First Looks at Kymco's 2013 Models

The only things hotter than this summer's weather are the new Kymco products I got to ride on the property of Charlotte Motor Speedway in Charlotte, NC last week. Kymco, a Taiwanese ATV manufacturer, is a relative newcomer to the UTV and SxS market in comparison to larger manufacturers like Honda, Suzuki, Yamaha, Kawasaki, Polaris, Arctic Cat, and Can Am. However, in recent years, Kymco has shown they are serious about wanting a piece of the North American off-road market. In fact, several manufacturers, including some high-end European motorcycle manufacturers, have been selling rebadged Kymco's as their own brand for years.

Don't confuse Kymco with the numerous Chinese ATV manufacturers that sell their products through the internet, auto parts stores, or the side of the road. Unlike those sketchy machines, Kymco has a legitimate dealer network, a one-year warranty, easy to find replacement parts, and products that were actually designed and produced with quality and safety in mind.

The models on hand for the 2013 introduction were pre-production units that had just arrived via air freight days earlier. So, the magazine editors in town and I actually had the opportunity to ride these new products before most of the "Big Cheeses" at Kymco had a chance themselves. Below are the model highlights and my first impressions for each model. We'll be doing a more in-depth, long-term follow-up test of each new machine as well, just as soon as the models become available.

2013 Kymco MXU500i base model and LE
Model Highlights:

- All new chassis, shared with the MXU700i
- All new plastic body work
- Fuel Injected 500cc engine
- Available in an LE model
- Winch
- 14" wheels
- 26" tires
- Painted plastic body

Ride Impression:
- 500i engine is fuel injected and has acceptable power on the mid-range and top-end, but from just off idle to the mid-range, the engine is sluggish.
- Clutching borrowed from the Maxxer 450i would likely allow the 500i to build RPM's quicker and ultimately make more power.
- Bump steer was very noticeable through the handlebars on both the base and LE models.
- Both front and rear brakes were strong.
- Digital/Analog gauge combination was easy to see.
- Suspension is geared more towards work than play.
- Differential Lock was very effective.

2013 Kymco MXU700i base model and LE
Model Highlights:

- All new chassis, shared with the MXU500i
- All new plastic body work
- Fuel injected 700cc engine with 42HP(Kymco's highest powered engine to date)
- Available in an LE model
- Winch
- 14" wheels
- 26" tires
- Painted plastic body

Ride Impression:
- The 700i engine is fuel injected and has a substantial power increase compared to the MXU500i. Power for the 700i engine seemed on par with other 700cc class ATV's from competing manufacturers.
- Bump steer was very noticeable through the handlebars on both the base and LE models.
- Both front and rear brakes were strong.
- Digital/Analog gauge combination was easy to see.
- Suspension is geared more towards work than play.
- Differential Lock was very effective.

2013 Kymco UXV500i SP
Model Highlights:

- 500cc fuel injected engine
- Upgraded suspension
- LED light bar
- Spare tire on bed mounted rack
- Upgraded 14" Wheels and 26" Tires
- Comes with both a tailgate net and a tailgate
- Front and rear bumpers
- Bikini soft top
- Special seat covers

Ride Impression:
- 500i engine is fuel injected and has acceptable power on the mid-range and top-end, but from just off idle to the mid-range, the engine is sluggish. The 700i engine in this SxS would make performance impressive.
- Turning radius seemed a tad large.
- Suspension is plush with the upgraded suspension and even handled hard hits from deep ruts well.
- Spare tire is a great idea, but there is no jack included to help change a tire.
- LED lights are bright and have replaceable bulbs available.
- The UXV500iSP performs great as a rock crawler.
- Differential Lock was very effective.
- The UXV500i SP was built to mimic machines seen in Baja and Moab, and it certainly looks the part.

2013 Kymco Maxxer 450i
Model Highlights:

- The Maxxer 450i is an unchanged carryover model from 2012
- 450cc fuel injected engine
- Four wheel drive, but no differential lock
- Small, compact chassis
- Four wheel independent suspension
- Very aggressive clutching

Ride Impression:
- A load of fun to ride.
- Impressive Handling for an IRS (Independent Rear Suspension) machine.
- Has the ability to carve corners almost as well as a solid axle machine.
- Clutching keeps the engine spooled up to make maximum power.
- The stock shocks run out of travel pretty quickly as speeds pick up.
- teering is light with some noticeable bump steer on rough terrain.
- Offering the 700i engine in this small chassis machine would make it a modern day "muscle quad."