Polaris ATP: ATV Of The Year

With the 2004 All Terrain Pickup, Polaris has redefined the ATV. The ATP can haul more gear more easily than a rack-equipped ATV, plus, it remains a worthy trail machine. It’s what sets the ATP apart from pure utility machines, which carry tons of stuff but aren’t good for recreational riding. It also differentiates the ATP from pure ATVs, which are outfitted with racks alone.
For those reasons, and more, the editors of ATV Magazine awarded the ATP as the 2004 ATV Of The Year.
Not only does the ATP present options for carrying a load, it also gives buyers engine options. Polaris offers the ATP in two engine sizes: a 500 H.O. or 330cc engine.
The ATP’s front storage box can handle 90 pounds of gear in a water-resistant container. A pair of sealed fender storage compartments each keep 20 pounds of at-the-ready gear like maps, gloves or a wallet. Fitted on the rear of the machine, a 400-pound-capacity dump box can handle the biggest game, bags of seed or mounds of soil. (The 330’s cargo capacity is 250 pounds in the dump box.)
But the ATP is about more than hauling cargo. It also features a unique traction system that provides users three mode choices, depending on how they need to use the machine. As you would expect, users can choose from 2WD and all-wheel drive. In addition, a “Turf” mode allows users to choose one-wheel drive to increase turning radius and minimize damage to sensitive terrain.
Despite its working nature, the ATP doesn’t ride like you may think. Most of the time, it’s difficult to distinguish it from a Polaris Sportsman, the machine from which it’s based. The ATP can be ridden recreationally, providing its operator with an enjoyable and spirited ride.
Load the machine up and venture deep into the woods on a hunt; or across acres of ranch land; or across the yard with a load of rocks and you’ll see why the ATP is so much more.
That versatility is the reason that the ATP is the ATV Magazine ATV Of The Year.
Aside from the ATP, editors also awarded two “Best In Class” awards. One to the Yamaha Rhino — which doesn’t even fall into a class — and one to the Kawasaki Prairie 700.
The Rhino is unique in almost every way, from its four-wheel independent suspension to its powerful 660cc four stroke engine. The suspension features 12 inches of travel and the transmission uses the same CVT-style automatic transmission as the company’s flagship, the Grizzly 660. A large tilt bed with a high carrying capacity and a low center of gravity complete the package.
Steep, rocky, rutted hillclimbs are no match for the Rhino. Neither are tight and twisty trails. If you desire hard work and maximum effort from a vehicle, the Rhino can do the job.
Two words are all it takes to give an accurate picture of the Kawasaki Prairie 700: smooth and powerful. The 700 delivers in nearly every category. It’s powerful on the bottom end and fast on top. It scales nearly any obstacle on the trail or in the woods, yet it doesn’t handle like a brute. In fact, it is one of the most comfortable machines in the Open class.
Aside from its incredible engine, the big Prairie offers a host of features that stand out against its competition. The variable differential lock control allows the rider to choose how much power to direct at a spinning front wheel. Get the machine stuck, simply pull the lever above the left grip to lock the front differential. As with the Prairie 650, the 700 has selectable 2WD/4WD with the touch of a button.
Kawasaki’s KEBC engine braking control system is one of the best engine braking systems available for a CVT-style machine. And it works without any hint of locking up the tires on wet or sandy terrain. It even measures the belt width every time the machine is turned off to optimize braking performance as the belt wears. Brakes are strong and smooth, with front discs and a unique oil-bathed disc system in the rear.
On the trail, the machine feels light and agile. It is stable and doesn’t get out of shape easily. It handles the whoops thanks to its MacPherson strut front end and piggyback shock in the rear. Plus it handles admirably in rough terrain loaded or unloaded. And loaded means 88 pounds up front and 176 in the back.
Class-leading power, comfortable ride and do-anything attitude make the Kawasaki Prairie 700 a sure bet for best in class honors.

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