The Field has investigated what's on offer, both electric and petrol.
We round up the best five farm ATVs for the field and the farmyard and also list the five safest ways to keep your vehicle secure and prevent theft.
Best 5 farm ATVs for the field and farmyard
A left field choice from this Taiwanese company that split from Honda many years ago. Similar standards, better value. Definitely earns a place on our list of the best farm ATVs.
- Engine 695cc petrol/39hp
- Driveline 2f/1r continuously variable transmission (CVT)
- Weight 409kg
- Towing (braked) 467kg
- Ground clearance 260mm
- Price (ex VAT) £9,166
KYMCO MXU 700I EPS
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2. QUADZILLA QZ150 2X4
Keep it simple, keep it cheap. Road legal straight out of the box, and comes with just 2wd and one forward range.
- Engine 147cc petrol
- Driveline 1f/1r CVT
- Weight 190kg
- Towing (braked) 150kg
- Ground clearance 150mm
- Price (inc VAT) £2,399
QUADZILLA QZ150 2X4
3. HONDA FOREMAN TRX520FE2
The black lab of the ATV world. Ubiquitous, reliable, no-nonsense. Just what you expect from the inventor.
- Engine 518cc petrol
- Driveline 5f/1r manual
- Weight 294kg
- Towing (braked) 384kg
- Ground clearance 190mm
- Price (ex VAT) £9,750
HONDA FOREMAN TRX520FE2
4. CAN-AM OUTLANDER MAX 6X6
Just ignore those killjoys who say you don’t need a six-wheel ATV and invest in one of these monsters from the Canadian maker.
- Engine 976cc V-twin petrol, 80hp
- Driveline 2f/1r CVT, 4wd and 6wd
- Weight 574kg
- Towing (braked) 907kg
- Ground clearance 279mm
- Price (ex VAT) £16,715
CAN-AM OUTLANDER MAX 6X6
5. ECO CHARGER LITHIUM POWER
Last on our list of the best farm ATVs this is the British-built electric choice – if you’ve sat next to a diesel ATV engine, you’ll love the silence. Claimed 65km range.
- Engine 15kW DC motor
- Driveline 2f/1r direct gear drive
- Weight 397kg
- Towing (braked) 400kg
- Ground clearance n/a
- Price (ex VAT) £17,995
ECO CHARGER LITHIUM POWER
FIVE BEST SECURITY OPTIONS FOR ATVs
Another ATV-related rural myth involves the articulated lorry that was asked by Customs officers to tip its load out on to the quayside. Out tumbled 25 tonnes of wheat and a dozen neatly shrink-wrapped stolen ATVs.
It could well be a true story – after all, ATVs are among the most popular targets for rural thieves. In many ways, they are like springer spaniels; they are compact and valuable, and – it has to be said – farmers and keepers aren’t often as sensible as they should be when it comes to keeping them locked away safely.
I had the rep from the insurance company reviewing our premiums the other day and he went off on a rant about keys being left in the ignition – not just ATVs, but cars and tractors, too – and how it was about time insurance payouts were limited under those circumstances. For those of us who prefer to take responsibility for our toys’ security, what’s on the market? Here are five of the best ideas that should keep your – and my – premiums down and protect the best farm ATVs we’ve listed above.
1. BIG CHAIN AND PADLOCK
As simple and as old-fashioned as you like. A 2m length of chain with 12mm forged links. Thatcham approved. Thread it through wheels, secure it to the wall or something immobile, fix it to an anchor in the floor.
Chain £85, anchor £55 Visit Logic Today
2. RETRACTABLE BOLLARD
A 100mm by 100mm metal post that slides up and down out of its underground sleeve, and stands 540mm above ground when it is in operation. When locked in place, the shackle of the disc lock is inside the post, adding to the security.
Bollard £156.76 Visit Barriers Direct
3. A WRAP-AROUND CAGE
These vary in sophistication from a cage in two halves that clamp together, to a drive-in cradle that clamps and locks the rear wheels of your machine using an ingenious rolling-road concept.
Quad Safe £1,420.65 Visit Horse Jumps for Sale
Quadvice £1,400 Visit Bison Security
If the last thing you saw speeding off down the farm lane was a white van with your ATV in it, you’ll be mighty relieved if you fitted a tracking device. These now come in all shapes and sizes, with varying degrees of sophistication and therefore expense. Because they use SIM cards, there’s usually a subscription fee as well as the initial purchase and installation – but if you fell for the Deere salesman’s patter, you know you’ll need one of these fitted. So why not go the whole hog and get one that not only tracks your machine, but also spots if an unauthorised rider gets on board, and can sound the alarm in the event of a rollover?
Datatool Stealth S5 £359, plus subscription Visit Datatool
5. SECURITY MARKING
The grim truth is that a determined gang armed with cordless grinders and enough time can make off with your ATV or UTV with unnerving ease. All is not lost, however. One of the simplest forms of post-theft deterrence is CESAR – the Construction Equipment Security and Registration Scheme. There’s hardly a tractor in the country that doesn’t feature the distinctive CESAR triangular sticker – and it’s the first question the insurance company will ask when you ring up to insure a new vehicle. A one-off fee on your new machine gets you overt and covert stickers, ‘microdot’ markings and grain-sized transponders. If your machine is found, it takes only a moment to prove it’s yours – even if it is wrapped in cling film.
CESAR compact system £134 Visit Cesar
ATVs journey to prominence
It seems hard to believe that there was a time when the countryside ran without an ATV. But it’s true. Not many years ago, no one had heard of such a thing. The countryside didn’t run terribly well, of course, as the vehicle of choice for keepers and farmers was usually a beaten-up Land Rover – and these were the days when the Land Rover range consisted of a ‘Land Rover’ and nothing else. In my childhood on this farm, back when the estate was privately owned, there was a keeper whose daily route round the farm and woods could be followed using the ruts he left in his barely roadworthy 109.
There were a couple of things we didn’t realise as we sat and watched Diamonds Are Forever in 1971: the first was that, in half a century’s time, Daniel Craig’s Bond would make the Bonds of Sean Connery, Roger Moore and that other chap look woeful, and second, we were witnessing the start of a revolution in rural transport. As the baddies pursued Bond over the dunes (their aim as poor as ever – some things never change) they used three-wheeled motorbikes. These machines – Honda US90s – caused a sensation, and within only a couple of years were developing into recreational toys, racing machines and, more importantly, farm vehicles.
It wasn’t long after that, though, that the inherent dangers of romping around dunes/lanes/field in a three-wheeled machine became tragically obvious – and not just to professional stuntmen; watch those old movie clips without wincing, if you can. By the mid 1980s, ATV-related injuries in the US were around 80,000, with about 300 deaths per year. Some 40% of these deaths and injuries involved children under 16.
By 1988, ‘voluntary consent decrees’ were in force in the USA; these meant more warning stickers, more training (including cash incentives for trainees) and, most importantly, the end of the three-wheeler. The modern ATV, with four wheels, handlebars, a straddle saddle and big tyres became the default format.
It still has its limitations, though. It won’t carry much, there’s no cab, and while safer than its three-wheel cousin, it still features shockingly highly in the tragic chart of farm deaths and accidents. Buy all the safety kit you can and go on a training course.
Engines range from around 500cc to 1,000cc and come in petrol or diesel (the first of the electrics are beginning to arrive – their relative silence would be welcome). Separate gears are all but gone, replaced with continuously variable transmission, and four-wheel drive (with diff locks/LSDs and two ranges) is almost ubiquitous. Power steering features on many models, which makes life easier for non-bodybuilders.
A word of caution, though. These machines aren’t as cheap as they used to be. Most ATVs lurk around the £10,000 mark. At the top of the price lists, it has all become a bit silly. I thought of these prices the other day when my neighbour called in for a cuppa. He arrived in a very well-worn white Toyota RAV4. I had already dialled the second 9 of 999 when I realised who it was. I quizzed him about his ‘new’ farm vehicle. “£1,500 on eBay, new MOT,” he proudly announced. “Goes anywhere, carries anything.” Fifty years on, we’ve gone full circle.
This article was originally published in 2015 and has been updated.