Being offroad junkies, we see a lot of trends from season to season and the desert-racing look is red hot right now. Consumers want their ATV or side-x-side to look like its tough enough for Baja whether it actually is or not.
For model year 2013 Kymco has dressed up its UXV 500i for the riggers of the Baja terrain and we recently spent some time on this unit and have some varying opinions.
The UXV 500i comes to market with the styling of a race ready off road desert vehicle. Kymco designers draped the UXV in vibrant yellow plastic, which brightens up the look of the unit, then added a canvas roof to protect you and your passenger from the burning sun and bitter rain.
Now this wouldn’t begin to be the total package for a typical race ready machine, but you start adding things like a light bar for the long dirt trails and it really starts to take on the look.
Kenda tires wrap around nice looking alloy wheels and a spare tire holder mounted in the cargo bed gives you at least one mulligan in case of a flat. Plus, the tailgate has been replaced with a heavy-duty cargo net that allows air to flow freely through the bed.
Custom seats that are both comfortable and cool looking provide a nice place to rest your butt and a half windshield deflects dust and wind to provide further protection from the elements.
The UXV500i Baja felt relatively stable climbing steep banks and traversing rutted off camber hillsides and creek bottoms. Power from the 500 EFI engine is disappointing though when compared to some other five hundreds on the market and we think this is one area Kymco missed a golden opportunity.
Kymco has a brand new 700cc fuel injected mill in its ATV line that would be really attractive to UXV buyers – especially if shoehorned into this Baja trim edition. We have to think this 700 will make an appearance in a UXV very soon.
Bottom line here is we love the concept of a factory Baja runner and it was a great first attempt by the Taiwanese manufacturer.
So, is it a Baja ready vehicle? Probably not, but the 2013 Kymco UVX 500i Baja Edition will be a popular sell for some consumers and with a few more tweaks, it could actually be a contender.