Ride Tested – Home Field Advantage

Ride Tested – Home Field Advantage

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2015.kymco.uxv450i.red.front-right.riding.on-snow.jpg You never really know a machine until you spend time with it on your own turf.  When KYMCO released their innovative UXV 450i more than a year ago we were impressed.  The new mid-sized machine looked great, had several innovative features, and it was an all-new chassis.  We knew there was more to discover with the 450i though, and we couldn’t wait to get it on the trail and to work.     


The UXV 450i is a mid-sized machine and it’s unlike any other model in the KYMCO lineup.  Since it’s a little smaller than its big brothers, it rides on a slightly smaller, narrower steel chassis, and we like the overall design.  At the front and rear end are dual A-arms, with 7.5 inches of travel at both ends.  Overall the steel chassis feels stiff enough for precise handling and we didn’t notice any squeaks, rattles, or extra noise from chassis flex.  That can’t be said for many competing Side x Sides.  On tight trails the slightly smaller chassis works extremely well, and you’re able to maneuver between trees or other obstacles that would stop bigger machines.  We are always careful to check the brakes on any machine as well, and the 450i is equipped with dual hydraulic discs at the front, and a drive shaft mounted single hydraulic disc at the rear.  Even when braking hard with a full load in the bed the brakes always brought everything to a quick, controlled stop with no fade or mushy feeling.  It’s the bodywork that most people notice first however.2015.kymco_.uxv450i.close-up.cabin_.jpg

We really like the body styling on the 450i; it’s sporty, fits excellent, and it just looks fun even when sitting still!  Overall the bodywork is tough, scratch resistant, and can take plenty of abuse.  It’s as good as any on the market, although we did manage to crack the top bed rail when loading it with firewood.  (More on our fix for that later.)  It also hides storage everywhere.

We love extra storage, and the Kymco guys must feel the same way because the 450i has storage seemingly under every panel.  There is a large, water resistant box under the front hood, a locking glove box in the dash, under dash storage, an open tray under the seat, a closed bin under the driver’s seat, and even a storage bin inside the rear tail gate.  Kymco didn’t forget the cup holders as well!  

Inside the cab area is a comfortable bench seat with plenty of foam for a soft ride, and we like the instrumentation and control layout.  The tilt wheel mechanism operates much like the system in some cars where the entire column moves, but they did a nice job of covering it with bodywork, giving it a finished look.  In the center of the dash is the digital display which tells you pretty much everything you need to know, and it is surrounded by various lights.  While many manufacturers show gearing on the digital display, Kymco took a different approach, and a large, prominent display lights up as you move the lever.  The lever itself is just below the display, and it’s a little different.  The gear shift lever is L-shaped, but the motion is awkward since the handle is off the center of the pivot axis.  It works, but it could be MUCH better and more user friendly.  The other cab oddity we’re not exactly in love with is the parking brake lever.  It’s mounted just ahead of your right knee and seemingly just waiting to inflict a stabbing pain to your kneecap should the two meet.  We could probably find a better place for this also.  Other than the two things we don’t care for, we feel the UXV 450i styling and functionality inside and out is outstanding!  We like it!  It’s on the trail where the UXV 450i really shines.2015.kymco.uxv450i.red.front-right.riding.on-grass.jpg

ON THE TRAIL with the 450i

The UXV 450i darts through the trails like a rabbit, and there was no problem conquering steep hills.  At only a little over 1000 pounds it feels light and nimble, which is exactly how it handles and performs.  Even on tight trails the bodywork deflected branches and showed no sign of wear or scuffs, although we did manage to get a rip in both side nets.  Traction from the stock tires is good and they generally clean out well unless the mud gets really sticky.  The tread pattern and depth is well matched to this chassis and engine power output.  We also kept the tires inflated to their upper limit to reduce sidewall flex and we had no problem with flats or cuts.  Rather than a traditional rocker switch the 450i gets a unique, high quality roller type switch for 2wd / 4wd / 4wd Differential Lock engagement, and we like it.  About the only thing cumbersome with the 450i on the trails is the turning radius.  In extremely tight corners we would sometimes have to make a three point turn.  Despite the somewhat awkward shaped lever it always gave positive gear engagement, and we love the large, backlit buttons that show gearing.  For most trail obstacles the suspension does a good job of soaking up the bumps, and only when you really push it or carry a fully loaded cargo bed will you begin to find its limits.  Although the UXV 450i doesn’t come with power steering, we never missed it and don’t feel it even needs it.  The motor on the UXV 450i is really something special though.  2015.kymco.uxv450i.close-up.engine.jpg

We LOVE this engine.  KYMCO clearly knows how to build a quality engine and currently they are producing them not only for themselves, but also Arctic Cat, Kawasaki, BMW, and most likely several other manufacturing partners.  Their engines are top notch and extremely reliable.  The 450i engine is a work of manufacturing art and it runs smooth, it provides decent power, and it’s in every way a highly competitive, reliable, modern 4-stroke power plant.  The CVT transmission does a good job of keeping the engine in the heart of the powerband, and back shifting is also quite good.  You can’t go wrong with this motor, and it is well matched to the chassis.  


The saying is “work before play” but with a nimble, fun machine like the UXV 450i we sometimes got that part backwards.  We did use the UXV for everything from hauling firewood to helping maintain a local baseball field, and it worked excellent for both.  The dumping cargo bed is super handy for hauling loose material like landscape bark, dirt, or even infield material, but we do wish the cylinder extended slightly longer for a little more bed angle when dumping.  When it comes time to haul a trailer there is a 2” receiver hitch, and it was there when we needed to tow a Dodge truck out of a snowy ditch.  About the only thing we didn’t get to do is bring home a nice whitetail buck in the back of our UXV 450i, but we’re still working on that. 2015.kymco.uxv450i.red.front-left.riding.on-snow.jpg    

Maintenance is a huge deal with us, and one of the first things we look for on any machine is the air filter, dip stick, and oil filter locations.  You must be able to maintain it!  On the UXV 450i the foam element filter is super easy to reach right under the seat.  The location could hardly be better.  The oil filter is also an easy access location at the rear of the engine.  Getting to the dip stick though can be a little tricky.  Located on the right side of the engine, there isn’t a lot of room, and it really needs an extension tube.  It’s not horrible, but it could be better.  You’ll definitely need a long funnel to refill the oil.  As for the rest of the UXV 450i, maintenance is pretty easy.      


There are a lot of thing we like about the UXV 450i, and like all machines, there are a few things that could be improved upon.  Here is our quick list.


  • Tighter turning radius
  • Side net reinforcement or doors
  • Redesigned shift lever
  • Head rest relocated further back, and a cushion strap at the seat belt top mount  
  • Relocated parking brake mechanism2015.kymco.uxv450i.red.front-left.parked.on-grass.jpg


  • Backlit switches for 4wd, light switch.  Would be easier to see at night.
  • Top bed rail protection 
  • Longer dip stick / oil fill tube


  • Sporty styling
  • Nimble handing
  • Tons of storage
  • Excellent motor with great reliability.  Cool sound too!
  • GREAT lights for night riding!
  • HUGE value for the money!  Can’t beat the value!2015.kymco.uxv450i.close-up.rear.jpg


We’ve liked the KYMCO UXV 450i since our first ride more than a year ago.  Today we like it even better.  It’s a great mid-sized machine with an excellent motor and sporty styling, and it will do pretty much anything you ask of it.  It’s also available in several different option packages, and most importantly it offers huge value for a very reasonable price.  For any camping, fishing, trail riding adventure, or just plain work around the yard it will be perfect.  You can’t go wrong with the Kymco UXV 450i; it’s a winner!

2016 UXV 450i Specifications


Engine: 443cc SOHC, liquid cooled 4-Stroke, 4-valve single cylinder with EFI

Lubrication: Wet Sump

Oil Capacity: 3.5 Quarts (Full Capacity)

Drive System: 4×4

Transmission: CVT Automatic H-L-N-R-P W/Engine Braking

Drive Modes: On Demand 2WD/4WD W/Selectable Front Differential Lock

Suspension: Independent Dual A-Arm/7.5″ travel Front and Rear2015.kymco.uxv450i.close-up.storage.jpg

Shocks: Adjustable Oil Dampened Shocks

Tires-Front: 25×8-12

Tires-Rear: 25×10-12

Brakes: Dual Hydraulic Disc – Front, Shaft Mounted Hydraulic Disc – Rear

Weight: 1080 lbs.

Ground Clearance: 10″

Length/Width/Height: 106.3×56.7×72.8″

Fuel Capacity: 8.5 gal.

Cargo Box: 420 lbs.

Towing: 1200lbs.2015.kymco.uxv450i.red.rear-right.parked.on-grass.jpg

Taillights: Dual Halogen

Headlights:: Dual LED

Display: Multi-Function Digital display with speedometer, odometer, tachometer, trip meter, clock, gear indicator, high beam indicator, fuel gauge, hi-temp/low-battery lights

Misc: 12 Volt Accessory Outlet, USFS Approved Spark Arrestor, Storage Under front hood, locking glove box, under seat and tailgate storage

Warranty: One-Year Limited Factory Warranty

MSRP: $7,999 Base Model – colors Red or Blue

$8,499 Turf Model – (Selectable Locking Rear Diff. – Green)

$8,499 True Timber Camo 

$8,699 450i LE (Cast Al wheels, winch, roof, automotive paint)

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December 9, 2015