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Polaris Xplorer 400 Review (Features, Pros, Cons 2023)

The Polaris Xplorer 400 is strictly made for off-road use. A plush ride, payload capacity, and great power are all praises given to the Polaris Xplorer 400, a versatile ATV that was manufactured by the Minnesota-based Polaris between 1996 and 2002.

The Xplorer 400 is among the most reliable ATVs Polaris has ever made. This ride continues to be a favorite choice for riders for hunting, racing, industrial work, and agriculture. It is well known for its efficient fuel consumption, superior power output, and minimal repair demands.


About the Polaris Xplorer 400

The Polaris Xplorer 400 was a powerful, off-road ATV that hit the market in 1996 and enjoyed a six-year production run. Polaris could have chosen a better time to introduce this great quad. It hit the market when most manufacturers pushed for the advancement of ATVs.

This predecessor to the Scrambler and Sportsman models was available in two trims: the Xplorer 400L released from 1996 to 1997 and the Xplorer 400, produced until 2002. The 4WD was introduced in the 1999 Xplorer 400. The 2001-2002 models were equipped with add-on options like high-performance exhaust, cassette players, and utility trailers.

This ATV was initially made with a carbureted two-stroke engine, making it powerful and perfect for hunting, hauling deer, trail riding, and camp work, and it won the hearts of many outdoor enthusiasts. Off-roaders were attracted to the ATV’s comfortable, reliable ride over wooded trails, rough terrains, dirt roads, and stream crossings.

The Xplorer 400’s dual-sensing, automatic Polaris Variable Transmission (PVT) coupled with its Concentric Drive System gave the ATV an efficient and unique driveline layout. However, this configuration was available in later models.

Another impressive fact of this four-wheeler is the rear suspension. It comes with a cool 9-inch rear suspension travel and isn’t affected by engine torque, allowing it to put more power to the ground.

However, these ATVs had some flaws that made Polaris issue a recall order of at least 13,600 ATVs. The throttles on these units tended to stick, thus preventing the vehicle from slowing down and posing a crash risk in the process. The manufacturer solved this issue by offering free repairs to the affected ATVs’ owners.

Polaris Xplorer 400 Specs & Features


The Polaris Xplorer 400 is powered by a two-stroke, liquid-cooled oil-injected engine. The engine comes with a 70mm stroke and an 83mm bore. It has an engine displacement of 378.7 cubic centimeters, delivered by a 34 millimeters VM34SS Mikuni carburetor, and has a 6:9:1 compression ratio. The fuel capacity of this ATV is 15.14 liters/ 4 US gallons.


This ATV boasts an electric starter system supported by an auxiliary recoil mechanical backup.


The Xplorer 400 rides on the 25X8X12 front tires and 25X12X10 rear tires. It has a wheelbase of 49.75 inches.


Power in the Polaris Xplorer 400 travels through a two-speed automatic Polaris Variable Transmission (PVT) and E-Z shift high/low and reverse that helps users to shift with push-button ease and responds to vehicle torque load and engine RPM.

The 1996 model was a 2WD, but the later models shifted to 4WD, which offers additional traction.


The ATV has single-lever hydraulic disc front brakes, and a hydraulic axle-foot mounted rear brakes paired with an auxiliary single-sealed mechanical drum.


The Xplorer 400’s front suspension is McPherson Strut’s independent front suspension that allows 6.25-inch of travel. The rear suspension features a progressive-rate swing arm with single shocks and a steel finish that permits 8.5-inch of travel. Its Concentric Drive System (CDS) improves its power efficiency by aligning the drive sprocket center with the swing arm’s pivot point.


The Xplorer 400 comes with a 60 watts high-beam main headlight and two 35 watts grill lights placed on the front fenders. It also has 8.26 watts taillight.

Weight capacity

This ATV has a dry weight of 570 lbs. It has a front and rear load capacity of 90 and 180 lbs, respectively. Additionally, it comes with a towing capacity of up to 850 lbs.

Top speed

A stock Xplorer 400 can run for up to 60 mph on even grounds and up to 53 mph off-pavement. Some modifications will give the ATV an extra three miles. However, the top speed is affected by factors like weather, the quad’s condition, upgrades, and the rider’s weight.


The 1996 model hit the market with a price of $5,349, while the 2002 model only increased by $350. A used Xplorer 400 can cost anywhere from $175 to $2,260. This depends on whether the vehicle is modified or stock.

Polaris Xplorer 400 Review

Known Issues

Although this ATV is one of the best four-wheelers in terms of performance, it requires more maintenance than most machines. Owners complained that engine vibrations are more severe than that of four-stroke.

Another issue is that the engine’s bottom gets water inside when crossing water or mudding. As a result, the steering stem, tie-rod ends, chains, rear swing arm, and sprockets ten to loosen after some miles.


Although some riders underrate the Polaris Xplorer 400, it is still one of the best Polaris quads before the four-stroke EFI vehicles. This ATV offers a pleasant ride and is a great choice for single-track racing. If you want an affordable ride that’s ideal for off-road whims and workload, this quad is the right one for you.