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Yamaha took the most unique approach to middleweight ATVs we've ever seen for the 2016 model year. The 450 and 550 class machines have been replaced with the new models featuring the largest engine in Yamaha's four-wheel lineup. Oh, and they're cheaper, too. Let's meet the 2016 Yamaha Kodiak 700 family.

This is a bit of a confusing tale, but we'll try to clear it all up for you. It started last year when Yamaha's 2015 Grizzly lineup only featured 700-class models. The Grizzly 550, 450, 400, and 300 models were all left out in 2015. We assumed that was because dealer inventory was high and they'd return for 2016. We were incorrect.

Yamaha's new 2016 Kodiak 700 boasts the same powerful engine as the Grizzly 700, but costs nearly $2,000 less.

The Grizzly 550 and 450 models, in particular, were in a bit of a tough spot, the Polaris Sportsman 570 and Can-Am Outlander L 450 and 500 were much less expensive than the fully featured middleweight Grizzlies. Rather than return fire with cheaper machines with similar engines, Yamaha decided to eliminate its middleweight powerplants altogether. In their place, Yamaha built a new chassis to house the new 708cc engine from the new Wolverine UTV (and now the 2016 Grizzly).

Both the 2016 Grizzly and 2016 Kodiak feature the same basic engine. However, the differences between the two models may outweigh the similarities. That starts with the price. The base 2016 Grizzly 700 retails for $8,899, while the new Kodiak 700 starts at $6,999 – a difference of nearly $2,000. In fact, the new Kodiak has the same MSRP as the 2015 Can-Am Outlander L 500 and is $1,000 less than the 2015 Grizzly 550.

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