There are many different styles of UTVs and side-by-sides these days, and even within most manufacturers there is variety. Yamaha is no different, but we recently spent some time in their new Wolverine and are impressed at the blurring of lines between work and play.
In case you missed it, Yamaha released their YXZ side-by-side a while back and it impressed many enthusiasts with its manually shifted transmission and performance suspension. But not everyone needs a 1,000cc toy; some need a little workhorse with some play thrown in for good measure, and that’s what the Wolverine is. However, just because the Wolverine may look like a farm, ranch, or hunting cabin work machine doesn’t mean it’s not up for a good time. We took a Wolverine on an adventure that was filmed for an upcoming episode of Dirt Every Day on MotorTrendonDemand.com and were fully impressed by the power, traction, and suspension performance of the little machine.
Being truck guys we don’t spend a lot of time behind the wheel of side-by-sides, but we were blown away by how much fun we had, and it made us wonder why we don’t drive one of these more often. With an 850cc engine, four-wheel drive, power steering, and room for four, this might be the perfect ride for both work-week and weekend wheeling.
Our plan for the Wolverine was simple; head to New Mexico for a weekend of exploring. The Wolverine can tow up to 2,000 pounds, so we added a little fishing boat behind it in case we found a mountain lake in the southern Rockies. We first modified the boat’s trailer axle and added some larger tires to help it bounce down the trail behind us. The Yamaha had no problem towing the boat, but we did have some issues trying to get the boat to go over the same terrain that the Wolverine could climb.
Of course we couldn’t leave anything alone, so the Wolverine received a handful of upgrades for our New Mexico Adventure. We added some lights from Baja Designs and a small winch from ComeUp, and both came in handy as we ended up driving into the night. We also added some Cam Can fluid containers from Daystar to help go that extra mile as well as some recovery ropes and soft shackles from Voodoo Off-Road.
Safety should always be a priority with any side-by-side— we ran a set of helmets with intercoms from Rugged Radios. We like these helmets because they have integrated flip-down visors. Even though the Wolverine has a full cage, it’s always best to wear helmets. We also had a Magellan TRX7 GPS with a preset trail that was easy to follow to our destination.
The Wolverine X4 has room for four adults and is designed with a suspension that compensates depending on the amount of payload and number of passengers. Plus, the rear seats allow for adjustment in case you want to haul cargo rather than passengers.
After a few days in the Yamaha we weren’t ready to let it go. The ride and traction ability of the advanced suspension and on-demand four-wheel drive (with two-wheel, four-wheel limited slip and four-wheel locked) not only made the Wolverine capable but also fun to drive. We were more than often amazed at how well the little 4x4 would soak up rutted trails and washouts. Plus, the fact that this little machine has the capability for work, and the features for a fun off-roading machine, makes it the best of both.