Honda vs. Polaris ATV Guide | Hunt or Shred

Struggling to choose between Honda and Polaris ATVs? Our comprehensive guide can help you make an informed decision. Check it out now!

Honda and Polaris ATVs each have their unique advantages and drawbacks. While Honda ATVs are generally known for their reliability and narrower leg area, Polaris ATVs offer more power, larger tires, and higher front and rear rack capacity for carrying cargo.

As an expert in off-road vehicles, I’ve thoroughly analyzed, compared, and tested both Honda and Polaris ATVs, ensuring you receive the most accurate and reliable information to make an informed decision. So, let's jump into the exciting world of Honda and Polaris ATVs and discover which brand is better for you.

Table of contents


Honda vs. Polaris ATV Guide

Feature Honda ATVs Polaris ATVs
Engine performance Balanced power and efficiency for versatile use High-performance engines with greater power for off-road capabilities
Speed Moderate top speed suitable for utility and light recreational use Higher top speed for aggressive off-road riding and racing
Suspension and Handling Comfortable and user-friendly riding experience Performance-focused suspension systems for aggressive off-road handling
Transmission Automatic or semi-automatic options with Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT) Automatic transmission with advanced systems like ADC
Drive system Selectable 2WD/4WD systems for varied terrain and conditions On-demand 4WD systems for optimal traction and control
Price and Affordability Accessible price points, lower long-term costs, fuel efficiency Higher price range due to performance focus, some budget-friendly options
Features and Technology Practical and reliable features for versatile applications Advanced technology and performance-oriented features
Design and Aesthetics Classic and modern styling with practicality and ease of use in mind Aggressive and performance-oriented designs with bold styling
Aftermarket Support Solid aftermarket ecosystem with practical and versatile options Performance-oriented aftermarket support with many customization options
Utility and Recreation Balanced offering for work-related tasks, trail riding, and recreation Primarily performance and off-road focused with some utility options
Target Market Wide range of riders; beginners to experienced; utility and recreation Performance-oriented riders, off-road enthusiasts, extreme recreation

Engine Performance

Honda ATVs are known for their reliable and fuel-efficient engines. They typically feature single-cylinder or parallel twin configurations, providing a balanced combination of power and efficiency.

These engines are ideal for various activities, including trail riding, farming, and light recreational use. Also, Honda's engines are renowned for their durability and low maintenance, making them suitable for users who prioritize reliability and longevity.

On the other hand, Polaris ATVs are recognized for their high-performance engines. They often use larger displacement and more powerful options, such as twin-cylinder engines and advanced powertrains.

These engines deliver exceptional power and torque, enabling Polaris ATVs to excel in off-road conditions and performance-oriented riding. Polaris' focus on performance makes their ATVs ideal for those seeking a more aggressive and thrilling off-road experience. However, this emphasis on power may come at the expense of fuel efficiency and overall engine simplicity.


While providing sufficient speed and power for various activities, Honda ATVs typically focus on reliability and fuel efficiency. They offer a range of models that cater to beginners, intermediate, and advanced riders, covering a spectrum of speed capabilities.

Honda's ATVs are designed for a balanced riding experience, emphasizing practicality and versatility. As a result, their ATVs may not always be the fastest in their respective categories.

Still, they offer consistent and dependable performance for various applications, such as trail riding, farming, and light recreational use.

On the other hand, Polaris ATVs are known for their high-performance engines and aggressive off-road capabilities. They often feature larger displacement engines and advanced powertrains that deliver impressive speed and acceleration.

Additionally, they are designed for riders who seek thrilling off-road experiences and prioritize speed and power. This focus on performance may result in Polaris ATVs having higher top speeds and quicker acceleration times than their Honda counterparts.

Suspension and Handling

Honda ATVs prioritize durability and simplicity in their suspension systems. They often feature independent double-wishbone front and rear suspensions or other variations that provide a comfortable ride and reliable handling for various applications.

Besides, Honda's suspension systems are designed to offer a good balance of comfort and performance, making them suitable for trail riding, and light recreational use. They focus on simplicity and reliability, ensuring that their ATVs remain easy to maintain and operate, even for riders with limited mechanical knowledge.

In contrast, Polaris ATVs are known for their advanced suspension systems, contributing to superior ride comfort and handling, particularly in off-road conditions. Polaris often equips its ATVs with features such as Electronic Power Steering (EPS), which helps improve steering response and reduce rider fatigue.

Additionally, their suspension systems, like the independent rear suspension (IRS) or high-performance A-arms, offer enhanced shock absorption, greater ground clearance, and improved stability on uneven terrain.

They are designed to excel in challenging off-road environments, making them ideal for performance-oriented riders and those seeking a more aggressive off-road experience.


Honda ATVs often feature a variety of transmission options, including automatic and semi-automatic systems. One notable transmission system in Honda ATVs is the Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT), which allows for seamless and quick gear changes, providing a smoother riding experience.

Also, Some Honda models come with an Electronic Shift Program (ESP), which enables riders to shift gears manually using handlebar-mounted buttons, offering greater control over the ATV's performance.

Polaris ATVs, on the other hand, predominantly use the Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) system. CVT transmissions do not have a fixed number of gears; instead, they provide a continuous range of gear ratios, allowing for smooth and seamless power delivery.

This results in quick acceleration, improved throttle response, and enhanced riding experience.

Drive System

Honda ATVs typically feature a selectable 2WD/4WD system, allowing riders to switch between two- and four-wheel drive modes depending on the terrain and required traction. Some Honda ATVs also come with a locking front differential, which provides additional traction when needed.

Honda's drive systems are designed for simplicity, ease of use, and reliability, making them suitable for various applications, such as trail riding, farming, and light recreational use.

On the contrary, Polaris ATVs often utilize an advanced on-demand 4WD system, which automatically engages four-wheel drive when increased traction is needed and reverts to two-wheel drive when not required.

This system ensures optimal traction without the need for manual input from the rider. Polaris ATVs may also feature additional drive systems technologies, such as electronic hill descent control and Active Descent Control (ADC), providing enhanced control and stability on steep or challenging terrain.

Price and Affordability

Honda offers ATVs across various price points, ranging from entry-level models to more advanced, feature-rich options.

This makes its ATVs more accessible to a broader audience, including first-time buyers and those with budget constraints. Honda's focus on durability and low maintenance costs further contributes to its affordability in the long run.

On the other hand, Polaris ATVs emphasize high performance, advanced technology, and aggressive off-road capabilities. As a result, Polaris models tend to have a higher price range compared to their Honda counterparts, particularly when it comes to their high-performance and feature-rich models.

While Polaris offers some budget-friendly options, their ATVs are generally geared toward riders prioritizing performance and advanced features over affordability.

Features and Technology

Honda ATVs may come with features such as a selectable 2WD/4WD system, electronic power steering (EPS), and automatic or semi-automatic transmission options, such as the Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT) and Electronic Shift Program (ESP). These features aim to enhance the overall riding experience while maintaining Honda's reputation for simplicity and durability.

On the other hand, Polaris ATVs prioritize performance, advanced technology, and off-road prowess. Polaris ATVs often come equipped with innovative features and cutting-edge technology, such as on-demand 4WD systems, Active Descent Control (ADC), electronic hill descent control, and advanced suspension systems.

Polaris also offers models with features like Ride Command, which provides GPS navigation, vehicle diagnostics, and Bluetooth connectivity for a more integrated and connected riding experience.

Design and Aesthetics

Honda ATVs are known for their functional and practical designs, emphasizing durability, reliability, and ease of maintenance. Their ATVs often blend classic and modern styling elements, resulting in a visually appealing yet understated appearance.

Besides, Honda's design language prioritizes simplicity and ease of use, ensuring their ATVs are accessible to many riders, from beginners to experienced enthusiasts. The color options for Honda ATVs are generally more conservative, reflecting the brand's focus on practicality and versatility.

In contrast, Polaris ATVs are recognized for their aggressive and performance-oriented designs. Their ATVs often feature bold styling elements, such as sharp lines, angular bodywork, and distinctive graphics, which reflect the brand's emphasis on high-performance and off-road capabilities.

Additionally, Polaris ATVs are designed to make a statement and stand out from the crowd, appealing to riders who seek a more distinctive and eye-catching appearance. The color options available for Polaris ATVs are often more vibrant and varied, allowing riders to express their style and preferences.

Additionally, the design of each brand's ATVs extends to ergonomics and overall rider comfort. Honda ATVs prioritize a comfortable and user-friendly riding experience, with well-placed controls, adjustable seating, and ample storage compartments.

While offering rider comfort, Polaris ATVs focus more on performance-oriented ergonomics, with features like sporty seating positions, optimized handlebar placement, and performance-focused suspension systems.

Aftermarket Support and Customization

With their reputation for reliability, durability, and practicality, Honda ATVs enjoy a solid aftermarket support system. A wide array of aftermarket parts and accessories are available for Honda ATVs, from performance upgrades and suspension enhancements to cosmetic modifications and utility-focused add-ons.

Many third-party manufacturers produce compatible parts and accessories for Honda ATVs, ensuring that riders can access diverse products to meet their specific needs and preferences. Honda's focus on simplicity and ease of maintenance makes it relatively straightforward for riders to install and maintain aftermarket components, even with limited mechanical knowledge.

Polaris ATVs, known for their high performance and off-road capabilities, boast an extensive aftermarket ecosystem that caters to riders seeking performance upgrades and customization options. They are designed with performance and off-road prowess in mind, and the aftermarket support reflects this focus.

A vast range of aftermarket parts and accessories are available for Polaris ATVs, including high-performance exhaust systems, advanced suspension components, and aggressive off-road tires.

Additionally, Polaris offers an extensive line of OEM accessories and parts, allowing riders to customize their ATVs with brand-specific upgrades further. The Polaris aftermarket ecosystem caters to riders who seek to enhance their vehicle's performance and off-road capabilities and those who desire a more personalized and unique appearance.

Utility and Recreation

Usually, Honda ATVs are known for their reliability, practicality, and versatility, making them popular for utility and recreational use. These ATVs are designed to handle various tasks, from trail riding and light recreational use to farming, hunting, and work-related applications.

Also, they often feature dependable engines, comfortable ergonomics, and a focus on ease of maintenance, ensuring they are well-suited for various utility and recreational purposes.

On the other hand, Polaris ATVs prioritize high-performance and off-road capabilities, making them ideal for riders seeking a more aggressive and thrilling recreational experience. Polaris offers models that excel in challenging off-road environments and provide superior handling, power, and suspension systems.

While Polaris ATVs can also be used for utility tasks like farming or hunting, they primarily focus on delivering a high-performance and exciting off-road experience.

It’s important to note that Polaris also offers a separate line of utility-focused ATVs and side-by-sides, such as the Ranger series, which are specifically designed for work applications and heavier-duty tasks. These vehicles provide more substantial cargo capacities and towing capabilities, making them well-suited for utility-focused applications.

Target Market and Usage

Honda ATVs target a broad spectrum of riders, including those who prioritize reliability, practicality, and versatility. These ATVs are designed to cater to various applications, such as trail riding, hunting, and light recreational use.

They are suitable for beginners, intermediate riders, experienced enthusiasts, and users who require dependable vehicles for work-related tasks. The brand's focus on durability, ease of maintenance, and fuel efficiency makes Honda ATVs an attractive option for individuals and businesses seeking cost-effective, multipurpose vehicles.

On the other hand, Polaris ATVs primarily target performance-oriented riders and off-road enthusiasts who seek aggressive, high-performance vehicles for recreational use. These ATVs are designed to excel in challenging off-road environments, providing superior handling, power, and advanced suspension systems.

While Polaris also offers utility-focused ATVs and side-by-sides, its main emphasis is on delivering thrilling off-road experiences. They cater to riders who prioritize advanced technology, innovative features, and cutting-edge design and those seeking vehicles for competitive off-road events or extreme recreational activities.

Key Takeaways

  • Polaris ATVs are more performance-oriented, while Honda focuses on user-friendliness.
  • Honda ATVs offer greater versatility, while Polaris excels in off-road capabilities.
  • Both brands have strong reputations but cater to different user preferences.

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29 years old. I'm from Texas. I've been riding ATV's for the last couple years here in TX. I'm learning a lot about this hobby right along side you.

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