2010 Kymco UXV 500 4×4 Review

Rick Sosebee
by Rick Sosebee
Affordable side-by-side offers impressive performance

Whether you are riding the back forty or crawling up a rocky creek bed the world of UTV machines has you covered. For the last few years many companies have focused on side-by-sides or utility vehicles as just a small part of their offerings to the off-road public. As the cost of these machines continue to skyrocket, before long we will be able to purchase a nice car for the price of our UTV fun machine!

One company that is keeping costs down and continuing to drive forward in this market is Kymco. Having American offices in South Carolina, this Taiwanese company has hit the ground rolling with many budget-minded vehicles. The model year 2010 for Kymco keeps the prices down and the value at an all time high. During the press introduction in Ashville, NC we had the chance to jump aboard the UXV 500 4×4 to give it a run down to see if the rubber really meets the road in price and durability.

2010 Kymco UXV 500 4x4

2010 Kymco UXV 500 4×4

The classy looks of the UXV 500 instantly garners praise and with the bold red coloring it wasn’t going to be missed. This year’s line will be colored three different ways: red, green, and a charcoal shade of gray. Although these three choices may not be suitable for all they should satisfy most of the customers looking to get into off-road fun.

Kymco did a very good job making its UXV 500 look and feel like a more expensive side-by-side.

Kymco did a very good job making its UXV 500 look and feel like a more expensive side-by-side.

Details are plentiful on the UXV 500 and one only has to look closely to find them. Lighting is crucial for some people and I prefer bright lights that will keep the hazards at bay while driving in the dark. Having twin 35-watt illumination on the front of this machine will give any rider enough light to see the way. If that’s not enough, the 310-watt stator should allow one or two more additional lights for the front bumper. There is also a 12 volt, 10 amp accessory plug for the search-light or anything else if you should need it.

Getting around to the back of the machine we find the standard tilting cargo bed that will carry a respectable 420 pounds. This means not only can you play hard, but working hard isn’t out of the picture either. Loading the cargo box down with wood for camp is a breeze and with a tilting dump bed it unloads itself! If you need to pull a trailer or a friend’s broken ATV the rear tow hitch has a rating of 1,212 pounds. That’s a lot of weight for the engine in this beast.

So just how does Kymco power the UXV 500? Driving the UXV is a 498.5cc four stroke with dual overhead cams. This powerplant makes 36 horsepower, which can be deceiving. The engine is fed via the Kwang Yang CVK 38mm carb set-up and with electric starting the liquid cooled engine pops to life. Having this little firecracker hemmed into a CVT type drive helps deliver a potent combination of smooth power for the novice and experienced riders alike. The CVT style transmission in the 2010 UXV 500 has low and high drive modes as well as reverse and neutral. The driveline can be switched from 2WD or 4WD and the optional differential lock is there for the times when you get yourself into the deep stuff. With this UTV being shaft driven it really helps deliver the power to the ground.

More than a foot of ground clearance will help get you up and over most trail obstacles.

More than a foot of ground clearance will help get you up and over most trail obstacles.

In the ride comfort department, fully independent suspension in both the front and rear will smoothly carry you over the rough stuff. This suspension is independent dual A-arm with 7.5 inches of travel both forward and in the rear. The shocks on the carriage are gas charged with just a little preload adjustability for fine-tuning.

An overall ground clearance of 12.2 inches gets the UXV 500 over the ground hogs who stick their burley necks out to take a whack at the ride. Having good clearance is key to exploring the wilds of the mountains of getting through rutted out log trails on the job. With over a foot of clearance on hand, you should get where you need to go with little trouble.

With a dry weight of 1,157 pounds the braking on the UXV has its work cut out for it. The twin hydraulic disc brakes on the front will work alongside the single rear hydraulic disc to bring this behemoth to a full stop without any trouble.

The digital dash shows fuel level, speedo, odometer and a trip meter. There is also a high beam indicator and high temp light for the extra warm engine temps. All of this information is conveniently located on the dash in plain view for the driver. There is even a dash mounted choke pull when you need a little extra help to get going on a cold morning.

Ride Test

Testing the Kymco UXV 500 was fun. The basic operation and feel of the UXV had surprised most who gave it a shot. Having the ability to drive this UTV around the Land Rover/Hummer course at the famed Biltmore estate was a treat in itself.

It’s certainly not a race machine, but the UXV 500 is very capable and fun to ride on the trails.

It’s certainly not a race machine, but the UXV 500 is very capable and fun to ride on the trails.

The first thing you will notice when becoming seated in the UXV 500 is the high-back seats. This is a plus to taller riders or those who might need the extra support. The head rest covers the wide spectrum of different riders’ heights as well.

Staring the 498cc engine was a breeze and down the trail went bounced. The first obstacle in the trail was a gnarly steep hill and it was to be our first true test for the UXV 500. In two-wheel drive the UXV struggled to get enough grip so switching to 4WD in the middle of the hill proved the worthiness of this machine. It made the climb so effortless we had to give it two or three more passes just to reassure ourselves. Even a trip over the mound in full differential lock proved this little engine could get it done!

Winding around the forest on the estate we noticed how nimble the UXV could be. The nets at our feet were sufficient to keep our legs in the vehicle but actual doors would be nice for the added protection. The entire machine has a basic feel without all the bling of many UTVs. We felt the UXV 500 still offers what most riders/owners need in a side by side experience.

Seatbelts kept a tight grip on our shoulders and sometimes to tight but it is for keeping us in the machine and no matter how hard we pushed it, the belts still held on. The suspension held up to our abuse surprisingly well without bottoming even once. Turning the UXV 500 sharp under power reveals a slight push in the front end but we had to remember the powerplant isn’t made for drag racing either.

With an MSRP of just $8,099, you get a lot of style and performance for your money with the Kymco UXV 500.

With an MSRP of just $8,099, you get a lot of style and performance for your money with the Kymco UXV 500.

Overall we think the UXV 500 (MSRP $8,099) will come in under the radar for most but for those lucky enough to discover it, the price and features found here will keep them smiling all the way to the bank. It’s a great start for those looking to get some work done and have fun while doing it!

Comparable vehicles: Polaris Ranger 400, Polaris Ranger 500 H.O., Yamaha Rhino 450 Auto, Arctic Cat Prowler 550 H1

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Rick Sosebee
Rick Sosebee

Whether he is in Mexico covering the Baja 1000, building ATVs for local racers, or out enjoying the trails, Rick’s passion shows in his stories. Learning to wrench his own machines from his grandfather, Rick also has an undying appreciation for the mechanics of off-road vehicles. Do not let the dirt and mud fool you, though, as Rick also has a deep love for street cars.

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