The 2020 Yamaha Kodiak 450 EPS SE Review and Test Ride – The Smooth Operator
By Chris Yeloushan
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Table of Contents
Could an ATV manufacturer really build a middle-weight ATV with electric power steering, independent front and rear suspension, multi-mode 4WD system, automatic transmission and all-wheel engine braking within a reasonable price point? Yamaha just did, and they did it extremely well. The new 2020 Kodiak is a force to be reckoned with.
2020 Yamaha Kodiak 450 EPS SE Price
The all new 2020 Yamaha Kodiak EPS SE comes in two colors, Matte Silver and Tactical Green. The silver is available as of August 2019 and the green will become available in January 2020. The silver Kodiak has a starting MSRP of $7,599 and the green Kodiak has a starting MSRP of $7,999. The $500 price difference is because the Tactical Green Kodiak comes with a winch and diff lock whereas the silver Kodiak does not have these features on the base model.
The 2020 model features a big-bore-looking ATV with a compact chassis for nimble and precise handling during all of the trail conditions I put it through. In fact, I’ve personally owned two other Yamaha ATV’s and have never ridden one as smooth and comfortable as this 2020 Kodiak.
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2020 Yamaha Kodiak Engine, HP, Top Speed, and Transmission
The 450 EPS SE is powered by a 421cc liquid-cooled, 4-stroke, 2-valves per cylinder, fuel-injected SOHC engine with 26 horsepower with a top speed of 55mph. The Kodiak was built with simplicity and the words “maintenance-free” in mind. Yamaha proves this with the tool-less access to the air filter, oil/differential drain holes, and marine-grade electronic water-proof connections for years of trouble-free usage. Plus, the SE features rubber engine mounts that prevent unnecessary vibration from the engine compartment to the rider.
Yamaha has been known for one of the smoothest shifting transmissions in the utility ATV segment. Their signature Ultramatic Transmission has a centrifugal clutch with continuous belt tensions where they back it up with a 10-year limited V-belt warranty. Paired with the low-effort real-time adaptable power steering provided me hours of riding through soft sugar sand with little or no fatigue.
Watch me take the Kodiak 450 for a spin:
2020 Yamaha Kodiak Suspension, Tech, and Features
The front suspension on the 2020 Kodiak is an independent double-wishbone configuration with 6.7 inches of travel. The rear suspension includes a double-wishbone with 7.4 inches of travel. The 9.6 inches of overall ground clearance and a full-length skid plates were plenty enough to easily tackle over some large downed trees during the day. The Matte Silver SE package came standard with AT-25 X 8-12 upfront and AT-25 x 10-12 on the rear. Yamaha included matching aluminum alloy wheels which I personally believe every ATV and SXS should include.
The brakes are dual-hydraulic discs up-front while the rear features a multi-disc wet-brake system for quick stops as well as superb protection for sand, mud, and water that I encountered. The rear foot brake had more play than I like for an ATV of this quality. However, with the taller handlebars, comfortable seat position, and all-wheel engine braking, I rarely had to use the rear brakes for hard stops at each trailhead.
The compact LCD instrumental cluster features speedometer, fuel gauge, clock, hour meter, odometer, dual trip meters, gear indicator, 4WD-indicator, high-temperature, clock, and 12V outlet for your personal devices. Yamaha added extra illumination with the halogen light mounted on the handlebars.
2020 Yamaha Kodiak Weight, Length and MPG
The Kodiak weighs in at 650lbs, 80.1 inches long, 46.5 inches wide and 45.7 inches tall. With a wheelbase of 48.8 inches and a turning radius of 126 inches, it felt much less bulky than other competitive models in the same class, like the Polaris Sportsman 570. I could not believe how much room there was for my legs and feet. At first, I felt like I was on the big-bore Kodiak or Grizzly 700 especially when I placed my thumb on the oversized throttle. Well done Yamaha!
If you are looking to tow or haul gear, Yamaha equipped the 450 EPS SE with a 2” receiver hitch, plus a convenient trailer ball mount based on your towing preferences. The overall tow rating is an impressive 1,322-pound capacity. The large-diameter steel front and rear cargo racks can haul a combined load of 264 pounds. Or, 88 pounds upfront and 176 pounds in the rear.
The Kodiak 450 EPS is equipped with a 3.7-gallon fuel tank with no reserve. The lack of more storage was my only complaint. There was a small box under the seat. However, it would be great to have an additional easy-access storage box under the tail lamp where you do not have to remove the seat.
The Final Say on the Kodiak
With an MSRP starting at $7,599 that includes a smooth-shifting Ultramatic transmission, electric power steering, independent front, and rear suspension, and all-wheel engine braking, it is no surprise why the dealership sold four of these in the past week and I had to wait for another week for a test ride.
If you are considering a middleweight ATV with all of the technical features and performance, the Yamaha Kodiak 450 EPS SE should be at the top of your list.
- Smooth-shifting Ultramatic transmission
- Low-effort electric power steering
- All-wheel engine braking
- Limited storage for gear and accessories
- Too much play in the rear-foot brake
- 12V power port location facing out of reach for the rider
GoRollick Buying Experience
When you’re ready to find your perfect UTV or ATV, be sure to check us out at gorollick.com.You can:
- See nationwide inventory, specs, and incentive information
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- Receive special offers on both the vehicle, as well as additional accessories
- Shop at one of our Certified Dealers who are committed to providing an exceptional buying experience
More on Chris:
Chris is a Vice President of Strategic Accounts at Rollick. Born and raised in his family’s outdoor recreational dealerships, he has been involved in everything outdoors since he could walk. His first dirt bike was a 1980 Honda Z50. Since then, he has ridden and owned everything including dirt bikes, ATV’s, SXS, and PWC’s. You will probably spot him on any given Sunday tearing up the trails of the Ocala National Forest. His passion over the last twenty years has been focused on helping dealers increase sales and build customer loyalty through America’s top consumer brands. Some of the top brands include Sam’s Club, AAA, Allstate, USAA, GEICO, Progressive, and Walmart. Members of these organizations are loyal and looking for a more efficient and straightforward buying and ownership experience. Chris has been dedicated to connecting members of these organizations with the nation’s top dealerships.