FIRST LOOK: 2017 YAMAHA WOLVERINE R-SPEC EPS SPECIAL EDITIONPosted in News on August 8, 2016
Yamaha has officially revealed their 2017 Wolverine and they did it in beautiful, and as it turned out, very rainy, Prescott, Arizona. The Wolverine we drove was the R-Spec EPS Special Edition, which is equipped with some goodies that the standard model won’t have.
The Wolverine moniker covers what Yamaha calls their “Recreational Side by Side” line (the YXZ is “Pure Sport SxS” while the Viking is “Utility SxS”), and they have expanded the line to include the Wolverine EPS and Wolverine R-Spec EPS along with the Special Edition. Prices range from (approx.) $11,000 for the base model and up to $14,800 for the R-Spec EPS Special Edition.
We drove the Special Edition, and what sets the SE apart from the rest of the line is that it comes with an attractive Matte Silver and black with yellow accents paint scheme, beadlock wheels, a suntop and a few other goodies. Fit and finish is typical Yamaha, so it’ll last a long time and should work well the whole time.
The EPS stands for electric power steering, and it’s available on the Wolverine EPS and R-Spec EPS models too, but not the base unit. It worked well with good feel and response, turned around in a 181-inch radius and made driving the SE easy even under rough conditions. The SE model also comes with a rubberized and padded steering wheel the lessor models don’t get.
The 708cc 4-stroke engine features dual overhead cams, is fuel injected and uses a 44mm throttle body to let the air in. The air filter is beneath the center console and can be removed without tools. Even with the high altitude found in Prescott, we found the engine to be snappy and pushed the Wolverine to fun speeds around the Gunsite trails. The Wolverine has decent range thanks to the 9.7-gallon fuel tank.
Unlike the YXZ, the Wolverine utilizes a CVT transmission that they call the Ultramatic. It provides a good, quick power-to-the-ground feeling and even allows for engine braking when descending hills or just slowing down. A dash-mounted switch provides for quick selection of 2wd, 4wd or 4wd with locked differentials. Even with the mud, we never needed the lockers, and the Wolverine worked well when twisting through the trees or going up slippery hills.
The dual wishbone-based, independent front and rear suspensions worked well, partly in thanks to the adjustable, piggyback KYB shocks. Wheel travel measures out to 9.7-inches up front with 10.6 in the rear and the 26-inch Maxxis Bighorn 2.0 tires kept us moving forward no matter what the terrain was like. Braking is done with per wheel disc brakes that worked well with good feel and power.
One thing we really liked were the skid plates that adorned the Wolverine SE. With 11.4-inches of ground clearance, a full-length plate protected the entire underside of the Wolverine, and the lower arms each featured a wrap around plates of their own.
Interior wise, the Wolverine is fine but may be a little cramped for anyone way over 6-feet tall. The twin seats are comfortable enough and a 3-point, automotive style seat belt keeps the occupants in place, though we’d really like to see a 4-point harness arraignment. There’s a “dead pedal” for the driver and a center handle for the occupant. An LED dash provides all the pertinent information and is easy to read. A large center console provides plenty of storage and there’s even a glove box to stash more stuff. Thanks to the rain and muddy conditions we really needed tear-off’s, but were able to easily access the wad of paper towels in the center console one-handed even while wearing gloves and under power. Simply dropping the lid ensured the latch was, well, latched.
Yamaha provides a wide range of aftermarket accessories for their SxS’s, and our SE had one of their Cargo Bed Boxes, which came in handy for keeping our camera bags out of the rain. There’s also LED light bars, windshields, mirrors, Warn winches and lots of other neat items to be had. It has a hitch receiver, and can tow up to 1500lbs. while the bed is rated to hold 300lbs. The tie-down hooks are mounted to the frame too, not just to the bed itself.
Always ones to put on a good show, Yamaha held the Wolverine’s reveal at the sprawling Gunsite Academy of Paulden, AZ, where the lessons are learned at the end of a smoking barrel. If you like shooting guns under the expert tutelage of ex-military instructors (there was even one guy who is retired Delta Special Forces!), Gunsite (www.gunsite.com) is the place for you.
So in addition to driving the Wolverine around Gunsite’s huge compound, they gave a bunch of journalist’s from both UTV and gun magazines Ruger pistols and long guns and Prime ammunition. We proceeded to point them at targets both near and far. Like 650 yards-plus far. They even had a “funhouse” where we “cleared” a building with double taps to posters of bad guys…and one guy only holding a beer. But hey, our grouping was good and he looked sketchy anyway.
But the funnest part was when we were paired off side-by-side with another shooter where we drew our weapons and shot at 4 metal targets, with a mandatory clip change before the final target to see who put them down the quickest. We made it to the finals where we narrowly lost to one of the gun mag guys. But we beat the other dirt guys, and that’s all that really mattered.
For weekend fun seekers, the Wolverine is a vehicle that anyone in the family can drive. It did everything we expected it to do, and did it well. It’s not a racecar, but with a little help, it could probably do well in the 700cc class. Never let anyone tell you that it doesn’t rain in Arizona; it rained buckets, but the Wolverine powered us through the resulting challenging (wet) to perfect (dry-er) conditions without any trouble.
All in all, the 2017 Yamaha Wolverine R-Spec EPS Special Edition is a very capable unit that is indeed “recreational,” as the fun factor of the unit was high. Our overall rating is a solid 4+ grins out of 5. We’d buy one, and don’t think you’d go wrong by buying one too.
Engine Type: 708cc 4-Stroke Liquid-Cooled Dohc-4 Valves
Bore x Stroke: 103.0mm x 85.0mm
Compression Ratio: 10.1:1
Fuel Delivery: Yamaha Fuel Injection (YFI), 44mm Throttle Body
Ignition: TCI- Transistor Controlled Ignition
Transmisission: Ultramatic V-Belt With All-Wheel Engine Braking; L, H, N, R
Final Drive: On-Command 3-Way Locking Differential; 2wd, 4wd, Locked 4wd
Suspension / Front: Independent Double Wishbone, KYB Fully Adjustable Shocks; 9.7-Inches of Travel
Suspension/ Rear: Independent Double Wishbone, Anti-Sway Bar, KYB Fully Adjustable Shocks; 10.6-Inches of Travel
Brakes / Front: Dual Hydraulic Disk
Brakes / Rear: Dual Hydraulic Disk, Multi-Disk Wet Parking Brake
Tires / Front: AT26 x 8-12-Inches
Tires/ Rear: AT 26 x 10-12-Inches
LXWXH: 117.0 X 60.6 X 74.2-Inches
Turning Radius: 181.1-Inches
Maximum Ground Clearance: 11.4-Inches
Fuel Capacity: 9.7 Gallons
Wet Weight: 1404lbs.
Bed Capacity: 300lbs.
Towing Capacity: 1500lbs.
Matte Silver and Black with Yellow Accents
Warranty: 6 Month Limited Factory Warranty