Suzuki King Quad 450 Review

Nov. 13, 2006 By Ricky Sosebee

The King Quad family is growing fast and the newest edition is built for the economic class of utility riders. With familiar King Quad styling and features the 450cc engine is the biggest change in the newest member. Off-Road.com was invited to Rome Georgia to find out a little more about Suzuki's 450cc utility, Budget minded utility ATV.

Our first impression was that it looked almost identical to the Big Bore King Quad 700. The Frame in this new 450 is the same as the 700. The major and only real differences are the Steel front spindles and steel wheels. The foot pegs are also steel on the 450. The King quad 700 used aluminum on all these parts to save weight to keep the biggest of the King Quads in the six hundred six pound limit. The geometry of the 450 steering is just tweaked a bit to allow for easier control of the King. There is also no third headlight. I would later discover that there wasn't an adjustment for the idle control either but with Suzuki's electronic fuel injection there was really no need for it anyhow. So we can just say that it is really the full featured King Quad we are used to with a smaller power plant and all the good stuff from its predecessor.

Suzuki has garnered more awards on its King Quad than any other atv of its kind on the market today. The evolution of the King Quad 450 has brought for the first time a electronic fuel injected model to this displacement class and also has begun what Suzuki management claims to be the succession of many King Quad models to come.

So now, with that said we can start breaking down the new King Quad to get into our impression of this, the latest in a future explosion of King Quad models.

The Engine

The new 450cc displacement power plant was specifically built just for this ATV. No other unit in Suzuki's line up uses this engine. The cylinder is pitched forward approximately 48 degrees to keep the center of gravity as low as possible. Suzuki builds their atv's with each and every thing in mind and a lower center of gravity will only transfer to better handling down the line. The cylinders on this King are coated with what is most commonly referred to as SCEM. This is a special coating that allows long life and prevents premature failure of the engine due to scaring or galling. The cylinder is for the most part bullet proof.

This new engine has four overhead valves with two being intake and two exhaust. There is also a single overhead cam, which is another sign of weight savings from Suzuki. This not only delivers more power to the ground it will allow for better performance when climbing hills and quick acceleration. With the electronic fuel injected throttle body being directly over the intake and as straight as an arrow this means fast throttle response. The 35mm throttle body is feeding the fuel to the 450 and as we stated before the King Quad 450 is the only fuel injected ATV in its class. All this translates to more air, more torque and faster useable power when you want it. Our ride test found that the King Quad 450 was a moderately powerful machine. The throttle response was indeed quick and for a utility ATV this engine has enough power to be both fun and very useful to the hunter and farm hand. The electronic fuel injection was spot on and did not have any trouble starting in any of the many elevation changes we made along the trails. And finally from a service standpoint, the oil filter is conveniently located on the front of the engine and is easily accessible for changes.

The Drive Line

The King Quad 450 4x4 is equipped with a torque sensing limited slip front differential. This is similar to the type of differential that Hummer uses in their four-wheel drive system. The CVT transmission has become common in many utility atv's over the past years and remains as the choice for Suzuki's King Quad lineup. The four wheel drive system is easily engaged by pressing a switch on the handle bars. One other cool feature is being able to lock the front wheels and provide both with equal power and strength. The same button that engaged the 4x4 mode has another slender switch in front of it that just needs to be pushed up over the red button to activate this extra feature.

There is also the much talked about "engine braking" feature that has become common on many utility atv's. Suzuki has incorporated this into the 450 as a standard feature. The drive selector is located on the left side of the quad and is really simple to operate. There are four different gears to select from including two forward gears being a high and a low then reverse and neutral. All are featured in a gate style setup that gets you into and out of each one easily. There is one little button that remains for the transmission and it controls a limiter for reverse and 4x4 modes to a certain speed. The reverse limiter is quite an idea that keeps riders from getting to much speed in reverse. That can be dangerous and is the reason for the limiter. But you can also override this feature by pressing in the gray button located on the bars to your left.

Our ride through the mountains of northeast Georgia presented many challenges and the terrain was really extreme at times. I felt as if the gear selector was a little clanky but once in its place it seemed to function well. The trails for the most part had varying hills and semi tight woods but for the big adventure I thought I would tackle the three diamond trails to see how this King of the forest could take it. The power of this machine allowed me to lug up every hill and at any time I could blast out of the deep mud holes I encountered. I never once felt threatened by loss of power or grip from the King Quads locked front differential. This atv stood up to any thing I could find for it.

Suspension

The King Quad 450 4x4 has Independent double A-arms up front with seven and a half inches of travel. The rear is somewhat independent and claims 8.1 inches back there. In the rear we found the lightweight I-Beam style sway bar that gives better stabilization and the feel of a solid rear axle setup. This was the upper control arm and then there was a lower arm on each side. The springs on this King are five way adjustable and can even be tweaked by the rider on the trail with no help. There is a spanner wrench located in the toolbox, which make all adjustments to the suspension easy. The shocks are gas charged and hydraulically assisted.

The KQ 450 had single piston 200mm calipers on the front and a real unique rear brake setup. Suzuki has come up with a three plate sealed-disc brake system. According to the engineers at Suzuki in moderate applications you should not have to replace these rear brakes ever! Plates are in a continuous oil bath and this reduces plate temperatures and prolongs the life of the plates themselves. The suspension seemed to work well for us as we repeatedly attempted to stress it out. The handling was ok but I noticed that when the steering gets just a shade off center it becomes somewhat unstable. This is the only concern we had in the handling of the King Quad. The addition of a good steering dampener would correct this. All in all we were very pleased with the capabilities of the machine.

Looking Good

The King Quad is most definitely a nice looking atv. The fenders are integrated into the floorboards and make the protection from mud and debris a positive feature. The foot pegs are raised for better grip and control. A full skid plate protects the underside of this King and there are no mounting holes or bolts exposed on the bottom to be ripped off by passing debris. The stock unit comes with front and rear suspension arm protection also.

The Dash or control center is well placed and included in the panel are many useful features. The dash is all digital and has a speed'o, hour meter, clock and drive mode indicator. There is also a gas gauge for those long rides so you don't loose track. Suzuki has installed a 12-volt accessory port to power a variety of different products. The seat is in the classic T-shape and it sits well. The feel of the bars compared to the location of the seat height is close to perfect. I felt comfortable on this machine and I am certain you would also.

My overall impression of the machine is that it's a winner for anyone looking for moderate power and a full-featured ATV. The market is continually becoming more and more competitive and we can only see things getting better in the lower displacement atv's. The price of the New Suzuki is $6499 and that's already under the competition by $600 to almost $1400.00 dollars.

The new Suzuki King Quad is a very classy machine and with all the features of its older brother the King Quad 700 you can bet it's a great deal for the rider who wants the bling without shelling out the extra cash for the 700 motor.

With the first King Quad 450 leaving the production line on September 20th of this year the release date to the public was October 19th.

Great Product, great Suzuki heritage of dependability and quality for the money.

RS

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