Also known as a quad, four-track or utility terrain vehicle (UTV), an all terrain vehicle is exactly what it sounds like – a small vehicle that can cope with the majority of terrains easily. The driver usually sits astride, and steers with handlebars, although some are designed more like a regular vehicle with the same type of steering system. Most ATVs lack a passenger seat, but even so, can be pretty useful workhorses.
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What to Look For When Buying an ATV
If you want an ATV that’s useful on your smallholding, or can haul your hunting gear out into the wilds, avoid the lighterweight, sportier models. But it’s important to be honest with yourself over your handling skills. Are you up to riding a sit-astride machine over rough terrain hanging on via the handlebars, or is your skillset better suited to a more regular type of set up with a seat and steering wheel.
Manufacturers pack their ATVs with plenty of power and additional features, with each trying to outdo their competitor’s horsepower, so it’s wise to have a budget in mind, whilst remembering what you require it for. It’s easy to get carried away, paying for a top spec machine, when all you want to do is round up the sheep, or when having a quiet, smooth running vehicle is more important than having a super fast beast.
Off-roading is obviously completely different from driving along the highway, so soft suspensions, high ground clearance and low-pressure tyres are all well worth thinking about. Power steering makes a welcome addition, as does an automatic transmission. If you plan on hauling a trailer, check for a tow hitch, and depending on how much snow you expect in winter. If snow-chains just won’t do, can tracks be fitted, instead? While these reduce maneuverability, even the deepest drift won’t stop you getting out to fetch logs, or checking traplines.
It’s also a good idea to look at the laws on ATVs for your state – okay, we all know in a TEOTWAWKI scenario, authority may well break down, but at the time of writing, laws exist to be obeyed. So, do you need a license? What about a helmet? Are under 16s permitted to drive an ATV?
After putting the available models through their paces, this is our top ATV
This is an exceptionally reliable machine. Designed with the ability to carry a passenger, it has built in weather protection in the form of a roof. It also includes a winch, and a tow hitch. Automatic transmission, 352cc horsepower, and a powerful 4-stroke engine make this an infinitely versatile vehicle, with plenty of grunt to get you out of the worst of sticky messes. With a maximum speed of 45 mph, a 7gal fuel tank, and an almost 10” of ground clearance, this is looking great so far.
We had great fun testing this baby. Thanks to power steering and the automatic shift, maneuverability is awesome, and it coped really well taking on the ditches, large ponds, and hilly ground that made up our testing arena. Even at speed, it was very responsive, whilst offering a smooth and stable ride. It easily beat its nearest rival in the coffee challenge, with minimal liquid being lost to spillage over the ditch, rabbit warren and molehill sections. It started first time, every time, even after the mud and water test. This is the ATV we’d rely on in an emergency situation.
With a multitude of great features, it’s a real shame that it doesn’t include a full windshield. We did buy one as a separate component from Massimo, however, so this wasn’t an issue for long.
The Massimo ATV coped with everything we threw at it, and then some! If you’re looking for a vehicle that can handle extreme terrain whilst hauling a felled tree, and remaining safe and steady, this is the one for you.