Anglers have unique needs when it comes to pursuing their passion, and that’s why you see a growing number of all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) and utility all-terrain vehicles (UTVs) alongside boat trailers in garages and sheds across the country.
ATVs and UTVs are different beasts. By federal-regulator standards, any machine that can exceed 25 miles per hour, whether riders sit side-by-side or one in front of the other, is an ATV. Machines that can’t go faster than 25 are classified as UTVs.
I view them, however, in the same way most consumers do: by what the machines can do, not how fast they go. Those that feature a cargo box fall into the “utility” category. In addition, I classify some as “utility quads,” and others as “sport/utilities.”
Whatever the class or configuration, an ATV or UTV can be a useful tool for many anglers, something that manufacturers have finally recognized in the past couple of years.
Here are a few of the hundreds of ATV/UTV models available for those who think it’s high-time for a four-wheeler with built-in utility value to take up residence next to the pickup or SUV they use on fishing forays.
Polaris Ranger RZR ($9,999): It’s definitely the most sporty-looking of the side-by-sides. Yet, it’s a capable 4-wheel-drive that can tow 1,500 pounds.
The RZR is built on a rugged chassis with a fully independent suspension and is powered by an electronically fuel-injected 52-horsepower, 760cc Polaris four-stroke engine.
The little bed behind the cab is handy, and can carry a 300-pound load. Best of all, the entire rig fits into the bed of a pickup.
Arctic Cat 650 H1 Prowler XT ($9,999): Not only is the styling of this rugged, versatile, 4x4 utility ATV really cool inside and out, but it can tow 1,500 pounds and carry 600 pounds in the bed.
The Prowler is a strong off-road performer with more than 121/2 inches of ground clearance and 10 inches of travel at both ends of its fully independent suspension. Add in the power from the 641cc four-stroke, the choice of 2- or 4-wheel-drive, and a big 8.2-gallon fuel tank and you and a buddy can cover a lot of rugged ground in relative comfort.
Yamaha Rhino 660 4x4 and the new Rhino 450 4x4: In my opinion, these are the two best buys in this segment of side-by-side ATVs. Both models are the same physical size and carry two occupants in bucket-style seats behind a dash with controls that look more automotive than ATV.
The Rhino 660 is powered by the same 660cc four-stroke found in the Grizzly 660, while the Rhino 450 features a 421cc engine. Both sport a 7.9-gallon fuel tank and offer more than a foot of clearance.
Yamaha also added a stamped cargo bed that’s lighter, with a much cleaner look; high-traction Maxxis tires and a cargo bed latch that opens from either side.
The 660 is available in several editions, starting at $9,799. Two editions of the 450 start at $7,999.
John Deere Gator XUV 620i 4x4 ($9,499): Power for this UTV comes from a 617cc liquid-cooled Kawasaki V-twin routed through a CVT with high and low range.
This trail version of the Gator features front and rear independent suspension and comes standard with high-performance all-terrain tires, front bumper, 12-volt DC outlet, cup holders, glove box, hour meter, fuel gauge, storage compartment optional olive drab color scheme, brush guard and full clutch enclosure.
Polaris Sportsman X2 500 EFI ($7,899): This ATV utilizes a neat stow-and-go second seat and footrests molded into the floorboard for passenger comfort. The independent rear suspension, with nearly nine inches of travel and 11 inches of ground clearance, is designed to carry 400 pounds on the rear cargo box—or the weight of a second rider.
The X2’s power comes from an electronically fuel-injected 499cc four-stroke put through a CVT automatic, which generates 1,225 pounds of towing muscle.
Arctic Cat 650 H1 4X4 TRV Plus LE ($8,799): It, too, converts from a single- to double-rider with a quick-change seat that attaches to the rear cargo rack. The TRV is built along the lines of the popular 650 H1 quad and has 12 inches of ground clearance with 10 inches of suspension travel. But the TRV’s longer wheelbase gives it a nicer ride.
The new LE model uses a 641cc four-stroke with a CVT to make short work of the extra passenger weight. Towing capacity is 1,050 pounds.
Can-Am Outlander MAX 800 Ltd ($11,599): The MAX design strategically places the passenger well in front of the rear axle for rock-solid stability, and higher than the driver for a clear view down the trail. An active backrest, multi-position handholds and raised footrests ensure passenger comfort over long rides.
For added versatility, the passenger seat can be easily removed and replaced with a standard cargo box—all without tools. The 800cc, four-stroke, V-twin, liquid-cooled engine provides plenty of power for two.
Arctic Cat 700 Diesel 4x4 Super Duty ATV ($9,299): Based on the popular TRV 4x4 platform, this UTV can be run on six different types of diesel (DF1, DF2, DFA Arctic, JP5, JP8 and bio diesel) with a glow plug pre-heater assist.
The 700 twin-cylinder engine provides 30 percent greater mileage than a gasoline-powered engine and provides gobs of low-end torque, which is put to the ground through a CVT with a 2-/4-wheel-drive and full-lock front differential.
For the ultimate in versatility, the rear rack can be quickly swapped out for a cargo box or second-rider seat. Towing capacity is 1,050 pounds.
Yamaha Grizzly 700 FI 4x4 ($8,199): The Grizzly features Yamaha’s Ultramatic automatic transmission and On-Command push-button 4-wheel-drive system, fuel injection and electric power steering.
The new Grizzly features the 686cc Raptor engine, which is tuned for utility use and improves low- and mid-range power, as well as high- and low-range gear options for low-end torque and maximum pulling power. With the push-button On-Command system, you can select 2-wheel-drive, limited-slip 4-wheel or locked 4-wheel.
A fully adjustable wishbone front and independent rear suspension provides 7.1 inches of travel up front and a class-leading 91/2 inches in the rear, plus 11.8 inches of ground clearance. Towing capacity is 1,212 pounds.
Honda FourTrax Foreman 4x4 ES ($7,049): This workman-like ATV also offers electric power steering, which really comes in handy when you’re maneuvering at low speeds, like when you’re backing a boat trailer into a tight corner of the garage.
Honda put a 475cc, air-cooled engine in a new chassis that is longer and wider than models of old. Shift-on-the fly 4-wheel-drive is fast and quiet, and independent four-wheel suspension, with 6.7 inches of travel, smooths out any ride. This rig is great for any backcountry fishing foray, and yes, it can definitely tow a load—up to 850 pounds.
Suzuki KingQuad 450 4x4 ($6,499): This quad is powered by a 454cc four-stroke, liquid-cooled engine, and features an automatic CVT with a high/low-range sub-transmission. The front and rear independent suspensions provide 10.2 inches of ground clearance and feature double A-arms, oil-damped shocks, and five preload settings for adjustability.
A polyethylene skid plate offers complete front-to-rear underside protection with minimal resistance over rocks and rough terrain.
Can-Am Renegade ($9,299): Here’s an ATV that combines the performance and edge of a sport quad with the rugged capability of a true 4x4 quad. Power from the 800cc, four-stroke, V-twin runs through a CVT for instant acceleration and ultimate simplicity—there are no gears to shift.
The Renegade’s 4-wheel capability is augmented by an automatic transfer of power away from a slipping wheel to the gripping one—all the way up to full lock. Its front sport-style bumper is winch-ready, and the new BRP 2500 XL winch kit from Warn is a perfect fit.
Yamaha Wolverine 450 4x4 ($5,999): The Wolverine combines features like 4-wheel-drive and a sport-tuned adjustable suspension to make a powerful and versatile trail machine.
A liquid-cooled 421cc engine feeding power through the full-auto Ultramatic transmission makes this rig easy to ride, and the On-Command gear selector means switching from 2-wheel to 4-wheel is as simple as jabbing a button.
Other features include Raptor-inspired styling and aggressive bodywork, integrated floorboards, a comfortable sport seat and an integrated rear rack. Sport-style rear axle and tires make the Wolverine fun to corner.
We’ve touched on a number of the many ATVs and UTVs that can make getting to far-flung waters faster and more enjoyable. For information on even more models, click on Web Extras at fishingclub.com.