The old saying is, “It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, but the fight in the dog.” The best example of that in the ATV World is the Kawasaki Brute Force 300. While less than half the displacement of its bigger brothers in the Kawasaki lineup, it’s a huge overachiever on the trail.
The Kawasaki Brute Force 300 is a well-designed, well-built package from bumper to bars. The first time we saw the Brute Force 300, we thought it looked great! Bodywork styling takes its cues from other members of the Brute Force family, but with styling updates. More importantly, fit and finish is EXCELLENT. Powering the Brute Force 300 is a 271cc, single cylinder, liquid cooled, 4 Stroke engine. As with most utility ATVs, a CVT transmission is used and power delivery is smooth and well matched to the chassis. The engine and transmission doesn’t really have a big “hit” off the bottom, but it does pick up speed quickly and smoothly.
From the plush seat, it’s easy to reach all the controls on the ever-so-slightly smaller Brute Force 300 and it’s comfortable. Handlebar bend is very good, and just ahead of your right knee is a smooth shifting, gated shift lever. In our experience, it always slipped into gear easily with positive engagement. At the center of the steering column is a small digital display, and the choke lever and parking brake are on the left handlebar. We also really like the excellent foot pegs and floor boards on the Brute Force 300 which are raised enough to anchor your feet and feel solid. For work duties, the Brute Force 300 also comes with front and rear racks, and a rear hitch.
On the trail, the Brute Force 300 responds well to rider input. It’s confidence inspiring, stable, and fun to ride with very predictable handling while delivering features of high-end machines at an intro machine price. It doesn’t know it’s the small dog in the fight; it has plenty of bark and bite! The Kawasaki Brute Force 300 is a great machine in a smaller package and it’s our pick as the Best 300cc Class Utility ATV of 2012.