Yamaha Kodiak 450 ATV
The 500cc class of quad-bike is the most popular among Australian and New Zealand farmers so the 2018 Kodiak 450 is an important model.
No wonder Yamaha has gone all out to make it as good as it can be while keeping it at a reasonable price. The non-powersteering model retails for $10,299 and the power-steering version for $11,299.
The Kodiak is made in Newnan, Georgia. Here we get one colour, Steel Blue, but in the US the EPS model comes in Armor Grey, Fall Beige, Hunter Green and Realtree camo. The non-EPS model comes in Red.
Is power steering worth it? If you can afford the additional 1000 bucks, go for it. Power steering makes any ATV less physical to ride, takes the harshness out of the steering and makes the vehicle more manoeuvrable when you’re screwing it through tight scrub all day.
It’s also less tiring for women to ride a loaded ATV if it has power steering. And just for the record, the Kodiak’s power steering is very good.
The Kodiak bridges what Yamaha sees as a gap between entrylevel machines and those made for more experienced riders, and in our opinion does it very well. The 2018 model isn’t a tartup, though, but a full-blown revision of what Yamaha believes a modern 450 should be.
The company has even pinpointed the age and likely income of the buyer: a male aged about 55, with 15 years’ riding experience and an annual income of $60,000 to $80,000. Ag use will account for 70 per cent of Kodiak sales, and between them, commercial and recreational use for the remaining 30 per cent.
Since quad manufacturers are keen for their customers to stay alive, rider education through an accredited training company – in this case Getabout Training Services – is part of the deal when you buy a Kodiak.
If you believe you’d benefit from training, or from even a refresher course, let your dealer know and they’ll put you in contact with Getabout.
(Since we too would like to see you remain on this earth, if you’d prefer to contact Getabout yourself, you can ring ’em on 1300 660 320.)
Okay, so much for niceties. Let’s get dirty. I wasn’t exaggerating when I said that just about everything on this machine is new. I was about to write that only the controls are unchanged, then I discovered that Yamaha has made the thumb throttle slightly longer and deeper, so there goes my clever observation.
In fact, as far as we can tell, the only thing unchanged is the Ultramatic transmission.
However, rather than struggle through a tedious explanation of all the new features, here’s a list of major improvements:
• The chassis is new, so the frame members can accommodate
the new fuel-injected engine
• The engine has rubber mounts to reduce vibration
• The machine is wider (930mm up front and 935mm down the
back) and wheelbase is longer at 1240mm
• The suspension comprises long travel, pre-load adjustable gas
• There are new CV joints
• Front and rear A-arms are longer by 38mm
• The seat is wider and longer
• The footwells are larger for more legroom, and stiffer to
• Side covers are new
• So is the exhaust system
• The shifter mechanism has been moved forward
• CVT cooling is better than it was
• The full-length bash plate has access holes for changing diff
and engine oil