Published on June 2nd, 2016 | by Joe
Top 5 NEW ATVs of 2016
With the 2017 model ATVs fast approaching, we thought it was time to take a look back at the finest new offerings of 2016. 2016 has been an exciting one for four-wheelers with many new models in several different segments. Some of them we’ve tested; others we are still dying to throw a leg over. Based on everything we’ve seen and ridden, here are our top 5 new ATV picks for 2016.
#5 Can-Am Renegade 570
The sport 4×4 class is perfect for year-round trail riders willing to trade in some of the jumping prowess and nimbleness of a traditional 2wd sport machine for four-wheel-drive performance that better serves all seasons.
With both Polaris and Can-Am offering 850cc and 1000cc sport 4×4 machines, we were thrilled to see Can-Am’s mid-bore Renegade return to their lineup for 2016. The former Renegade 500 is back, now as the Renegade 570. The 48-hp, eight-valve, liquid-cooled SOHC Rotax 570 V-Twin powering the Renegade 570 offers an additional 4% horsepower, 9% more torque in low and midrange RPMs. The chassis and sport focused Fox shocks remain very similar to the good handling 500.
The Renegade 570 should offer ample performance for aggressive year-round trail riding. Retailing for $8,349, the Renegade 570 is the most affordable sport 4×4 on the market next to the Kymco Maxxer 450 at $6,499. We only wish Can-Am had made the Renegade 570 part of their price-focused L line ATVs and brought it to market at a more entry level price. Hopefully, we will see a Renegade L in 2017.
#4 Kymco Mongoose 270
Thanks to the SVIA (Small Vehicle Institute of America), their recently added T-14 category of ATV, allows manufacturers to produce ergonomically appropriate sized machines, recommended for riders 14 years and up. The primary restriction in the T-14 category is the machine’s top speed. This prevents riders from having to ride 90cc machines until they’re 16, making it easier for young riders to get involved and stick with ATV riding as they grow.
For 2016, Kymco has repositioned their Mongoose 300, originally for riders 16 and up, now as a T-14 model. While the displacement actually remains the same at 270cc, its initial top speed is restricted to 20mph. More top speed can be added as the rider’s skill set grows by adjusting a limiter on the throttle restrictor and removing a limiting sleeve on the CVT shaft, allowing the machine to reach a top speed of 38mph.
Fortunately, the Maxxer still retains its stable footprint, adult capable suspension, and ergonomics that will serve teenage siblings as well as Mom and Dad. Kymco used to race their Mongoose 300s, so performance parts should lend themselves to the 270 as well, should you get the itch to upgrade or go racing. At $3,899, its $1,000 less expensive than the Honda 250X we recently reviewed. The 270 is marketed to younger riders, yet fits larger riders as well and has proven to be pretty well-built over the years. With its younger age recommendation, it’s no surprise that Kymco has reported a significant increase in sales of the 270 compared to last year’s 300. Adding two more years of service to a machine’s life increases its value. The Mongoose 270 will certainly introduce more young riders to the big fun of sport quads and that’s why we feel the Mongoose 270 deserves a spot in our top five ATVs of 2016.
#3 Can-Am Outlander L 570
ATV on Demand’s “2015 ATV of the Year” and winner of our “2015 King of Value” shootout, the Outlander L 500 also received a bump in displacement up to 570cc for 2016. More than just a chance to equal the displacement number of the machine’s rival, the Polaris Sportsman 570, Can-Am bumped horsepower 4% and torque by 9% focusing on improving the engine’s power delivery where it needed it most. The chassis and suspension remain mainly the same for 2016 and we remain very impressed with the value for the dollar the unit provides. It still comes with the industry’s only 5-year warranty, and the DPS model we tested now retails for $200 less than 2015. That’s progress and one heck of a value. For those who like to play in the mud, it’s also worth noting that Can-Am offers an X-MR mud package that’s the most affordable purpose-built mud machine on the market.
#2 Polaris Sportsman 850 High Lifter Edition
Polaris’ competition mud machines are all new for 2016. Co-branded with High Lifter, they offer both an 850cc and 100cc models. Both machines appear to have what it takes to get through the muck with 29.5” High Lifter Outlaw tires, shielded and snorkeled engine ducting, back mounted radiators with dual fans to prevent mud buildup, Polaris close ratio on-demand all wheel drive system for instant two –to all-wheel-drive engagement, high-clearance A-Arms, stiffer suspension settings for increased ground clearance plus much more. With the 85hp XP 1000 retailing for $13,999, the 78hp really stands out at $9,999. One way Polaris achieved this price point is by leaving out a winch as standard equipment. For under 10 grand for an otherwise well-appointed mud machine, we won’t complain about adding a winch.
#1 Yamaha Kodiak 700
While Yamaha’s totally redesigned Grizzly 700 could have made this list, perhaps Yamaha’s own Kodiak 700 may have kept it from making it. In our opinion, Yamaha has set a new benchmark for the amount of ATV you can get for the dollar. The base model sacrifices front differential lock, electronic four-wheel-drive engagement, shock preload adjustment, and a digital display to reach its $6,999 price point; an amazing value still, considering it’s $2,300 less expensive than Honda’s similarly appointed, but much older, Rincon 680, $1,000 less than the 2014 Grizzly 550.
The Kodiak’s chassis is based on the old Grizzly 550 and 700’s redesigned to hold the new 708cc engine Yamaha borrowed from the Wolverine R Spec UTV. The machine’s updated suspension and more compact ergonomics with a 1.7” lower seat height, yield what we believe to be a better handling machine than the old 550. The lower seat and handlebar height also seem to enhance control over the machine and make it feel less intimidating for smaller riders.
The engine is claimed to produce 6% more horsepower and 9% more torque than the old Grizzly 700’s 686cc engine. That’s around 30% more torque and horsepower than the more expensive Grizzly 550 while only outweighing it by 29 pounds.
Targeted at work and slightly more casual recreational riders than the new, more sport-focused Grizzly, the Kodiak uses 30g clutch weights instead of the 18g clutch weights in the Grizzly’s otherwise identical engine. The slight increase in clutch weights make the Kodiak feel more mellow, undoubtedly saves fuel, and keeps the engine quieter by running at a lower RPM. However, by simply switching to the Grizzly’s 18g clutch weights, the Kodiak enjoys the same faster revving, sportier power delivery of the new 2016 Grizzly. Not only does the Grizzly’s engine and chassis successfully replace the old Grizzly 450 and 550, it’s a simple clutch weight swap away from being a sleeper 4×4 trail quad at a bargain price.
With big-bore single performance, a manageable mid-size cockpit, excellent versatility, a 500cc class price point, and Yamaha’s superb reputation for build quality, we feel that the Yamaha Kodiak 700 is clearly the best new ATV of 2016.