The Yamaha Rhino was the first side-by-side vehicle in the UTV segment to blur the lines between a hard-working farming implement and the go-fast joy rides in use today. Highly popular because of their ability to get work done on the ranch, and then without alteration head out on the trail with confidence to spare, Rhinos simply rule. Today, several would-be competitors have entered the market, each with a slightly different emphasis on trail performance or utilitarian function. However, unlike most others in the segment, the Rhino's two passenger/dump box configuration is compact enough to fit inside the bed of a typical full-size pickup-no trailer required. No other manufacturer in the UTV segment can make that claim. Some possess higher payload capacities, but bed-ability remains exclusive to the Rhino. Perhaps that is why the Rhino remains the best selling side-by-side of the bunch.
New features on the 2011 model include a revised steering wheel and adjustable seatbelts. The update was intended to provide more rider comfort. Also new to the Rhino lineup is a White Armor Sport Edition exterior treatment which, like the Brushed Silver Sport model we tested, features adjustable piggyback shocks, one-piece cast aluminum wheels, dealer-installed LED taillights, a custom shift knob, black bed rails, and an injection-molded sun top.
Manufactured at Yamaha's Newnan, Georgia facility, the Rhino 700 features a 686cc single-piston four-stroke engine that puts out 27.3 horsepower in stock form. Thanks to a 41mm intake port and a 32-bit electronically controlled ignition system, the Rhino 700 runs smoothly at virtually any elevation, and thanks to a potent oversized liquid cooling system, the engine runs cool in even the toughest of environments.
We tested our demo unit for a whole week at our 2010 Top Truck Challenge event in California's Hollister Hills SVRA. As such, we utilized all functions of the machine, including the selectable locking front differential and low-range gearing of the Ultramatic gearbox. We loved the way the Ultramatic allowed downhill engine braking-an exclusive feature you will not find on other side-by-side vehicles.
Another key feature we thought was worth mentioning was the adjustable piggyback remote-reservoir shock absorbers found only under the Sport model. These shocks offer five-way adjustability via a clocking ring mounted to the shock body. With this setup, you can dial in the preload of the coilover shocks for any given terrain or driving style. We tested this feature and found a very noticeable difference in the way the vehicle responded to terrain.
- Vehicle model: 2010 Yamaha Rhino 700 Sport
- Price as tested: $12,699
- Color: Brushed Silver
- Type: Four stroke, liquid-cooled, single-cylinder gasoline
- Displacement (cc): 686
- Aspiration: EFI
- Transmission: CVT
- Final drive: Shaft
- Suspension, f/r: Independent double wishbone/independent double wishbone
- Brakes, f/r: Disc/disc
- Tires: 25-in mud
- Weight (lb): 1,207
- Length (in): 113.6
- Width (in): 54.4
- Height (in): 73
- Ground clearance (in): 12.1
- Fuel capacity (gal): 7.9
- Wheelbase (in): 75.2
- Towing capacity (lb): 1,212
- Cargo bed capacity (lb): 400
- Cargo bed dimensions, LxWxH (in): 34x44x12