Yamaha Kodiak 450 Reviews 2024 (All The Good & Bad) - Off-Road Official (2024)

Many jumped for joy when the Yamaha Kodiak 450 was revived in 2018, coming out of hibernation to take the place of the recently discontinued Yamaha Grizzly 450.

It has its similarities to the old Grizzly, but a comparison of Kodiak vs Grizzly shows the two have distinct differences as well.

As Yamaha’s staple mid-size ATV option, the Kodiak 450 is not only one of the most popular models in a crowded class but also makes for one of the nine best ATVs for the money this year.

Thanks to its versatility, it makes for one of the best options for those who don’t need all the power and performance of one of the 1000cc ATV options but still want a good mix of utility and recreational appeal.

That said, it’s not all sunshine and roses with the Kodiak 450 as it has a number of drawbacks as highlighted by current and former owners.

This Yamaha Kodiak 450 review will highlight all of the good and bad with this model in the following areas:

  • Build quality
  • Performance
  • Design
  • Durability
  • Key features and accessories
  • What owners like
  • What owners don’t like

Table of Contents show

Kodiak 450 Models For 2024

There are still three main Kodiak 450 models in production for 2024:

  • Kodiak 450 (Base) – $6,999
  • Kodiak 450 EPS (Electric Power Steering) – $8,099
  • Kodiak 450 EPS SE (Special Edition) – $8,399

Since being reintroduced in 2018, these models have seen minimal changes through the years.

The only real changes from 2022 to 2023 saw Yamaha do away with the camo color option on the Kodiak 450 base model and increase the price by $100.

It’s the same changes for 2024, with a $100 price increase for each model and no camo color option for the base model.

We’ll cover some of the key areas these three models differ throughout this guide, starting with their build quality and performance.

Kodiak 450 Reviews – Overall Quality & Performance

Engines

Each of the Kodiak 450 options is powered by the same 421cc single-cylinder engine, with a power output of around 26 horsepower.

This engine is about as bulletproof as they come from a quality and durability perspective, and you’ll rarely have any issues with it.

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The engine is tuned for low-end and mid-range power and torque, so the Kodiak 450 offers good zip and you can really whip around the curves on the trail on it.

But the upper RPM ranges are a bit limited, and you can tell the engine doesn’t really love being there.

And while this model offers plenty of power for the average rider, more experienced folks who like to ride aggressively may not feel totally fulfilled on this model and may want to take a look at a review of the Yamaha Kodiak 700.

But unless you plan on blasting around the trails at high speeds, anything more powerful than this mid-size Kodiak may be overkill for you.

Engine Type4 Stroke, SOHC
Cylinder ArrangementSingle Cylinder
Displacement421 cc
Horsepower26 HP (estimated)
Engine CoolingLiquid Cooled
Fuel DeliveryEFI w/ 34mm throttle body
Fuel Capacity3.7 US Gallons

Drivetrain

All of the Kodiak 450 models offer selectable two-wheel and four-wheel drive modes, which can be chosen via a lever on the base model and using the On-Command system’s toggle button on the right handlebar of the EPS/EPS SE models.

Only the EPS and EPS SE models offer 3-way differential lock, so you have the option of a lockable 4WD in those models which makes a big deal when it comes to added traction.

It’s nice being able to select this manually rather than having it done for you automatically like in some competitive models.

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The Ultramatic CVT transmission unique to Yamaha is the best in the industry, and a huge benefit of riding a Kodiak or Grizzly.

The Ultramatic CVT transmission offers immediate throttle response and smooth shifting, but also provides constant belt tension so you’ll never find your Kodiak 450 free spooling.

Combine the Ultramatic CVT with the incredible all-wheel engine braking in this model, and you can crawl down some of the steepest terrain out there without a worry – which is huge for less experienced riders.

You get both a High and Low gear, along with Neutral, Reverse, and Park settings.

Drive System2WD/4WD, 3-way locking diff (EPS/SE models), shaft drive
Transmission TypeUltramatic V-Belt
GearsH – L – N – R – P

Suspension & Steering

Every Kodiak 450 is equipped with the same independent double wishbone suspension style in both the front and rear.

The shocks in both the front and rear are also preload adjustable, but don’t offer compression adjustment.

The suspension set-up provides a minimal 6.7 inches of travel up, which can be noticeable, and 7.4 inches in back.

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Overall the suspension is soft and makes for a smooth ride in pretty much any terrain.

Max ground clearance on these machines is an impressive 9.6 inches, giving you plenty of space for rutted trail riding and clearing most obstacles.

Power steering is obviously only included on the two EPS models, but it is dialed in really well and highly recommended to help limit fatigue on the arms and shoulders if you ride for extended periods.

Wheelbase48.8 in
Turning Radius10.5 ft
Ground Clearance9.6 in
Front SuspensionIndependent Double Wishbone
Rear SuspensionIndependent Double Wishbone
Front Travel6.7 in
Rear Travel7.4 in

Tires & Brakes

The Kodiak 450’s come equipped with the same 25-inch All-Terrain stock tires in the front and rear, which feature an aggressive tread pattern that gives you plenty of traction off-road.

The tires can feel a bit light and squishy which helps to add to the comfort of the ride overall.

But this can also lead to the stability feeling a bit iffy when cornering, and can lead to a feeling of less control from the steering when taking sharp turns, especially in dirt or soft terrain.

Throwing on some aftermarket, heavier-duty tires will make a big difference in the ride, though the stock tires are just fine in most instances.

The braking system offers plenty of stopping power in all terrains and on slick surfaces.

The rear multi disc brakes are sealed to help protect them from debris while on the trail, which is a big plus and makes them pretty much maintenance-free.

Front Tires25 x 8-12
Rear Tires25 x 10-12
Front Brake TypeDual Hydraulic Disc
Rear Brake TypeWet Multi Disc

Dimensions & Capacities

The mid-size Kodiak 450 is a little bigger than you might expect from a model in this class, and you’ll notice that it’s only slightly smaller than the bigger Kodiak 700 option.

It’s 46-inch width gives it the look of a more bulky model, but you’ll be pretty surprised at just how well it handles overall.

Thanks to the low-end power and throttle response, these models are incredibly nimble.

You can really whip them through tight wooded areas and around tight turns in the trail, and the turning radius is solid.

The three different models range in weight from 637 to 680 lbs, and are all quite easy to control.

They offer an excellent towing capacity of 1,300 lbs, and can haul up to 265 lbs between the front and rear storage racks.

Length80 in
Width46.5 in
Height45.7 in (Base, EPS) / 47 in (EPS SE)
Seat Height33.7 in
Curb Weight637 – 680 lbs
Towing Capacity1,300 lbs
Front Rack Capacity88 lbs
Rear Rack Capacity176 lbs

Key Features & Accessories

The Kodiak 450 EPS and EPS SE come flush with a number accessories that increase their off-road and trail riding ability right from the dealer.

But even the Kodiak 450 base model includes a number of features that add to their functionality.

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These models’ key features and accessories include:

  • Dual headlights, with the addition of a single working light mounted on the handlebars for the EPS and EPS SE models.
  • The Kodiak 450 EPS SE includes a winch while the other two models don’t, but you’ll find a winch plate mount on the front bumpers of each to make adding one easy.
  • Each model has a very comfortable seat that easily removes to give you access to the airbox and small storage space.
  • The full footwells on either side of every model are nice and wide so you can push your feet out pretty far, and offer excellent grip so there’s no slippage when you dig your feet in.
  • A center display on the handlebars shows your warning lights, warning lights, and gauges, with the EPS SE having a bigger digital display.
  • Front and rear storage racks are included on every model.
  • A single rear brake light/tail light comes on every model.
  • A two-inch hitch receiver is included on only the EPS and EPS SE models.

What Kodiak 450 Owners Like

  • The outermost plastics are finished with a textured matte, which does an excellent job of preventing scratching.
  • The high-mounted air intake does a good job at keeping out debris kicked up by the tires.
  • The steel cargo racks are heavy duty and make tying cargo down much easier than on plastic racks.
  • On-Command 4WD systems on the EPS and EPS SE models let you manually select between 2WD/4WD/fully locked 4WD with the press of a button.
  • An override button enables the engine to reach its full RPM levels even while in fully locked 4WD mode which is great for trail riding.
  • The rear wet brakes are sealed so they’re shielded from mud, dirt, sand and water while trail riding making them virtually maintenance free.
  • Yamaha offers a 10-year warranty on the drive belts and a limited 6-month warranty on the rest of the ATV.
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What Kodiak 450 Owners Don’t Like

  • These models are still made with outdated halogen headlights that don’t offer great illumination for night riding.
  • The stock skid plates that run the underside of these models aren’t that heavy duty and don’t provide the best protection.
  • Aside from the storage racks, there’s not much shielded storage space on these models with only a tiny compartment under the seat.
  • The plastic footwells are not all that heavy duty, and the front tires are known to kick up sticks that will put holes in them rather easily.
  • When you’re on a slight incline and trying to shift into the Park setting, sometimes you’ll need to slightly rock the ATV to get it fully in Park.
  • There’s no two-inch hitch receiver on the base model, which seems a bit silly for a Yamaha machine that’s not cheap.
  • Though the steel storage racks have a wrinkle paint finish that makes them durable, they’re still prone to rusting over time if you don’t cover your ATV.

For more on these drawbacks and how to overcome them, check out this guide to the common Kodiak 450 problems.

Final Word

The Kodiak 450 makes for one of the best mid-size ATV options out there, but if you’re a more aggressive rider you may be better off with the better power and higher top speed of the Kodiak 700 or something similar.

But that model has some drawbacks of its own in the form of some common Kodiak 700 problems.

Yamaha Kodiak 450 Reviews 2024 (All The Good & Bad) - Off-Road Official (2024)
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