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Best Heavy Duty Side-x-Side - The 2011 Arctic Cat Prowler HDX 700

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When one of the design parameters is that the vehicle must be able to carry a round bale almost as big as the vehicle itself, you know it’s going to be one tough, hard working UTV. Arctic Cat’s new Prowler HDX 700 can carry the bale, 3 passengers, and with a dump box seemingly half as big as a football field, practically the whole barn! We spent several days and 400 miles picking our way through the rocks, canyons, and desert to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon and back, and the HDX 700 was as reliable as a trusty dog or sure footed horse. Driving the HDX is much more comfortable, though.

Best 450cc Hi-Performance ATV - The 2011 Yamaha YFZ 450X

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Yamaha set the pace in the Hi-Performance ATV world with the introduction of their original YFZ 450, then upped the ante when they built a second generation racer, the YFZ 450R. The new ‘R came with a high tech aluminum chassis, fuel injection, a powerful engine, and racing quality, long travel suspension. Whether in the hands of a pro racer or an intermediate class rider, it made every rider better. Many riders hit the trails as well, however, and often that means a full width racer simply won’t fit between the trees.

Best 300cc Class Sport ATV - The 2011 Yamaha Raptor 250

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In our original review of the Yamaha Raptor 250, we said that it’s the best ATV there has ever been for new sport riders, and we still stand by that statement. What makes the Raptor 250 special - and the entire Yamaha Raptor family - is that it’s a true sport machine designed for superb handling, with a snappy, fun powerband from a bullet proof motor capable of decades of reliable riding. No other quad we have been on inspires more pure fun. Without fail, every time two or more Raptor 250 riders get together, an impromptu race breaks out.

Best Open Class Utility ATV - The 2011 Polaris Sportsman XP 850

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When it was introduced 2 years ago, the Polaris Sportsman XP 850 set a new standard for big bore utility ATVs that has yet to be matched. In our experience logging over a thousand odd trail miles, reliability has been perfect, and it has never let us down. The engine runs smooth, quiet, and crisp thanks to electronic fuel injection. We’re especially happy to report maintenance tasks are a breeze due to a spin off oil filter, a cartridge type air filter, and a handy, easy access dipstick (Take note Suzuki).

Best 500cc Class Utility ATV - The 2011 Polaris Sportsman XP 550

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Polaris engineers came up with a simple solution for riders who love the XP 850’s excellent features, but may feel intimidated with an 850cc engine – offer the same features and chassis with a 550cc engine! As a smaller brother to the XP 850, the Sportsman XP 550 shares an almost identical chassis but with a liquid cooled, single cylinder, EFI equipped engine mated to a carefree, 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.

Best Big Bore Sport ATV - The 2010 Polaris 525 S

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No other big bore sport ATV can match the power to weight ratio of the Polaris 525S. Torque from the KTM motor is outstanding and the ability to raise the front wheels at any time makes it an absolute blast to ride. We’ve raced the 525S in the woods and on the motocross track; with its lighter weight and more aggressive stance, it easily out handles other big bore sport ATVs. We really like the stock Maxxis tires which hold up well and get good traction on soft loam, but in the sand they also steer very well because of the front center rib.

Best Sport ATV - The 2011 Suzuki LTZ 400

Playmate of the Year
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Most riders use their ATVs for work, as pack mules on camping or hunting trips, or for trail exploration, but the best times are when out play riding with friends. After all, that’s why nearly every one of us got into this sport! For the simple joy of play riding, we want an ATV that offers all-day comfort, great handling, and an excellent engine with enough power to conquer hills and provide plenty of thrills. The Suzuki LTZ 400 fits the bill perfectly.

Ride Tested - The Cowboys

Testing Two New Arctic Cat Prowlers on the Trail
Written By: 
John Arens
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Whenever we test any all-new ATV or UTV, whether from Arctic Cat, Yamaha, Honda, Polaris, or any of the OEMS, we usually don’t stray too far from the truck on our first day. After all, we don’t know exactly what to expect from the new model, and we might need to make adjustments or even repairs. Not this time however. Our initial ride on Arctic Cats new heavy duty 700 HDX, and 700 XTX wouldn’t be a casual ride through familiar woods, farm, or trail, but a go-for-broke, no turning back trek spread over 3 days and 400 miles of some of the most remote and toughest terrain in North America.

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