ARCTIC CAT ALTERRA 450
Ever since Arctic Cat did a restyle of its time-proven ATV chassis and renamed it "Alterra", a herd of new eyes have been on the brand.
On the surface, you could argue the Alterra only received cosmetic improvements, however, you need to ride this 4-wheeler before you make a judgment on it.
Sure, the new styling is lighter looking and much more up-to-date than the bodywork of the past but, from the driver's seat, the most obvious change is ergonomic. The seating position is inches lower than the former model and you can feel the difference in center of gravity when you’re cornering at speed or performing off-camber maneuvers.
The former Cat platform wasn't exactly a willing handler and with improvements to the Alterra's turning circle (now much tighter) and with general chassis balance amped-up, this wheeler is a lot more fun to ride.
Why a 450? In the ATV industry, there have been some very serious reality checks the last few years. More and more potential buyers are laying down cash for what they need versus what they want. This gutsy 433cc powerplant offers significant bottom end power for pulling and lugging and enough top end to deliver spirited performance on trail rides.
Certainly, the upshot is all about price. Cost aware buyers are looking for the most ATV for the best price and that's what the Alterra 450 is aimed at.
Fact is, you can downsize to a 400 Alterra and save a few hundred smackers but you'll be missing some pretty nice upgrades that come standard on the 450. Besides, the extra 50 or so cubes make a big difference in power delivery and add to this wheeler's versatility. We think the 450 offers better value.
Here's what the Alterra 450 brings to the table: Electronic Fuel Injection, 10-inches of ground clearance, fully shiftable 4WD, digital instrumentation and an upper class set of racks that are steel framed with molded plastic over them and great attachment points.
What are you giving up? Not much. In lieu of aluminum wheels, Cat is giving you powder coated steel ones. There's no manual diff-lock but you do get nice Kenda Pathfinder tires and a 7-inches of suspension travel.
Other than the aforementioned compromises, the 450 is a fully equipped, all-purpose ride that competes very strongly against the rest of the market in this category.
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