For the last few years, it may have seemed to those paying close attention to the ATV market, that Suzuki has been asleep at the wheel. In June, Suzuki's top brass invited a group of off-road journalists to visit their ATV assembly plant in Rome, Georgia and to ride the 2016 King Quad 750 and 500 models.
Before we tell you our thoughts on the 2016 models, a quick rundown on what's been going on with Suzuki is in order. When the economy tanked five or six years ago, like many manufacturers that produce "fun" as opposed to "necessity", Suzuki took it on the chin. Suzuki pulled back production like the other manufacturers and did what they needed to do to weather the proverbial storm.
As the economy began to make an upward turn, it was evident that other manufacturers were starting to get back on the gas. However, Suzuki remained in a holding pattern and on the outside, they still appeared to still be stagnant. Behind the scenes, however, some pivotal positive changes began to happen. A new President, Takeshi Hayasaki, with a great sense of the industry was appointed. Also, around that same time, a great ambassador to the sport named Rod Lopusnak was appointed to Director, Operations Head, Motorcycle/ATV Sales Operations. He's also, coincidentally, the highest ranked American to hold a position at Suzuki. One of Rod's greatest accomplishments, in my opinion, was being one of the men that made the infamous LTR-450r happen. A native of New Jersey with an incredible work ethic and a charismatic personality, Rod makes stuff happen. With his influence and knowledge, Suzuki will be back on track.
Last year, a few important changes to the King Quad 750 AXi and 500 AXi flew under the radar. Without a trained eye, most people never noticed the second spark plug in the head or the oxygen injection in the exhaust. As it turns out, the EPA turned up the heat on the whole off-road industry and in order to attain emissions compliance, many changes needed to be made. Those changes typically would rob horsepower if not engineered correctly, but Suzuki was able to make the changes without losing any performance. The King Quad 500 and 750 class engines are both works of engineering art and really are the heart of the entire King Quad brand.
The Suzuki King Quad, in both 750 and 500 form have great engine performance. The machines don't have arm wrenching power, but rather, great low end torque and substantial power to tear down the trail.
On non-power steering models, the steering is very twitchy, producing excessive bump steer. Our recommendation would be to opt for an EPS model instead. Handling on the Electric Power Steering models is excellent, with just enough EPS assist to make without being intrusive.
Built in Rome, Georgia, the fit and finish on the King Quads are impeccable. Ergonomics are excellent, with a soft, wide seat that makes moving around on the seat for aggressive riding a cinch. The King Quad is also one of the toughest and most reliable machines in the big bore class.
The 2016 Suzuki King Quads may not have the freshest face, or the most innovative new features. Instead, they rely on excellent durability, superior build quality, and reliable off-road performance that will give them years of trouble-free service.
Regardless of the last few years, we're looking forward to seeing what Suzuki has in store for us.
|Spec Chart||2016 Suzuki King Quad 500 & 750 AXi 4x4 ($7399-$9199) ATV Review|
|Type:||4-Stroke DOHC Single Cylinder|
|Drive system:||Shaft, 2WD, 4WD & 4WD Differential Lock|
|Transmission:||CVT (V-belt), with high/low-range and reverse|
|Front:||Independent, double wishbone, coil spring, oil damped with five-way preload adjustable shock absorbers|
|Rear:||Independent, double wishbone, coil spring, oil damped with five-way preload adjustable shock absorbers|
|Front:||25 x 8-12|
|Rear:||25 x 10-12|
|Front:||Disc brakes, twin rotors|
|Rear:||Sealed oil-bathed multi-disc|
|Claimed curb weight:||666 lbs.|
|Ground clearance:||10.6 in.|
|Seat height:||34.6 in.|
|Fuel capacity:||3.8 gal.|
|Lighting:||Distinctively-styled twin 30W halogen headlights plus a compact 5/21W tail light and brake light|
|Instrumentation:||LCD readouts for speedometer, odometer, twin tripmeter, hour meter, clock, fuel level, driving range and drive mode. LED indicators for high, low, neutral, reverse and 2WD/4WD and differential-locked 4WD. LED cautions for fuel injection and engine temperature|
|Colors:||Terra Green and Flame Red|