For general farm duties, the Suzuki King Quad 500 takes a bit of beating. Its 493cc engine develops a reasonable 39hp, but when coupled with the company’s recently updated CVT transmission, it offers impressive pulling power.
This was particularly evident when we hooked it to a loaded trailer weighing about 600kg. It pulled it with ease on steep uphill runs – showing no signs of transmission slip – and offered worry-free descending. When we did take it past its limit, it was the tyres that let go, rather than the belt.
Suzuki is one of the stalwarts of the ATV industry and its latest King Quad 500 is a solid choice for those wanting a no-nonsense farm workhorse. It’s got ample power for most tasks, feels at home with a heavy trailer in tow and has a simple control layout.
The CVT transmission is slick too, with crisp uptake of drive and good engine braking. Our only real complaints were the lack of a transmission park and the fact that engaging the handbrake is a two-handed job.
- Price £8,049
- Best for General all rounder
- Worst for Engaging handbrake
See also: ATV buyers guide 2018-19
As with many of the quality ATVs, Suzuki’s CVT system keeps the drive belt taut at all times and uses a one-way clutch to engage the drive.
This means there’s no delay waiting for it to take up slack and there’s no need to keep the power on for controlled descending. It also means the belts rarely need replacing – in fact, the dealer that dropped it off said he’d never had to fit one.
This latest version has also had a couple of tweaks to smooth the uptake of drive, including reducing the weight of the rollers and uprating the driven pulley spring.
The rest of the driveline is standard ATV stuff, with a fixed rear-axle drive and a limited-slip diff up front. However, this can also be locked solid by pressing a button on the handlebars, giving true four-wheel drive.
Our only gripes in the transmission department were the fact that there’s no park slot on the transmission shifter and the handbrake is a two-handed affair. In combination, this means it’s trickier to park safely than it should be.
Suzuki King Quad 4×4 500 AXi specifications
- Engine 493cc single-cylinder
- Power 39hp
- Transmission Step-less belt drive
- Four-wheel drive Switchable two- and four-wheel drive
- Differentials Lockable front
- Front suspension Independent, double wishboned, oil damped
- Rear suspension Independent, double wishboned, oil damped
- Towing capacity 600kg
- Carrying capacity 30kg front, 60kg rear
- Ground clearance 260mm
- Dry weight 324kg
- Turning circle 691cm
- Starting price £7,399 (no power steering)
The King Quad is a fairly tall bike, but Suzuki has done a good job of making the rider feel like they’re in control – there’s none of that perched-on-the-top feeling that you get with some.
We thought the power steering was nicely weighted too, and the double-wishbone suspension on all corners ironed out the bumps nicely. It wasn’t quite as silky as the trailing-arm setup used by Canadian firm Can-Am though.
In tight spaces, the King Quad’s stature also made it feel a little ungainly, and this wasn’t helped by the wider-than-average 691cm turning circle. The front and rear racks were also a little on the high side for hauling up heavy items.
That said, with a 30kg capacity up front and 60kg at the rear, there’s not that much backbreaking lifting for those sticking to the guidelines. More impressive was the 600kg towing capacity, which put it at the top of our test group.
Other standout features were a handlebar-mounted spotlight and a 12v socket allowing accessories such as slug pelleters or sprayers to be powered without fitting terminals on to the battery.
Storage was also plentiful, with a waterproof cubby integrated into the front-right fender and a couple of other handy boxes at the rear. Handily, these can all be accessed when the racks are loaded.
We were less enamoured by the light switch integrated into the ignition switch. Regular riders will soon get used to it, but it’s all too easy for first-timers to run around with the lights blazing in the middle of the day.
Build quality seems good and the finish is definitely utilitarian rather than flashy. This extends to the ugly-but-practical black plastic mudguards on each corner, which mean no flying solids should make their way down the rider’s collar.
These are also cheap to replace, meaning a scuffed bike can be made to look tidy again for very little outlay.
Likes and gripes
• Strong towing performance
• Impressive engine braking
• Solid build quality
• Two-handed handbrake
• No transmission park
• Low carrying capacity