How do these Sport-Utility Side-by-Sides compare on paper?
Both the 2017 Yamaha Wolverine R-Spec and Kawasaki Teryx LE fill a unique niche in the Side-by-Side market. The Utility segment leads the way with the Sport machines following. Right between the two sits the recreational segment, which is a little bit Sport and a little bit Utility. That’s where you’ll find the Wolverine and Teryx. These machines are rapidly gaining in popularity with great suspension and handling, decent power and enough utility features to be useful as more than just a toy.
The 2017 Yamaha Wolverine R-Spec EPS and the Kawasaki Teryx LE are closely matched in terms of horsepower and handling, with outstanding suspension. If there is a place you can’t go with either one of these machines, you probably shouldn’t go there with a Side-by-Side, or anything else for that matter.
|2017 Yamaha Wolverine R-Spec||2017 Kawasaki Teryx LE|
|Engine||708cc liquid-cooled DOHC 4-stroke; 4 valves||783cc 4-stroke, 2-cylinder, OHV, 90-degree V liquid-cooled|
|Driveline/Differential||On-Command 3-way locking differential; 2WD, 4WD, locked 4WD; shaft||Selectable 4-wheel drive with locking front differential, shaft|
|Transmission||Ultramatic V-belt with all-wheel engine braking; L, H, N, R||Continuously Variable belt-drive Transmission (CVT) with centrifugal clutch and H, L, N, and reverse|
|Wheelbase||81.3 in||85.6 in|
|Overall Dimensions (LxWxH)||116.9 in x 60.6 in x 74.2 in||125.4 in x 61.6 in x 79.7 in|
|Weight||1,311 lbs (dry)||1,589 lbs (wet)|
|Front Tires||AT26 x 8-12||27×9-14|
|Rear Tires||AT26 x 8-12||27×11-14|
|Ground Clearance||11.4 in||11.2 in|
|Fuel Capacity||9.7 gal||7.9 gal|
|Front Suspension/Travel||Independent double wishbone, KYB fully adjustable shocks; 9.7 in travel||Dual A-arm with a piggyback reservoir coil-over Fox Podium shocks, with adjustable spring preload and 24-way compression damping/8.0 in|
|Rear Suspension/Travel||Independent double wishbone, anti-sway bar, KYB fully adjustable shocks; 10.6 in travel||Independent Rear Suspension (IRS) with a piggyback reservoir coil-over Fox Podium shocks, with adjustable spring preload and 24-way compression damping/8.3 in|
|Front / Rear Brakes||Dual hydraulic disc / Dual hydraulic disk, multi-dis wet parking brake||Dual hydraulic discs with two-piston calipers / Sealed, oil-bathed, multi-disc|
|Bed Capacity||300 lbs||600 lbs|
Yamaha uses a 708cc liquid-cooled DOHC 4-stroke single cylinder with four valves in the Wolverine R-Spec. Yamaha has done a lot with single-cylinder engines and it’s really good at them. Singles are a unique animal, and fitting for the Wolverine. You get lots of low-end torque and grunt from that big piston chugging along. You do pick up a bit of extra noise and vibration from singles, just because of the nature of them, but it isn’t bad with the Yammie. This is a great engine.
As for the Teryx, it relies on Kawasaki’s tried and true 783cc V-Twin four-stroke. These engines make a lot of torque as well. Being a V-Twin, it’s really smooth, with a totally different tone and vibration is low as well. The Teryx has full electronic fuel injection with two 36mm Mikuni throttle bodies feeding the Twin. Driving this engine is maximum fun with a hearty growl coming from the centrally located engine.
As for suspension, the Yamaha R-SPEC comes with some pretty outstanding KYB shocks. You have fully adjustable shocks riding on dual wishbones front and rear, with a swaybar in the rear for stability. Travel up front is 9.7 inches and out back there is 10.6 inches. Suspension action is outstanding and adds to the almost invincible feeling the Wolverine inspires in the driver.
Kawasaki outfitted the Teryx with some equally great suspension. Riding on dual A-arms are piggyback reservoir coil-over Fox Podium shocks, with adjustable spring preload and 24-way compression damping. You get 8.0 inches in the front and 8.3 out back. The shocks and suspension system soak up the trails well and allow the driver to tailor the ride to the conditions. The Teryx is a beast that can tackle any terrain out there.
The Whole Package
So with suspension and engines being so close, what’s left to help you make the decision? We get it – it’s not easy. Seating is comfortable in both machines with great layouts. The bed capacity is a major difference. The non-dumping cargo box on the Wolverine holds 300 lbs of gear and has a removable tailgate. The cargo box on the Teryx dumps and holds 600 lbs plus there are two semi-sealed storage compartments behind the seats. Both run Maxxis Bighorn 2.0 tires.
Dimensions are pretty close, too. The Yamaha is 116.9-inches long and the Kawasaki is 118.1 inches long. The Wolverine is 60.6 inches wide versus the Teryx’61.6 inches. As for weight, the Yamaha tips the scales at 1,311 lbs and the Teryx at 1,589 lbs. You get a six-month warranty from Yamaha and a three-year Kawasaki Strong warranty on the Teryx.
So pick your adventure and pick your adventure machine. Both the 2017 Yamaha Wolverine R-Spec EPS and the Kawasaki Teryx LE are up to the challenge. Deciding between the two will probably be the hardest decision you have.