the Honda Recon ATV is a dependable and versatile companion. It can handle 99 pounds on the racks and tows a modest 500 pounds with 2.4 gallons of fuel capacity. Its reputation for longevity and low maintenance makes it a popular choice among ATV enthusiasts looking for a reliable partner for their adventures and tasks.
Available in Avenger Red, Black Forest Green, or Krypton Green, a 12-month factory warranty is included with purchase.
HONDA FOURTRAX RANCHER – $5,999
The base model Honda Rancher ATV is a testament to Honda’s reputation for producing reliable and rugged all-terrain vehicles. We’ve seen Ranchers clear 45,000 miles just with standard maintenance – and they were still running! There are eight trim levels for the Rancher, but the base 2WD model is the only one that squeaks below $6k.
Powered by a 420cc liquid-cooled engine, the Rancher offers a perfect blend of power and efficiency. It’s fed with a 34mm EFI throttle body and is easy to get rolling with electric start and a recoil backup starter.
With its durable construction, the Rancher is built to withstand the rigors of both recreational riding and tough utility tasks, hence the Rancher nameplate. It has dual hydraulic disc brakes up front and a sealed mechanical drum brake at the rear.
Whether you’re navigating challenging trails or using it for farm work, the base model Honda Rancher ATV is a dependable, versatile, and well-rounded choice, embodying Honda’s commitment to quality and durability in the world of all-terrain vehicles.
Available in Avenger Red or Black Forest Green, a 12-month factory warranty is included with purchase.
HONDA TRX250X – $5,399
The Honda TRX250X ATV is a versatile and sporty all-terrain vehicle designed to deliver an exhilarating off-road experience while remaining accessible to riders of varying skill levels. At its heart is a peppy 229cc, air-cooled, single-cylinder engine, which offers a combination of power and efficiency perfect for recreational use. Its five-speed manual transmission with a manual clutch provides precise control over gear shifts, making it a great choice for riders looking to obtain pure sport skills.
One of the standout features of the TRX250X is its true-sport suspension system, featuring independent front A-arm suspension with 5.9 inches of wheel travel, and a rear swingarm with 5.7 inches. It has a driveshaft, so chain drive maintenance isn’t a concern for newbies. Combine all of that with a light curb weight of 385 pounds, and you’ve got a smooth and responsive ride capable of easily handling rough trails and obstacles.
The TRX250X also boasts an electric starter, simplifying ignition for riders. Front hydraulic disc brakes and rear drum brakes provide reliable stopping power. With its comfortable seating and user-friendly controls, the Honda TRX250X is a good option for riders seeking a thrilling off-road experience while maintaining Honda’s hallmark reliability and durability.
Available in red or Solstice Orange, a 12-month factory warranty is included in the price.
KAWASAKI BRUTE FORCE 300 – $5,099
The Kawasaki Brute Force 300 ATV is a compact, rugged all-terrain vehicle that offers an exciting blend of performance, versatility, and reliability. Powered by a 271cc, liquid-cooled, single-cylinder engine, the Brute Force 300 provides enough power for various riding experiences while maintaining fuel efficiency from a 3.2-gallon tank.
An automatic CVT ensures smooth acceleration and ease of use, making it an excellent choice for beginner and novice riders with high- and low-range and reverse. With a sturdy chassis and responsive handling, this 2WD ATV is well-equipped to tackle various terrain, off-road trails, and light utility tasks.
The suspension includes independent double A-arms up front sporting 5.2 inches of travel and a swingarm at the rear with 5.6 inches of travel. All shocks have adjustable preload settings. At 536 pounds, it’s a nimble ride with plenty of room to hone rider skills. On the chore side, the small Brute can handle 110 pounds of cargo between front and rear racks and 500 pounds of towing.
Its front and rear suspension provide a comfortable and controlled ride, absorbing shocks and bumps effectively. It has front and rear hydraulic disc brakes, ensuring dependable stopping power when needed. The ATV’s ergonomic design includes a comfortable seat and user-friendly controls, enhancing the riding experience.
Available in Firecracker Red or Grayish Blue, a 12-month warranty is included with purchase.
KAYO JACKAL 200 – $3,699
There’s more than one Kayo on this list; the Jackal is the sportier machine of the two. At the heart of the Jackal 200 is a robust 199cc, air-cooled, four-stroke engine that churns out ample power and torque, making it suitable for tackling moderately challenging terrain. Its electric start ensures quick and hassle-free ignition, while a 4-speed manual transmission simplifies gear shifting but teaches new riders the basics of shifting a sport quad.
Equipped with a durable suspension system, the Jackal 200 offers a smooth and comfortable ride, absorbing shocks and bumps on rough trails with preload-adjustable shocks. Its sturdy steel frame provides stability and durability, ensuring the ATV can withstand the rigors of off-roading.
Safety features like front and rear hydraulic disc brakes offer solid stopping power, while the ATV’s responsive handling and excellent traction make it a joy to navigate through mud, dirt, or rocky terrain. Whether you’re a seasoned off-road enthusiast or a novice rider, the Kayo Jackal 200 ATV promises adventure, performance, and reliability in a very affordable package.
The Jackal is only offered in white with sporty graphics and includes a 6-month warranty with purchase.
KAYO BULL 200 – $3,699
The Kayo Bull 200 ATV is a more utility-focused offering from Kayo with light-duty front and rear racks and a swingarm-mounted hitch for towing. It also includes rearview mirrors.
Powering the Bull 200 is a 176cc, four-stroke engine, which provides ample power and torque for tackling various terrains. Its electric start ensures quick ignition, while the automatic CVT offers an accessible and user-friendly riding experience for beginner riders.
The Bull’s suspension system absorbs shocks and vibrations, delivering a comfortable and controlled ride even on rough trails. Independent A-arm front suspension and a single shock rear swingarm include preload-adjustable shocks that boost ground clearance to 6.9 inches. The ATV’s front and rear disc brakes provide reliable stopping power, enhancing safety during your adventures.
With its excellent traction and responsive handling, the Kayo Bull 200 excels in mud, dirt, and rocky terrains, making it an ideal choice for thrill-seekers and outdoor enthusiasts. It weighs just under 400 pounds, making it nimble on tight, twisty trails. Whether navigating challenging terrain or exploring the great outdoors, the Kayo Bull 200 ATV promises a thrilling off-road experience.
Available in your choice of white or red color, the Kayo Bull includes a 6-month warranty.
KYMCO MONGOOSE 270i – $4,949
The Kymco Mongoose 270i ATV is a dynamic and versatile all-terrain vehicle designed to provide an exhilarating off-road experience for riders of varying skill levels. It’s also suitable for ages 14 and up and is the sport version of the two Kymco offerings on this list.
Powered by a robust 270cc, liquid-cooled, four-stroke engine, the Mongoose 270i offers an impressive blend of power and efficiency. Its automatic CVT with forward, neutral, and reverse gear selections ensures smooth acceleration and easy operation, making it suitable for beginners and experienced riders.
The Mongoose’s sporty and agile design is complemented by front-independent A-arm suspension and a swingarm with a single-shock design at the rear. All shocks are preload adjustable.
The Mongoose comes standard with hydraulic disc brakes front and rear. It also incorporates features such as a digital display, electric start, and ergonomic controls, enhancing the riding experience. The Kymco Mongoose 270i ATV offers a compelling combination of performance with lightweight handling characteristics.
Available in Sunbeam Red, Deep Gray, Aquamarine, or Silver Crystal, a 1-year factory warranty is included with purchase.
KYMCO MXU 270i EURO – $5,199
The Kymco MXU 270i is a dependable and practical 2WD ATV designed to deliver a versatile and enjoyable riding experience for ages 14 and up. At its core, it boasts a 270cc, EFI, liquid-cooled, four-stroke engine, offering a balanced mix of power and efficiency. (While not suitable for all beginners, a 450i version is also available for $5,669). Its automatic CVT simplifies gear shifting, making it accessible for riders of different skill levels.
The MXU 270i is well-equipped to handle various terrains and tasks with front and rear racks and light towing capability. Independent front A-arms and a swingarm at the rear are fitted with oil-damped preload-adjustable shocks that provide 5.5 inches of travel.
Front and rear hydraulic disc brakes deliver reliable stopping power. The ATV also includes practical features like a digital display, electric start, and a comfortable seat, enhancing the overall riding experience.
Whether you’re exploring off-road trails or using it for light utility work, the Kymco MXU 270i ATV is a solid choice known for its durability, versatility, and reliability, making it an attractive option for riders seeking a dependable and capable ATV first ATV.
Available in Gray or White, a 12-month factory warranty is included with purchase.