First Look: 2016 Yamaha Grizzly and Kodiak 700 ATVs
July 31, 2015
In the outdoor world, the idea of a modular system isn't new. All one needs to do is goÂ and grab a modern sporting rifle off the rack of a sporting goods store too see that.Â You have a basic frame, and from that, you can pick out the caliber, barrel, trigger andÂ all the bells and whistles that make shooting these types of rifles so much fun.
YamahaÂ has basically brought the notion of a modular system to their ATV line with the all-new 2016 Grizzly and Kodiak 700 ATVs.
The Grizzly has been one of the most popular big-bore utility ATV for many yearsÂ running. For 2016, Yamaha resurrected the Kodiak moniker, which was a smaller utilityÂ ATV in the past. The machines are now very similar and yetÂ extremely different at the same time. To be honest, it's a genius move on Yamaha'sÂ part.
What's the Same?
For starters, the engine is the same 708cc dual overheadÂ cam, single-cylinder beastÂ that drives the new Wolverine UTV. We all suspected it was coming in the Grizzly, but itÂ is also powering the Kodiak. Confused yet? Don't be. JustÂ wait a moment. TheÂ transmissions are the same to a point, too, but we'll get to that.
The frame is also identical on each machine. Yamaha completely redesigned the frameÂ for the 2016 Grizzly, improving on the already outstanding handling and feel of previousÂ model years. Even the front and rear all-steel racks are the same.
The rider of eachÂ machine gets fully-independent suspension front and rear with 5-way preloadÂ adjustment and 7.1 inches of travel in the front and 9.1 in the rear.
Where Things Differ
Starting from the outside, the plastics, while they look similar, are not. The fenders onÂ the Kodiak 700 are actually lower, to accommodate getting on and off the machine repeatedly.
The seats are also different. The Grizzly hasÂ a taller seat that gets narrowerÂ toward the top. This was designed, along with the handlebars, to make it easier for theÂ rider to stand up for more aggressive riding. The Kodiak 700 has a flatter, wider seatÂ that gives the rider that "sit in" feel. The seats can be swapped if you need something aÂ little different.
The braking systems are a little different too. The Grizzly has hydraulic disk brakes at allÂ our corners. The Kodiak uses a sealed, multi-disk wet brakeÂ that doesn't wear like theÂ standard disk set up.
The advantage is longevity of the brake, which comes at the costÂ of the crisper feel of the Grizzly's disk set up. The CVT transmission, which is an area Yamaha really shines, is the same yet not theÂ same.
That is a major part of the difference between the two rides. Basically, without getting tooÂ technical, the Kodiak is geared different. It isn't as punchy and aggressive withÂ the power delivery. Both are fun to ride, but they play into the markets that Yamaha isÂ covering. This is where it gets fun.
There are several markets that Yamaha wanted to be a major player in with their full-size utility ATVs. The recreational rider lookingÂ for a sportier, faster-paced ride isÂ going to go for the Grizzly. The Kodiak is geared for the working rancher and huntingÂ crowd. They have variations of these two models that hit different price points, too.
Like IÂ said — genius.
The Grizzly is available in four trim levels, starting with a non-electronic power steeringÂ (EPS) model at $8,899. From there, you go to the EPSÂ model for $9,699, the SE forÂ $10,299 and the SE for $10,899. You can get one inÂ a wide range of colors, includingÂ Realtree Xtra camo.
The Kodiak starts out with a non-EPS model at a low-price ofÂ $6,999. That is comparable to other manufacturers' solid-rear axle machines withÂ smaller engine sizes. The EPS will set you back $8,199, which also gives you the handlebar-mounted headlight and a 2-inch receiver hitch. The Kodiak EPS SE model is a sweet looking ride that costs $8,899.
Riding the machines back-to-back really shows the differences in the two. The throttleÂ response in the Grizzly is fun, but not for the faint ofÂ heart. If you're not used to aggressive riding, try the Kodiak first. The Kodiak 700'sÂ lower fender height does indeedÂ allow you to get on and off the machine easier.
The seat is very comfortable and theÂ ride is nothing short of amazing compared to other machines in the price point.Â Seriously, you're not going to get this level of engine and suspension in anything similar.
We rode both machines in some of the most challengingÂ terrain around — the mountainsÂ of eastern Tennessee. The suspension handled the rocks andÂ ruts with ease, and the tires, which are designed for each machine specifically byÂ Maxxis tires, hooked upÂ everywhere we went.
At one point, while on the Kodiak, we even rode the edge of aÂ serious rut that only offered at most two inches of wet muddy surface for the tire to grip.Â It handled it with ease.
Yamaha once again knocked it out of the park with twoÂ very different machines built onÂ a modular concept. Between them, they cover the entire range of full-size utility ATV. If you're in the market for one, you really should take a serious look at either machine.