It’s hard to find anything about the Polaris Sportsman 550 we didn’t like. From our first ride, we knew this model was really something special. The engine is powerful, the ride is satin smooth, and the ergonomics are excellent. We’ve used the Polaris Sportsman 550’s for every task from casual trail rides, to plowing snow, to pulling logs and they’ve always gotten the job done. They’re also extremely reliable.
At the heart of the Sportsman 550 is a liquid cooled, single cylinder, EFI equipped engine mated to a CVT transmission. The engine runs crisp and smooth, and the XP550 gets a high performance clutch with a roller system for a very noticeable snap off the bottom. Under the front bodywork is a large radiator for maximum cooling, and the entire chassis has been optimized for an excellent ride with what Polaris calls “rolled” Independent Rear Suspension. At the front are dual A-arms, with large diameter, cast aluminum wheels and oversized brakes front and rear.
Everything about the Sportsman 550 says “quality” from its outstanding design to the sculpted bodywork that fits perfectly and is finished beautifully with automotive paints. From the plush seat, the ergonomics are superb, while down below a sturdy set of floor boards drain water away quickly. Thankfully, the molded peg holds your foot in place quite well. You really need to spend some trail time on the Sportsman 550 to fully appreciate its best feature - the ride is excellent!
Regardless of the rider, it doesn’t take long to get comfortable on the Sportsman 550. Whether picking your way down a rocky trail, climbing over downed timber, or slogging across a muddy field on your way to the deer blind, the Polaris Sportsman 550 easily gets the job done. The engine is powerful, vibration free, and the ride is silky smooth thanks to a supple suspension that delivers the agility of a much lighter, smaller ATV. It feels sporty!
We’ve tried almost every ATV ever built and we believe the Sportsman 550 is quite likely the best ATV ever built. It’s that good. The Polaris Sportsman 550 is a dream to drive and it’s our pick for the Best 500cc Class Utility ATV of 2012.