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Mighty machines of mayhem
April showers bring May flowers, but it’s time to get dirty in one of these off-road rides.

Kawasaki Brute Force 650 4x4i

The 633cc V-twin engine on this quad sends power to all four wheels and you can even pull a lever on the handlebar to send more to the front when you need it. The fully independent suspension is ready for high-speed antics in the rough stuff, while the Brute Force lives up to its name and can tow 1250 pounds and carry 264 pounds on the cargo racks.

((C)ACP 2010)

Ford F-150 SVT Raptor

Remember the term “Torsen front differential” if you are ever driving in Colorado and feel like you want to drive up the side of a mountain. It means that the extreme off-road version of the popular F-150 has better traction for loose rocks and gravel. Basically, the truck monitors wheel slippage and sends more power where its is best put to use. Another awesome feature on the Raptor is a video camera mounted on the front grille that allows you to view a live video feed at speeds up to 15 MPH to keep an eye on oncoming obstructions when you crest a hill.

(© 2011 Ford Motor Company)

Polaris RZR XP 4 Liquid Silver Limited Edition

This monstrous, 88-horesepower UTV (or utility terrain vehicle) seats four and has 2.5-inch rear shocks. Back seat passengers are treated to a rollercoaster-like ride - not because of the jarring sensation of bounding over whoops, but because those chairs are a bit higher than the fronts, offering a panoramic view. Unlike farm utility vehicles, the XP 4 has punchy acceleration, power steering and dual-bore brake calipers that help you stop on the dirtiest of dimes.

(WAYNE DAVIS)

Ram 2500 Power Wagon

This workhorse is meant for construction jobs, hauling gear, or pulling a yacht, but outfitted with 33-inch tires, skidplates and a winch its ready to rock crawl with the best of them. The HD Mega Cab version is the roomiest of any truck. If you choose the diesel engine, there’s a six-speed manual available for more control. As an option, you can add a Rambox in the side of the bed for storing all sorts of gear, including fishing poles and guns.

(Chris Collard)

John Deere 1026R

This 25.2-horsepower sub-compact tractor has cruise-control (for those long rides across the farm), tilt steering, a built-in tool box, and even a 12-volt connection for powering your tools in an open field. The tractor accepts attachments like mower decks, a front loader, and a backhoe. There’s also a three-point hitch that can return to an exact position each time you pull a load, and a roll bar in case things go awry.

(Copyright© 1996-2010 Deere & Company)

Mighty machines of mayhem

April showers bring May flowers, but it’s time to get dirty in one of these off-road rides.

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