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By: Tim Donaldson

ATVSource.com’s First Look at the Suzuki KingQuad 450AXi

KingQuad 450 AXi
KingQuad 450 AXi

Suzuki KingQuad 450AXi 360˚ Walk Round - [File Size: 4.5 megs, Format: .WMV]
Suzuki KingQuad 450AXi 360˚ Walk Round - [File Size: 4.5 megs, Format: .WMV]


Suzuki KingQuad 450AXi Ride Video - [File Size: 5.5 megs, Format: .WMV]
Suzuki KingQuad 450AXi Ride Video - [File Size: 5.5 megs, Format: .WMV]

What’s in a name? Etymologists, those studying the history and meaning of words, can confound the wise with their deep cultural lingo, as they discuss the root origins of names or words. For the layperson, someone not familiar with the complexities of technical definitions, the significance of a name may be overlooked.  Take for example, the ever popular Chevy Nova. Those of us who are not Spanish speaking would certainly ignore the fact that “no va” literally translates into “no go.” It wouldn’t take a marketing executive to recognize that Nova may not be the best descriptive name for a car in Latin American countries.

Fortunately, the Suzuki KingQuad has always conjured images worthy of its name:  market-leading positions of respect, a senior authority in product innovation, and best-in-class respect. Since 1991, the KingQuad has been on the forefront of cutting-edge developments, trying to be one step ahead of the competition. So, when offered the chance to review the 2008 Suzuki KingQuad 450AXi, the answer was a quick, yes!  Especially, when we realized that Suzuki would be celebrating its 25th anniversary as the “First on 4 Wheels,” we were excited to see what Suzuki would unveil for the celebration. With visions of grandeur on our minds, we wondered if the new 2008 KingQuad 450AXi would live up to the historic legacy that had made the model such a reliable, innovative, and popular quad in the past? Would this quad be truly worthy of the title, King? We’re about to find out!

About the 2008 Suzuki KingQuad 450AXi

Considered the smaller sibling of the KingQuad 750 and labeled as a Utility Sport, the KingQuad 450 is available in the following versions: 450AXi (Red/Green), 450AXi Camo, and 450 AXi Limited Edition (Black). The associated nomenclature indicates model specific features: A – automatic, X – independent rear suspension, and i – fuel injection. First introduced in 2007, the KingQuad 450 was the first fuel-injected 4x4 in the 450cc-class and provided most of the features available on the larger, more expensive units - a class that merges value and performance. Now, with the release of the 2008 model, riders will find a fully independent suspension system with five preload settings.

Engine/Transmission

At the heart of this KingQuad is a 454cc, SOHC, single-cylinder, liquid-cooled engine designed for a wide power band and strong performance. Add to that engine the quick throttle response of a fuel-injected delivery system, and the machine quickly snapped to attention. Surprisingly, even though having the fuel injection system, the quad utilizes a choke to make effortless starts in all operating conditions. Coupled with the QuadMatic CVT-type automatic transmission, the design allows for maximum versatility and convenience. The fender-mounted gate-type shifter is very easy to use and operates the high/low forward ranges plus neutral and reverse. Although the shifter operated effortlessly, we noticed that if the engine idle was even slightly high, the gearing would grind into forward on reverse–especially at start-up.



 

Suspension

As mentioned earlier, the KingQuad is equipped with fully independent suspension on all four wheels. In the front, the double A-arm front suspension allows for 7.1 inches of travel with 5-way spring preload adjustments. Again, the rear includes 5-way preload adjustable shock absorbers, adding 8.1 inches of travel to the I-beam rear suspension. Right out of the box, this quad rode great with handling resembling that of a car. This ride adds several hours to the day by removing rider fatigue and adding comfort to those long, rough journeys.

Front Differential Control

Something that all Utility ATV’s should adopt, the KingQuad features a front differential lock in addition to the 4-wheel drive system. The electric 2WD, 4WD, and differential lock are operated by handlebar-mounted push-button controls. In 4WD mode, a compact torque-sensing limited-slip front differential is utilized. Lock in the diff-control and the front wheels act as solid front axle, providing crawling power through most any traction condition. While the differential lock is engaged, the engine speed is limited. An override switch allows the rider to increase the power available by overriding the normal speed limiter in forward differential lock or reverse.

Brakes

Suzuki features a very robust rear braking system on the KingQuad; the sealed wet brake. Featuring a clutch-type design, the multi-plate brake system design is sealed from the outside environment which removes the opportunity for mud and dirt to penetrate wear surfaces or for rocks and other debris to create impact erosion. A 200mm diameter front disc brake with single-piston caliper is standard on the front.  Together, the front and rear brake systems combine for reliable stopping power.

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