As far as the fun factor goes, the 400,
450 and 500cc machines in this test
were all capable contenders. Off the
tight trails, their top speeds all hit 55.
Bill Markel, Jimmey Domay and mike
Ismail are at the controls.
Suzuki equipped their King Quads with two storage options. Can-Am has one, but
it’s a lot bigger and more convenient.
; Despite what the title says, this contest is not between Can-Am, Polaris
and Yamaha; it’s a comparison of
options and features for these mid-sized machines. In the past decade, a
trend developed where manufacturers are now building machines fully
equipped with the kinds of parts you
would normally purchase down the
road from aftermarket companies.
Those parts include, aggressive tires,
billet aluminum wheels, winches and
bumpers. And now with the availability of power steering, this is
another feature a customer has to
The Can-Am in this test is the
smallest machine. What it lacks in
engine size it makes up for in accessories. Called an Outlander XT, this
machine features a few products that
an average customer might add to a
machine after they buy it. Those parts
include a winch, hand guards,
bumpers, and wheels and a tire set.
Can-Am charges an extra $1050 for
the XT package over their base
model Outlander. On the street, you
would pay that price for the tires and
wheels alone. The 3000-pound winch
would set you back another $400-
$600, and the bumpers and hand
guards cost another $300—that’s if
you did all of the installations yourself. The Outlander 400XT sells for
$7849. All Can-Am utility machines
come standard with other features,
like automatic shut-off, a coded and
keyed security system, and much
more. On other 4X4 brands, the
names Special Edition or Limited
Edition is where you would find some
of these extras.
The Suzuki is a bare-bones
machine and is priced at $7699. It has
standard wheels and tires, no power
steering and just basic amenities.
The King Quad 500 does offer standard equipment, such as convenient
mounting tabs on the frame for a
winch mounting plate. Plus, it comes
standard with a routing tube that
runs from the front of the machine to
the battery compartment for battery
cables that supply power to the
winch. The Suzuki 500 uses the same
chassis as the KQ 750. Most of the
other manufacturers believe in this
philosophy. They take a popular,
good-working chassis and throw a
larger- or smaller-sized engine in it.
The rest of the machine is exactly the
same. It’s a good way to save development time and assembly-line
space and money.
Power steering is all the rage these