Review: 2009 Suzuki King Quad 500 with Power Steering

A look at the technology and First-Ride impressions

Aug. 11, 2009 By Ricky Sosebee
At the close of every ride day we find ourselves in conversation about what the manufacturer could have corrected on our machines to make them ride more comfortably. Its simple really, as most would like to be chauffeured through the woods without having to lift a finger to do anything. We want a smooth ride with refreshments and no problems like sweating and bugs or fatigue due to over exertion. Could this be right around the corner in the ATV industry? Probably not. Will we see the days when our own personal drink cart girl comes zipping by to get us hydrated and give us the trail map from that point to the next? It's all wishful thinking and the fact is there will always be something that needs improvement.

Our friends at Suzuki have indeed developed their version of comfort though. When it comes to smoothing out the ride, Suzuki’s new 2009 power steering King Quad line has the advantage. With strides in comfort and the reduction of fatigue, the smart folks behind the new power steering have been hard at work. This is where we, the media, try to dispel the myth and find out for ourselves. Our decision? The new Suzuki King Quad 500 Power Steering ATV has really improved in many ways, so let's dig in and explain.

2009 Suzuki King Quad PS

The frame of the 2009 KQ 500 has been modified to create room for the new power steering and it’s many parts. With these changes come many others down the line. The front-end alignment had to be reconfigured as well as the front upper and lower A-arms. There was also an increase in the front shock preload. The front wheels gained 7mm of offset while the rear wheels had been reduced by 5mm in offset. With the additional weight of the PS system there had to be a few changes to accommodate the extra pounds. With 13 pounds added there was also 13 to loose and the engineers at Suzuki had to dig into some existing features to make this happen. Some weight savings had come from the use of thinner materials along the way as well as different materials being used to soften the load.

2009 Suzuki Power SteeringComfort on the trail is a big favorite of many riders and it can make or break a newbie in our sport. With the option of power steering on the new King Quad it make the ride in many ways a bit safer. Having the dampening ability of power steering means those obstacles you hit in the trail may not be felt as easily in the bars. Suzuki simply took some of the expertise from the automotive side of their industry and made the advancement on a smaller scale.

Basically, using a torsion bar the input and output shafts are connected in order to calculate the amount of assist that is needed. When you turn the bars at slow speeds this torsion bar creates and angular displacement that triggers a sleeve which moves and this movement is converted to an electrical signal. When converted the signal is either above 2.5volts or below 2.5 volts. This is how the EPS computer knows if your turning left or right. In a nutshell the input from the rider determines the output of the power steering unit.

All of this is controlled through a reduction gear mechanism and it is affected by rider input or by obstacles in the trail. Obviously this system will make crawling the rocky sections or rough trails a bit more fun as the rider will be more in control of the machine. The feel and amount of assist will reduce quickly as the machine picks up speed as the assist goes away for better control on faster trails.

We immediately notice the bar height as well on the new King Quad 500AXi as it is a bit higher and the bars actually have a little different bend to them as they tip downward just a bit more.

Suzuki’s new displacement of 500cc’s is obviously what sets the KQ 500 apart from its family of 450 and 750cc kin. The engine has just slightly bigger bore at 87mm compared to the 450’s 84mm bore. This increases the engine displacement to 493cc’s from 454cc’s. There are also other internal differences such as L-type rings for better sealing and a new style cylinder, piston combination. The throttle body on the new KQ 500 was changed in size as well from 35mm to 37mm for the increased engine displacement. This is what gives the additional power for traction to the rear wheels.

As in past tests the Suzuki has been a very likeable, power-filled ride and with these advancements it is just that much better. Can we say that the Engineers have corrected all of the problems that kept the King out of the negative spotlight with this machine? Let's find out!

Tackling the very rocky Blue Ridge mountain trails can be tough and we intended to give our Suzuki King Quad the best - or rather the worst - of our favorite trails. We have a place called Blood Mountain over here in the Eastern states, and a novice rider can realize quickly why that name sticks.

Crawling the '09 Suzuki King Quad through near-verticle crevices and shelf rock formations, it was apparent that the power steering gave us freedom to concentrate on the trail and not the ride. The low rpm/speed steering dampening worked flawlessly and even seemed to take the twitchy feeling away from the King Quad’s of old. Having the extra power of the 500 was very good advancement but I didn’t really feel that there was a very noticeable difference in power between the 450 and the 500. This could be to the over richening of the EFI by the Suzuki engineers and may be cured with just a bit of programming and a good-forest friendly pipe. I'm sure the extra 39cc’s or 3mm bore upgrade help the engine but to what extent is unclear.

2009 Suzuki King Quad EPSI usually like to stand when I ride but with such a plush seat, I preferred to sit on this one.

After careful consideration I think the new Suzuki King can be a great ATV and can be ridden all day long without wearing you out. Getting out in the woods to ride can be a challenge to some folks and if you’re looking for a great worker or just a trail buster this is a great choice. Overall this is a winner.

The base 2009 Suzuki King Quad 500 PS is priced at $7,599, while its Camo and Limited Edition’s are priced a bit higher at $7,899 and $7,999, respectively.





Brakes Front

Disc brake, twin

Brakes Rear

Sealed oil-bathed multi-disc




Curb Weight

300 kg (661 lbs)

Final Drive

Shaft drive

Fuel Tank Capacity

17.5 L (4.6/3.8 US/Imp gal)

Ground Clearance

280 mm (11.0 in)

Overall Length

2115 mm (83.3 in)

Overall Width

1210 mm (47.6 in)

Seat Height

920 mm (36.2 in)

Suspension Front

Independent, double wishbone, coil spring, oil damped

Suspension Rear

Fully independent A-Arm and I-Beam rear suspension with five-way preload-adjustable shock absorbers

Tires Front

AT25 x 8-12, tubeless

Tires Rear

AT25 x 10-12, tubeless


Au tomatic variable ratio (V-belt), with high-/low-range, and reverse


1285 mm (50.6in)



Bore Stroke

87.5 mm x 82.0 mm (3.228 in)

Compression Ratio

10.0: 1


493cc (30 cu. in.), 4-stroke, liquid-cooled, SOHC

Fuel System

Fuel injection


Electronic ignition (CDI)


Wet Sump






12 month limited warranty.

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