2012 Yamaha Grizzly 300 Preview

Lucas Cooney
by Lucas Cooney
It only looks expensive

On the heels of the re-release of the bargain-priced YFZ450, Yamaha has given the price-conscious Utility ATV enthusiast something to cheer about with the introduction of the brand new 2012 Yamaha Grizzly 300 2WD, which retails for $4,099.

According to Yamaha, this new light Utility ATV has a smooth and powerful engine and is the only model in its class with a fully automatic dual range transmission.

The Grizzly 300 is powered by a 287cc single overhead cam four stroke engine. Yamaha says its liquid cooling is engineered to provide precise temperature control and long engine life even in extreme environments. At the center of its lightweight and durable chassis is a powerplant with a 32mm carburetor that is designed to deliver smooth power.

2012 Yamaha Grizzly 300

The 2012 Yamaha Grizzly 300 shares many styling cues with the bigger Grizzly Utility ATVs.

“This all-new Grizzly 300 is built for the farmer who needs a durable, dependable light utility vehicle or rider who wants a fun two-wheel-drive recreational ATV,” says Steve Nessl, Yamaha’s ATV and SxS group marketing manager. “Grizzly styling and reliability combined with all of its great features make this new 300 the best machine in its class.”

2012 Yamaha Grizzly 300

Yamaha outfitted the Grizzly 300 with 22-inch Maxxis tires.

The engine and dual range transmission offers Hi range for light duty and trail riding plus Low range for tougher chores and towing. This Grizzly is capable of towing more than 720 pounds and can carry more than 140 combined pounds on its front and rear racks. Additionally, it features separate hydraulic front and rear disc brakes and 22-inch Maxxis tires.

More than five inches of ground clearance means the Grizzly 300 can deal with the majority of trail obstacles, and its double wishbone front suspension system offers up 5.9 inches of travel while the rear swingarm provides 6.5 inches of travel. All of this is wrapped around what Yamaha calls a reliable, low-maintenance shaft drive.

Creature comforts include a plush seat, push-button electronic start, water resistant under seat storage box, and large front and rear fenders with full floorboards for mud/splash protection. Under seat marine-grade electrical components are designed to ensure protection from the elements, and the 2.8-gallon fuel tank provides plenty of range for chores or trail rides.

The all new Grizzly 300 will be available in December 2011 and comes in Steel Blue and Hunter Green.


2012 Yamaha Grizzly 300

Unlike the larger Grizzlies, the familiar gate-style shifter is located on the right side of the Grizzly 300.

Yamaha has clearly embraced the less is more philosophy and that’s probably a smart play as the economy continues to rebound.

Though Yamaha isn’t the only manufacturer offering low-priced options in this class, this is the first brand new model we’ve seen in a while. The Grizzly 300 will be competing against machines like the Honda FourTrax Recon ($3,899), the Arctic Cat 300 2×4 ($3,999), the Polaris Trail Boss 330 ($4,399) and the Suzuki Ozark 250 ($4,499).

The Grizzly 300, at least on paper, stacks up quite well against all these machines. Its liquid-cooling system is a bonus (only the Arctic Cat and Polaris offer liquid cooling), while only the Trail Boss has a larger engine (both the Honda and Suzuki are about a class down in displacement). Perhaps the best feature, at least for the showroom, is the Grizzly’s looks. The Grizzly 300 looks very much like the rest of the Grizzly family – rugged and full-sized. In our opinion, only the Honda measures up in this department.


2012 Yamaha Grizzly 300

The Grizzly 300 is available in Hunter Green or Steel Blue.

We in the off-road press are spoiled. We have the opportunity to ride the biggest and best ATVs with the most modern technology. The Grizzly 300 is not this, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a worthy ATV. Sure, it would be a better machine if it had 4WD, independent rear suspension and fuel injection, but these things come with considerable cost. Just look at the Grizzly 350, it comes with 4WD and a slightly larger engine (though no IRS or fuel injection), but it costs an extra $1,500.

Sometimes we have to take the blinders off and realize that not everybody needs or can afford a huge engine and adjustable shocks. Some people just want an ATV they can ride safely that is affordable, reliable and fun…which is exactly who Yamaha designed to Grizzly 300 for.

2012 Yamaha YFZ450 Specs
Engine Type:348cc, 4-stroke, liquid-cooled single; SOHC
Bore x Stroke:75.0 x 65.0mm
Compression Ratio:8.6:1
Fuel System:32mm Carburetor
Starting System:Electric
Drive Train:N/A
Transmission:Fully automatic transmission
Front Suspension:Independent double wishbone; 5.9-in travel
Rear Suspension:Swingarm; 5.6-in travel
Front Brakes:Dual hydraulic discs
Rear Brakes:Single disc
Front Tires:AT22 x 7-10
Rear Tires:AT22 x 10-9
Wheelbase:57.2 in
Wet Weight:511 lbs
Length x Width x Height:74.6 x 42.1 x 44.3 in
Seat Height:31.1 in
Ground Clearance:5.4 in
Fuel Capacity:2.8 gal
Turning Radius:118 in
Rack Capacity:44 lb Fr./99 lb Rr.
Towing Capacity:727 lb
Lighting:Dual headlights and 21/5W brakelight
Colors:Steel Blue; Hunter Green

Related Reading

2011 Yamaha Grizzly 450 4X4 EPS Review

2010 Polaris Trail Boss 330 Review

2009 Arctic Cat 366 4×4 Review

2009 Kawasaki Prairie 360 4×4 Review

Lucas Cooney
Lucas Cooney

I have been working exclusively in digital media since 1997. I started out with TSN.ca, spending nearly nine years creating and editing content on Canada's leading sports website. I left to join VerticalScope, Inc., one of the world's largest online publishers, to start a number of powersports publications. While at VerticalScope, I've helped create and oversee content for a wide variety of different publications, including ATV.com, Off-Road.com, ArcheryTalk.com, Tractor.com, RVGuide.com, and many more.

More by Lucas Cooney