Whether you’re hauling deer, gear for a work day at camp or just riding around on a nice afternoon with family, the line of side-by-side utility vehicles offered today gives folks a lot more options.
Early utility vehicles were, as new things are, a bit bumpy and clunky. Steering was questionable. There were little things like head space and a bump now and then, or banged knees, and questions about power and stealth. From those early days we’re now finding utility vehicles with all sorts of comfortable interiors, better suspensions, stronger engines and other numerous options.
Yamaha recently announced its new Viking EPS Side-by-Side (SxS) vehicle for three-person, multi-purpose use. It combines Yamaha’s most powerful four-wheel drive engine with a comfortable three-person cab and precision steering and handling.
The Viking’s exclusive pass-through bucket seating features a unique off-set center position (set 5 degrees back) that improves comfort with maximum shoulder room for all three occupants. This is the only vehicle in its class with three-point seat belts for everyone, plus headrests all around, adjustable handhold for both passengers and a textured floorboard with dedicated foot wells. Its seating position even provides for more head room than competitive models without sacrificing critical ground clearance.
Power comes from Yamaha’s strongest four-wheel drive engine to date – a 686cc liquid-cooled 4-stroke, SOHC, single-cylinder, 4-valve fuel-injected engine that provides peak performance at maximum capacity. It has been optimized for working conditions with strong low-end torque while quick throttle response and smooth power delivery are maintained throughout the rev range. Yamaha Fuel Injection delivers consistent starts and power even at elevation and in cold weather, and the Viking has a 9.7-gallon fuel tank.
Yamaha’s three-way On-Command system, featuring 2WD, 4WD and 4WD with differential lock, is a driver-controlled system with an automotive-type rotary dial selector. This driver-controlled system gives the driver the control and confidence to lock in all four wheels based on the terrain – a significant benefit over other automated systems on competitive models.
Other features include Yamaha’s Ultramatic transmission with dual speed gearing and an automatic centrifugal clutch, all-wheel engine braking, and an optional Electric Power Steering (EPS) system with the balance of light feeling with positive feedback from the terrain. The system reads steering wheel torque, vehicle speed, On-Command setting and negative feedback to determine the appropriate amount of assist in any given situation.
The rear steel cargo bed was purpose-built for durability and convenience. Large enough to carry a fully loaded pallet, the assisted dump bed can pack up to 600 pounds of equipment and supplies while the standard 2-inch receiver hitch is rated to pull 1,500 pounds.
The Viking’s chassis also contributes to its off-road capability with nearly 12-inches of ground clearance at the lowest point, a full steel/composite smooth skid plate front to back and side to side, and an optimized frame with up-turned side rails allowing for smoother transitions over obstacles. The exclusively-designed Maxxis Big Horn 2.0 tires, long-travel four-wheel independent suspension and gas-charged shocks help reach the delicate balance of damping and resistance with one or three people, fully loaded or empty.
The all-new Viking EPS and non-EPS models will be available starting this August. Standard models come in Steel Blue, Hunter Green (with sun top), Red (with sun top) and Realtree AP HD camo (with sun top). The non-EPS models start at $11,499 MSRP while the EPS models start at $12,499 MSRP. A Special Edition Tactical Black model will be available in spring 2014.
New Grizzly ATV, Too
Yamaha also has announced a new Grizzly 700 FI EPS featuring awider tread width — 60mm wider overall — and a new longer suspension stroke on both the front and rear shocks for comfortable low speed ride and responsive handling.
The Grizzly 700’s power comes from a 686cc engine with a new four-valve head and a 10.0:1 compression ratio (up from 9.1:2) that delivers optimum torque for work or challenging trails. The four-valve combustion chamber design produces a potent combination of low-rev torque and instant throttle response while improving fuel efficiency. The Grizzly also features Mikuni fuel injection with a 44mm bore and throttle position sensor which makes for smooth throttle response and easy starts even in cold weather and at high altitudes.
The Grizzly 700 boasts Yamaha’s exclusive three-position On-Command 4WD system for control between 2WD, limited-slip 4WD and a fully locked differential 4WD — all with the push of a button. It has a fully automatic Ultramatic transmission with dual-range (Hi/Lo) drive and reverse.
Details at www.YamahaOutdoors.com.