WITH THE new Yamaha Grizzly 700 FI 4×4, you can forget the days of stiff necks and sore arms from muscling your ATV around all day. Comfort is the norm with this new vehicle equipped with electric power steering (EPS).

The 686cc machine's power steering, an industry first, cuts fatigue and adds comfort to driving. As you turn the handlebars, the electric motor kicks in and assists in the turn. The harder you turn, the more the EPS assists.

After spending the better part of a day riding the Grizzly over tough terrain on a mountainous cattle ranch in Montana, I didn't even need ibuprofen for aching muscles. I just didn't feel like I'd spent the day riding an ATV.

The EPS not only offers light steering effort, but it also absorbs the kickback that would usually be transferred to the rider if the ATV were to unexpectedly hit a log or rock.

Easy operation

Although the power steering steals the show, the new ATV offers many other features. The engine has a new forged piston for reduced weight and added durability. A new aluminum cylinder body with a composite coating reduces weight, increases cooling ability and decreases wear.

The Grizzly 700, weighing only 602 lbs., has the reliable Ultramatic automatic transmission system and the on-command push-button 4-wd system. It also has the new Yamaha fuel-injection (YFI) system to feed the liquid-cooled, four-valve SOHC powerplant. It's the same fuel-injection system known for easier cold starting and no choke that debuted in the Raptor 700R last year.

“It's simple and easy to ride,” says Travis Hollins, Yamaha ATV product planning manager. “We tried to make it as intuitive as possible. We even added bigger, brighter headlights because that's what farmers asked for.”

The Grizzly 700 offers the convenience of high- and low-range gear options for times when low-end torque and maximum pulling power are needed. The shift lever is conveniently located on the left side, and the other gear options include parking, neutral and reverse.

The LED display has been redesigned, too, with a dual trip meter, speedometer and odometer in addition to the gear selection and fuel level indicator.

Low center of gravity

The air box has been relocated from under the seat to the top of the engine. That means easier access and a higher intake for deep-water crossings. The 5.3-gal. fuel tank is now under the seat, which helps lower the center of gravity. The seat, comfortable even for someone over 6 ft. tall like me, comes with padding that is 32 mm thicker than that on the Grizzly 660.

The new ATV also has a fully independent wishbone front and independent rear suspension. It features 7.1 in. of travel up front and a class-leading 9.5 in. in the rear. Overall, it offers 11.8 in. of ground clearance and a new, slightly rounded shape. To help achieve the low center of gravity feel, the suspension has new mounting points on a lower part of the frame and lower A-arms. It also features four-wheel hydraulic disc brakes.

Patrick Biolsi, Yamaha ATV testing supervisor, says, “My favorite part of this new machine is its balance. Plus, you can really splash through water and not get wet. There are lots of fenders and splash guards.”

Carry capacity on the front and rear racks is 99 lbs. and 187 lbs., respectively, with 1,212 lbs. of towing capacity. Turning radius is 126 in., and the wheelbase is 49.2 in.

The new 2007 Grizzly 700 FI 4×4, retailing at $7,999, is available in hunter green, steel blue, red and high-definition camouflage. Many accessories are available, including front and rear cargo boxes, cargo baskets, folding steel table, bucket holder, winch and gun grips.

For more information, contact Yamaha Motor Corp., Dept. FIN, 6555 Katella Ave., Cypress, CA 90630, 800/889-2624, visit www.yamaha-motor.com or www.freeproductinfo.net/fin, or circle 199.