Kymco has long been known for producing ATVs and UTVs that give the price-conscious consumer a way to get out and enjoy the wild outdoors with extras that would usually run the price up on traditional brands. One machine that typifies Kymco's more-for-less philosophy is the new 2015 UXV 450i LE 4x4, which we had a chance to ride at a recent press introduction in South Carolina.
Starting in the engine bay of this UTV you'll find a well-built 443cc single cylinder powerplant that utilizes fuel injection to produce an estimated 33 hp. The fuel injection on these engines allows easy start-up at any altitude and provides crisp throttle response to get its passengers moving. Kymco builds many different types of engines and they seem to be very popular as some other well-known manufacturers are using them in their own products.
This thumper transfers the power to the CVT belt driven transmission and on down to the four wheels. Combining 2WD/4WD and 4WD differential lock as selections for the multiuse machine gives owners a choice in traction. The simple dash-mounted dial switches these modes easily at your discretion.
As for getting the ride into drive gears (High, Low, Neutral, Reverse), the center dash mounted shift lever is simple to operate. The only thing we cannot get over is the actual looks or maybe orientation of the shifting handle. We’ve heard that it takes time for changes to grow on you, but having never seen something positioned quite like this, it may take a bit of time. It functions properly, but the shift order is backwards to what we consider a common direction of order.
Sitting in the cab of the UXV 450i LE is a comfortable endeavor. The ergonomics inside the cab are very simple and functional. From the tilting custom steering wheel to the multifunctional digital dash (speedometer, odometer, tachometer, trip meter, clock, gear indicator, high beam indicator, fuel gauge, hi-temp/low-battery lights), the entire spacious design is in a high visibility package. Everything is laid out to be within reach as well as sight of the driver. Our only concern is the manual hand brake and the lever mounted right in front of the driver's left knee. We found this to be a little uncomfortable just from the fact that we were worried about driving our knee into it should we stop quickly or, heaven forbid, run into something solid.
Let's talk storage just for a second, as this is one feature that cannot be taken for granted on some machines. The Kymco UXV 450i has plenty of storage and it seems to be all over the machine. Compartments can be found under the seats that can be used to hold just about anything you could need on the trail. A large storage box under the hood and in the tailgate will allow you to store some small hand tools or a length of rope. The glove box is lockable and we were able to get a couple of bottles of water in there for our ride.
When we speak of suspension on the Kymco UXV 450i LE, the numbers show a full 10 inches of ground clearance to get the UXV 450i LE through the rough stuff. The independent arms on all four corners of this rig have 7.5 inches of travel, which allows the people mover to crawl across things like small downed trees and traverse off-camber trails with little trouble. We found that at slow speeds the UXV 450i LE had all of the right elements to travel the wild countryside at our test site. With an overall width of 59 inches, it travels quite well on the tighter trails. Turning the side-by-side in the tight stuff is also easy at slow speeds.
Other items, such as the hydraulic disc brakes, performed with no trouble. The dual piston calipers on each of the front wheels combined with the prop shaft-mounted dual piston caliper for the rear brakes seem to be very predictable and get you and your passenger safely slowed. We had little trouble stopping anywhere on the trail where the terrain provided plenty of grip.
As far as the utility function of the UXV 450i goes, the tilting bed will hold 440 pounds of cargo. Slip a hitch in the two-inch receiver on the rear of the machine and this mid-bore worker will tow 1,200 pounds of material as well. It would be interesting to actually load the beast and see just how well it would perform at its limits, but we did not have a chance to do this on our ride. Keeping with the working side of this Kymco, if the sun goes down before the work is finished a combination of LED and Halogen lights will keep the trail lit. If you need a little extra light, a 12V accessory plug is available to fill that need.
Our test location was the cross-country race-course in the wooded land of Union, SC. The Big Buck course gave us seven miles of tight trails, open fields and creek crossings in the swampy bottom land.
After our test session we can confidently say the UXV 450i LE will do what the average rider needs it to do and do it while keeping the riders comfortable. It is built to meet an entry level price point and gives someone with a little less cash a chance to enjoy the outdoors.
Our limited edition model looked great with the styling cues on this machine being very fresh and new to the industry. Alloy wheels, 3000-pound winch and painted plastics are befitting of the LE badge. Kymco is also celebrating its 50th year anniversary with this model in badging on the hood.
If you are looking to get into a machine to ride the trails and get a little work done, give the Kymco UXV 450i LE a peep.