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Which ATV Is Most Reliable? Brand Comparison

Which ATV Is Most Reliable? Brand Comparison

When choosing quads, you will consider their specs. Depending on your needs, you may evaluate the available options’ engine horsepower, durability, off-road performance, and comfort. You may consult different forums to identify the most reliable ATV brand in that process.

Honda ATVs are the most reliable quads. These quads have bomb-proof transmission and use metal gears. They are resilient to tough terrains, durable, and can keep kicking despite taking much abuse. Other reliable ATV brands include Kawasaki, Polaris, Yamaha, Arctic Cat, Argo, SYM, Can-Am, and CFMoto.

Read on for detailed descriptions of 9 of the most reliable ATV brands and how you can improve your ATV’s reliability.


Honda ATVs are top of the class when it comes to consistency. A pioneer in the ATV industry, Honda produced the Honda ATC circa 1970 – the model that made the 3-wheelers a household name.

Honda ATVs have built a reputation for performance and reliability. With the bomb-proof transmission and metal gears instead of belts, this brand’s quads can take much abuse without breaking down.

Since Honda ATVs are considered one of the most reliable brands, you will see plenty used models for sale online or on marketplace. Even an ATV over 20 to 30 years old will still have plenty of life left in them.

Also, replacement parts are usually pretty easy to get a hold of for most Honda models. That helps keep them around for years to come.

Their resilient and easy-to-use features make Honda ATVs the most popular among Sport ATV racers. Notably, the TRX450R has become the best-in-class option for long-distance desert racers.


Having introduced the first 400cc quad, Kawasaki has maintained its position as a technology leader.

The brand’s Thermoplastic Olefin (TPO) bodywork makes its ATV tough and scratch-resistant. Kawasaki ATVs have a center baffle to protect you from splashing water and mud.

The 5-way preload-adjustable shocks make it easy to ride aggressively on rough terrains.

Kawasaki’s have been known to take a beating and last a good while. They don’t just make ATVs either and their other off road toys also have a good reputation for longevity.

Kawasaki ATVs offer top-notch comfort. With easy-to-reach controls, comfortable handlebar bends, and precision in Kawasaki’s thumb throttles’ blade angles, everything feels natural once aboard this brand’s quads.

Polaris Industries

Polaris Industries beats its competitors when it comes to variety. The brand sells high-performance utility and recreational ATVs. The Outlaw 50, Outlaw 90, and Sportsman series comprise the largest entry-level collections.

Polaris quads are popular for their off-road innovation, size, strength, and weight. They lead in towing, payload ratings, and rack capacity. The Sportsman series, Polaris’ best-selling ATVs, are a testament to the brand’s attention to comfort.

The shaft drive transmission is located near the right arm, simplifying shifting when driving through different terrains. The seats are easy to grip. You can adjust the back-lighting of these ATVs to improve visibility under different lighting conditions.

Polaris has been around for a long time and has a stellar reputation among the off-road community. Also, finding replacement parts is easy enough online.


Yamaha has produced proven podium toppers. Notably, the YFZ450R has been ranked among the best 10 ATVs of all time, while the Raptor 700R has excellent dirt and dune performance records.

The YFZ450R has a lightweight aluminum/steel chassis and a high-tech, five-valve, quick-revving 449cc engine. This powerful combination makes it a favorite machine in championships. This quad’s bottom frame lets its engine sit lower while its suspension components reduce weight. These features improve the engine mass centralization while improving rider comfort.

Yamaha ranks equally with Kawasaki and Polaris in terms of innovation. Did you know that the YFZ450R is the first quad with an assist and slipper clutch? That means less clutch lever effort and fatigue, more clutch plate pressure, reduced engine braking effect, and improved bump absorption.

Arctic Cat

Arctic Cat rivals Polaris in terms of variety. Rebranded to Textron Off Road vehicles, Arctic Cat sells a range of ATVs, from youth to entry-level, utility, sport, single-rider, and two-passenger machines.

You can bet on Arctic Cat’s vehicles to provide power steering, improved performance, and independent rear suspension. The Altera 300 is one of their most popular quads due to its low weight and steady suspension. However, if you’re into sport, you can bet on the Wildcat to provide high performance, thanks to its 915cc, 90hp liquid-cooled engine.


Argo produces some of the best off-road vehicles. For instance, the amphibious ATVs are designed to handle rough-off road conditions, making Argo the go-to brand if you love hunting and fishing. You can easily switch from cross-country to fishing, thanks to their 8-webbed tires.

Are you a conservationist? If so, this is the most environmentally-friendly brand. Argo off-road vehicles have low ground pressure tires. They can move gently over grass and fields without harming flora and fauna. The ATVs are also fully-sealed, preventing them from releasing toxic chemicals into the environment.

SYM Motors

SYM Motors manufactures ATVs, motorcycles, and scooters. Their popular quads include the Qaudraider and the Quadlander series. The Quadlander series comes with a four-stroke, 20hp engine, a liquid cooling system, and an automatic gearbox.

The low gear option makes traversing over rough terrain easier.

The Quadraider is a two-passenger utility ATV and comes with a 4-stroke, liquid-cooled, 15hp engine. The seat-back at the rear is designed to improve comfort.

You should choose this brand if you’re safety-and-practicality-oriented. The pull-start, handlebar parking brake, and easy-to-read odometers make SYM ATVs excellent fans for the money. You can also access user manuals and lists of common questions online.


Can-Am steals the best value crown. The Can-Am Outlander 450 edges out the top spot with specs exclusive to higher-end machines. The suspension, massive fuel tank (5.4 Gal/ 18.9 L), full-size chassis, and engine of mid-size displacement add impressive firepower to the Outlander 450.

The Rotax is another popular ATV from this brand due to its powerful engine that can consistently punch above its weight to match the competition.


CFMoto ATVs are fuel-efficient, powerful, and maneuverable, rides smooth, lots of power, fuel-efficient. This brand produces vehicles that can handle tough, rugged terrains.

These machines also have responsive throttles, smooth CVT transmission, and some come with Power Steers that make a difference when you’re on steep, rocky land. CFMoto ATVs have become farmers’ favorites due to their impressive features.

The following video provides detailed insights into some of the best ATV brands:

How To Improve Your ATV’s Reliability

Getting longevity out of your ATV requires that regular maintenance and servicing. Do you want that extra edge on the podium or more hours on the trails? You can achieve that by doing the following:

  • Upgrade your gas. Higher octane fuel improves gas mileage and reduces corrosion to your ATV’s fuel system. Avoid ethanol-based fuel since it’s bad for your engine. Ethanol is hygroscopic (source:; it can draw water from the tank, upset your vehicle’s fuel mix, and gum up the system, causing significant engine damage. Keep checking the oil level and ensure it’s clean to improve your ATV’s longevity.
  • Upgrade the air filter.  Your engine needs more air for more power. Therefore, you should upgrade your air filter to improve your quad’s performance. I recommend the K&N Universal Air Filter from It provides up to 50% more airflow and uses state-of-the-art filtration media to extend your engine’s lifespan.
  • Replace the spark plugs. If you have previously used low-quality fuel, it would be better to replace your spark plugs. Inferior quality fuel clogs air filters and kills spark plugs. Defective spark plugs can damage your engine.
  • User lighter wheels. Use aluminum wheels to offload some of your quad’s weight.

This YouTube video explains how you can add power to any quad:

Summing It Up

Ultimately, selecting your best ATV is a subjective matter. ATV brands’ reliability depends on engine horsepower, ergonomics, safety, durability, weight, and resilience under tough terrains. Besides, you should also consider the intended use of the ATV since some brands produce better off-road and sport ATVs.

I would recommend Honda ATV as a first choice. The Honda brand has consistently produced durable top-performing quads.

Regardless of your ultimate choice, you should keep your quad in tip-top shape by using high-octane, clean fuel, upgrading air filters, replacing spark plugs, and using lighter wheels.

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