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KYMCO UXV 500i

March 26, 2012 by  
Filed under First Drive, Kymco

KYMCO adds EFI to their popular value priced UTV

In a world where cash is king, keeping more of it after every purchase is very important. This is even more important when you purchase the things in life that make it more enjoyable versus items you really need. We traveled to Carolina Adventure World in Winnesboro, South Carolina, to take a look at a company who is making sure everyone can have fun and still have money in the bank! For model year 2012, Kymco will improve their line-up by adding fuel injection to their fleet of side-by-sides for the extra value their target audience has been waiting for. The Kymco UXV500i has great features similar to other industry offerings, but at a little lower price tag. The price point is very important to Kymco as they reach for the value-minded audience in our industry.

The UXV500i uses a 498.5cc displacement four-stroke engine design that incorporates dual overhead cams and four valves for maximum performance. This newly fuel-injected machine is fed fuel by a Synerject throttle body. Having the proper delivery of fuel is crucial to the life and performance of an engine. The fact that Kymco has added EFI means easier starting and a more universal UTV engine. The climate and elevation of many mountainous ride areas will no longer hold this UXV500i back. Kymco still boasts the 36 horsepower tag for the UXV500i, which is the same as last year’s carbureted model. Managing the EFI with an aftermarket programmer is not yet an option, but there are rumors of these devices in the works.

Keeping the engine cool is important, and the liquid cooling system incorporates a large radiator and an electric fan. This should manage the heat while on the slower trails.

Kymco uses a standard style CVT belt-driven transmission in the UXV, and from there the power is delivered via shaft drive to the wheels. The four-wheel drive system is an on-demand style configuration that also incorporates a differential lock to get all four wheels involved in the drive. Simple dash-mounted switches get the ride going in whatever situation you’re in. The durable steel framework of the UXV500i is the same as model year 2011, and the cab is comprised of 1.75” diameter steel tubing, aiding in driver and passenger protection. The fully independent front and rear suspension gives up 7.5 inches of travel while allowing over 12 inches of ground clearance. Kymco utilizes preload adjustable shocks that have five settings to choose from. This combination is enough to get the UXV500i over many obstacles in the rugged outdoors, as well as make the working side of the UXV500i shine like a new penny. Preload adjustability gives the rider the ability to make the suspension stiffer when carrying loads, as well as softer when the utility machine is used more on the adventure ride side of life. The cargo bed itself is capable of hauling 420 pounds, and with that kind of weight hovering right above the rear shocks the preload adjustments are essential. The bed of the UXV500i is also manually dump capable and this is another reason for the farm hand to fall in love with this worker. If towing is something you do a lot of, the ability to pull 1200lb behind the UXV on a 2-inch receiver hitch is definitely a plus. We intend to test the towing and hauling ratings in the future, but at the time of our test this wasn’t an option.

Finally, if options or bling is your thing, the UXV500i Special Edition and Limited Editions will be the way to go. Starting with the brilliant blue bodywork, the Special Edition UXV boasts alloy wheels, a hard top and half windshield.  The winch mounting plate is also there in the bumper on the SE model, but you have to step up into the metallic silver Limited Edition version of the UXV to get the additional 3,000-pound winch. With the LE model, you will also get the full soft enclosure to wrap up the extra features. The base UXV500i can be bought at $8,799, and the SE is just a tad more at $9329. The Limited Edition model is a fully loaded ride with a price tag of $10,199.

Kymco makes no bones about the fact that their machines are a great way to get into the world of off-road power sports on the ground floor, and they are not initially set up to go out and race each weekend. The price is right where it is for a reason, and we knew this going into the game. Keeping this in mind, we set out on a day of testing in the newly fuel-injected UXV500i. The UXV had no trouble firing up, and as we sat in the cab of the more work favorable UTV we noticed the simplicity that surrounded the machine. Cup holders are standard and the glove box can hold a few bottles of water for the day’s ride. The under hood storage is a bit bigger for that cargo that needs to be kept in place. There is also a large sealed storage box under the driver’s seat that will keep your items safe, dust free, and dry.  The three-point belting to keep us in the cab was easily pulled across and latched without incident as well. Half door style side nets can be unbuckled for easier access to the cab and help keep splashes of mud out as well as other trail debris. However, some owners may consider the doors cumbersome to step over when entering and exiting the cab. The on-demand selectable 2wd/4wd was right below our left hand on the dash under the steering wheel and seemed to work flawlessly at any speed. The digital display features a fuel gauge, speedometer, trip meter, odometer, high beam indicator, neutral/reverse light and temperature light.   The gearshift moved into each separate position with no trouble as well, and this year they added park to the gear set.

Our tour of the vast Carolina Adventure World trails had us cruising down many wide open sections before getting into the tighter stuff. The 36 horsepower fuel-injected engine responds well, but at only 36HP and exactly the same power as the carb version, it leaves you feeling like you still need a bit more. Our initial impression of the difference between the carbureted version and the fuel-injected model was that the fuel injection added a little crispness to the engine and smoother acceleration.  The feel or impression of more power was just that, and we think it’s the way the power is delivered that gives you that feeling. The fact that the motor will be more versatile in any elevation changes or temperatures is the biggest advantage for now.

The suspension on the UXV worked as intended, and even though we wanted much more, the price point wasn’t there. Climbing steep grades exposed the lack of torque in the power plant, but the UXV did handle these steeper trails and the rigid frame and suspension seemed to help keep the machine planted to the ground. Low gear worked really well and at no time did we feel in trouble.  Even though the power struggle was evident, it never let us down. The no frills approach may leave some jaded UTV owners to cast a judgmental eye at the Kymco UXV500i, but if you want to get out and have fun on the trail, this unit will get you there.  We have seen the UXV500 climb the rocks in Moab, Utah without any issue on some of the tougher trails, so we feel that there is not much you can’t do with this machine.

Overall, we feel the UXV is a great working UTV with a dose of adventure thrown in to keep those long days on the jobsite worthwhile. Of course, there are things that we would like to see changed, but getting into the sport at a great price leaves room for upgrades later on down the road.  Kymco offers additional accessories such as hood racks, roofs, clutch kits and more to outfit your UXV500 for your particular needs.  Kymco is making great strides in the US market to keep the name and brand alive. Kymco USA was just recently bought out by and is now soley owned by Kymco Taiwan. What does this mean for you? This means more investment, more dealer support, and even more value priced off-road products to come from a company that is building its reputation brick by brick. This Taiwanese company is one of very few that have grabbed onto the industry and been able to keep rolling despite the market downturn. Being one of the largest scooter manufacturers in the world proves that Kymco is a stable, solid platform to grow into the side-by-side industry for years to come.

 

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