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Purchase advice: Strong ATV for beginners cheap all-wheel drive ATV

Thomas Starck
Purchase advice: Powerful ATV for beginners
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A TV (English for All Terrain Vehicle) find increasingly enthusiastic fans. This is not least due to the price war that the established manufacturers are currently offering. Anyone who was interested in a powerful all-wheel-drive ATV a few years ago only had the choice between lavish five-digit prices from Yamaha, Polaris and Co. or inexpensive imported goods from China.

But inexpensive Far East models have meanwhile mixed up the market. Above all the company Kymco from Taiwan, which offers solid home cooking at discount prices. The sales success of the MXU 500 has led to a rethink in the marketing departments. The business with beginners should be conquered back.

Kymco MXU 500 lowers the price bar

Kymco works in the same segment for ATVs as Dacia for cars: solid, not entirely cutting-edge technology at affordable prices. The MXU 500 is offered including street legal for 6,495 euros. For this you get the model with a rigid rear axle and the so-called VKP approval, for which the official output is limited to 20 hp. It gets a bit more expensive with modern rear independent suspension and the so-called LOF registration. This is a German specialty and means nothing more than the 'agricultural tractor' approval for the ATV, with full performance and approved two-person operation. Equipped like this, however, the MXU 500 already costs 7,695 euros.

Polaris Sportsman 500 HO, however, holds

From the inventor of the ATV, the US manufacturer Polaris , there is now the counterattack. The Sportsman 500 HO dispenses with modern brand features such as injection, hill descent control or power steering and is available from dealers from 7,890 euros - including LOF approval. Its specialty, in addition to the comfortable and very off-road chassis with independent suspension, is the automatic all-wheel drive. A surprising competitive price for Polaris standards, after all, the current version with 550 cubic centimeters and injection costs over 11,000 euros.

Yamaha and Suzuki offer inexpensive injection engines

Also Yamaha has recently started to counteridentical tactics. The Grizzly 550 from the current model year has its power steering and was offered to dealers at a bargain price. The device is available from authorized dealers for 6,800 euros - but without approval (see: 'What should you watch out for?'). The advantage of the Grizzly 550 is the more modern injection technology instead of the carburettor used by Polaris and Kymco - this saves fuel and provides more power.

Suzuki with the King Quad 750. With the 50 HP engine you are actually already on the road in the top ATV class - but at the economy tariff. The King Quad is already available from authorized dealers for 7,500 euros, while free importers charge well under 7,000 euros for the large king-size ATV. However, even here without the license required for road traffic, which has to be paid additionally.

Arctic Cat is following

The US manufacturer Arctic Cat, previously known for high-end, high-priced devices , also follows for the 2011 model year. With a scaled-down version of the 550 4x4, the Americans are entering the ring for 7,900 euros, and a few dealers are offering the model at even lower prices. As usual with Arctic Cat, the model has a VKP approval ex works with reduced power (see also below: 'Approval: VKP and LOF' ), the conversion and entry to open power costs up to depending on the dealer at 1,000 euros. A special feature of Arctic Cat is the 3-in-1 system at the rear, which allows a storage box, an additional seat or a fairing cover to be installed quickly. Also exceptional: the 'Hemi' combustion chamber of the single cylinder, known in the off-road vehicle sector of Jeep's performance models.

What should you pay attention to?

In general: stay away from traders who are out of the box offer cheap imported equipment. They don't even have to be Chinese disposable items; such dealers can also be found at branded ATVs. A well-equipped workshop, demonstration vehicles and extensive advice are a must. ATVs usually cost a few hundred euros more from authorized dealers of the respective brands, but they also get the Europe-wide manufacturer's guarantee. Free importers offer cheaper, reputable companies have house guarantees, although the workshop's freedom of choice must be clarified before buying: Driving 300 kilometers to the dealer for an inspection eats up the savings very quickly when buying.

Approval: VKP and LOF

Before buying the ATV, make sure that it is road legal, otherwise you may only drive it in closed off terrain. The VKP (four-wheeled vehicle for passenger transport) approval, which is used throughout Europe, is cheaper because the conversion effort is lower. For that it also means onePower reduction to a maximum of 15 kW. A German specialty is the ATV approval as an agricultural or forestry vehicle (LOF). There is no power limit here, but the conversion is noticeably more expensive due to additional regulations such as a trailer coupling or larger lighting system. For the LOF conversion, dealers charge between 1,000 and 1,500 euros.

The top priority when buying an ATV: Compare in peace and not look for the first bargain

Before you choose one If you decide to convert to street legal, ask the dealer to show you a comparison vehicle. The highest quality components are not always used for cabling and lighting, and the workmanship also varies considerably. This is because (apart from Kymco) no manufacturer installs the necessary components ex works and leaves it to the individual dealers to convert the vehicles for German road traffic. It can also be helpful to ask other owners of the vehicle of your choice, for example in Internet forums or at meetings, about their experiences with converting their vehicle.


The new, affordable entry-level ATVs are causing movement in the market. This makes the powerful devices affordable for those buyers who previously searched one or two classes lower. The all-wheel drive vehicles with up to 50 hp are ideal for both hard work and fun off-roading.


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