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Top 10 Off-Road Brands to Know Before You Buy: Arctic Cat to Kawasaki


Exploring backwoods trails is easy, but shopping for an ATV or UTV can be hard. There are numerous off-road vehicle manufacturers on the market offering a range of models and features at varying price points. If you’re looking for a new four-wheeler or side-by-side, or thinking about getting your very first off-road vehicle, ATV Trader has put together a list of 10 ATV and UTV brands to know before you buy. The list is in alphabetical order and split into two parts. After checking out these five, you can view the next five major ATV brands that round out the top 10. Here is part one of the top 10 ATV brands to know before you buy.

Arctic Cat

Arctic Cat was formed in 1962 but entered a new era in 2017 when the company joined Textron Inc. Arctic Cat briefly went by the name Textron Off Road but, in 2019, the brand returned to its original name.

Arctic Cat’s flagship ATV is the Alterra that comes in five models, as well as limited editions. The Alterra 450 is a cost-efficient model, complete with a 500-class engine. The lightweight Alterra 300 is a versatile machine ideal for long days of work or tearing up the trails. For younger riders, the Alterra 90 features an independent front suspension system to help kids handle the ride.

Arctic Cat’s side-by-side lineup includes three variations of the Prowler, which features whisper-quiet components like the noise-reducing chassis design. The Prowler 500 is a fuel efficient unit that reduces emissions, perfect for riders looking to decrease their carbon footprint. In addition to the Prowler, Arctic Cat also produces the Wildcat XX, which is equipped to handle the most extreme terrain with 130 horsepower of off-road racing suspension system technology.


Can-Am began as the motorcycle production division of Bombardier Recreational Products (BRP) in the 1970s and ‘80s. In 2006, BRP began producing ATVs under the brand Can-Am Off-Road.

Can-Am’s flagship ATV series is the Outlander, which combines industry-leading horsepower with some of the best hauling and towing capacity on the market. The Outlander 450/570 are great all-around ATVs for beginning riders, while the DS model is a smaller four-wheeler designed for children ages 6 and older to safely experience off-road riding. The Renegade boasts four trims built for getting down and dirty on bumpy trails and mud holes.

Can-Am has three models in the Maverick series of UTVs. Maverick X3 is a high-performance machine equipped with turbocharged engines and the industry’s first Smart-Shox suspension. Maverick Sport offers precision handling and enhanced protection, while the Maverick Trail is Can-Am’s most narrow side-by-side. Other UTVs include the Commander, featuring a high ground clearance, and the Defender, designed for day-to-day activities like hunting and hauling, 


CFMoto was established in 1989, in China, after its founder created the trademark liquid-cooled four-stroke engine. Since 2002, CFMoto’s ATVs and side-by-sides have been tearing up terrain worldwide. The company expanded production to the U.S. in 2007.

CFMoto’s CForce series of ATVs has six models in its lineup. Each off-roader features hand-controlled acceleration and braking, a 3,000 lb winch, aluminum A-arms, and rack storage. Seek out adventure after dark with the CForce’s projector beam headlights to safely guide you along any trail.

CFMoto has two lineups of side-by-sides: the ZForce series for sport and the UForce series for utility. These UTVs are equipped with CFMoto’s signature liquid-cooled four-stroke engine for the power to tackle the toughest terrain. The ZForce series, with an independent suspension and innovative wheel design, allows for precision handling at white-knuckling speeds, along winding turns. Similar to the CForce series, the UForce series has a 3,000 lb winch, along with a cargo box for hauling and impeccable torque to get any job done.


Honda got its start in North America when the company began selling motorcycles out of a small office in 1959. In 1970, Honda introduced the Honda ATC90, one of the first popular all-terrain vehicles. Today, the company has a full lineup of ATVs and UTVs.

Honda categorizes their ATVs into rec/utility and sport models. The five rec/utility models fall under the FourTrax family of vehicles, which are designed to make work easier and enhance the fun of off-roading with a variety of features and trims. On the sport side, Honda’s TRX250X features the no-stall Honda SportClutch, light handling, and a wide powerband. The scaled-down TRX90X allows kids to have some four-wheeling fun and make memories outdoors.

Similar to the ATVs, Honda’s side-by-sides are broken down by sport and rec/utility models. Honda’s Talon family of sport side-by-sides has grown into six models, plus two special editions. Decide which features are best for you, including manually adjustable suspension or self-adjusting suspension, among the two- and four-seat models. Honda’s line of Pioneer side-by-sides are built for both work and play. All eight models offer different features and capabilities to make weekday and weekend riding better, such as the Pioneer 500 narrow body for tight trails and the five-seat Pioneer 1000.


Kawasaki Motors Corp., U.S.A. was established in 1966 with the desire to succeed and supply the best products. The company expanded from motorcycles to personal watercraft then to ATVs and side-by-sides by the 1980s.

Kawasaki produces two adult ATV models and two for younger riders. Brute Force 300 features a mid-size engine that can get you across terrain quickly and easily with nimble handling and low-effort steering. In contrast, the Brute Force 750 is all about muscle, powered by a fuel-injected 749cc V-twin engine that delivers a heap of power for outdoor adventures. KFX 50 and KFX 90 are both designed for kids 6 and older to safely and confidently tackle the dirt.

Kawasaki side-by-sides are distinguished by utility/recreation performance and sport and recreation. The Mule family of utility/recreation side-by-sides are ideal for hauling heavy cargo and your crew to a jobsite and setting off on an off-roading adventure. Mules come in two-, three-, four-, and six-passenger models, with a class-exclusive trans cab system. On the recreational and sport side, the Teryx family of vehicles are strong, durable, and offer next-level capability. These two- and four-seat side-by-sides are built for adventure, complete with double wishbone suspension and a four-stroke engine.

Conclusion: Check out part two of our top 10 ATV brands to know before you buy to see the rest of our most popular manufacturers. When you’re ready to start shopping for an off-road vehicle, check out the nationwide marketplace at


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Arielle Patterson
Arielle Patterson

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