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ATV TEST: 2016 Yamaha Kodiak 700

Splash protection is good with the all-new Kodiak plastic, and it draws air for the engine and CVT at front-rack level. The 708cc Kodiak will also turn much taller tires than its mid-size competition, so it’s going to be popular with mud riders.
February 11, 2016
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For 2016 Yamaha has retired the Grizzly 550 and expanded the range of the Wolverine 708cc engine by creating the Kodiak 700, a price-point machine intended to maul its mid-sized 4×4 competitors with massive horsepower and torque at a more appealing price. While Yamaha went for a sportier, more aggressive Grizzly 700 for 2016, the Kodiak is designed to be lower and more user-friendly for work, hunting and play riding. We got a chance to ride the all-new Kodiak at Windrock Park, so let’s check it out!

Yamaha reinvents the Kodiak line with a 700 that’s priced to compete with 420cc to 570cc 4x4s. The Kodiak starts at a low $6999, which is $1900 less than the base-model Grizzly. It’s designed to work and play hard, with 30 percent more torque and power than the Grizzly 550 it replaces.
Yamaha reinvents the Kodiak line with a 700 that’s priced to compete with 420cc to 570cc 4x4s. The Kodiak starts at a low $6999, which is $1900 less than the base-model Grizzly. It’s designed to work and play hard, with 30 percent more torque and power than the Grizzly 550 it replaces.

WHAT’S NEW FOR 2016?
This bear is all new and has little in common with past models. It has the same DOHC, 708cc engine as the 2016 Grizzly and Wolverine R-Spec, only it’s tuned more for work than play, as is the compact chassis with 2.2-inch-lower plastic and over an inch lower seat height. The Kodiak also has 2-inch-lower handlebars with more sweep to bring the grips 19.7mm closer to the rider, all to make it easier to climb into and out of the lower “sitin” saddle, which is interchangeable with the Grizzly’s. Also, the Kodiak has shorter A-arms for 1.9-inch-narrower tracking and a 1/2-inch less front travel at 7.1 inches. Rear travel is 9.1 inches, the same as the Grizzly’s, and the rear brakes are wet-pack multi discs ahead of the rear transfer case, as on the old Rhino 660. The front brakes are hydraulic discs, and the HPG shock tuning is designed for heavy loads. The 2016 Kodiak comes in three versions: non-EPS without an instrument cluster, front diff-lock or receiver hitch; EPS with digital instruments, third headlight, fiveposition preload adjusters on the KYB shocks and 2-inch receiver; and the Special Edition with all EPS hardware, plus front diff-lock, Carbon Metallic paint and trick aluminum wheels. All versions sport 25-inch Maxxis tires and the same front and rear cargo racks and storage bin inside the faux tank cover as the Grizzly; however, the rear fender is completely different on the Kodiak for better protection and a lower ride. Also, the three-piece full skid plate has air ducts for cooling the rear brake and drain holes for the front diff, engine oil and rear gearbox. The front bumper and blow-molded pads are lower and less aggressive than the Grizzly’s.

HOW DOES COST COMPARE?
The non-EPS Kodiak 700 is $6999 and the EPS version is $8199, or $8899 for the Realtree Xtra Camo model. The Special Edition EPS with Carbon Metallic paint and two-tone wheels is also $8899. The 2016 Honda Rancher 420 with swingarm rear suspension starts at $6199 and goes up to $7899 for the Rancher Auto-DCT IRS EPS. The 2016 Foreman 500 is $7799, or $8049 for the ES EPS. The Rubicon 500 is $8499. It’s $9149 with EPS. Polaris’ 2016 Sportsman 570 starts at $6599 and goes up to $7499 for the EPS version, or $8599 for the 570 SP with dual A-arm front suspension and EPS.

The Kodiak has a 22cc-larger engine than last year’s Grizzly 700, and the engine is from the Wolverine R-Spec UTV. It has a 103mm piston, 85mm stroke, 10.1:1 compression and a 44mm EFI throttle body. The dual-range CVT has a centrifugal clutch for longer belt life and a sprag clutch for engine braking.
The Kodiak has a 22cc-larger engine than last year’s Grizzly 700, and the engine is from the Wolverine R-Spec UTV. It has a 103mm piston, 85mm stroke, 10.1:1 compression and a 44mm EFI throttle body. The dual-range CVT has a centrifugal clutch for longer belt life and a sprag clutch for engine braking.

HOW FAST IS THE 708CC KODIAK?
As fast as the Grizzly, but not as quick. While the Grizzly and Kodiak have the same 708cc engine with 44mm EFI throttle body, the Grizzly went from 21-gram CVT weights to 18-gram weights, while the Kodiak’s CVT clutch has 30-gram weights for ease of riding and traction, along with less low-rpm noise for hunting. So, the Kodiak accelerates slower but gets to similar top speeds on open trails. It’s definitely much faster than other 4x4s in its price range and will walk away from 420 Ranchers and Foreman and Rubicon 500s. We’ll have to drag race the Kodiak and Sportsman 570 to see which is faster. Power and torque are up 30 percent from the Grizzly 550.

HOW ABOUT CVT/4X4 DELIVERY?
Top-shelf, just like the Grizzly. While the Kodiak has much heavier CVT clutch weights, it has the same Ultramatic CVT with centrifugal clutch for constant belt tension and a sprag clutch for two- or four-wheel engine braking. The dual-range CVT spools up at lower engine speeds, but only the SE has front diff-lock. The base and EPS models have a mechanical 4WD lever and cable setup riding under the rear brake cable, while the SE has the same two-button 2WD/4WD/diff-lock control on the right handlebar pod as the Grizzly.

Splash protection is good with the all-new Kodiak plastic, and it draws air for the engine and CVT at front-rack level. The 708cc Kodiak will also turn much taller tires than its mid-size competition, so it’s going to be popular with mud riders.
Splash protection is good with the all-new Kodiak plastic, and it draws air for the engine and CVT at front-rack level. The 708cc Kodiak will also turn much taller tires than its mid-size competition, so it’s going to be popular with mud riders.

HOW DOES IT HANDLE?
Like an adolescent Grizzly 700. The Kodiak has shocks more like the old Grizzly 550, and the width is 1.9 inches narrower than the Grizzly 700’s. The wheelbases are the same on the Kodiak and Grizzly, but the smaller 25-inch tires lighten steering on the Kodiak. The Kodiak steers quicker and has a lower ride height for crisper cornering, although its narrower profile gets it up to bicycle sooner with a fast rider aboard.

The all-new rear fenders are thick and designed for splash protection and easy mounting, but there is no rear storage bin or LED taillight as on the Grizzly. Rear travel is 9.1 inches with HPG preload-adjustable shocks, and the 2-inch hitch receiver only comes on the EPS and EPS SE versions. Undercarriage protection is ample.
The all-new rear fenders are thick and designed for splash protection and easy mounting, but there is no rear storage bin or LED taillight as on the Grizzly. Rear travel is 9.1 inches with HPG preload-adjustable shocks, and the 2-inch hitch receiver only comes on the EPS and EPS SE versions. Undercarriage protection is ample.

HOW IS THE NEW IRS SUSPENSION?
Much like the Grizzly’s. Front travel is 0.5 inches less than the Grizzly’s, and rear travel is the same. The spring and damping rates were excellent for the hard-core trails we rode at Windrock Springs, and they’re tuned for long days in the saddle. There’s a good balance between trail comfort and bottoming resistance over water bars.

IS IT THE KING OF THE HILL?
Not if a Grizzly 700 is around. The Kodiak climbs most hills as well as a Grizzly, but the 1-inch-lower tires have it dragging its skid plate more, and the lack of diff-lock on all but the SE cuts down on four-wheel traction when it’s needed most. On the other hand, the heavier CVT weights make it hook up better than a Grizzly on really slick trails, like when it rained on us at Windrock Park. It does have four-wheel EBS on downhills, unlike its Sportsman 570 competition.

Kodiak2_666_V_15_56_81611

WHAT ABOUT MUD AND ROCKS?
Both are on the Kodiak menu, but the Kodiak reaches its limits sooner than the Grizzly 700. Splash protection is excellent, and the 10.8-inch ground clearance is only a 1/2 inch less than the Grizzly’s but much more than the Honda Rancher’s, Foreman’s and Rubicon’s. It also draws air at frontrack level for the CVT and engine. As for rocks, the Kodiak is as agile as the Grizzly and offers better control than the Sportsman 570 with separate front and rear brake systems and four-wheel EBS. If you do tip over, the Kodiak also has steel racks protecting the thick plastic.

HOW STRONG ARE THE BRAKES?
Grizzly strong. The front hydraulic calipers and rotors are the same as the Grizzly’s, and the rear wet multi-disc brakes are impervious to mud and water. They don’t have the same feel at the lever as the Grizzly rear disc brakes but are as maintenance-free. Engine braking backs them up too.

Heat shielding and the heavy CVT weights keep temperatures and noise low in the cockpit, and a spin-off cover allows quick access to the engine-oil dipstick. The seat base is the same as the Grizzly’s, but the seat foam is a 1/2-inch lower.
Heat shielding and the heavy CVT weights keep temperatures and noise low in the cockpit, and a spin-off cover allows quick access to the engine-oil dipstick. The seat base is the same as the Grizzly’s, but the seat foam is a 1/2-inch lower.

WHAT ABOUT TRAIL COMFORT?
It’s excellent. The smaller cockpit is cramped for taller riders, but ride quality is excellent, and engine noise is very low. Steering is lighter than the Grizzly’s due to the smaller tires, and vibration is also very minimal. EPS and EPS SE models sport the new multi-function digital gauge with easy-to-read fuel and speedometer readouts, and the third headlight aids turning vision on night rides. The Kodiak is built from the ground up for long days on the job site or trail with maximum comfort, and EPS makes steering and bump control much easier.

EPS and Special Edition Kodiaks get the new digital instrument package and third headlight, but only the SE gets front diff-lock and the push-button 2WD/4WD/diff-lock system on the right handlebar pod (not shown). The range selector and “in-tank” storage compartment are nice.
EPS and Special Edition Kodiaks get the new digital instrument package and third headlight, but only the SE gets front diff-lock and the push-button 2WD/4WD/diff-lock system on the right handlebar pod (not shown). The range selector and “in-tank” storage compartment are nice.

WHAT’S OUR FINAL ANSWER?
Yamaha scores major points by going for a lower MSRP and much more power and torque with the all-new Kodiak 700, and the EPS version includes the digital instruments and third headlight, plus variable-assist EPS for only $1100 more. The lower and more compact Kodiak has most of the Grizzly’s prowess and features for a great ride, excellent suspension and handling, and massive yet controllable power. The fully equipped Kodiak Special Edition is $800 less than the base-model, non-EPS Grizzly. That buys a winch or taller tires, which it’s very capable of turning.

Kodiak9_P_V_15_56_81633

SPECS
2016 YAMAHA KODIAK 700 EPS
ENGINE/TRANSMISSION
Engine type .. Liquid/oil-cooled, 4-valve, DOHC 4-stroke
Displacement ………………………………………… 708cc
Bore x stroke ……………………………103.0 x 85.0mm
Compression ratio …………………………………..10.1:1
Lubrication system ……………………………..Wet sump
Additional cooling …………………………………..Auto fan
Carburetion ………………… Yamaha EFI w/ 44mm body
Starting/back-up …………………………….. Electric/none
Starting procedure …………Turn ignition key, hit button
Air filter:
Type ………………………………………. Washable foam
Access ……….Tool-less, remove seat, undo 4 clips &
remove filter
Transmission ………………… Dual-range CVT w/reverse
Reverse procedure………… Move range selector to “R”
Drive system Selectable 2WD/4WD w/ diff-lock (SE) &
EBS
Final drives …………………………………………….Shafts
DIMENSIONS/CAPACITIES/WEIGHTS
Fuel capacity ……………………………………… 4.76 gal.
Wheelbase ………………………………………………49.2”
Seat height ……………………………………………..34.9”
Overall length/width/height …………. 81.5”/46.5”/49.3”
Ground clearance ………………………………………10.8”
Claimed curb weight ………………………………. 677 lb.
Rack weight limit: f/r ………………………… 110/198 lb.
Hitch ………………………………… 2” receiver (EPS, SE)
Towing limit……………………………………….. 1,322 lb.
ROLLING CHASSIS
Frame …………………………………….. Steel round tube
Suspension/wheel travel:
Front …………Dual A-arms w/ 5-way adj. shocks/7.1”
Rear ………….Dual A-arms w/ 5-way adj. shocks/9.1”
Brakes/actuation:
Front ……. Twin-piston hydraulic discs/right-side lever
Rear ………. Hydraulic discs/left-side lever/right-pedal
Parking …………………………………….Lever on console
Tires:
Front ………………………. AT25 x 8-12 Maxxis MU19
Rear ………………..AT25 x 10-12 NHS Maxxis MU20
ELECTRICAL
DC outlet ……………………………………………..Console
Lighting:
Front …………………………….. 2 (3 EPS, SE) halogen,
1 35/36.5W headlights
Rear ………………………… 21/5W LED brake/tail light
DETAILS
Instrumentation .. Indicators, (EPS/SE) LCD w/ speedo,
odo, dual trip, fuel, hour, gear, EBS, EFI
Colors …………………. Green, red, blue, Realtree Xtra,
SE Carbon Black, LE Crimson Red
Minimum recommended operator age ………………..16
Suggested retail price ……………$6999; EPS, $8199;
Camo/SE, $8899
Contact ……… Yamaha Motor Corp., (800) 962-7926

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