Virtually identical to its more powerful 500cc brother, the Arctic Cat 400 is likely to be the more popular of the two. Why? Because with 25hp on tap the 400 has enough power for most users and it also retails for well under £5,000. But is its relatively low retail price due to shortcomings in the design and build departments? James de Havilland seeks out the answers

It is a funny old World. Suzuki was the first company to make a four-wheel ATV, and back in the early 1980’s the UK arm of the company helped win over the agricultural sector to these wonderfully useful machines.

Yet despite Suzuki gaining an early lead in the market, the company’s share started to slip to the point where most people now think Honda invented ATVs and that the ‘red ones’ have always been market leader. In 1995, Suzuki stopped selling its own ATVs in the UK. Fast forward to 1997 and Suzuki were back in the UK ATV business again, this time selling the US-built Arctic Cat range.

Powered by Suzuki engines, the new line-up of models was well received. But Suzuki initially had too few dealers to sell the new models. Now to 1999, and it’s clear that Suzuki is once again sharpening up its act. Although there is hardly a Suzuki agent on every doorstep, the company has 70 ATV outlets across the UK and the tally is growing. Of equal importance, the Arctic Cat range has sold in sufficient numbers for ‘insiders’ to suggest that the range is well made, reliable and, by and large, well supported by dealers. So what of the Arctic Cat 400? Well, this model also has a lot going for it.

First up is the Suzuki engine and transmission. Tough and reliable, this combination also offers something that can be lacking in these larger capacity units – refinement. Add the fact that the engine has a lovely fat power delivery, which makes revving it hard pointless, and you end up with an ATV that is a genuine pleasure to ride.

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