Need work and play in the same package? Check out the 2014 Honda FourTrax Foreman 4x4.

Need an ATV that can work hard, but is fun to ride too? The full-size 2014 Honda FourTrax Foreman 4x4 is equipped with an all-new chassis and suspension as well as a new, locking front differential, boosting capability, comfort and performance. Read how in this 2014 Honda FourTrax Foreman 4x4 review.

What's New

The 2014 Foreman retains the existing 475cc, liquid-cooled, single-cylinder motor, housing it in an all-new chassis that's designed to improve strength without adding weight. New suspension increases travel, boosting both ground clearance and comfort, while a new, locking front differential boosts outright, off-road capability in difficult terrain. That's all wrapped in more aggressive bodywork optionally featuring, for the first time, Honda's own, proprietary camo pattern.

Comfort is also aided by a seat that's a full inch thicker, while convenience is taken care of by new digital gauges and easy, push-button controls for the Four-Wheel drive and differential lock.

Compared to the smaller, 2014 Honda Rancher we reviewed last month, the Foreman is fitted with a larger motor, four-wheel drive (with that locking diff), more capable suspension and a greater payload capacity.

The 2014 Honda Foreman's cockpit provides ease of use and comfort.

The 2014 Honda Foreman's cockpit provides ease of use and comfort.

The Ride

We spent a day riding the Foreman around Camp 5 Outfitters' 25,000 acre property outside Paso Robles, California. Terrain included gravel roads, muddy barn yards, cow pastures, oak forests and 4x4 trails through the rolling countryside. It'd rained the day before, keeping dust down, but the dirt remained dry and firm during our test.

Impressively, the Foreman remains stable and confident even above 50 mph, at the top of 5th gear. Even crossing hillsides or crossing uneven obstacles, the ATV never gives the impression it's about to tip over.

Steep climbs up loose dirt and gravel presented the chance to test the four-wheel drive system. That it's capable and adds much traction doesn't surprise, but its ease of use will. The big red button on the right handlebar is easy to reach with your thumb, as is the switch that covers it, locking the differential. Should you encounter deep mud, pushing and holding the starter button overrides the 20 mph speed restriction with the diff locked, allowing wheel speeds to reach 40 mph in that configuration. That will allow you to power your way through bogs.

One 4x4 nuance that requires a bit of a learning curve is that, in that mode, engine braking applies to the front wheels too. I nearly endoed down a steep hillside before my brain turned on and I remembered I just needed to power out.

Also impressive was the tractability of the fuel-injected engine. It could be lugged down to idle in a high gear and still pull away cleanly and hiccup free. Obstacles that would typically be tackled at the top of 2nd gear, could instead be cleanly taken in 3rd or even 4th gear. I preferred the low-rev torque to high-end power and spent most of the day in 3rd and 4th gear; the rear could still be broken loose at will, simply by thumbing the throttle aggressively.

The added suspension travel was apparent while hitting obstacles at speed or simply when riding along rough surfaces at high speed. Rather than respond to each and every rut, the Foreman instead floats luxuriously, with comfort aided by the new seat. It also made landing jumps easy and confidence inspiring, never once finding the suspension stops.

Read More, Page Two >>

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Push the red button to engage the 2014 Honda Foreman's four-wheel drive. Flip the switch to lock the diff.

Push the red button to engage the 2014 Honda Foreman's four-wheel drive. Flip the switch to lock the diff.

What's Good

New styling conveys purpose without skewing over-aggressive.

Honda "Phantom" Camo looks and works good, setting the Honda apart from licensed color schemes.

Push-button 4x4 and diff lock is easy, quick and seamless, working on the fly to deliver added traction.

Front disc brakes are powerful and deliver a good feel.

Center running light is switchable, putting light where you need it, when you need it.

Seat is all-day comfortable.

Digital clocks are clear and well-placed in your peripheral vision.

Front nerf bar wraps the entire front end and headlights, providing comprehensive protection.

New, 10.5-foot turning radius is impressively tight.

Honda's new, photorealistic

Honda's new, photorealistic "Phantom" camo lends the Foreman 3D deception.

What's Bad

Cable-actuated rear brakes are weak, barely able to hold the Foreman on a steep hill.

Manual shift delivers clunky downshifts.

Reverse can be hard to select, requiring both hands and a foot.

The Price

The Foreman starts at $7,099. Electric shifting takes that up to $7,349, power steering costs $7,799 and having both will take that too $8,049. That's a considerable premium over the 420cc, $5,199 Honda Rancher, but the Foreman adds size, power and standard 4x4.

The 2014 Honda Foreman is fun, as well as useful.

The 2014 Honda Foreman is fun, as well as useful.

The Verdict

Whether you're hauling stumps, herding sheep, hunting pigs or just enjoying the ride, the new Foreman will be a more comfortable, more capable vehicle than before. Whether this size ATV suits your specific needs depends on how much you need to haul and what you plan on doing with it. It's large enough to carry a full-grown wild pig on the load rack, powerful enough to push a snow plow, will go absolutely anywhere and is both comfortable and fun to ride.

RideApart Rating: 8/10

Gear

Helmet: AGV AX-8 Dual ($420, Highly Recommended)

Jacket: Alpinestars Lance 3L ($400, Highly Recommended)

Gloves: Racer Mickey ($116, Highly Recommended)

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