A well thought out six-seat Side-by-Side
It has only been a year since Yamaha first took the cover off the Viking 700 Side-by-Side. So pleased was Yamaha with its three-seat Utility machine that it decided to double the fun for model year 2015 with the six-person Viking VI.
Just a few days ago in the musical city of Austin, Texas we had the chance to see the 2015 Yamaha Viking VI up close and get behind the wheel for a test session.
Discuss this at our Yamaha Viking Forum.
Yamaha boasts that the Viking VI is the first true six-person Side-by-Side on the market. Rather than having two three-person bench seats, Yamaha created an individual seat for each passenger. Just like the front section of seating, the center passenger is situated rearward just enough to clear the shoulders of the left and right side riders. As with the original Viking, these seats all have individual three-point harnesses to keep everyone safe. Every sculpted seat contours to its passenger to give the support needed for long days in the saddle. Yamaha even took the rear-seated passengers into consideration to the point of making the front seat headrests hollow for optimal viewing of the trail in front of them. As well, positioning the rear passengers up 25mm will also lend to clearer vision of the ride ahead.
Ample floorboard space for the passengers onboard the Viking VI benefits from embossed tread to give the confidence and grip needed should a less than inspiring driver take the wheel. The pass through design allows riders to exit on either side of the Viking VI, front or rear. One additional notable would be the crazy amounts of storage under the seats. The Special Edition version of the Viking VI includes a sealed container.
COMPARISON: Read our review of the 2015 Yamaha Viking 700 EPS
Yamaha’s familiar 686cc 4-stroke, liquid cooled, single overhead cam engine powers the 2015 Viking VI. It has received an updated intake system as it now has to travel a little farther up the chassis before reaching the throttle body. The air filter size has been increased and fuel injection mapping has been adjusted specifically for the Viking VI as well. Liquid cooling for the four-valve mill was increased to keep the pressure down during the hardest working days.
The Yamaha Ultramatic fully automatic belt driven transmission also received calibration to handle the added weight and cargo capacity. Getting the power to the ground, Viking owners are given an option of 2WD, 4WD, and 4WD fully locked front differential. This means when the trail or terrain gets rough you can engage a little more help from the driveline.
To give the chassis a little more support, Yamaha added gusseting to the A-arms for strength and durability. Other chassis notables include raised sides of the lower framework. Giving the Viking VI the best possible trail momentum, the undercarriage sides have been raised 60mm upward to prevent high center on rough trails. The original Viking had this fabrication touch but it is well worth mentioning that the covered underbelly slips over obstacles with ease.
Of course, moving a large machine means you will also need a way to stop the beast. Yamaha engineers raised the stopping power of the Viking VI’s new four-wheel dual piston brake calipers with thermal shims to reduce heat while making braking a cinch! Transferring the braking initiative to the ground are Maxxis Bighorn tires. These six-ply heavy-duty tires have been designed to give the larger Viking VI the same great handling with the added weight and length.
COMPARISON: Read our review of the 2014 Honda Pioneer 700-4
Taking into consideration that we have had limited time in this new machine, we did figure out several things that great potential in the world of working class UTVs. The purpose for the Viking VI is to move people as well as to make it as enjoyable and safe as possible. With that said, we know working ranches as well as larger families will benefit from the machine.
Driving the Viking VI is easy and comfortable. From the minute we sat down into the driver’s seat there was a sense of confidence and after adding several other riders we knew this would be a very stable platform.
The Viking VI walked right through sharp corners without any trouble. In fact, the turning radius seemed surprisingly tight for a larger ride like this and chassis roll on off-camber terrain was limited. Power output from the 686cc four-stroke is ample for the loaded cab, but we did not have a chance to load the machine with both passengers and heavy amounts of towable cargo.
An item we failed to mention above is the addition of optional electronic power steering (EPS). We are big proponents of power steering and feel every machine holding more than three people should come with power steering no questions asked. With that said, the EPS on our Viking VI worked very well and again inspired confidence in each handling situation.
COMPARISON: Read our feature on the 2014 Polaris Ranger CREW 900
Sitting in the front or rear center seats, we felt right at home and the handholds seemed to be placed in good positions without too far a reach for most riders. Sitting left or right of the center in the rear seats, we did notice the front seat shoulder bolsters framework seemed to dig into the knees of taller riders at times. It was distracting, but not painful.
This machine, with its extra passenger capacity, will make a great asset to the intended market and it is fun to drive regardless of work time. We had the chance to test the four-wheel disc brakes and we can tell you with a loaded ride the brakes work surprisingly well while maintaining control in the process.
The 2015 Yamaha Viking VI comes in Hunter Green, Red, and Realtree AP HD camo. MSRP for standard versions starts at $12,799 for non-EPS and $13,799 for EPS models. A Viking VI EPS Special Edition in Matte Silver with Soft Suntop comes with an MSRP of $14,999 and includes aluminum wheels, overfenders, mud flaps, soft sun top, Yamaha’s bed rail accessory mounts, and the abovementioned sealed storage compartment under the left rear seat.
Overall the evolution of the Viking line is gaining momentum and we should all be excited that companies like Yamaha are coming to the table with equipment like this. We can’t wait to see what the creative minds at Yamaha push out of the Newnan, Ga. plant next.
|2014 Yamaha Viking 700 Specs|
|Engine:||686cc liquid-cooled w/fan, 4-stroke; SOHC, 4 valves|
|Bore x Stroke:||102.0 x 84.0 mm|
|Fuel Delivery:||Yamaha Fuel Injection (YFI)|
|Ignition:||TCI: Transistor Controlled Ignition|
|Transmission:||Yamaha Ultramatic V-belt with all-wheel engine braking; L, H, N, R|
|Drivetrain:||Yamaha On-Command pushbutton; 3-way locking differential; 2WD, 4WD, locked 4WD; shaft drive|
|Front Suspension:||Independent double-wishbone; 8.1 inches travel|
|Rear Suspension:||Independent double-wishbone with anti-sway bar; 8.1 inches travel|
|Front Brakes:||Dual hydraulic disc|
|Rear Brake:||Dual hydraulic disc|
|Front Tires:||AT25 x 8-12|
|Rear Tires:||AT25 x 10-12|
|Length/Width/Height:||153.5 x 61.8 x 76.6 in|
|Curb Weight:||1,634 lbs|
|Ground Clearance:||11.4 in|
|Fuel Capacity:||9.7 US gal.|
|Turning Radius:||244.1 in|
|Bed Capacity:||600 lbs|
|Towing Capacity:||1,500 lbs|
|Colors:||Hunter Green; Red; Realtree AP HD|
|Base MSRP:||$12,799 ($13,799 EPS)|