When you need your ATV to be 4x4 and are on a budget, you need to know what type of ATV to look for and understand what you are getting for the money. In my opinion, my current ATV is probably the best 4x4 ATV for the money for several reasons which is why I wanted to write this post.
Best 4x4 ATV for the money? The best 4x4 ATV for the money is probably a Yamaha Big Bear 400. Unfortunately, they quit producing them back in 2012, the quality and reliability far exceeds the price. I currently own the first year of this model being a 2000 and I love it. It is one of the smaller 4x4 ATV’s out there but if you are not looking for a bunch of power then this is exactly what you need. They are a perfect work horse with low gearing and can also surprise you in the mud with the right set of mud tires.
Now that you know what the best 4x4 ATV is for the money, let me give you a better explanation of why I chose the Yamaha Big Bear 400 to be the best.
Best Used 4x4 ATV
Buying a used ATV is a great choice, especially since they quit producing one of my favorite 4x4 ATV’s back in 2012. I currently own a Yamaha Big Bear 400 and it happens to be the year when they first produced them, 2000. Let me tell you why it is the best used 4x4 ATV available today.
I actually did not pay for my Big Bear 400. I went to a young man’s house to purchase a truck and I seen the Big Bear sitting over there next to his shed (outside in the weather). All of the tires were flat and dry rotted, no carburetor, dead battery and extremely faded plastics. I asked the young man, “If you throw in the Big Bear for free, I will pay X amount for the truck?” He said, “Are you sure you want it? … Its been sitting there for years.” I said absolutely and once I got that machine home, I instantly began working on it.
At first we were not sure if the motor was locked up because the tires were not rolling (had to drag it onto the trailer). Come to find out, the rear drum brakes had rusted up and were stuck causing the rear wheels to lock up and since it is an all-time 4x4 ATV (the newer ones are not) the front tires would not roll either. Luckily we hooked up the starter to a good battery and it surprisingly turned over. WE ARE IN LUCK!
I ordered a new carburetor, battery, brake pads and couple hoses that were dry rotted. My buddy and I changed the fluids, cleaned out the gas tank and began installing all of the new parts. (probably only $200). The dang four wheeler fired right up!! It has not given me any problems over the past 2 years I've had it and since installed mud tires, built a custom snorkel kit, and have had it up to the handle bars several times with no issues.
If you want to buy a reliable used 4x4 ATV, look no further than a Yamaha Big Bear 400.
What is the difference between 2x4 and 4x4?
If you are new to the ATV world, you may be wondering what does the 2x4 and 4x4 mean. A 2x4 ATV is a 2 wheel drive ATV that only turns the rear tires and a 4x4 ATV is a 4 wheel drive ATV that can turn all 4 tires at the same time. Almost all 4x4 ATV’s will have a switch to activate the 2 front tires when needed.
One thing to keep in mind when purchasing a 4x4 ATV, is that some 4x4 ATV’s are not truly 4x4 when the switch is activated. What do I mean by that? All 4x4 ATV’s have limited slip 4x4, which is when one of the front tires gets bogged down, it will typically not spin to prevent an axle from breaking. But, when your tire does not spin, then you can’t get out of the bad mud holes or get across that extreme terrain. So, to prevent this from happening some ATV’s come with a differential lock.
What does differential lock do on an ATV?
A 4x4 ATV that has differential lock will have a switch for your regular 4x4 (limited slip 4x4) and an additional switch or option to activate your differential lock. Differential lock 4x4 is when your front differential gets set or locked to turn both of your front tires at the same time. This feature is amazing for going through mud, climbing up hills or extreme terrain in general.
If you have a powerful ATV and have your differential lock on then you must be careful when going “Full Send” because you may apply to much torque on your axle or differential and something may break. Overall, I would suggest purchasing an ATV that has the differential lock option.
How much is a 4x4 ATV?
Most ATV’s across the market today that have above a 400cc engine will come with 4x4. I will use Yamaha as an example for this since I truly love Yamaha. These prices can range from $6,199 for a 2020 Yamaha Kodiak 450 4x4 all the way to $10,999 for a 2020 Yamaha Grizzly 700 EPS XT-R 4x4.
I remember a long time ago, when Yamaha manufactured some of their larger ATV’s with and without 4x4 and you could easily understand how much extra the 4x4 would cost. But, now, they almost all come with 4x4.
What is the smallest 4x4 ATV?
The smallest 4x4 ATV on the market today is the 2020 Yamaha Kodiak 450 measuring in at 80.1 inches long, 46.5 inches wide and 45.7 inches tall. The next smallest 4x4 ATV on the market would be the Honda Fourtrax Rancher 420 measuring in at 82.8 inches long, 47.4 inches wide and 46.2 inches tall.
If they still produced the Yamaha Big Bear 350 4x4, it would have won the contest for the lightest 4x4 ATV on market weighing in at only 485lbs. It’s competitors, the Suzuki 250 weighed 557lbs and the Honda Fourtrax 300 weighed 487lbs. I am only assuming the lighter the ATV, the smaller it would be.
Some people, like myself, love the idea of a smaller 4x4 ATV for a couple reasons. The main reason I like them is because they do not sink as fast. They may not have as much power but, hey, as long as it gets through the hole and can follow the big machines, that's all that matters. The other reason is some people have kids that need an ATV with 4x4 but do not want them driving an extremely heavy ATV.