Polaris Sportsman 550 EPS (Editor's Choice)
With the Sportsman series selling more than 1 million units since 1993, Polaris has had plenty of time to get it right. The 2012 550 EPS has few changes over the 2011 model. The four-wheel independent suspension system is powered by a gutsy overhead cam engine, and the refined steering system allocates additional rider assistance at slower speeds while expending less at higher RPMs.
Commanding the highest score of all the ATVs in the test, the Polaris won over every tester. The most common tester comments centered on the Sportsman’s exceptionally smooth ride and extremely stable footprint, though some worried that the wide stance could prevent it from fitting into tight spots. Everyone felt the bike could stick to nearly any surface at any angle, thanks to the Active Descent Control, which kept the machine stable in steep situations. The power curve received kudos for its consistency and strength. “The value per dollar is highly competitive,” said Wes Hudson.
Dry Weight: 733 lb.
Suspension Travel (front/rear): 9 in./10.25 in.
Engine: SOHC, single cylinder, 4-valve, liquid-cooled
Fuel capacity: 5.25 gal.
Overall: * * * *
Price: $8,699 (polarisindustries.com)