Polaris Sportsman vs Honda Rancher ATV Comparison | Hunt or Shred

Off-road ATV adventures are an unmatched experience, and a common comparison is made between the Polaris Sportsman and Honda Rancher vehicles.

We like both ATVs, but the Polaris Sportsman is superior to the Honda Rancher. It is bigger, more powerful, provides better storage and durability, and can easily handle rugged terrain. The Rancher is shorter with less ground clearance, so it's less useful on rocky terrain.

In this guide, we will compare the two models side by side to help you decide which is best for you. We'll look at engine power, suspension, storage capacity, and other features to determine which ATV is best for you. Continue reading to learn more about the Polaris Sportsman vs. Honda Rancher comparison.

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Polaris Sportsman Vs. Honda Rancher ATV Comparison

It is critical to make an informed decision when purchasing your next ATV. The Polaris Sportsman and the Honda Rancher are two of the most popular ATVs on the market today.

The Polaris Sportsman and Honda Rancher are suitable for outdoor activities like hunting, farming, and trail riding. They have a durable construction and high-performance features to do it all.

The Polaris Sportsman is a four-wheel drive ATV that is designed for performance and reliability. On the other hand, the Honda Rancher is a two-wheel drive ATV designed for comfort and convenience.

We will analyze each below by highlighting key features, specifications, the major differences between the two, and the full lineup of each.

Polaris Sportsman Specs & Features

The Polaris Sportsman is a powerful ATV designed to give riders an unforgettable off-road experience. It has various key features such as Electronic Power Steering, Lock & Ride Cargo System, and Fox QS3 Shocks for superior handling and control.

With these specs and features, the Polaris Sportsman is the perfect ATV for any off-road enthusiast. Below we have listed some of the notable specs and features that make it such a highly regarded vehicle.

Solid Power & Torque

The Polaris Sportsman is a lineup of impressive ATVs with impressive power and torque. Most of the larger models have On-Demand AWD with a standard engine braking system so the vehicle can ride with maximum performance.

The powerful engine can take you wherever you need to go. It also has a comfortable ride thanks to its adjustable suspension system and front and rear sway bars.

The Sportsman can be much heavier than the Rancher, depending on the model too. This added weight requires more power and torque but hinders the ATVs' ability to maneuver in tight spaces or on steep inclines.

Overall, the added weight and wider wheelbase allow for solid power and torque without losing vehicle balance or stability.

Standard Electric Power Steering

The Polaris Sportsman ATV electric power steering feature is a game changer in the ATV world. This feature reduces fatigue and allows riders to maneuver their vehicles more easily in difficult terrain.

It also reduces vibration and gives the driver more control over the vehicle's direction. With this feature, riders can enjoy better ATV handling and a more comfortable ride overall.

This is especially useful when riding off-road or on rocky terrain. The steering wheel wants to pull to one side, but this feature improves steering and vehicle stability.

Factory-Installed Heavy-Duty Winch

The Polaris Sportsman ATV also has a factory-installed heavy-duty winch and excellent towing capacity. It is designed to handle the toughest terrain, allowing you to explore the great outdoors confidently.

Most of the Sportsman models have a 2500 lb winch, but there is an option to upgrade to something bigger. This provides plenty of support for all pulling, towing, and hauling requirements.

Reliable Duro Power Grip Tires

These ATVs also have Duro Power Grip Tires, which provide excellent traction and handling on any terrain, including snow and mud. The tires are dependable and long-lasting, making them ideal for difficult off-road situations.

The tires also provide excellent traction on wet surfaces, ensuring a safe ride even in the most difficult conditions. With these tires, your Polaris Sportsman ATV will be ready to go wherever you want to go.

Honda Rancher Specs & Features

The Honda Rancher is another reliable and versatile ATV that has been helping riders take on any terrain for many years. It features a consistent engine, advanced suspension, and solid storage space to ensure you have everything you need for your next adventure.

Below are some of the key Honda Rancher specifications and features.

Multiple Suspension Options

The Rancher also has a high-quality suspension system that provides a smooth ride, even on rough terrain. This helps reduce fatigue and increases overall safety, making it ideal for those who spend long hours on the trails.

This independent rear suspension has 8 inches of travel and 9 inches of ground clearance. This helps to create better tire contact on the ground for traction and allows for smoother vehicle riding and handling for driving comfort.

Automatic DCT Transmission

The automatic DCT transmission is another key feature to remember. The Rancher is known for consistency, and it’s possible because this transmission allows for optimal vehicle control, fast shifting, and strong internal support.

This transmission also provides improved compression braking with automatic upshifts and downshifts. Drivers can remain in control and concentrate on the road instead of worrying about the gear.

Programmed Fuel Inject Engine

The Honda Rancher ATVs are built for maximum performance and reliability through their Programmed Fuel Inject Engine. This engine will provide a smoother, more efficient ride while reducing emissions and fuel consumption.

The design includes a 34mm throttle body and a 12-hole injector for fuel delivery. It also has an oxygen sensor to help with fuel delivery, temperature management, and smoother operation in warm and cold temperatures.

Front & Rear Cargo Racks

The Honda Rancher ATV is an excellent choice for riders seeking a smaller, more compact ride. Despite its small size, the Rancher ATV has many features and benefits, making it an excellent choice for riders who want to bring their gear.

The ATV comes with two cargo racks for easy transport of your gear. You can take your outdoor adventures to the next level with the Honda Rancher ATV, thanks to the added convenience of these cargo racks.

Differences Between The Polaris Sportsman & Honda Rancher

These models are versatile and capable of handling a variety of outdoor activities, such as hunting, farming, and trail riding. However, they do have some key differences that may make one a better choice for a particular consumer.

Power & Engine Size

Regarding performance, the Polaris Sportsman has the edge over the Honda Rancher. The Sportsman has a more powerful engine and a better suspension system, making it the perfect choice for performance-minded riders.

The Polaris Sportsman has several engine options, including a highly efficient 44-horsepower ProStar engine. This engine is intended to deliver more power and torque while remaining more efficient than the standard engine.

On the other hand, the Honda Rancher is typically equipped with a smaller 420cc engine. While this engine remains useful, it may not be as capable as the larger engine options available on the Polaris Sportsman.

The Sportsman has a clear advantage in terms of horsepower, torque, power, and engine size making it better suited for heavy-duty tasks and towing.

Handling & Maneuvering

The Honda Rancher is an excellent choice for those looking for a user-friendly ATV. It is smaller and lighter than the Polaris Sportsman, making it easier to maneuver. It’s the preferred choice by beginners too.

As a result, it is ideal for tight spaces or rough terrains where precision and agility are essential. With its impressive power and agility, the Honda Rancher is sure to be a trustworthy companion on any outdoor adventure.

Style & Construction

The Polaris Sportsman outperforms the Honda Rancher in terms of styling, strength, durability, and performance. The Sportsman's superior construction and design features offer riders an unrivaled off-roading experience.

We also don’t love the available styling options with the Rancher. The preferred option is to stick with the standard red, but the available Sportsman colors are unique and worth considering.


Lastly, you’ll notice a difference in cost comparing these two ATVs. The Sportsman has more trim levels, with the most impressive options costing up to $17,799.

On the other hand, no Rancher models cost more than $10,000 because they have a smaller engine displacement and less payload capacity. The Sportsman is ideal for anybody searching for a utility ATV with more to offer.

Polaris Sportsman Trim Levels & Cost

The Polaris Sportsman is a powerful and versatile all-terrain vehicle with several trim levels. Each trim level offers unique features and performance capabilities, allowing riders to customize their experience.

The available Sportsman models are reliable and offer a wide range of features. Below, we have created a table to examine the different Polaris Sportsman trim levels and their associated costs.

Polaris Model Price Weight Engine Size Tire Size
Sportsman 450 H.0. $6,999 698 lbs. 499cc 25 Inch
Sportsman 570 $7,999 701 lbs. 567cc 25 Inch
Sportsman 850 $10,699 767 lbs. 850cc 26 Inch
Sportsman XP 1000 $15,499 871 lbs. 952cc 27 Inch
Sportsman Touring 570 $9,499 731 lbs. 567cc 25 Inch
Sportsman Touring 850 $13,599 804 lbs. 850cc 26 Inch
Sportsman Touring XP 1000 Trail $15,599 911 lbs. 952cc 27 Inch
Sportsman XP 1000 S $17,799 970 lbs. 952cc 27 Inch
Sportsman 6x6 570 $13,499 1075 lbs. 567cc 26 Inch
Sportsman 110 $3,599 289 lbs. 112cc 18 & 19 Inch

Honda Rancher Trim Levels & Cost

The Honda Rancher does not provide the same type of variety as the Sportsman. The available models all use the same engine and tire size, but prices vary based on overall vehicle size and other features.

Below we show each available trim level and cost.

Honda Model Price Weight Engine Size Tire Size
FourTrax Rancher $5,899 580 lbs. 420cc 24 Inch
FourTrax Rancher 4X4 EPS $7,699 619 lbs. 420cc 24 Inch
FourTrax Rancher 4X4 $6,999 615 lbs. 420cc 24 Inch
FourTrax Rancher 4X4 Auto DCT IRS $7,999 669 lbs. 420cc 24 Inch
FourTrax Rancher 4X4 Auto DCT IRS EPS $8,699 676 lbs. 420cc 24 Inch
FourTrax Rancher 4X4 Auto DCT EPS $8,199 643 lbs. 420cc 24 Inch
FourTrax Rancher 4X4 ES $7,299 616 lbs. 420cc 24 Inch
FourTrax Rancher ES $6,199 580 lbs. 420cc 24 Inch

Key Takeaways

  • The Polaris Sportsman is the preferred ATV for riders needing more ground clearance, payload capacity, storage space, and overall vehicle size, power, and performance.
  • The Honda Rancher is a good choice if consistency is the primary concern. There are fewer engine size variations, and it won’t provide the type of speed or power that a Sportsman can.
  • We have also noticed the Polaris Sportsman is the more durable ATV, so riders can expect it to hold up better than the Rancher when exposed to rugged terrain and extended use.

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41 years old. I'm a freelance writer that specializes in informational blog posts. All my articles are detail oriented and well researched. I'm a huge Arizona Cardinals fan!

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