This is Yamaha's biggest-engined and most powerful ATV to date. But it's also the lightest in its class. It has the same spec as the 550 but a bigger engine with more grunt. That makes it thirstier, but this is a top performer. If you need power, then this is the quad to choose.

Yamaha Grizzly 700 EPS. Image: HW
Yamaha Grizzly 700 EPS. Image: HW

When it comes to features, it's got the lot - fuel injection, power steering, automatic gearbox, two-wheel drive, four-wheel drive and four-wheel drive with differential lock. At the front there is double-arm suspension and at the rear it is fully independent.

Riding it is simple. Start the engine, select a range and away you go. This one can also be started in gear while engaging the hand-operated rear brake - now that is convenient. The LED display on the handlebars shows all the necessary information, converting it from metric to imperial at the push of a button.

The engine is a 686cc liquid-cooled, fuel-injected, four-stroke, single overhead cylinder with electric start. It is tuned to have more power from a low RPM and gives a fast and sporty ride - though it is really a utility quad.

"It has tonnes of power," says MacPherson after completing a circuit in lo ratio. "It's fun and extremely capable. Even in two-wheel drive the traction is good. Transmission is smooth - changes can be made easily and quickly." His only concern is over-confident youngsters taking it for a spin, but he is delighted with the engine braking.

"When automatic transmissions were first fitted to ATVs, the engine braking was virtually non-existent," he explains. "But this one has exceptional engine braking. On the overrun going down that 50 degs slope, it went down in tick-over and still held its own."

The Grizzly 700 is also a sure-footed climber. It's stable, well balanced and grips nicely. There's more than enough power for the steep climbs and the ground clearance is generous so grounding is not a problem when the going is rutted.

In these sorts of conditions, the electronic power steering also helps. As and when there is enough pressure on the steering column, the motor gives a progressive amount of power to the handlebars to make turning easier. It's designed to take the strain off the arms. It works and it certainly doesn't give up.

In short, the Grizzly is packed with features that make this a comfortable and at the same time exciting ride. It's solidly built and strong, yet refined. Whether you need to ride at speed or need to climb hills, this one should be on your shortlist.


Engine: Yamaha 686cc single-cylinder, liquid-cooled, with fuel injection

Starter: Electric

Fuel tank capacity: Twenty litres

Gearbox: V-belt automatic, hi/lo dual range, one reverse

Drive system: On-command 2x4/4x4, differential lock

Final transmission: Shaft

Dimensions: 206x118x124cm

Wheelbase: 125cm

Ground clearance: 27.5cm

Turning radius: 320cm

Brakes: Hydraulic double disc front and rear

Suspension: Double A-arm front/independent double A-arm rear

Load capacity: 45kg rack/85kg rear

List price: (ex VAT) £7,799

Contact: Yamaha on 01932 358000

Nigel MacPherson, engineering lecturer and ATV driving instructor, Sparsholt College, Winchester, put three off-road vehicles to the tesat Sparsholt College near Winchester in Hampshire. It has a dedicated ATV and quad-bike training area - a circuit cut into the hillside, featuring bends, twists, embankments, sharp climbs and steep descents.



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