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Polaris Scrambler 500 Review

The Polaris Scrambler 500 is a utility/sport quad that screams compact performance. Its powerful engine can ride over rocks and logs and sprint down sandy trails. Its high throughput and top-caliber technology make the quad a favorite choice for both the discerning speedster and casual driver seeking an enjoyable outdoor experience.

The Scrambler 500 is among the best four-wheelers ever made by the Polaris. However, this quad remained unchanged, with fewer improvements over the years since its inception. But is the Polaris Scrambler 500 worth it? Here’s everything you need to know.

About the Polaris Scrambler 500

The Polaris Scrambler 500 hit the market in 1997 and was a crossover between sport and utility ATV. It was designed to allow riders to conquer the toughest terrains and handle the most difficult outdoor tasks. The Polaris Scrambler was initially designed as a sport-oriented, 400 cc, two-stroke ATV and became a massive hit in 1995.

The Scrambler was produced in response to the consumers’ need for flexibility of the four-wheel-drive that utility vehicles offered since several riders were purchasing utility vehicles but weren’t using them for work. The Polaris released the second sport, 4×4 quad, after two years, which became among the fastest four-strokes available at the time.

Several years later, the Scrambler 400 got eliminated due to stringent emissions standards. In May 2005, Polaris recalled 14,882 units of the 2005 Polaris Scrambler 500 and some 2004 and 2005 Sportsman models due to faulty Electronic Control Modules (ECM). Polaris Inc. did a voluntary product recall to prevent accidents that could lead to death or grave injury linked with the faulty, overheating ECM.

Despite this fault, the Polaris Scrambler 500 was highly appreciated by consumers and the media during its time. The production of the Scrambler 500 was stopped in 2011, but its OEM and aftermarket parts still get produced today.

Polaris Scrambler 500 Specs & Features


The Polaris Scrambler 500 was powered by a four-valve, liquid-cooled SOHC engine, but the 2004 models and later years had DOHC. It has a bore and stroke of 92 and 75 millimeters, respectively. The engine has a displacement of 499 cubic centimeters. The air-fuel mixture is handled by the Mikuni CV carburetor and has a compression ratio of 10:8:1. It also has a fuel capacity of 13.2 liters/ 3.5 gallons.


This quad is brought to life by electric starting with a recoil mechanical backup or an automotive turnkey style switch.


The Scrambler 500 rides on Carlisle AT489 22 x 11-10 rear tires and Carlisle AT489 23 x 7-10 front tires with heavy stamped steel wheels.


The Quad’s engine comes with an automatic CVT type with F/N/R and an On-Demand True AWD/2WD drive system. It also has an eccentric chain adjustment system- a concentric rear setup and a front shaft.


This four-wheeler uses single-lever hydraulic front discs and a rear hydraulic foot brake to offer sufficient and reliable stopping power.


The quad’s front suspension comes with a MacPherson Strut with 8.2-inch travel and a rear progressive-rate swing arm with single shocks and 10.5-inch travel.

Weight capacity

The Polaris Scrambler 500 has a dry weight of 542-571 lbs, and the GVWR can go up to 845 lbs. the four-wheeler comes with an accessory hitch towing capacity of 850 lbs.

Top speed

The Polaris Scrambler 500 has a top speed of between 63 to 70 MPH. A stock Scrambler can pass a Grizzly in some situations, although the gap isn’t that wide. However, some riders claim that this speed is a bit second-rate compared to its counterparts in the same class.

When looking at the top speed of the quad, you need to consider the rider’s weight, the modifications on your ride, and the quad’s condition that can affect its ability to hit optimal speed in a short time.


The 1999 Polaris Scrambler 500 4×4 had an initial price of $5,899 MSRP. Today, its value ranges between $585 and $770 since the model is really old, but some models are sold from $1,899 to $2,999 in Pennsylvania and Idaho.

The 2001 model had an initial selling price of $6,099, and the used Scrambler 500 cost between $975 and $1,285. For ’09 and up models, they are valued above $3,000 and may need a trade-in. Prices without trade-in range from $4,800 to $5,700. These models are usually well-maintained and serviced at the dealership.


The ATV’s maintenance activities are extremely easy. The air filter is under the seat making it easy to remove.

Known Issues

Like other ATVs, the Scrambler 500 has some issues too. The first one is the transmission which doesn’t have low working gear. Most riders blame this setback on the ATV’s outdated transmission more than its engine. The quad also has some design flaws. One of the most noticeable is the absence of racks on either end of the bodywork.


Polaris Scrambler 500 Review

Is Polaris Scrambler 500 2 stroke?

The 400-cc Polaris Scrambler was a two-stroke quad, but the Polaris Scrambler 500 and 500 4×4 come with four-stroke engines.

Does the Polaris Scrambler 500 have 4wd?

The Scrambler has the On-Demand True AWD/2WD Drive System. So by definition, the Polaris Scrambler 500 is a 4X4.


Whether you’re looking for a quad to help you carry loads on open grounds or fancy a quick ride on wooden trails, the Polaris Scrambler has got you covered. This sport-utility ATV will fulfill your dreams of trail fun and reliable performance.