Road Use Regulation Roundup: June 2018

golf cart signThe following is a summary of some of the road use regulations for golf cars, LSVs, ATVs and UTVs that have been passed or are being considered at the state, county and city levels since January, 2018.

Some trends in this latest regulation roundup:

  • This roundup saw more legislation related to allowing LSVs on roads as opposed to golf cars and ATVs/UTVs but it is too early to tell if this represents a long term trend and reversal of previous legislative trends favoring golf cars and UTVs.
  • Of special note is legislation in California that is focusing on the development of a regional multi-city plan for LSV transportation. I believe this is the first time a regional approach has been covered in the roundup.
  • Most of the legislative activity occurred in the Midwest and Southeast.

Highland Village, TX – The City Council approved an ordinance allowing the use of NEVs, LSVs and golf cars in the city with certain restrictions.

Myrtle Beach, SC – The City Council passed an ordinance requiring businesses that rent golf cars to get $10 tags on each vehicle.

Glendale, MO – City officials passed an ordinance allowing golf cars to be used on city streets provided they have certain safety features.

Bay St. Louis & Waveland, MS – The state passed legislation that allows the use of LSVs on certain city streets.

Oxford, MS – The owner of a local LSV taxi service requested that the city lower the minimum driving age of such vehicles from 21 years old to address a driver shortage. They lowered it to 20 years old.

Audubon, IA – City Supervisors will likely pass an ordinance allowing the use of ATVs/UTVs on county roads if they have certain safety features.

Newport, RI – The City Council passed an ordinance allowing the use of electric LSVs on local roads.

SanDiego, CA – State legislation is being considered that would allow the use of LSVs on a county wide basis. The legislation, backed by North County cities, would allow for the implementation of regional LSV transportation plans.

Cincinnati, OH – The City Council passed an ordinance creating a three year pilot program for the use of LSVs in the Central Business District and Over-the-Rhine neighborhoods.

Augusta, GA – The City Commission is considering an ordinance that will allow the use of personal transportation vehicles (PTVs) in the central business district. They would initially be used to provide prearranged tours as opposed to taxi service, and could eventually lead to PTV permits for individual owners.

Sanibel Island, FL – The City Council denied the application for the opening of a seven vehicle LSV rental business citing concerns about traffic, safety and the concept being inconsistent with city planning aimed at reducing auto ridership.

Kawasaki Launches Mule PRO-MX UTV Line

2019 Kawasaki Mule PRO-MX EPS

The Mule PRO-MX EPS is part of the new PRO-MX product line from Kawasaki.

Kawasaki Mule PRO-MX EPS LE

The Mule PRO-MX EPS LE adds a roof and aluminum wheels.

Kawasaki Mule PRO-MX EPS Camo

The Mule PRO-MX EPS Camo rounds out the new product line from Kawasaki.

Kawasaki has expanded their Mule PRO series of utility vehicles with the launch of the all new Mule PRO-MX product line for 2019. Positioned as a mid-size compact crossover vehicle for work or play, the MX  product line is smaller in size and price, and features less horsepower, less cargo capacity and less towing capacity than the Mule PRO-FX or Mule PRO-FXR models (SVR recently posted some reviews of the 2018 Mule Pro-FXR). The PRO-MX models seat two rather than three passengers or six in the case of the PRO-FXT models.

The PRO-MX UTVs are powered by a 695cc, 4-stroke, single cylinder DOHC liquid cooled engine mated to a CVT, and has selectable 2WD/4WD/4WD  with rear differential lock along with engine braking. Additional features include:

  • Seating for 2-passengers
  • Speed-sensitive EPS
  • Doors
  • Steel front bumper
  • Steel cargo screen
  • 10.6″ of ground clearance
  • 25″ tires
  • Multi-function digital display
  • Halogen headlights
  • Two LED auxiliary headlamps
  • Tilt adjustable steering wheel

Models in the PRO-MX lineup are 60″ wide compared to 64″ for FX and FXT models and have a 700 lb. rather 999 lb. capacity cargo box as well as the ability to tow up to 1,500 lb. compared to 2,000 lb.

The Mule PRO-MX EPS has an MSRP of $11,999 and is available in Timberline Green or Bright White. The Mule PRO-MX EPS LE is priced at $12,499 and comes in Firecracker Red. LE features include a hard plastic roof and aluminum wheels. The Mule PRO-MX EPS Camo is priced at $12,649 and adds Camouflage Truetimber HTC Green bodywork and a plastic roof.  Learn more:  Kawasaki.com

SVR’s Take:  Over the last several years Kawasaki has transitioned to making their PRO series of utility vehicles the dominant part of their UTV offerings. There are now 18 different models across the Mule PRO FX, FXT, FXR, DX and now MX product lines. The MX models fill in a price point between the smaller more consumer oriented Mule SX line and the rest of the Mule PRO product lines designed for heavier duty utility use.  The price point is similar to their Mule 4000 and 4010 models but the MX models offer more in the way of crossover capabilities.  Marc Cesare, Smallvehicleresource.com

2019 Can-Am UTV Models Unveiled

Can-Am just unveiled their 2019 side-by-side lineup. Rather than introduce completely new models, this round of vehicles includes a host of upgrades across the 2019 Can-Am side-by-side offerings.

2019 Can-Am Defender HD8

The 2019 Can-Am Defender HD8 features upgrades such as more towing capacity and a longer warranty.

Numerous advances to the Defender utility-recreation side-by-side family delivers resourceful solutions for various off-road undertakings. The addition of a class-leading tow rating — now rated at an industry-leading 2,500-lb. (1,134 kg) for units with the HD8 and HD10 engines and a 1-year limited warranty on all Defender 2019 (USA and Canada) models brings more value and a tougher design to owners.

Defender HD8 now has a standard lockable rear differential system, 27 in. (68.6 cm) Maxxis Bighorn 2.0 tire. Defender XT CAB and MAX XT CAB vehicles get a revised 12-in. (30.5) ground clearance supply ample traction and additional space for overcoming demanding obstacles.

2019 Can-Am Defender X mr

The 2019 Defender X mr comes with lower gear ranges and large shocks.

The specialized, mud-ready Defender X mr is fortified with the industry’s top ground clearance at 15-in. (38.1 cm), suspension travel and shock size, with a new larger shock bore. Engineering revisions reduced the lower ranges for both the HIGH and LOW range, while a new lockable rear differential system, with eight total selective modes, makes the specialty X mr even more capable in and out of the mud. The system is even calibrated to prevent turf tearing. The Defender XT-P package now features Smart-Lok traction system with TRAIL mode for maximum footing in every condition, but especially in slow-speed maneuvering. The Defender Lone Star edition receives its own unique and prominent badging, improved cast-aluminum wheels and, like the Defender Mossy Oak Hunting Edition package tougher protective equipment for more resilience in challenging terrain.

2019 Maverick X3 X ds Turbo

Like the rest Maverick X3 lineup, the Maverick X3 Max X ds now features a Smart-Lok front differential and new Dynamic Power Steering system.

2019 Maverick X3 Max X ds

The 2019 MAX versions receive similar upgrades as well.

The invigorating Maverick X3 and Maverick X3 MAX X-package super-sport side-by-sides all receive Smart-Lok, a fully lockable on-the-fly front differential with electronically controlled automatic modes for maximum traction and precision cornering. All X3 side-by-side vehicles get a new high-torque, tri-mode Dynamic Power Steering (DPS) system to improve low-speed riding and enhance input feedback to the driver for a more complete driving experience. Significant engineering adjustments were also made to enhance overall comfort and dependability. The Can-Am engineering team redesigned the front sway bar link to be more durable, which also enhances cornering. A new electrical cover better protects the engine control unit (ECU).

Many new components and the expansion of the existing co-branded partnership agreements with Lonestar Racing, S3 Power Sports and others, have once again grown the Can-Am genuine accessory lineup for 2019. All-new accessories include convenient roof racks, MTX speakers, window nets, ATV Windshields, batteries accessories and much more, providing consumers with more adaptable customization options to meet their needs.

2019 Can-Am Side-By-Side Vehicle Lineup Colorations
• Phoenix Orange — Maverick X3 X ds / Maverick X3 MAX X ds
• Gold, Can-Am Red & Hyper Silver — Maverick X3 X rs / Maverick X3 MAX X rs
• Hyper Silver: Defender DPS HD10 / Defender MAX DPS HD10 / Defender XT HD8 / HD10 / Defender XT CAB HD8 / HD10 / Defender MAX XT HD8 / HD10
• Boreal Green — Commander XT 800R / 1000R / Commander MAX XT 1000
• Carbon Black & Octane Blue — Commander XT 800R / XT 1000R
• New graphics on Carbon Black & Sunburst Yellow X mr packages – Maverick X3 X mr Turbo / X mr Turbo R / Defender X mr

Learn more:  Can-am.brp.com

Textron Launches Prowler Pro UTVs

2019 Textron Off road Prowler Pro

The new 2019 Prowler Pro from Textron Off Road with a 50 hp gas engine.

Textron Off Road recently announced the addition of the Prowler Pro and Prowler Pro XT to their UTV lineup. Targeted at farmers and hunters the Prowler Pro is powered by a 50 hp, 812cc EFI gas engine. Designed to be a “whisper-quiet”, the engine is paired with vibration reducing mounts and a muffler with rubber isolator. The vehicle features a drive-by-wire throttle and CVT drive system that is programmed to compensate for unintended “foot bounce” on rough terrain. Additional key features include:

  • 3 passenger capacity
  • 2/4WD with selectable locking rear differential
  • Double A-arm suspension with gas charged twin tube shocks
  • 10″/9.5″ of front/rear suspension travel
  • 10.75″ of ground clearance
  • 26″ Pro terrain tires
  • Dual piston front calipers and single piston rear calipers
  • 1,000 lb. cargo dump box
  • 2,000 lb. towing capacity
  • Tilt steering
  • Customizable speed control
  • Removable passenger seats
  • Behind-seat storage
  • Dual high/low beam halogen headlights and LED taillights
  • Digital gauge
  • ROPS

The Prowler Pro comes standard rack-and-pinion steering and 12-inch steel wheels in Marsh Green for $11,399. The Prowler Pro XT comes in Dynamic Charcoal or Fire Red and includes electronic power steering and 14-inch machined aluminum wheels for $12,999. All vehicles are sold with a 12-month warranty and will be available in dealerships in May.

Learn more:  Textronoffroad.com

SVR’s Take:  After purchasing Arctic Cat Textron first consolidated and pared down their lineup of vehicles across a number of brands and product lineups and put them under the Textron Off Road macro brand. Since then they have launched a number of new models and are building out their vehicle offerings across a number of segments including performance, sport, crossover and work utility. Textron looks like it could become a major competitor to the traditional powersports companies in the market. The company has significant financial and manufacturing resources as well as engineering expertise to draw upon from its other high tech businesses. One of the keys to success will be building out a dealer network to have the geographical reach and proper distribution channels to reach all the customer segments they are targeting.  Marc Cesare, Smallvehicleresource.com

Yamaha Announces New 2019 Wolverine X2 UTVs

2019 Yamaha Wolverine X2

The new Wolverine X2 side-by-side for 2019 from Yamaha.

Yamaha has revealed new utility vehicles for model year 2019 including the all new Wolverine X2 and updates to their YXZ line of sport side-by-sides. Compared to the current Wolverine the Wolverine X2 features:

  • All-new styling and maximum visibility
  • 847cc DOHC, eight-valve, parallel twin-cylinder engine compared to the 708cc engine
  • All-new 600-pound-rated dump bed compared to a 300 lb. dump bed
  • 2,000 pound towing capacity compared to a 1,500 lb. towing capacity
  • New Ultramatic CVT
  • Pre-Wiring for Yamaha Adventure Pro GPS

Additional key features include:

  • Two-passenger capacity
  • On-Command 3-way locking differential; 2WD, 4WD, full diff-lock 4WD
  • Electric power steering
  • Independent double wishbone suspension with anti-sway bar
  • 8.7″/8.9″ of front/rear suspension travel
  • 11″ of ground clearance
  • Hydraulic disc brakes with shaft mounted parking brake
  • 26″ Maxxis MU75/MU76 tires
  • High back bolstered bucket seats
  • Adjustable driver seat and steering column
  • Doors
  • Fenders
  • LED High/Low headlights
  • New LCD display
  • Noise and vibration dampening features
  • 6 month limited factory warranty

The Wolverine X2 is available in Graphite and has an MSRP of $12,699.

2019 Yamaha Wolverine X2 R-Spec SE

The Wolverine X2 R-Spec SE is part of Yamaha’s new recreation lineup for 2019.

In addition to the Wolverine X2 Yamaha’s 2019 recreation lineup includes the Wolverine X2 R-Spec and the Wolverine R-Spec SE. The Wolverine X2 R-Spec comes with a suntop, aluminum wheels, KYB piggyback shocks, over fenders and is available in Ridge Red or Alpine White for $14,499 or Realtree Edge camo for $14,949. The Wolverine X2 R-Spec SE further adds painted bodywork, color-matched interior and is available in Tactical Black or Backcountry Blue for $15,299.

For the YXZ1000R sport line the changes for 2019 include:

  • New styling
  • A relocated radiator
  • Updated suspension
  • A new ROPS design to increase comfort
  • 29″ Maxxis M917/918 tires instead of 27″Maxxis MU09/10 tires

The sport line includes the base YXZ1000R, the YXZ1000R SE, the YXZ1000R SS and the  YXZ1000R SS SE. The SS models add the Yamaha Sport shift with paddle shifters and auto clutch. The SE versions add beadlock wheels and a suntop. The YXZ line will be available in September and the MSRP has not been published yet.

Learn more:  Yamahamotorsports

Marc Cesare, Smallvehicleresource.com

Kawasaki Mule Pro-FXR Reviews

Kawasaki Mule Pro-FXR

New for 2018 is the Kawasaki Mule Pro-FXR shown here in Atomic Silver.

One of the key additions to Kawasaki’s 2018 utility vehicle lineup is the new Mule Pro-FXR. The Pro-FXR builds on their successful Pro-FX and Pro-FXT models with new styling highlights and recreational features. In the styling department the Mule Pro-FXR features a “truck like appearance” with painted bodywork, low-profile LED inner and halogen outer headlights, front and rear bumpers and contoured two-tone seats. For recreational riding the FXR is shorter than the other Pro Mules (about 12″ shorter than the FX) and sports a shorter turning radius (14.0 ft. compared to 16.0 ft. for the FX) and higher ground clearance (about 0.5″). Pricing for the Mule Pro-FXR starts at $14,999. Other key features of the 2018 Mule Pro-FXR include:

  • 812cc, DOHC, 3-cylinder engine with EFI
  • 2WD/4WD/4WD with rear differential lock
  • Engine braking
  • EPS
  • 10.8″ of ground clearance
  • 1,000 lb. steel cargo bed
  • 2,000 lb. towing capacity

Below are highlights from reviews of the Kawasaki Mule Pro-FXR by trade publications and enthusiasts.

The reviews are generally positive for the Kawasaki Mule Pro-FXR.   This isn’t a high performance trail riding UTV, but a solid performer with a good sized engine, smooth riding suspension, smaller size and tighter turning radius than the Mule Pro-FX and a comfortable cabin. Some of the common comments from across the reviews include:

  • Quiet
  • Smooth ride
  • Handles tougher trail conditions well

ATV.com – Kawasaki sponsored test drive event at Hearst Ranch in California. Rugged and rocky terrain.

  • More of a trail machine without sacrificing too much of the work capabilities
  • Hybrid of the Mule Pro-FX and Teryx
  • Foot shorter than Pro-FX but with same passenger, cargo and towing capacity
  • Wheelbase is more than a foot shorter producing a tighter turning radius
  • Quieter than other Mules. Can hold a conversation on the trail.
  • Shocks smoothed out the bumps on rougher trail sections
  • Not peppy or as responsive as a Teryx but plenty of power delivered smoothly
  • Good stability down hills
  • Good choice for trail riders looking more for comfort and features over performance

Totallandscapecare.com – Kawasaki sponsored test drive event at Hearst Ranch in California.

  • Noticeable truck-like and upscale styling
  • Comfortable cabin and driving experience with contoured seating, padded steering, spacious cabin and speed sensitive power steering
  • Smooth ride
  • Vehicle handles steep drops smoothly thanks to the CVT transmission and engine braking
  • Rubber mounted engine is quiet

NLGhostWolf – Consumer review – Trail riding in Newfoundland, Canada

  • Quiet
  • Very smooth suspension
  • Loves the persimmon red color
  • Very impressed with the vehicle

Consumer Review – Riding on Ozark Mountain logging roads with some snow on the ground

  • Tougher and rides better than a Polaris Ranger
  • No wheel slippage up the hill
  • “Very happy with this Mule”
  • Had a Mule 4010 but a rougher ride

Dealer Walkaround and Review – Mainland Cycle Center of Texas

  • Shorter wheelbase
  • Cargo bed a little shorter
  • Smaller size but many of the same features we like on the Mule Pro-FX
  • 46 mph top speed
  • Fully independent suspension
  • New 27” Duro Power Grip tires
  • Same 812 cc motor that we really like; really smooth
  • Quiet in the cabin
  • New front facia and bumper with aluminum inserts
  • Better feedback from suspension than Mule Pro-FX, less floaty
  • Easy opening doors rather than nets
  • Contoured bench seats are more comfortable
  • Steel bottom 1,000 lb. cargo bed
  • Easy assisted bed dump
  • Stainless steel exhaust
  • Rear differential is overbuilt
  • 3 yr warranty
  • New glove box door is easier to open
  • Plenty of cabin storage
  • Hard top is standard
  • Built-in under driver seat storage
  • Nice tight turning radius
  • Good ground clearance
  • Sporty machine for both work and trail riding

 

Honda Recalls 65,000 Pioneer 1000 UTVs

The 2016 Honda Pioneer 1000 EPS is one of the models being recalled.

Honda is recalling approximately 65,000 Pioneer 1000 utility vehicles because potential muffler overheating may cause a plastic heat shield to melt or catch fire. Consumers should immediately stop using the vehicles and contact a Honda powersports dealer for a free inspection and repair. Honda is contacting all known purchasers directly. The recall involves model year 2016, 2017 and some 2018 three passenger and five passenger Pioneer 1000 vehicles. The vehicles were sold from October 2015 through April 2018. The following recall information is from the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Hazard:  The muffler can overheat, causing the plastic heat shield to melt or catch fire, posing a fire and burn hazard to consumers.

Remedy:  Repair

Recall date:  May 15, 2018

Units:  About 65,000

Consumer Contact:  American Honda toll-free at 866-784-1870 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. PT Monday through Friday or online at http://powersports.honda.com and click on “Recall Information” at the bottom of the page for more information.

Recall Details

Description:  This recall involves all model year 2016 through 2017, and some model year 2018 Honda Pioneer 1000 Vehicles. The recalled vehicles were sold in various colors including: red, blue, green, gray and yellow. The name “HONDA” is on the front, sides and the rear of the vehicle. The model name Pioneer 1000 is printed on a label located on both sides of the vehicle, near the rear. The serial number (VIN #) is stamped in the frame at the left rear, below the tilt-up bed/seat. The following model numbers and serial number ranges are being recalled:

 

MY Model VIN Start
2016 Pioneer 1000 3P

(SXS10M3*)

1HFVE04**G4000001 — 1HFVE04**G4008403
2016 Pioneer 1000 5P

(SXS10M5*)

1HFVE04**G4000001 — 1HFVE04**G4010507
2017 Pioneer 1000 3P

(SXS10M3*)

1HFVE04**H4100001 — 1HFVE04**H4102101
2017 Pioneer 1000 5P

(SXS10M5*)

1HFVE04**H4100001 — 1HFVE04**H4103000
2018 Pioneer 1000 3P

(SXS10M3*)

1HFVE04**G4200001 — 1HFVE04**G4203360
2018 Pioneer 1000 5P

(SXS10M5*)

1HFVE04**G4200001 — 1HFVE04**G4207379

* Variable character

Remedy:  Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled ROVs and contact an authorized Honda Powersports dealer to schedule an appointment for a free inspection and repair. Honda is contacting all known purchasers directly.

Incidents/Injuries:  The firm has received 22 reports of the muffler plastic heat shield melting and three reports of muffler plastic heat shield fires. No injuries have been reported.

Sold At:  Authorized Honda Powersports dealers nationwide from October 2015 through April 2018 for between $14,000 and $22,000.

Manufacturer(s):  American Honda Motor Company Inc., of Torrance, Calif.

Manufactured In:  United States

Recall number:  18-742

Learn More:  CPSC.gov

SVR’s Take:  This is another very large recall for the industry and once again related to an overheating and heat shield issue that can create a fire hazard. While massive recalls by Polaris have probably received the most attention in the industry, other manufacturers have had very large recalls as well.

Horsepower is one of the key vehicle specifications that manufacturers use to differentiate their offerings. This has created an atmosphere of one-upsmanship regarding engine size with each vehicle introduction trying to outdo the last in terms of horsepower. Given the large number of recalls in recent years related to overheating and/or fire hazards one has to wonder if the industry’s expertise in engine technology has outpaced their expertise in handling the additional heat output by these increasingly powerful engines. SVR has been tracking utility vehicle recalls for the past several years.

Marc Cesare, Smallvehicleresource.com

2018 Honda Pioneer 500 Reviews

2018 Honda Pioneer 500 utility vehicle

The 2018 Honda Pioneer 500 is Honda’s entry level utility vehicle.

The 2018 Honda Pioneer 500 is the same as the 2017 version which was updated from the previous model. Priced at $8,999, this entry level Honda utility vehicle is powered by a 475cc liquid cooled, single cylinder four-stroke engine with electronic fuel injection. This two-seater is only 50″ wide, making many trails accessible, and fits in a full-sized pickup’s bed. The Pioneer 500 features selectable 2WD/4WD and a five-speed automatic transmission with a manual mode with paddle shifters and the automatic mode. Switching between modes can be done on the fly. Other key specifications include:

  • Front and rear independent double-wishbone suspensions
  • 5.9″ of front and rear suspension travel
  • 8.5″ of ground clearance
  • 24″ tires
  • Hydraulic disc brakes
  • 1,000 lbs towing capacity
  • 450 lbs rear rack capacity
  • Low doors with safety nets

The Honda Pioneer is available in Red or Olive, or for in Honda Phantom Camo for an additional $600.

The following are highlights from several different reviews of the 2018 Honda Pioneer 500. The reviews are fairly consistent with the general view that the Honda Pioneer 500 is a nicely priced small UTV that is good for the trail and doing smaller size chores around the farm, ranch or work site. The ability to switch between manual and automatic transmission modes and the performance of the transmission are the favorite feature. The engine size is appropriate and peppy enough. The clever door latch system and handling are other well-liked features. The main negative is that the ride can be harsh and the vehicle could use slightly more suspension travel or better shocks.

World-of-ATVs.com Honda Pioneer 500 Review

  • Manual transmission mode gives the vehicle an edge
  • Good for trails and chores around the farm or ranch
  • “Pioneer 500 represents the best bang for the buck…” in its class
  • Requires less maintenance than most machines
  • Sporty feel for recreation and capabilities for utility use
  • Reports by some owners:  Too noisy, harsh ride and lacks a fully locking front differential

Dirtywheelsmag.com – Tested mostly on trails made for quads. Tested 2017 version which is the same as the 2018.

  • Peppy engine
  • Clever door latch system opens doors and folds back safety nets at the same time
  • Nimble handling and crisp steering
  • Increased suspension travel could improve ride
  • “Trail pace that will out-pace the suspension”
  • Comfortable cabin

MrTruck.com

  • Like the door and net latch system
  • Power steering and fulling locking front differential would have been nice
  • Like the paddle shifters and the versatility of the automatic and manual modes
  • Better down hill control with the manual shifting
  • Gas and brake pedals are far enough apart unlike other UTVs
  • Like the lack of center console that can get in the way of your legs
  • 50″ width provides more trail access
  • Not as much wheel travel as my ATVs
  • Great emergency brake
  • Like roll cage for when carrying kids
  • Simple design with crankshafts going directly to drive shafts

 

2018 Yamaha Wolverine X4 Reviews

2018 Yamaha Wolverine X4

The new 2018 Yamaha Wolverine X4, a 4-passenger UTV designed to be more compact and nimble for recreational use.

Yamaha introduced the model year 2018 Wolverine X4 last year. The recreational utility vehicle features a new 847cc, twin-cylinder engine and stowaway full-size rear seats for flexible cargo space. To improve efficiency, the engine features a dry-sump design for a more compact layout, and an offset cylinder block to reduce friction loss, while rubber engine-mounts and a geared counterbalancer are designed to greatly reduce vibration at idle and throughout the RPM range, as well as reduce noise. The X4 also includes the new Yamaha Chip Controlled-Throttle (YCC-T®), a drive-by-wire system providing precise throttle control, and a key controlled speed system for restricting the vehicle’s top speed to 25 mph. The dimensions (59.8″ wide and 82.7″ wheelbase) of the new Wolverine X4 are purposely on the compact end of the scale to provide a more nimble vehicle for more technical trail riding. Other key features and specs include:

  • Ultramatic V-belt transmission with all-wheel engine braking
  • Yamaha On-Command 3-way locking differential; 2WD, 4WD, full diff-lock 4WD
  • 8.7″/8.9″ of front/rear suspension travel
  • 10.7″ of ground clearance
  • Rear self-leveling shocks
  • 26″ Maxxis tires
  • Electronic power steering
  • Hydraulic disc brakes
  • 600 lb. cargo bed capacity
  • 2,000 lb. towing capacity
  • Full underbody skid plates
  • Fully enclosed doors
  • Wide fenders
  • LED headlights and taillights
  • Two 12V DC outlets
  • Four pre-wired accessory switches
  • MSRP $15,999 in Graphite

Model variations include the Wolverine X4 in:

  • Yamaha Blue with overfenders and cast aluminum wheels (MSRP $16,499)
  • Realtree Xtra camo with overfenders and cast aluminum wheels (MSRP $16,899)
  • Matte Silver and Matte Carbon Special Edition (SE) models with overfenders, painted bodywork, color-matched interior and shock springs, and cast aluminum wheels (MSRP $17,249)

According to Yamaha managers they are trying to deliver a 4-seat UTV with some of the handling and size characteristics of a two seater and a high degree of versatility. They believe this segment of the market is currently underserved.

Below are highlights from various reviews of the Yamaha Wolverine X4. Similar competitive vehicles would be the Kawasaki Teryx4 and the Honda Pioneer 1000-5. The reviews are mostly positive. Some of the common positive aspects across the reviewers include:

  • Quiet cabin
  • Comfortable seating front and rear with enough legroom for most riders
  • Good and smooth power from the new engine
  • Smooth transmission
  • Handles well
  • Self-leveling suspension works well
  • Light and precise power steering but still provides enough feel
  • Good sight lines for front and rear passengers

Negative comments include:

  • Driver legroom may be insufficient for taller riders
  • Rear leg position is slightly compromised by engine hump
  • Cargo bed can fit small to medium size coolers/boxes but is not designed for loose material and is limited with four passengers
  • Ingress and egress is a little tricky

UTVDriver.com – Yamaha sponsored test drive at the Brushy Mountain Motorsports Park in Taylorsville, NC. Tight trail conditions.

  • Comfortable seats and ergonomic cockpit
  • Open sightlines
  • More comfortable redesigned seat belt and retractor system
  • Quiet cabin
  • “peppy yet smooth” acceleration and predictable takeoff
  • Good CVT system with no belt concerns no matter the obstacle
  • Top speed in low range of 29 and low 50’s in high gear
  • Non-dump cargo bed is not made for loose material like gravel but can carry small to medium size gear
  • X4 handling “really shines”
  • Very precise and predictable in corners
  • Light steering
  • Smooth gated shifter
  • Self-leveling shocks worked “great” and provided greater than expected comfort in the back seats
  • Comfortable back seats with well-placed angled footrests and grab handles

UTVGiude.net – Yamaha sponsored test drive at the Brushy Mountain Motorsports Park in Taylorsville, NC. Tight trail conditions.

  • Comfortable seats for someone 6` 1″
  • Self-leveling suspension handled a range of different load conditions, from one to four passengers, well
  • Ultramatic CVT worked well even on tight trails, hills, low speeds and in High gear
  • “Wolverine X4 is probably the quietest on the market”
  • Performed well in east coast trail conditions for which it is designed

UTVsportsmag.com – Yamaha sponsored test drive at the Brushy Mountain Motorsports Park in Taylorsville, NC. Tight trail conditions.

  • “Quietest UTV on the market in our minds, bar none.”
  • Torquey new engine
  • Smooth transmission with centrifugal clutch that removes belt lag
  • “really great” engine braking
  • Comfortable seats but footwell area cramped for 6` 3″ driver.
  • Good sight lines
  • Back seats are adjustable for more cargo space or legroom and slightly rasied for stadium-style view
  • Impressed with backseat legroom
  • Interior door handles keep them free of mud and debris
  • “…the X4 goes where you want it to go, even with 4 people aboard.”
  • No pushing in corners
  • Great feedback from power steering and nice ‘feel’
  • Ingress and egress for front and back seats is a “challenge”
  • Limited storage area with four passengers
  • Front seats could sit higher for more legroom

ATV.com – Yamaha sponsored test drive at the Brushy Mountain Motorsports Park in Taylorsville, NC. Tight trail conditions.

  • Comfortable seats
  • New engine with more power throughout RPM range
  • Really smooth throughout the throttle pedal range
  • Torquey response
  • Quiet cabin
  • Easy to shift
  • Handling gives confidence in many trail conditions
  • Self-leveling suspension provides a nice ride
  • Comfortable back seats with ample room and raised position gives good sight lines

Enthusiast Video and Review – jay_man81 – Local dealer demo event. Walk around video and separate ride video.

Walk around video

  • Most comfortable front seats in a UTV that I’ve ridden in
  • Door latch piece makes ingress difficult
  • Shoulder bolster and padded grips in back seats are nice but engine hump moves your legs slightly to the side
  • Nice and comfortable adjustable steering wheel and good cockpit ergonomics
  • Like the parking brake and switch blanks
  • Glovebox has no rubber seal to keep water out
  • One lever auto-style tailgate latch is better than previous tailgate latches
  • Easily accessible air filter
  • Better comfort than my Honda Pioneer 1000 but less power

Drive video

  • Quiet even in low and can converse in the cabin
  • Smooth power delivery
  • Soaks up the bumps and stays planted
  • Seat belt cutting into my neck a little bit
  • Power steering “spot on”. Light but gives enough trail feel
  • 0 – 30 in 5.58 seconds
  • Power in between Pioneer 500 and 1000-5.
  • Good enough power to put a grin on your face
  • Cannot feel any engine heat in the cabin
  • “Quite an impressive machine”

Capital Powersports in North Carolina – Video with comments from customers taking demo drives

  • Handles well
  • Adjustable seats
  • Bigger steering wheel is comfortable
  • Rear seats fold-up
  • Good on the trail
  • Comfortable seats
  • Smooth suspension on all sorts of terrain
  • Good engine braking
  • Good power at higher speeds but some hesitation at lower speeds

Cub Cadet Launches Challenger 400 4×4

The new Challenger 400 4×4 UTV from Cub Cadet.

Cub Cadet continues to expand their utility vehicle line-up with the new Challenger 400 4×4. Building on the 2WD Challenger 400, the compact Challenger 400 4×4 has four-wheel drive and at only 50″ wide can fit into the bed of a standard pick-up truck. The new model is being positioned as a compact crossover UTV for work or play.

This model’s off-road capability is improved with enhanced ground clearance, heavy-duty shocks, 24″off-road tires, rear selectable locking differential and front automatic locking differential. The two-passenger Challenger 400 4×4 also features a 400 lbs cargo bed compared to the 350 lbs cargo bed in the 2WD models and can tow up to 1,200 lbs compared to 500 lbs. Other key specs include:

  • 14 hp, 404cc Subaru EX40 air cooled gas engine
  • 25 mph top speed
  • 10″ aluminum alloy wheels
  • Heavy-duty coil shocks
  • 5″ of front and rear suspension travel
  • Adjustable driver’s seat and adjustable headrests
  • LED headlights and brake light
  • Hard roof
  • 12V in-dash outlet
  • Ball mount and pin hitch
  • Dent-resistant, double-walled cargo bed with tie downs and bed divider slots

The MSRP for the Cub Cadet Challenger 400 4×4 is $7,499. See the manufacturer’s video explaining key features.

The main differences between the new Challenger 400 4×4 and the base Challenger 400 include:

  • 4WD vs. 2WD
  • 400 lbs vs. 350 lbs cargo bed
  • 1,200 lbs vs. 500 lbs towing capacity
  • 6.7″ vs. 5.5″ of ground clearance
  • 5″/5″ vs. 6″/4.5″ of front/rear suspension travel
  • 24″ front and rear tires vs. 21″ front and 22″ rear tires
  • Hard roof
  • Alloy wheels
  • LED brake light
  • Headrests
  • 12V in-dash outlet
  • $7,499 vs. 5,599 MSRP

SVR’s Take:  Cub Cadet has really committed to reinvigorating their utility vehicle line-up. They started with the launch of the Challenger series in 2015 and have steadily added models to their lineup. The work and crossover segments have become highly competitive as many manufacturers view these market segments as growth opportunities. However, to be viable in these segments manufacturers need to make a long term commitment to product development, as the main players in the UTV market are frequently launching new vehicles and smaller manufacturers and imports are active as well. In addition, the main players have taken notice of the success of brands like Cub Cadet in the value end of the market, and launched new lower priced models or enhanced the value of their existing lower priced models.