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Owners Disagree on the Most Reliable ATV Brand

ATVs are extremely fun. It’s easy to see why people love them so much. Just like with cars, trucks, SUVs, and motorcycles, ATV riders often exhibit brand loyalty in some form or another. While reliability lists are posted, and consumer reviews on various platforms tell all sorts of stories in terms of ATV reliability, owners disagree on the most reliable ATV brand.

an ATV rider on a Can-Am at the Dakar Rally riding through a vast desert
Can-Am quad in Antofagasta, Chile | Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

There are plenty of great ATV brands on the market. For many riders, it’s common knowledge that if you want the “biggest bore” and the “most power” a Polaris or Can-Am ATV is your best bet. However, it’s not always a black and white issue––especially when it comes to reliability.

Polaris ATV models are great in terms of performance, but some owners complain about poor reliability

Some riders, as shown in comments on Polaris ATV Forums don’t think the extreme power and capability is worth the trade. Additionally, a pretty high number of ATV enthusiasts aren’t sold on Polaris models. That’s because they sometimes struggle with reliability.

The bears a lot of weight for some. Other ATV owners don’t care about the reliability issues with Polaris models at all. Then there are also owners who report Polaris models are actually pretty reliable. They say things like, “our Polaris machines have been great and needed nothing but fuel, fluids, and eventually a belt.”

Furthermore, there are also riders who claim that regular maintenance and some strengthening modifications here and there make all the difference. Like this owner who says about their Polaris Scrambler, “if I want to have a high performance machine that performs better than almost anything out there then I will have to make things better/stronger as they break.”

Can-Am ATVs are also how performance, but are they reliable?

According to ATV.com, owners of ATVs made by various manufacturers voted on the most reliable ATV brands. Can-Am came in as the third most reliable ATV brand. These machines are also considered top tier performance. Polaris ATV models came in fourth place for reliability.

The 2021 Can-Am Outlander towing on a farm
Can-Am Outlander

So, in reality, although these brands are sometimes docked for unreliability they are each respected in the ATV community as well. And they really aren’t unreliable machines according to many owners. In fact, third and fourth place is really not bad at all.

Overall, however, every machine has a chance to run into problems. In fact, saying one brand is notoriously unreliable is a bit of an uncomfortable blanket statement. Reliability is pretty subjective, especially in the case of something like an ATV or UTV. Each rider rides differently and over different terrain.

What are the most reliable ATV brands?

According to the consumer votes on ATV.com, Honda is the most reliable ATV brand. The second place in the votes is Yamaha. But if you scroll down to read the owner comments, it looks like not everyone in the ATV community agrees with the verdict.

a red honda rancher ATV in a press photo against a white backdrop
Honda Rancher | Honda Powersports

Honda is generally recognized as the most reliable brand. However, most riders also note that Honda isn’t exactly where they’d go to get the biggest, baddest, fastest beast. So it all depends on what you want from your specific ATV model.

ATV and UTV reliability

On the subject of reliability, it’s a tough call. For example, let’s say hypothetically that two different riders own the same ATV model. One rider keeps theirs in a garage during the cold season. They take their ATV out a few times every summer and ride the groomers.

a 2021 Polaris Sporstman XP 1000 ATV in the forest
2021 Polaris Sportsman XP 1000 | Polaris

But another rider in a warmer region may have the exact same year, make, and model. They use their ATV for ranch chores and then take it out for fun on the weekends too––year-round over rougher, rockier terrain. It’s easy to see how these two ATVs could be the exact same model, yet prove vastly different in terms of “reliability.” At the end of the day, it all comes down to how you ride, where you ride, and the level of care with which you maintain your ATV.