The 376cc Suzuki Kingquad 400 was the surprise of the bunch for us. Having one of the smallest and quietest engines in the group, it certainly packed a punch – blitzing all but the powerful Polaris with its shear pulling power.
However, its dazzling performance comes at a price – as the fuel test revealed – coming close to the top of the table.
As well as the engine, its light steering, handling and manoeuvrability was equally impressive.
Despite being one of the taller machines in the group, it was very stable, especially when handling trailers. This is partly thanks to its tow-ball being mounted on the rear axle, rather than on the chassis, such as on bikes featuring IRS.
Its main drawback, though, when towing a trailer – especially a loaded one downhill – is its almost complete lack of engine braking. This results in a big reliance on the brakes, which luckily work well.
Stopping power aside, its controls are easy to master. Like the Kawasaki, the Suzuki’s range lever gates can be seen, which makes selection a lot easier.
But, the lever is positioned a little too far forward, making it a bit of a stretch to reach. No park function also means the left-hand handlebar brake lever also doubles up as a handbrake.
Switching between two and four-wheel drive is via a simple over-centre lever mounted on the handlebars.
On the dash, LEDs indicate range selection, full beam and oil pressure warning.
Also displayed is fuel level and speed, with buttons used to toggle between information showing trip, hours and odometer.
There is no suspension adjustment, but it does not really need any. We think the manufacturer has achieved a good balance between a road setting and being able to cope with rough terrain.
Its load racks provided adequate carrying capabilities – on a par with the Honda – but storage is lacking. The only place is under the seat, which is barely big enough for a small packed lunch.
The Japanese maker has done a fairly decent job with the styling; providing good protection from flying mud and water.