A view of the rear of the...
A view of the rear of the quad shows the Versa Trac rear differential, the odd-looking loosely wound shocks and one of a pair of rear brakes (due to the differential, both rear wheels need independent braking). The dangling wiring under the box was worrisome. The rear differential is the first offered on a four-wheeler, the one other instance being a Kawasaki three-wheeler in the mid-'80s that had a cable-operated diff-lock in the rear.
Versa Trac offers more traction...
Versa Trac offers more traction choices than ever before with options for traditional two-wheel-drive, one-wheel differential drive or Polaris' true four-wheel-drive. We're glad the ATP wasn't dumbed down with a less expensive 4WD system. This system will shift on the fly (we tried it, it works), requiring just a quick blip of the throttle to change drive modes.
A fuel level indicator is...
A fuel level indicator is integrated into the fuel cap.
The box integrates well with...
The box integrates well with the front of the fender and doesn't even hint at the size of the cavernous fender boxes. A nice place for a whole day's worth of snacks and water; there are even drain plugs if you put them on cooler duty. The seat is the same full-sized joint as on the Magnum, with a little cushioning should you lean back into it.
A whole range of products...
A whole range of products are available from the factory, from the toolbox and bed extender shown here to hunting dog boxes and flatbeds for more specialized applications.
The 500 H.O. version gets...
The 500 H.O. version gets Polaris' Engine Braking System as standard equipment, while the 330 does not.
The ATP on its way to cutting...
The ATP on its way to cutting a corner on the loaded Sportsman.
The remarkable front box can...
The remarkable front box can not only be filled with junk and loaded up on top, but it can still be opened when the top is loaded. The latches were a little sticky and didn't engage positively, but they worked and can be upgraded to locking versions easily. The front box also has drain plugs and makes a nice big cooler for beverages or food.
Our Magnum and the stuff it...
Our Magnum and the stuff it dropped on the first lap of the test course. The ATP only let go of a single piece of gear ... and that happened on its fifth lap.
The box tilts and drops its...
The box tilts and drops its gate. Integrated into the sides--intentionally mimicking a pickup truck--are the ATP's brake/taillights. The gate also easily detaches if needed. The 500 H.O. can carry 400 pounds in the box, while the 330 is limited to 250.
Unlike the stripped-down Magnum,...
Unlike the stripped-down Magnum, the ATP offers a Sportsman-spec display with hourmeter, odometer, tripmeter, tachometer and a diagnostic mode to check your quad's ills. Shifting is likewise in the style of the Sportsmans, with a drum shifter for easy shifting from forward to reverse gears.
It was only a matter of time until this happened. A decade or so ago, someone in Detroit decided that dowdy, utilitarian trucks needed to become more sexy--or sporty, if you will--and the SUV was born. The ATV market responded in the late '90s, making over the massive utility segment into something a bit more sporty. With ATVs, all the talk of "sport-utility" isn't just marketing hype, it's real nuts and bolts, with recent-model utility machines (with a few exceptions) delivering the goods for enthusiast riders.
In the last few years, Detroit's been at it again, bringing the SUV full circle to its truck roots. Models like Chevy's Avalanche, Ford's Explorer Sport Trac and Cadillac's Escalade EXT all include a small truck bed to enhance the utility of their sporty full-sized cabs. Polaris is attempting to bring the same mindset to ATVs. Unlike the automotive SUV, ATVs have no pickup truck lineage to draw from, so Polaris started with a clean sheet of paper.
Beginning with the basic Magnum chassis, Polaris' new All-Terrain Pickup (ATP) adds some significant storage options to your traditional ATV. The most obvious is the pickup bed. Styled into the rear plastic of the machine (unlike some manufacturers' "box quads"), the bed is made to drop the tailgate like a pickup and tilt like a dump truck. Less obvious storage units include a pair of deep fender boxes and a semi-sealed front box that still acts as a cargo rack. More utility than ever? Hell yes! But Polarisians would like not to call attention to that. Instead, they point to ATV adventurists who spend hundreds of dollars outfitting their ATVs to improve the luggage capacity with rack bags and cases.
Another pure-utility feature is a rear differential Polaris calls "Turf" mode. Just like your family car, Turf mode causes only one wheel at a time to drive the ATV, which makes for tighter turning and easier steering at the expense of overall traction. This can be used on tight trails for less steering effort or so the ATP will cause less wear and tear on the riding surface, especially useful on lawns or golf courses. Turf mode comes in addition to the normal two- and four-wheel-drives. The innovative coup de grace is a receiver-style trailer hitch instead of just the ball mount utes had in the past.
Aside from these significant distinctions, the rest of the machine is based on Polaris' popular Magnum-series swingarm-equipped quad (as opposed to the IRS-equipped Sportsman models) with a few changes to handle the added load at the rear. A new, longer swingarm with dual shocks offers 6 inches of rear-wheel travel. The Magnum may only come in a 330 version this year, but the ATP comes in both 330 and a 500 High Output (H.O.) version. To the minds at Polaris, this model will compete not only with the very-niche (read: small production run) box quads that are out there but also with traditional ATVs for hunters, adventurers, campers and a variety of pure-utility roles.
To impress upon us the ATP's "quadworthiness," Polaris had us come out to the Diamond K Ranch in Beorne, Texas (just outside San Antonio), to run through a few of its preset demonstrations as well as some trail riding.
With cones and mowed sections of grass, we were shown how a 500 H.O. ATP turns inside the arc of a Sportsman 400 at low speeds. With three 60-pound sandbags on board the difference was more dramatic: The ATP kept roughly the same arc, while the Sportsman blew right out of the mown area. Trying to hold the likes of us at low speeds is a fruitless enterprise, however, and soon we were seeing how fast the two quads would do a quick turn. Turf mode, it turns out, is only for nonaggressive riding, as the ATP will spin and catch when aggressively cornered, much like the family station wagon (who drives those anymore?) might if cornered hard in the dirt.
Another favorite demonstration of ours was the obstacle course. For the purposes of this demonstration, we loaded an ATP and a Magnum with similar amounts of gear and rode around a short course. Of course, the ATP loaded quicker and more securely, due to its inherent design characteristics. The real fun was trying to make the camping gear fly off the two models. It was no challenge to do it on the Magnum; with items haphazardly bungee-corded together and to the racks, usually what was still attached to the quad was dangling off the side. On the other hand, try as we might, the ATP lost only a thermos from the pickup bed during even a devil-may-care run over railroad ties, rocks and cut branches. Over the same course, we also stowed a trio of sandbags into the bed to check loaded handling. It seems Polaris did its homework on the suspension as there is little handling difference loaded to unloaded.
After the controlled environment of the demonstrations, we were taken on a ride in the beautiful Texas Hill Country. Unfortunately, there's not much to report, as most of the trails were of the sort you could take your truck down: wide and mostly flat--it was Texas after all. We swiftly found on the trails that you can't wear a sizable backpack comfortably on the ATP, as it will hit the box. However, our photo gear easily and securely fit into said box and only needed one tie-down to hold it in place.
We tried out the Turf mode on the trails at the request of our hosts, but at enthusiastic speeds, it did more spinning and slipping than turning the steering light; there simply were no tight trails to speak of. For the most part, the terrain at our disposal was typically Southwestern: dry hardpack with the occasional mud puddle or stream crossing. Despite its long wheelbase, the ATP still likes to slide through corners in 2WD and had no trouble taking a series of switchbacks at a brisk pace.
To its credit, the ATP feels much like Polaris' Magnum: light steering and plushly suspended. We'd take the 500 H.O. at almost any cost over the 330 for the serious trail rider. With the added weight of the ATP configuration (719 pounds dry, as opposed to the Magnum 4x4's 637), the 330cc powerplant has trouble getting out of its own way in open country.
There was a total of one semi-steep rocky hill where we (barely) felt inclined to switch into all-wheel-drive. The ATP handled it ably, smoothly climbing the grade without any weirdness associated with the cargo box. In fact, in all situations available to us in this test, it felt no different from a standard ATV. Steep downhill grades were the one thing we were concerned about as some standard ATVs will smack you in the ass on drop-offs, but in our brief test this was not the case with the ATP.
Glancing at the spec sheet, we found the rear swingarm lost a bit of travel compared with the Magnum. For the added versatility of the ATP, you'll pay an extra $900 over the Magnum for the 330 and the same price as a 500 Sportsman for the 500 ATP.
We're withholding our final judgment of the ATP pending a test in a more challenging environment. Polaris claims it sees the ATP grabbing market share against even standard quads. Its unique blend of adding tons of utility (and usability) without sacrificing much (if any) sport character should be a hit. At least if ATVers continue to follow the lead of the Detroit automakers. Both ATPs should be in dealers' showrooms by the time you read this.
|ATP 330 4x4||ATP 500 H.O. 4x4|
|Retail Price: $5999 || $6999 |
|Engine Type: 4-stroke || 4-stroke |
|Displacement: 329cc || 499cc |
|Cooling: Air-cooled with fan-assisted oil cooler || Liquid-cooled |
|Carburetion: Mikuni CV 34mm || Mikuni CV 40mm |
|Lubrication: Wet sump || Dry sump |
|Ignition: CDI || CDI |
|Starter: Electric with recoil backup || Electric with recoil backup |
|Drive System: Shaft || Shaft |
|Transmission: High/low range automatic PVT with reverse; optional engine-braking || High/low range automatic PVT with reverse, engine-braking |
|Front: MacPherson strut/6.7 in. || MacPherson strut/6.7 in. |
|Rear: Progressive-rate swingarm/6.0 in. || Progressive-rate swingarm/6.0 in. |
|Front: 24x8-12 || 25x8-12 |
|Rear: 24x11-12 || 25x11-12 |
|Front: Single-lever hydraulic disc || Single-lever hydraulic disc |
|Rear: Hydraulic foot brake || Hydraulic foot brake |
|Wheelbase: 56.0 in. || 56.0 in. |
|Turning Radius (inside tire): 75.0 in. || 75.0 in. |
|Claimed Dry Weight: 719 lb || 738 lb |
|Ground Clearance: 6.5 in. || 6.5 in. |
|Length/Width/Height: 91.0/46.0/46.0 in. || 91.0/46.0/46.0 in. |
|Seat Height: 34.0 in. || 34.5 in. |
|Fuel Capacity: 3.25 in. || 3.25 in. |
|Front Box/Rack Capacity: 90 lb || 90 lb |
|Rear Box Capacity: 250 lb || 400 lb |
|Hitch Tongue/Towing Capacity: 100/1000 lb || 120/1225 lb |
|Taillight: Yes || Yes |
|Headlight: Dual 30-watt || Dual 30-watt |
|DC Outlet: Accessory || Accessory |
|Alternator: 200 watts || 250 watts |
|Instrumentation: Speedometer/odometer, tripmeter, hourmeter, tachometer, fuel gauge; high-temperature, low battery, high beam, gear indicators || Speedometer/odometer, tripmeter, hourmeter, tachometer, fuel gauge; high-temperature, low battery, high beam, gear indicators , |
|Color: Camo green || Camo green |