Best ATVs

Need to get deep into remote fishing or hunting territory? These machines will git ’er done

When your pickup or SUV just isn’t up to the task of reaching the backcountry, today’s wide array of all-terrain vehicles offer just the solution.

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JOHN DEERE: Gator XUV590i

While some have complained it’s not as fast as other vehicles in its class, this mid-bore utility vehicle has more than enough power for jobs around camp or in the field. The twin-cylinder engine pumps out 32 horsepower, propelling the machine to a top speed of 77 km/h. And with eight inches of travel, a lockable differential and 10½ inches of ground clearance, this Gator is also made for the trail. It’s highly customizable, too, with more than 75 available attachments.

ENGINE: 586c, liquid-cooled, 4-stroke, inline twin cylinder with EFI

TRANSMISSION: CVT

BRAKING: Hydraulic disc

SUSPENSION: Dual A-arm front, independent with lower H-arm rear

FUEL CAPACITY: 28 litres

CARGO CAPACITY: 400 pounds

LEARN MORE: 1-800-537-8233; www.deere.com

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KAWASAKI: Mule SX

The new Mule SX is a scaled-down addition to Kawasaki’s venerable Mule line of side-by-sides. It’s smaller, yes, but still very competent, especially running on flatter ground. Featuring a brawny engine, robust drivetrain, large wheels and generous ground clearance, this 2WD is a compact workhorse ideal for tight trails. The XC Camo version is decked out in Realtree Xtra Green Camo from top to bottom, and it comes with high-power LED headlights for extra visibility in the backwoods.

ENGINE: 401cc, air-cooled, 4-stroke, SOHC V-twin

TRANSMISSION: CVT

BRAKING: Hydraulic drum

SUSPENSION: MacPherson strut front, Unit swing axle rear

FUEL CAPACITY: 16 litres

CARGO CAPACITY: 400 pounds

LEARN MORE: (416) 446-4186; www.kawasaki.ca

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POLARIS: Sportsman Big Boss 6x6 570 EPS

Combining the hauling ability of a side-by-side with the agility of an ATV, the Big Boss 570 EPS is made for performing camp chores such as hauling wood and extracting downed game. The cargo box sports 15 different tie-down spots, and with 30 different accessories available, the machine itself can be customized for practically any outdoor job you need to tackle. Touting the industry’s largest fuel tank, this workhorse reportedly carries 25 per cent more fuel than the competition.

ENGINE: 567cc, liquid-cooled, 4-stroke, single-cylinder, DOHC

TRANSMISSION: CVT

BRAKING: Hydraulic disc

SUSPENSION: MacPherson strut front, double A-arm rear

FUEL CAPACITY: 28 litres

CARGO CAPACITY: 90 pounds front, 800 pounds rear

LEARN MORE: 1-800-765-2747; www.polaris.com

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TEXTRON OFF ROAD: Stampede 900 4x4

Formerly known as Bad Boy Buggies, maker of all-electric and hybrid utility vehicles, Textron Off Road recently entered the gas side-by-side market with the Stampede 900 4x4. Featuring truck-like ergonomics and optional gun and bow racks, the two-passenger vehicle has 24 cubic feet of storage space, a 600-pound capacity tilt bed and 2,000-pound towing capacity. As well, it features more than 11 inches of ground clearance. It’s also available in a four-passenger version and with electronic power steering.

ENGINE: 846cc, liquid-cooled, 4-stroke, twin cylinder with EFI

TRANSMISSION: CVT

BRAKING: Hydraulic disc

SUSPENSION: Double A-arm

FUEL CAPACITY: 36 litres

CARGO CAPACITY: 600 pounds

LEARN MORE: 1-800-774-3946; www.textronoffroad.com

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Modifications & more

Some manufacturers didn’t roll out all-new models for 2017, but instead took things up a notch with their existing lines, as this roundup reveals.

CF Moto

Both models in CF Moto’s Uforce lineup, the 500 HO and 800 EPS, are offered in new colours this year. And both still come with more than $4,000 of extras included in the base price.

Learn more: 1-877-463-3940; www.cfmoto.ca

Honda

Honda has added two new “Deluxe” editions to its popular Pioneer 700 side-by-side lineup. They feature upgrades such as aluminum wheels, electric power steering and painted suspension springs, as well as a fully automatic transmission with a toggle-activated manual mode. All Pioneer 700s, meanwhile, now sport a new bumper, fascia and graphics design.

Learn more: 1-888-946-6329; http://atvsxs.honda.ca/atv

Kymco

The UXV 700i is now offered in a camo version, the 700i Camo powered by the same 695cc, fuel-injected engine as its cousin. It also comes standard with push-button on-demand 2WD/4WD and a CVT automatic transmission with differential lock. Independent double A-arms handle the suspension, while the stopping power comes from hydraulic disc brakes.

Learn more: (864) 327-4744; www.kymco.ca

Suzuki

Both the KingQuad 500AXi and 750AXi models now come in Special Edition versions that Suzuki calls “the ultimate machines for work and play!” They both feature a powerful Warn winch, heavy-gauge front and rear bumpers and a heavy-duty, two-inch receiver hitch for added versatility.

Learn more: 1-866-828-7252; www.suzuki.ca

Yamaha

Yamaha has rolled out Special Edition versions of its popular Grizzly 700 EPS and Kodiak 700 EPS ATVs. Both SE models sport aluminum alloy wheels and special paint and graphics, while the Kodiak also features Yamaha’s exclusive push-button drive mode system with differential lock.

Learn more: (416) 498-1911; www.yamaha-motor.ca

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ARCTIC CAT: HDX 700 Crew XT

With seating for six adults, the HDX 700 Crew XT is ideal for getting your gang to camp and back. The rear shocks can be adjusted for improved rider comfort, and with 10 inches of suspension travel and 10 inches of ground clearance, this machine can certainly handle rough terrain. Plus, the innovative two-in-one cargo box can carry up to 1,000 pounds, or it can convert to a flatbed in minutes. As for colour, choose between Team Arctic Green and Fire Red.

ENGINE: 695cc, 4-stroke, SOHC with EFI

TRANSMISSION: CVT

BRAKING: Hydraulic disc

SUSPENSION: Double A-arm

FUEL CAPACITY: 31 litres

CARGO CAPACITY: 1,000 pounds rear, 25 pounds under hood

LEARN MORE: (204) 982-1656; www.arcticcat.com

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ARGO: Avenger 8x8 Hunt Master X

Featuring an upgraded triple differential Admiral HS steering transmission, the Avenger 8x8 Hunt Master X (and ZX) is capable of reaching a top speed of 39.5 km/h, making it 25 per cent faster than any other Argo on the market. Fully amphibious, it comes standard with a 3,500-pound power winch, full skid plate and brushguard. It also has a removable hood rack for carrying cargo and game, and comes decked out in Mossy Oak Break Up Infinity Camo.

ENGINE: 747cc, liquid-cooled, V-twin, Kohler Aegis with EFI

TRANSMISSION: Admiral triple differential steering transmission

BRAKING: Hydraulic disc

SUSPENSION: Set by tire pressure

FUEL CAPACITY: 36 litres

CARGO CAPACITY: 905 pounds on land, 755 on water

LEARN MORE: 1-877-274-6288; www.argoatv.com

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CAN AM: Defender HD5

Can Am added a mid-size engine option to its popular Defender lineup this year, promising “full-size functionality and unmatched versatility at an attractive price point.” While the Defender HD5 side-by-side may have a smaller engine than its big brothers, it’s no less capable in the field. Delivering 38 horsepower, it can tow up to 1,500 pounds and carry 600. And with the industry’s largest fuel tank, expect more time on the go without refueling. The HD5 comes in three colours, including Mossy Oak Break-Up Country.

ENGINE: 427cc, liquid-cooled, single-cylinder Rotax

TRANSMISSION: CVT

BRAKING: Hydraulic disc

SUSPENSION: Double A-arm front, torsional trailing arm rear

FUEL CAPACITY: 40 litres

CARGO CAPACITY: 600 pounds

LEARN MORE: 1-888-272-9222; www.brp.ca

Buyer’s note: For prices and more information on the ATVs featured here, please contact the manufacturers. For ease of reference, the following abbreviations appear in the pages ahead.

  • SOHC: single overhead cam
  • EFI: electronic fuel injection
  • CVT: continuously variable transmission