Discovering the Best ATV Under $5000: A Guide to Affordable Adventure

Unravel the Five Most Promising Rec-Ute ATVs That Won’t Break the Bank

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Key Takeaways:

  1. Rec-Ute ATVs are an excellent entry point into the ATV hobby for budget-conscious adventurers, providing remarkable value for under $5000.
  2. The CFMoto CForce 400 stands out with feature-rich offerings including a fuel-injected 400cc engine and four-wheel drive.
  3. The Kawasaki Brute Force 300, while a bit dated, remains a reliable and straightforward option for newcomers.
  4. The Arctic Cat Alterra 300 provides a good alternative in a market filled with older, largely unchanged models.
  5. The Honda FourTrax Recon holds its place as a trustworthy and low-maintenance choice, although it’s slightly lacking in modern features.


When it comes to four-wheeler hobbies, recreational-utility ATVs (Rec-Utes) represent an extraordinary way to dive in. Despite the escalating prices of ATVs, five standout models exist in the Rec-Ute segment that not only fit adult riders but also clock in under the golden $5000 mark. We have explored and analyzed these machines to assist you in discovering the best ATV under 5000.

CFMoto CForce 400: Unprecedented Value and Features

CFMoto has been a rapidly evolving name in the ATV landscape over recent years. With the CForce 400, they offer a stunning balance of fun and durability at a very reasonable price. Not only does it feature a fuel-injected 400cc engine yielding 31 hp and 24 lb.-ft. of torque, but it’s also the only Rec-Ute ATV under $5000 that comes with standard four-wheel drive and a front differential lock.

Additionally, it is equipped with engine-braking, a 620-pound tow capacity, a standard 2-inch receiver, and independent suspension front and rear, facilitating 9.8 inches of ground clearance. The only slight downside is its substantial curb weight of 750 pounds, which may affect its speed. However, given the exhaustive list of features, the CForce 400 is an absolute bargain.

Kawasaki Brute Force 300: Reliable and Beginner-Friendly

The Kawasaki Brute Force 300, often referred to as the baby Brute, has been a staple of trails and farms for many years. Despite the need for a contemporary update, it continues to serve as a solid machine, particularly for first-timers.

Boasting a user-friendly design and proven reliability, it’s an uncomplicated quad to operate and maintain. However, its low-tech nature— being two-wheel drive, carbureted, and with a swingarm suspension—means it might not carry as many surprises as other ATVs. But, for its price, the Brute Force 300 delivers solid performance.

Arctic Cat Alterra 300: A Fresh Take on Classic Design

The Arctic Cat Alterra 300 is the company’s response to the Kawasaki Brute Force 300. Similar to the Brute, it utilizes a rear swingarm and carbureted engine, but with a 270cc single instead of a true 300cc powerplant.

Some of the Alterra 300’s noteworthy features include a 500-pound towing capacity and sturdy front and rear racks that can hold 50 and 100 pounds, respectively. Although the CVT might not offer the most exhilarating ride, it does make riding the Alterra 300 straightforward, thereby practically eliminating the learning curve for new riders.

Honda FourTrax Recon: The Trustworthy Stalwart

The Honda FourTrax Recon has an established reputation for reliability. Numerous enthusiasts and workers alike have relied on the Recon for their various needs, making it an excellent investment at its modest price point.

Despite being somewhat basic in terms of equipment, the Recon is remarkably easy to maintain. Its air-cooled 229cc engine might be a little outdated and lack the punch of newer powerplants, but it still manages to tow a healthy 500 pounds. The Recon’s low curb weight of about 450 pounds ensures it is quite nimble on trails, making it fun to ride. Although we wish Honda would upgrade the drum brakes and give the Recon a bit more power and fuel injection, it remains a safe and reliable purchase as it currently stands.


When searching for the best ATV under 5000, a variety of options exist that combine affordability with functionality, and even a touch of luxury. While each ATV caters to different needs and preferences, what remains consistent across all is the promise of a thrilling adventure without having to break the bank. Whether you’re a novice or a seasoned ATV enthusiast, there’s a Rec-Ute ATV waiting to take you on your next adventure.

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