Best Automatic ATV (2024): Top 3 ATVs to Consider

There are a ton of different factors to consider when purchasing an ATV. One of the biggest factors is whether or not you should get a manual ATV or one with an automatic transmission.

Thankfully, we’re here to give you all the info you need. We’ll take a look at what an automatic ATV is, what to look out for when buying one, and the best models available today. Let’s get started!


What is an Automatic ATV?

automatic atv

Before the coming of automatic transmissions, people had to use manual. This involved operating a clutch and switching gears at different speed thresholds. It is certainly not ideal having to focus your mind on switching gears all the time while driving in order to not stall out the engine.

The reason a gear system had to exist in the first place is to allow for the efficient utilization of the engine’s power. Without a gear system, an engine would give very little power at low speeds, making it hard to move from a standstill; meanwhile, at high speeds, it would consume very large amounts of fuel.

For this reason, a gearbox exists. Luckily, with the advancement of technology, it is no longer necessary to operate a clutch and switch gears manually, instead, it can be done automatically. Using a number of sensors, a vehicle can automatically switch into optimal gear depending on the speed.

Naturally, this makes automatic ATV transmissions the most popular option as it allows you to enjoy driving without being bothered with having to manually change gears. However, due to their increased complexity and cost, most ATV riders will stick with a manual ATV with a gear lever.

What is a CVT Transmission?

If you want an automatic ATV for its simplicity of use, you should also know that there are different types of automatic transmissions, including the automatic CVT transmission.

The two most common ones are continuously variable transmission (CVT) and wet clutch transmission. In the larger part of automatic ATVs, you are likely to find CVT to be present more often, and there is a good reason for that.

CVTs are, on average, more efficient at managing your ATV’s engine power. The transmission consists of pulleys and a belt that substitutes the actual gears.

This allows a gradual change in gear to suit every moment of your ride as opposed to the noticeable fixed gear switch in older designs. Essentially, CTV allows your ATV to always be at the most efficient gear and maximized performance.

Manual ATVs vs Automatic ATVs

manual vs automatic atv

While getting an ATV may seem like an attractive option for some people, you first have to understand what you want your ATV for and then decide what type of ATV you will get.

One of the things you need to decide on is whether you want an automatic or manual transmission for your ATV. There is also a semi-automatic option that you can read about further in the article.

Nowadays, automatic ATVs are by far the most popular. This is because it eliminates the need for the driver to worry about a clutch to change gears. Instead, it allows the driver to focus fully on driving without any distractions or engine stalls.

You can accelerate to maximum speed from a full stop without having to do anything besides increasing the throttle. While you enjoy the ride, the ATV’s automatic clutch will switch to the appropriate gear depending on your speed.

The only thing a driver will usually have to do is choose between low, high, or reverse gear. This convenience is the reason why automatic is by far the most popular option.

On the other hand, a manual transmission requires the driver to use manual clutches and shift gears using a lever. As with an automatic car, you might wonder why anyone would choose this option? After all, it seems far more uncomfortable having to constantly manually switch gears while driving.

For many people, automatic is the way to go, but there still are some uses for manual since it allows for more precise gear control. This is especially useful for ATV racers who want to be able to fully control their gears to achieve optimal performance.

There are also those who want to ride ATVs for pure fun and don’t feel they get enough power from an automatic. Using a manual clutch lever for many riders offers a more authentic experience on four-wheelers, but everyone is different, and it depends on which experience you’d prefer.

What is a Semi-Automatic ATV

A semi-automatic ATV is, as the name suggests, in between manual and automatic transmissions. What it essentially does is still allow you to manually switch gears but with the added benefit of not having to operate a clutch.

The clutch itself gets automated so that you can only worry about going into the gear that you need to. This type of option is perfect for anyone who wishes to be able to change gears as they please without having to think about the clutch pedal.

What to Look for in an Automatic ATV?

automatic atv option

An automatic ATV is the go-to option for your offroad activities. But before you charge in and buy whichever you see first, you must consider a couple of things.

These key features include pricing, brand, model, specifications, looks, etc. But before that, it is most important to first figure out what you need an ATV for.

You have to ask yourself questions such as, is the ATV for yourself or for a child? Do you want an ATV for recreational purposes or for work? This will help you narrow down the list of suitable options to get just what you need. Firstly, here are the general categories that ATVs fall into.


A sports ATV is primarily for the purposes of entertainment for outdoor enthusiasts. These vehicles are usually lighter and travel at higher speeds.

They are also very sturdy and able to take heavy landings. These also tend to look more flashy, as most “sport” vehicles do. While these can go fast, this does not mean they are the most powerful and may not be suitable for doing heavy-duty type work.


Utility ATVs are all about doing work and carrying heavy loads. These tend to be more powerful vehicles designed with many utilities and flexibilities in mind. They often have extra features such as storage boxes or hooks and racks for equipment.

Obviously, these cannot compare in speed to the sport ATVs, but they are perfect for moving around heavy cargo. Many users still like manual ATVs for utility tasks for better gear control when pulling heavy loads, but modern automatic transmissions are able to cope equally well with these demands.


In the case that you are looking to purchase an ATV for someone young, then you should be looking for ATVs specifically designed for youth. These ATVs will have engines that are not as powerful as their adult counterparts. They will also be smaller and designed for sports riding. There is also the added benefit of youth ATVs being cheaper.

These are the general categories that ATVs will fall into. Of course, this does not mean there is no overlap or that these categories are concrete. Some ATVs may be designed for both utility and sporting purposes.

What is the Best Automatic ATV?

Now we know what to look for, let’s check out the top automatic ATVs available today. While these options are far from the only automatic ATVs on the market, we thought they offered the best combination of quality, price, and functionality.

Yamaha Grizzly EPS XT-R

Yamaha Grizzly EPS XT-R
Image Credit:

Yamaha is well-known as a brilliant ATV manufacturer. The Grizzly EPS XT-R is a utility quadbike that features a powerful engine and a host of other features that make it an ideal ATV for anyone that needs some serious work done.

It features all the utility features you could expect, such as utility racks, storage boxes, a front-mounted winch, and a hitch for towing, among other things.

The vehicle features a standard Yamaha automatic CVT with five gears that is extremely easy to use. Furthermore, the independent double-wishbone suspension provides immense comfort to the rider, even on the bumpiest of tracks. This is a great choice utility vehicle that can fulfill any task that it is put up against with its powerful engine.

Honda TRX250X Fourtrax

Honda TRX250X Fourtrax
Image Credit: Honda

This ATV is an impressively engineered vehicle that delivers everything that you would expect. The Honda Fourtrax is ideal for drivers of any experience level, allowing a comfortable riding experience for pure novices and seasoned experts.

This vehicle is capable of traversing difficult terrain with ease. It also boasts a great performance even in very cold conditions. The Honda TRX250X is a lightweight sports ATV that is perfect for traveling through tight forests and open field trails.

It also features an automatic 5-speed transmission together with the Honda SportsClutch, which is a unique utility that allows new riders to practice shifting gears without the fear of stalling the engine.

This ATV is also among the easiest to maintain. It has a very reliable engine and easy access to any components requiring maintenance. Since this is a sports variant, it doesn’t feature any ability to haul cargo.

Polaris Sportsman 450 HO

Polaris Sportsman 450 HO
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The Polaris Sportsman 450 HO is the perfect entry-type vehicle for people looking for a good all-around ATV option. This vehicle is perfect for completing utility tasks and doing work while also saving the option for some fun riding when possible.

Being a work-focused vehicle, it features a front utility bumper as well as utility racks, multi-select power steering, and dual taillights. The engine on the Sportsman 450 HO is not the strongest, as can be found on some of the more expensive ATVs, but it is powerful enough to fulfill the power needs for its intended use.

A small downside of this vehicle is that it is relatively heavy, affecting its performance. While this machine is not going to give the breathtaking ride that a sports variant might, it is still ideal for performing work and moving weight around.


Do They Make Automatic ATVs?

Automatic ATVs have become much more prominent these days on the market. This is not surprising considering the improvement that it provides.

Today’s best ATVs feature automatic CVT transmissions, and as technology improves, they will only become more durable and efficient. There are still manual ATVs available out there for those who need the ability to have precise control of what gear they are on while driving.

What Honda ATV Has Automatic Transmission?

Honda is the only manufacturer that hasn’t switched to a CVT type of automatic transmission. Instead, they offer an alternative DTC automatic transmission that shifts gears in a way similar to automatic cars.

They provide the convenience of not having to constantly shift gears yourself. Despite not using the most common CVT transmission type, Honda still provides automatic systems in their ATVs to fulfill customers’ demands.

How Do You Shift An Automatic ATV?

Most automatic ATVs still provide the ability to shift gears. There are often options between high gear, low gear, and reverse. These are easily accessible on the steering handle of the ATVs. The number of gears you can shift between depends on the type of ATV you have.

Final Thoughts

ATVs have become very handy in the day-to-day life of many people, and for some, they are a great way to have fun. Thankfully the use of ATVs has been simplified with the introduction of automatic transmission.

It is hard to say which automatic ATV is the best because it depends on what type of ATV you need and what for. Hopefully, the suggestions above have been helpful for you in deciding what type of automatic ATV you should purchase.

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Patrick Johnson