We recently had the opportunity to join Yamaha at the Stony Lonesome OHV Park in Bremen, Alabama. There we would be driving the new 2019 YXZ 1000R SS. Stony Lonesome features 1,450 acres of off-road trails with every difficulty level. The trails interconnect through miles of woods with rocks, mud holes, logs, and challenging hillclimbs. This is a perfect venue to put the new Yamaha through its paces.
The YXZ 1000R SS comes ready to handle any terrain out of the box. Most side-by-side companies have a terrain-specific lineup. For those wanting to go fast through the western deserts, there is a model to satisfy a customer’s needs. There may also be a model for the customers that spend their time in tight-wooded and muddy terrain, much like the Stony Lonesome OHV Park. The Yamaha YXZ was built for handling it all. We had no problems blasting around tight corners in the trees and through the deep mud. The YXZ eats right through whatever terrain it is on.
The YXZ 1000R features automatic five-speed sequential sport shift technology. There are two paddle shifters mounted behind the steering wheel. Once the side-by-side hits a certain miles-per-hour mark, the vehicle will automatically downshift to the next gear. You can literally hit a steep hill in Third or Second gear, come to a complete stop in the middle of that hill, and when you get going again, the side-by-side will automatically shift down to First gear. The gear ratios have also been enhanced over the previous model. No clutch pedal needed!
Yamaha has figured out how to keep the engine cool and interior cabin cooler by moving the radiator to the rear of the vehicle. The design of the UTV brings airflow into the rear of the vehicle resulting in cooler temperatures for the radiator, thus solving overheating issues. Front-mounted radiators would also cause heat to flow right toward the driver. You no longer risk clogging your radiator with mud and other debris. There is a fan that kicks on every once in a while for no more than 10 seconds. When you are driving the vehicle at its limit, you never notice the fan.
This UTV now has bigger tires and bigger brakes. The YXZ 1000R comes standard with 29-inch, 8-ply Maxxis Big Horn tires. The ride is also smoother with the Fox RC2 shocks. We had no problems getting through the rocks on the trails of Stony Lonesome. The shocks gave us 16.2 inches of travel in the front and 17 inches in the rear. Another feature we like on the YXZ is the front hood. Its downward design allows you to have better visibility on what is coming up in front of you.
Overall we really think the Yamaha engineers listened to their customers when building the 2019 YXZ model. This side-by-side will be perfect for any terrain you prefer. There are a ton of upgrades from Yamaha and other aftermarket companies available. We think the YXZ is capable, handles great, and is tons of fun to drive.