Mark Twain once said, “It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog.”  The best example of that in the ATV World is the Yamaha Kodiak 450.   While little more than half the displacement of some of the Grizzly models in the Yamaha lineup, it’s a huge overachiever on the trail.

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From the bodywork to the handlebars, the Kodiak 450 looks GREAT!  Bodywork styling takes its cues from the Grizzly ATVs, and the fit and finish is EXCELLENT.  Body panels are sculpted to provide protection while leaving plenty of room for your knees, and all seams are tight.  From the plush seat it’s easy to reach all the controls and the handlebar bend is very good.  Just ahead of your left knee is the shift lever and at the center of the steering column is a small digital display.  Highlights of the Kodiak 450 are:  

  • Compact chassis for nimble handling, yet roomy ergonomics with bodywork designed for comfort
  • 421cc, liquid cooled, EFI equipped engine on rubber mounts for vibration isolation
  • Yamaha’s Ultramatic CVT style transmission with gated shifter and 4-wheel engine braking
  • Independent rear suspension and 25” tires for smooth ride
  • Marine grade electrical components for durability in harsh, wet conditions
  • New instrumentation and controls for comfort and convenience
  • Front and rear steel racks for durability
  • Easy to maintain thanks to tool-free air filter removal, and easy access dip stick.

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On the trail, the new Kodiak 450 handles very well thanks to a new chassis with dual A-arms up front, Independent Rear Suspension, and very good ground clearance.  This chassis works!  It’s compact, nimble, and amazingly stable.  The slightly shorter wheelbase allows you to carve through tight corners, yet the ample width keeps the Kodiak 450 sure footed and stable over off-camber and rutted sections.  Cruising down the trail, the 421cc, fuel injected motor purrs along quietly and a stab at the throttle gets immediate reaction from the Ultramatic CVT transmission, with no noticeable lag when back shifting.  The engine is predictable yet has enough power to conquer hills or tow a trailer, and it’s well matched to the chassis.  Top speed is just over 50 mph and even then it still feels incredibly stable.  The most welcome feature on the Kodiak 450, though, is the Electronic Power Steering which makes all day rides a breeze!

The Yamaha Kodiak 450 is a well-designed, well-built package.  It offers many of the same great features that have made its full sized brothers a favorite, but in a slightly smaller, more affordable package.  It features good power, sharp styling, it’s comfortable, reliable, and capable. The Kodiak 450 gets right to the heart of what utility ATV’s are all about; getting the work done, and having a little fun.  It’s a great machine that offers excellent value and it’s our pick as the Best ATV of 2018.  As Twain might say, the Kodiak 450 brings plenty of bark and bite.     

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 YAMAHA KODIAK 450 Quick Specs    

Engine:            421cc liquid-cooled SOHC 4-stroke; 2 valves, EFI

 Drive:              Ultramatic CVT V-belt with all-wheel engine braking; H, L, N, R, P, On-Command selectable 2WD or 4WD; shaft

Suspension:    Independent double wishbone Front (6.7-in travel) and Rear (7.4-in travel)

Brakes             Dual hydraulic disc – Front,   Multi-disk wet brake – Rear

Tires:               AT25 x 8-12 – Front   AT25 x 10-12 – Rear

L x W x H         80.1 in x 46.5 in x 45.7 in

Weight:            637 lb.

Capacity:         3.7 gal. Fuel,   88 lb front rack / 176 lb rear rack,   1322 lb Towing

Warranty:        6 Month (Limited Factory Warranty)

Kodiak 450 msrp:        $6,299 – Fall Beige w/Realtree Edge

$5,999 – Hunter Green

$5,999 – Red

Kodiak 450 EPS           $7,299 – Fall Beige w/Realtree Edge

$6,999 – Hunter Green  

 Kodiak 450 EPS           $7,599 – Backcountry Blue w/Aluminum Wheels 

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December 21, 2018

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