I’ve been working with different versions of the Kodiak on my family’s land for several years: one from the early 90s and the other from 2003. That’s why I was really curious and happy to try this new generation. I also had the chance to get my hands on a Grizzly in the last few years, so for me, the comparison between these two vehicles is quite appropriate. Here are my impressions after my test of the Yamaha Kodiak 700.
By the looks of it, it’s not your father’s Kodiak anymore! The Kodiak 700 performs well, has a good engine response, but what has evolved the most is the ride quality. The vehicle is more stable, more comfortable and better at absorbing the hazards of the terrain than its predecessors. I’m really impressed with this new version!
The four-wheel independent suspension is nothing like the monoshock rear suspension of previous generations. This makes the vehicle more agile, flexible and stable to drive.
The CVT transmission does a great job on the trail. Especially when compared to the semi-automatics of the 90s: those were less efficient or too demanding on the rider. For work, the new generation CVTs do the job. However, I must admit that I liked to shift gears when my trailer was loaded with logs in difficult terrain on the old models. On the flip side, I like the power of this 686 CC engine, it really does unlock more horsepower than our old 400 CC engines. It’s easy to pull our loads with this engine.
Kodiak versus Grizzly
Comparing it to the Grizzly, it’s a bit disappointing for the latter: the Kodiak on paper isn’t too far off its big brother, and even less so in reality. The Kodiak is more affordable and his performances are similar to the Grizzly. In fact, the biggest difference is really in the suspension. The Grizzly is more comfortable and fells smoother while riding. However, it dives more than the Kodiak when cornering. The Kodiak feels firmer and sportier. Personally, for me the choice between the two is very simple, it would be a Kodiak 700, because it offers a better value for the owner. When every dollar counts, the Kodiak is really very interesting.
Kodiak 700’s Engine
Yamaha’s 686CC engine has proven to be an excellent mill. It’s not for nothing that it was brought back into the lineup a few years ago. This engine comes with a solid reputation of durability. It is slightly less powerful than its 708 CC predecessor, but it is frankly more reliable. Which, for my money, is to be favored on a machine with a penchant for work.
The Kodiak 700 has the DNA of a worker! The equipment on this one is well thought out and efficient for the job. Let’s start with its directional headlight: it fulfills its mandate perfectly. The lighting provided by this one will allow you to finish your work and come home safely at night. The car-type hitch allows you to borrow the “ball” of your truck without any problem. Furthermore, the luggage racks are made of metal, so don’t be shy about loading and equipping them as you please. The ground clearance is high enough that you don’t have to worry.
One point to improve would be the original storage, it’s a bit lacking. However, the front storage is practical and keeps you slightly warm. I really appreciate that the ATV is equipped with two brake cases, it is very useful and safe.
Hunting with the Kodiak
Last fall, I had the chance to do a nice small hunting trip with this one, it was very pleasant! I attached two grappling hooks to the front rack to put my gun in its holster and boom we’re off on an adventure. This ATV is easy to operate and not too noisy, which is certainly an advantage for hunting.
The experience was just perfect and the animals were there. It was undoubtedly one of the best days on a quad of my season. The new Kodiak 700 is fun to ride, it’s not a bomb, but it’s more than enough to spend your days with a smile.
In closing, I would like to thank the team at P. Labonté & Fils for allowing us to do this test ride! The Kodiak is without a doubt my favorite Yamaha vehicle, for its agility, reasonable power and reasonable price. It allowed me to work, ride and explore my territory with simplicity, pleasure and reliability. A vehicle to consider for your next purchase, especially if you intend to work with your quad.