Most small 4x4s don’t have locking front differentials. The Sportsman ETX has an automatic-locking differential much like those used on larger Polaris ATVs.
The Sportsman 450’s McPherson-strut front
suspension has 8. 2 inches of travel, up from
6. 7 on the Sportsman ETX.
find at every riding area. We
needed to use full throttle
frequently on tough climbs,
but the Sportsman didn’t
struggle. For a machine of its
size, it really impressed us.
Going back down, we had to
work around the Sportsman’s
lack of engine braking. With
just a touch of throttle, the
transmission engages to help
slow the machine, but it only
slows the rear wheels, even in
4WD. Fortunately, the linked front
and rear brakes provide plenty of
slowing power, just not as much
control as separate front and rear
HOW IS IT FOR MUD AND WATER?
Most mud bogs and water
crossings are no problem. The
Sportsman 450 has enough
power, ground clearance and
4WD grip to slog through typical
wet, sloppy trail obstacles. The
engine and transmission are
There’s a big storage area under the front rack and
another between the taillights.