– This 2021 Honda FourTrax Rancher ATV Buyer’s Guide will help answer: “What’s the difference between all of the 2021 Honda Rancher 420 ATV models?” –
Alright guys, today we’re going to take a look at the 2021 Honda Rancher 420 model lineup and go over all of the model differences and explain what’s different between all of them. It can be quite confusing at first because you have 8 different Ranchers but once you break down a few things and see how Honda splits them up in their categories it’s pretty easy to decipher and then figure out which one you want, which one suits your needs the best and of course which one fits into your budget. As the Rancher can go from being fairly affordable at $5,499 and jump all the way up to $8,699. Definitely quite the jump.
Before we dive into explaining model by model. I always like to tell people to keep a few things in the back of their head that they need to be deciding on. One, what type of transmission do you want? Honda has three different transmission options in the Rancher lineup alone. You have your option that has been a staple in Honda’s ATVs for many decades, the manual shift option also known as foot-shift (pictured below). It’s a semi-automatic 5 speed gearbox where you can shift up and down with the shifter by your left foot. There’s no clutch, just let off the throttle and click away.
Then you have the ES models, short for electric shift (pictured below). You have the same transmission as the manual shift model but instead of shifting with your foot, you shift electronically by clicking up and down arrows on the left side of the handlebar. A lot of people refer to this as an automatic but technically it’s not an automatic as you still have to shift gears at all times.
Then you have the DCT automatic transmission, short for Dual Clutch Transmission (pictured below). The name confuses some people as they hear clutch and automatically think that it has a manual clutch but that is just the type of automatic transmission that Honda is using currently. With the DCT transmission on the Rancher you can change from Automatic mode to (ESP) which means Electric Shift Program so you can manually change gears by clicking the Up and Down arrows.
They’ve had a couple of different styles with automatic transmissions over the years for their ATVs but shortly after introducing the DCT transmission into their motorcycle side of the business back in 2010 with the VFR1200F, they decided this tech needed to make its way offroad and brought it to their ATVs starting in 2014. Fast forward to now and Honda has countless DCT ATV models, side by side models and motorcycles. Oddly enough, they barely use this technology in their car lineup and that’s where all of the other manufacturers are using DCT setups. The only Honda car to utilize the DCT tech is the new NSX and it’s not exactly on the cheap side with a new NSX starting at over $150,000.
Back on topic though. Then the next thing is do you want a straight axle or independent rear suspension? And are you considering electric power steering or no? Transmission type, rear suspension and steering types, those are key decisions that need to be made before you can iron out exactly which model you want as some of those options aren’t available with the other.
And one more quick thing. If I say DCT then you know I’m referring to an Automatic transmission and if I say EPS then that is referring to Electric Power Steering. ES is short for Electric Shift and ESP is short for Electric Shift Program. Oh and another one, when I say FourTrax I am not referring to a certain model as all of Honda’s utility ATV models now have FourTrax in their name whether they are two-wheel drive models or four-wheel drive.
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s start getting to some of the models. We’ll start with the cheapest of the bunch:
2021 Honda Rancher 420 2×4 | TRX420TM1 Explained…
- 2021 Honda Rancher 420 2×4 | TRX420TM1
- Price: $5,499
- Key info: This is a two-wheel drive manual shift Rancher 420 with a solid rear axle.
2021 Honda Rancher ES 420 2×4 | TRX420TE1 Explained…
- 2021 Honda Rancher 420 ES 2×4 | TRX420TE1
- Price: $5,799
- Key info: This is a two-wheel drive Electric Shift Rancher 420 with a solid rear axle.
Now, we’re getting into the 4×4 models.
2021 Honda Rancher 420 4×4 | TRX420FM1 Explained…
- 2021 Honda Rancher 420 4×4 | TRX420FM1
- Price: $6,499 – $6,999 (camo)
- Key info: This is a four-wheel drive manual shift Rancher 420 with a solid rear axle.
2021 Honda Rancher 420 EPS 4×4 | TRX420FM2 Explained…
- 2021 Honda Rancher 420 EPS 4×4 | TRX420FM2
- Price: $7,199 – $7,699 (camo)
- Key info: This is a four-wheel drive manual shift Rancher 420 with Electric Power Steering (EPS) and a solid rear axle.
2021 Honda Rancher 420 ES 4×4 | TRX420FE1 Explained…
- 2021 Honda Rancher 420 ES 4×4 | TRX420FE1
- Price: $6,799 – $7,299 (camo)
- Key info: This is a four-wheel drive Electric Shift (ES) Rancher 420 with a solid rear axle.
2021 Honda Rancher 420 DCT EPS 4×4 | TXR420FA2 Explained…
- 2021 Honda Rancher 420 DCT EPS 4×4 | TRX420FA2
- Price: $7,699 – $8,199 (camo)
- Key info: This is a four-wheel drive Rancher with a DCT Automatic transmission, Electric Power Steering (EPS) and a solid rear axle.
Now, we’re jumping into the Rancher models with IRS and all of them also have the DCT automatic transmission by default. With the next models, you also get a larger and more comfortable seat (pictured below) than the previous straight axle models.
2021 Honda Rancher 420 DCT IRS 4×4 | TRX420FA5 Explained…
- 2021 Honda Rancher 420 DCT IRS 4×4 | TRX420FA5
- Price: $7,499
- Key info: This is a four-wheel drive Rancher with a DCT Automatic transmission and Independent Rear Suspension (IRS).
2021 Honda Rancher 420 DCT IRS EPS 4×4 | TRX420FA6 Explained…
- 2021 Honda Rancher 420 DCT IRS EPS 4×4 | TRX420FA6
- Price: $8,199 – $8,699 (camo)
- Key info: This is a four-wheel drive Rancher with a DCT Automatic transmission, Independent Rear Suspension (IRS) and Electric Power Steering (EPS).
And that’s the entire 2021 Honda Rancher ATV model lineup. What are some of the key spec differences between them that we may not have covered in detail? One is just how much of a difference the IRS makes. With the TRX420FA5 / TRX420FA6 models you jump up to 8.5 inches of rear suspension travel compared to 6.7 inches on the straight axle models and the front also changes with an increase from 6.7 to 7.3 inches. Ground clearance is also increased from 7.2 inches to 9.2 inches. All straight axle models have a single 160mm sealed mechanical drum brake in the rear whereas the IRS models have a single hydraulic caliper disc brake with a 170mm disc.
The IRS models also come in a bit longer in the length department at 84.6 inches compared to 82.8 inches. They also have a taller seat height at 34.9 inches compared to 33.7 inches. The wheelbase is slightly longer by 1 inch as well. You also have a larger turning radius with the IRS models circling in at 11.5 ft compared to 9.2 ft. Due to all of these differences, their weights all come in differently with the lightest coming in at 580 lbs and the heaviest at 676 lbs.
And that’s it for the differences between all of the models in Honda’s 2021 Rancher lineup. When it comes to other details like fuel capacity, payload capacity on the front and rear racks, the new pro-connect system on the racks, towing capacity, engine specs and storage – they are all the same.
You may stumble across other models out there like the TRX420FA1 which was the Honda FourTrax Rancher DCT 4×4 without EPS and a straight axle but that one as well as the TRX420FE2 which was the FourTrax Rancher ES 4×4 with EPS. Using the key below, you’ll be able to break downThose models have been dropped from the lineup and aren’t available in 2021. That’s not to say Honda won’t offer them again in the future as they have always played around with the model variations and brought some back to the lineup after a short hiatus.
2021 Honda Rancher ATV Model ID / Code Key:
- TRX – Generic prefix for all Honda ATV Sport / Utility 2WD & 4WD models
- 420 – 420 cc engine
- T – Two Wheel Drive
- F – Four Wheel Drive
- A – Fully Automatic (DCT Transmission)
- M – Manual Shift
- E – Electric Shift – Automatic
- 1 – No Power Steering / EPS
- 2 – Power Steering / EPS
- 5 – IRS / NO Power Steering (EPS)
- 6 – IRS / Power Steering (EPS)
- M – 2021 Model Year (You won’t always see this last letter or number depending on the year actually used. Most websites and dealers don’t show it or mention it etc but if they do, you know what it means.)
- DCT – Dual Clutch Transmission (Fully Automatic Transmission with Electric Shift option option to manually change gears via the ESP)
- AT – Automatic (Fully Automatic Transmission with Electric Shift option to manually change gears via the ESP)
- EPS – Electric Power Steering
- ESP – Electric Shift Program (Normally referred to as ES)
- ES – Electric Shift
- IRS – Independent Rear Suspension
- FourTrax – Honda uses this as a generic model name for all of their utility ATV models in the lineup. Some confuse FourTrax as a certain model from Honda or that it means 4×4 but that is not the case as even 2×4 models use FourTrax.
Model EXAMPLE: TRX420FM1M
Now lets put the key above to use…
- What is a TRX420FM1M? It is a 420 Rancher Four Wheel Drive and Manual Shift without EPS and is a 2021 model. TRX = ATV / 420 = 420cc / F = Four Wheel Drive / M = Manual shift / 1 = No EPS / M = 2021.
- What is a TRX420FA6M? It is a 420 Rancher Four Wheel Drive with a DCT Automatic Transmission, Independent Rear Suspension, Electric Power Steering and is a 2021 model year. TRX = ATV / 420 = 420cc / F = Four Wheel Drive / A = DCT Automatic / 6 = IRS + EPS / M = 2021.
* IRS is only available on DCT model Ranchers.
I believe I touched on almost everything or at least some of the key points. I hope it answers some questions that you may have had with Honda’s confusing ATV model lineup. If you have any questions, post them below and I’ll help out but thanks again for watching guys and for all of the continued support, we’ll see you in the next one.