YAMAHA KODIAK 700

When it comes to value, we think it’s about more than just about price. True value comes in the overall experience with the ATV you’ve opened your wallet for.

You need to ask yourself: What are my expectations for power, availability of service, reliability, ride quality? These are all important factors that will contribute to your user experience and justify your investment.

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In 2016, Yamaha overhauled the Kodiak and upgraded to a 708cc single. Sound familiar? Yup, Yamaha is squeezing every dollar out of tooling for this mill as it is the same engine used in the Grizzly and Wolverine.

Truth is, though, this is a solid powerplant. It’s absolutely bulletproof and churns out a respectable 48-horsepower. At one time that kind of power was considered “Big Bore”.

The key difference with the Kodiak is its EFI fuel mapping and its clutching which uses slightly heavier 30-gram weights than the Grizzly to maximize the engine’s deep power curve, creating a lower engagement speed and more relaxed riding experience while still delivering bottom end grunt for towing and hauling. Instead of dual hydraulic brakes out back on the Grizzly, the Kodiak utilizes a multi-disc wet brake.

The base model Kodiak 700 is slim on extras. Because it has no standard-issue diff-lock, it uses a manual 4×4 lever. There’s zero instrumentation and no fuel gauge so you won’t know you’re empty until the fuel light goes on or you roll to a sputtering stop.

All these features are available by moving up trim levels, but then you’ll spend money close to what you’d lay down for a Grizzly. So where’s the value in that?

When it gets down to it, you’ll shell out a little more for a base model Kodiak than some of the other ATVs in this article, and on paper, when you check the feature menu, you might think you’re getting less.

What you end up with is a dead reliable, powerful engine and a vehicle capable of tackling even the toughest tasks you throw at it. You’ll get a class-leading ride with independent rear suspension and taut, precise handling, even without EPS.

If you’re willing to spend a little more up front to move into a brand with a stellar reputation for build quality, that few hundred extra bucks up front might hurt a bit at first, but the pain will subside when you discover you’ve got more than enough power to get your chores done.

Cheap out and you could suffer frustration just not being able to haul and tow like you want to or you could overtax your smaller-powered ride to the point you need to go in for service all the time, keeping you off the trail and wondering how much you actually saved.

Mike Lester
Mike Lester
Mike Lester is Staff Photographer and Digital Content Manager for Dirt Trax TV. He is also a Contributing Editor and Guest Correspondent on the show.

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