TEST: 2009 SUZUKI KINGQUAD 750 4×4

If you want to take to the trails on a big bore 4×4, you have more choices now than ever. There are big machines, like the 700 class quads from Yamaha and Honda, and 650s from Can-Am and Kawasaki. If you want to go even bigger, there are the 750cc and up machines. When you’re working with engines that big and powerful, it’s harder to make ATVs handle well and have the same willing feel as smaller ones. Suzuki was out to get big bore power with the balanced feel of a smaller 4×4 with the KingQuad 750. We tested one to see if they succeeded.

IS THE PRICE HUGE?
At $7599, it’s very reasonable as big bore quads go. A 2008 Honda Rincon will blow a $7849 hole in your wallet. Kawasaki’s Brute Force 750i is a brutish $8199. The Grizzly 700 starts at $7799 and jumps to $8599 if you want power steering.

WHAT’S NEW ON THE 750?
Nothing this year. The first version of the 750 was a 695cc “700” and the engine was enlarged to 722cc, when it became a “750” in 2008. A 2mm larger bore in the same, single cylinder, fuel injected, double overhead cam engine accomplished the change. Other changes include a new frame, new front brakes with larger caliper pistons and new tires.

WHAT MAKES THE ENGINE SPECIAL?
It’s the biggest single in ATVing, and it’s loaded with sport quad technology. The liquid cooled, 722cc Suzuki is fuel injected, and it uses double overhead cams to operate four valves. Its cylinder is tilted forward 48 degrees to keep the engine weight low in the chassis. You’d think an engine with a single giant piston would vibrate a lot, but dual counterbalancers keep the Suzuki as smooth as a twin.

WHAT KIND OF TRANSMISSION DOES IT HAVE?
A fully automatic, dual range, belt-type continuously variable transmission with neutral and reverse, similar to what’s used on most big 4x4s currently. Thanks to this transmission, there’s nothing to learn when riding the big Suzuki. You just gas it and go, like the family car. The Suzuki’s smooth, precise range selector even has a car-like feel to it.The Suzuki Quadmatic transmission has another advantage over some; a centrifugal clutch that protects the belt from sudden, heavy torque loads and overheating from prolonged slipping in severe riding.

HOW IS THE 4WD SYSTEM?
Simple to use and full of features. To start with, there’s button-selectable 2WD/4WD. That means 4WD is easily available for tough going and 2WD is handy for general trail cruising and drifting the 750 around turns. If the situation gets really ugly, the flip of a lever in 4WD locks the front differential, giving the Suzuki bulldozer-like traction.
Steering effort with the front diff locked creates an upper body workout unless you’re on low traction terrain, like mud or snow, but the diff lock option is only needed in the worst situations.

WHAT KIND OF SUSPENSION DOES IT HAVE?
Double A-arms with preload adjustable shocks up front. Out back it’s independent with an A-arm, a control arm and a preload adjustable shock on each side. A swaybar is used to control body roll.

HOW DOES THE SUSPENSION WORK?
It scores well for ride comfort, but it needs some retuning to match the latest sport utility big-bores. The good news is, the Suzuki’s suspension has an amazing appetite for bumps of all sizes. We hit fist-size rocks and wheel-wide ruts and both were nicely absorbed. Both ends could take high speed hits and reasonable jumps with no bottoming, too. There’s a high quality feel to the way the 750’s suspension responds to bumps, even abrupt square edges.

IS IT FAST?
Are you kidding? It’s a 750! The 750’s thrust makes itself known as soon as the throttle lever gets a nudge. It’s very strong, but still controllable. On tacky trails, it was easy to use the 750’s power to float its front end across puddles and ruts. Top speed on our 750 test unit was 72 mph!
In terms of sheer muscle and acceleration for drag racing, the Suzuki is quicker than other big single cylinder machines including the Grizzly 700 and the Honda Rincon 680. Machines like the Kawasaki Brute Force 750, Can-Am 800, and Polaris Sportsman 850 are in a whole different league.

HOW IS IT IN TIGHT WOODS?
Very good. The 750 is more compact than some big bore quads, which occasionally makes the difference between fitting through tight spaces and not fitting. At about 600 pounds, the KingQuad is reasonably light for its size, so threading through tight trails is not tiring.
Suzuki gave the KingQuad 750 light steering for a big 4×4, but the front end sticks well and steers precisely. Quads with power steering offer a smoother, lighter feel but you can’t get power steering on the KingQuad yet.
 On quick, twisty trails the 750 does have more body roll than the Grizzly 700 and Honda Rincon. Firming the shock preload helps some, but Suzuki needs to update the 750’s shock settings.

HOW IS THE HIGH SPEED HANDLING?
It’s good, but there are more confident-handling machines out there. Back when the KingQuad was introduced as a 700, it and Honda’s Rincon had the most composed handling you could find among big 4x4s. Since then, Yamaha, Honda, Kawasaki and Polaris have sharpened their machines’ high speed handling, most notably with improved control of body roll.

WILL IT SLIDE?
It will if you do your part. The engine is always ready. It has the power to bust the wheels loose on most any surface, and feeding the power on couldn’t be more predictable. You just have to be ready for the 750’s less than flat cornering.

HOW DOES IT DO IN MUD?
It’s great. Mud calls for lots of ground clearance, which the KingQuad has, good tires, which are pretty good on the 750, and tons of power. The 750 has so much torque it can slog through muck at mellow speeds if you like or attack at high revs. The engine is extremely strong and flexible. Big single cylinder engines usually make great low end power but are unspectacular at high revs. The 750 pulls down low and on top.
The lockable front differential is a very valuable tool in mud. It keeps the 750 paddling forward when there doesn’t appear to be anything but melted milkshake touching the tires.

HOW DOES IT DO ON HILLS?
It climbs like a spider. The KingQuad is well equipped for attacking hills.  Excellent weight distribution keeps both ends hooked up and we had no problem with unwanted wheelies. The 750 also has a roomy rider’s position, a reasonably narrow midsection, and handlebars that don’t keep the rider from standing, a must on extremely difficult hills.
Powerful, controllable brakes make the way back down any hill worry-free. The new front brakes have a precise, direct feel. There’s less feel from the sealed, oil bathed multi-disc rear brake, but it’s still easy to get just the right amount of slowing power.
The only black mark on the KingQuad’s downhill handling is its tendency to turn in too much when steering inputs are made. It’s something you have to watch for that you don’t have to think about on a Grizzly 700, Honda Rincon or Kawasaki Brute Force.

HOW ARE THE ERGONOMICS?
Very good. Suzuki kept the KingQuad comfortably slender and put the bars and pegs right where they should be. Sitting and cruising or standing, riding fast or working through challenging terrain are equally natural-feeling.

HOW ARE THE FEATURES AND REFINEMENT?
The 750 is still a king in both areas. Everything you could expect on a top of the line machine is on the 750: detailed digital instrumentation, selectable 2WD/4WD with a lockable front differential, an easily accessible fender mounted storage bin, even a sealed rear brake.
As for refinement, the Suzuki is remarkable. The engine is amazingly smooth running and quiet. Fit and finish on this machine is first rate. Small touches, like the way the skidplate bolts are recessed so they don’t get beaten up, show the thinking that went into this machine.

WHAT IS OUR FINAL ANSWER?
There are chinks in the KingQuad’s armor; it’s not the fastest or best handling big 4×4. It is seriously fast, though, and it handles well. The KingQuad’s comfort and refinement are a match for any machine out there.
The bottom line is, there are better big 4×4’s, but the KingQuad 750 is so good, you may never want for what they have, and you can’t buy any of them for the price of the Suzuki.

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