2024 Yamaha Wolverine X2 1000 Review

Stephen Elmer
by Stephen Elmer

More choice for consumers is never a bad thing and with the new 2024 Yamaha Wolverine X2 1000, a new option has been added to the lineup to offer a middle of the road side-by-side that won’t break the bank while providing plenty of power.

To get the new Wolverine X2 1000 you start with the 999cc liquid-cooled parallel twin engine that was introduced in the RMAX 1000, and based on the name you’d think that it landed in the existing Wolverine X2, but that would be an incorrect assumption. It is true that the body work, styling and much of the interior are taken straight from the smaller Wolverine 850, but the frame, engine mounting point and suspension are all entirely unique from the Wolverine X2 850, making this an entirely separate offering in the Wolverine lineup for multiple reasons.

A double wishbone suspension setup in the front and back utilizes SACHS ZF piggyback shocks on the Wolverine 1000, offering 13.3-inches of travel in the front and 15.5-inches in the rear, a full 4.6-inches better in the front and 6.2-inches more out back than whats found on the Wolverine X2 850. Tires on the Wolverine X2 1000 XT-R are 28-inch Maxxis Bighorns wrapped around 14-inch wheels, slightly larger than what’s used on the 850. Maximum ground clearance is improved by an inch up to 12.5-inches on the new X2 1000 over the 850, while the dimensions are slightly larger with the 1000 listed at 115-inches long, 63.6-inches wide and 77.2-inches tall.

One set of numbers that doesn’t change are towing and payload, as both the Wolverine X2 850 and 1000 are rated for 600 lbs in the dump bed and 2000-lbs of towing using the two-inch hitch receiver out back.

Pricing is another key to the X2 1000’s mission of offering a middle of the road option for Wolverine buyers, with R-SPEC models starting at $17,999 in the US and jumping up to $19,999 for the feature-laden XT-R model. For context, the Wolverine X2 850 starts at $15,799 USD while the XT-R model goes for $17,399. Sitting above the X2 1000 is the RMAX2 1000, which begins its price walk at $22,999 for the R-SPEC model and goes right up to $26,699 for a Limited Edition. That gulf in pricing is an area of the market that Yamaha saw an opportunity and hence the Wolverine X2 1000 was born. But how does it actually work on the trail? Does it feel any different than an 850? The short answer is yes and no, but that’s not a bad thing. Let me explain.

Mash the throttle in the new machine and the X2 1000 jumps off the line and continues to pull strong through the midrange, showing a marked improvement over the 850 in acceleration and overall power. A throttle-by-wire system is employed by this 999cc engine and allows Yamaha to bring its D-Mode switch to the new X2 1000 as well, though here it is an accessory that needs to be added to the machine unlike in the RMAX where it’s standard. The backlit rocker switch offers Crawl, Trail and Sport, all three of which will adjust the throttle response to tailor the drive characteristics to what the driver wants. In crawl the throttle is the least touchy, allowing for smooth operation of the machine at slow speeds, also a handy mode for simply moving the machine around in tight quarters. Switch to trail and the 1000 gets more lively, offering a nice mix of power and precision, while in sport the throttle becomes sensitive, ready to send a max power signal to the engine at the lightest touch.

Electric power steering (EPS) is dialed in on the lighter side in the Wolverine X2 1000, a nice setting for keeping fatigue out of your arms after a day of riding, though if you crave a more connected feeling steering wheel that provides lots of feedback, this isn’t that. In a perfect world the EPS would be adjustable here on the Yamaha, but with that not being on offer, tuning the EPS to the lighter side is a safer bet than leaving too much weight in the wheel.

On the inside the Wolverine X2 1000 distinguishes itself with new soft-touch materials in the areas that passengers feel the most often, the best of which are knee pads that keep you from banging into the hard plastic used on the rest of the door and inner console. Standing at 6’ 2” I fit well in the X2 1000, with the only notable exception being the small plastic guard that Yamaha installs to keep your outside elbow and shoulder from being outside the vehicle. This can be a bit intrusive for larger humans, though in the name of safety I do understand why Yamaha places it there, and it does work as intended. Adjustability is built into both the steering wheel and seat to make sure all heights are accommodated as well.

After a day of riding at Brushy Mountain Motorsports Park in North Carolina, a system filled with technical climbs, rocks, roots and trees, it became more clear who the new Wolverine X2 1000 was designed for. This Yamaha is for the customer that wants maximum powertrain performance without moving into the larger footprint and higher price tag that comes with the RMAX. On tight trails, the X2 1000 feels right sized, and yet it still packs the same bed capacity and tow rating as the larger RMAX, leaving consumers with yet another choice in the Yamaha lineup that could work best for them.

The only real complaint we can level against the Wolverine X2 1000: it’s loud. This 999cc powertrain can be grating after a day of riding, especially when compared to its much quieter 850 counterpart.

More choice for the consumer is always a good thing, and what Yamaha has done with the X2 1000 is bring a new mid-level machine out that sells at an accessible price point. And in this age of high horsepower, high dollar side-by-sides, it’s always nice to see a new middle of the road option hit the market that regular folks can actually afford without needing that 2nd mortgage on the house.

Stephen Elmer
Stephen Elmer

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