I had the opportunity to spend two epic days aboard the 2013 Suzuki King Quad 400 ASi in a place nearly too beautiful to describe. My journey took me across California's Mojave Desert, where the sand and rock miraculously transform into the gorgeous marble peaks of the Sierra Nevada mountain range. At 10,000 feet, the high elevation was the perfect place to test out many of the 400 ASi's key features.
The 400 ASi's power arrives via a fuel-injected 376cc single cylinder air/oil cooled four-valve power plant. The fuel injection was outstanding. The 400 ASi started effortlessly, even at 10,000 feet with temperatures hovering in the high 30s. Although peak power inevitably suffers at such altitudes, the fuel injection managed the air/fuel calibration, compensating for altitude and temperature changes automatically. The engine power is certainly sufficient for trail riding or handling a hard day of work, but falls shy of some other 400-class machines.
Equipped with Suzuki's butter-smooth Quadmatic CVT transmission, the 400 ASi features a perfectly notched shift gate that prevents accidently shifting into the wrong gear. An integrated electronic engine brake helps slow the 400 ASi down on descents, which helps keep the machine from freewheeling and uncontrollably accelerating.
The handling is sporty. The solid rear axle allows the 400 ASi to carve corners on tight trails, but the ride is not that comfortable due to the lack of Independent Rear Suspension (IRS). The strong dual hydraulic front disc brakes brought the 400 ASi to a halt, even on my steepest descents. A cable actuated rear drum brake handles the rear braking duties. It gets the job done, but it lacks the feel that a hydraulic disc brake would deliver.
The 400 ASi's ergonomics are typical Suzuki. A comfortable T-shaped seat enabled me to move around freely in the saddle to shift my weight during spirited riding. Brake and throttle controls are conveniently mounted and easily within reach. One of my favorite features on the 400 ASi is the full-size steel racks. Constructed of round bar with a wrinkle black finish, the racks are stout enough to hold larger items and provide a solid attachment point for securing tie downs.
Much of the attention elicited by the ATV community usually focuses around the newest high-horsepower, big-bore ATV offerings by brands A, B, or C. In the grand scheme of things, most users don't need or can't handle the power that many of the big-bore machines produce. Smaller ATVs like the 2013 Suzuki King Quad 400 ASi may not offer as much performance or machismo, but they can often accomplish the same tasks at a fraction of the cost.
If getting a reliable and capable machine that seems friendlier on the wallet seems more important than having the latest cutting edge technology or massive performance, the King Quad 400 ASi should certainly make a great, reliable steed for many years to come.
2013 Suzuki King Quad 400 ASi at a Glance
- Fuel injection makes cold weather and high altitude starting effortless
- Quadmatic CVT transmission shifts smoothly and performs exceptionally well
- Low-tech cable operated 4x4 switch functions well while keeping costs down
- Small size allows the 400ASi to fit in a 6.5-foot truck bed
- Winch-ready chassis cuts down on winch installation time and cost
- Steel racks make it simple to tie down cargo
- Engine brake feels very natural
- Oil/air cooled engine is less expensive to produce but isn't as high-tech as a liquid-cooled machine.
- Cable operated rear drum brakes are dated and lack the feel of hydraulics
- Solid rear axle doesn't deliver the comfort level of the King Quad 500AXi or 750AXi's IRS