2018 Yamaha Wolverine X4 Review + Video
Base MSRP: $15,999
One of the easiest things to do in life is to lose our sense of adventure. We rummage through weeks of work days so intent on doing things as a family unit and rarely do we get those things put into the priority line to actually be accomplished. Even if there was a plan or vehicle to get us going on the path to intense connection with the outdoors and our own family, would we realize it? Well in model year 2018 Yamaha Outdoors hopes to bring us to that moment with the new 2018 Yamaha Wolverine X4.
Our own personal adventure with the latest Wolverine family vehicle took place in a small town due north of Hickory North Carolina. This riding resort is called Brushy Mountain Motorsports Park and it was a prime location for our ride test. Tucked in to the hills and valleys where wildlife abounds was the tight twisty trails that seemed to spin around the area many times over. At 41 degrees, the morning of our test it was chilly but exciting to finally get a little seat time in the new rig.
Slipping down into the cab of the 2018 Yamaha Wolverine X4, we noticed the door bolster and latch plate was a tad intrusive, but once in the seat the comfort surrounds you. The high back seating makes you feel welcome and fits this larger rider very well. Details are in the Yamaha DNA and with a simple seat belt retainer located just below the upper seat belt mount you can more comfortably accommodate shorter riders by weaving the belt into this secondary harness clip. Small items like this are Yamaha’s way of accommodating anyone willing to get out and enjoy the world around us.
The 2018 Yamaha Wolverine X4 is not only a brand new, ground up build for Yamaha that is manufactured in Newnan, Georgia, but it is also setting a serious milestone for Yamaha and its existence in the Side-by-Side segment. What many will soon realize is that the powertrain in this model has set a precedence for what is to come. That’s right, a brand-new machine with a brand-new engine. This Wolverine X4 has a Twin Cylinder long stroke 847cc fuel injected engine that not only brings more power throughout the RPM range, but it produces low vibrations throughout the chassis as well. These are just some of the features and benefits we discovered on the trails this cold October morning. Can you imagine this engine in other chassis? Yeah, we can too!
With the tilt steering set, our ride began with just a simple twist of the key. Our initial impression of the engine and its manners is that it is not only quiet and keeps the cab noise down really low, but it seems to be really smooth and there are no annoying noises throughout the throttle pedal range that would be distracting or concerning. The gated shifter in the console is super easy to shift into forward gears or reverse gearing with no clunky feeling as the transmission gets itself ready to go. As you step into the pedal you will instantly realize that there is a new mill in town and the torquey response is impressive.
On the trail, the twisting climbs through Brushy Mountain were not only fun but it really showcased the agility of the new chassis. The narrow 59.8-inch width really gets you into sections of tree lined trail with ease. Turning the X4 is also a breeze as it seems to slip around corners even if they are tight and up-hill or off camber. The trails were covered in some areas by huge rocks and plenty of rutted or very off camber ditches which were changing sides on the trail regularly even in short stretches of about 20 feet. The dual sway bars front and rear seemed to help this issue by keeping the machine nice and steady in those situations. There were a couple of downhill sections that gave our mind a run for the money, but with a steady pace and a good line, the 2018 Yamaha Wolverine X4 stepped right through it. It really does give the driver confidence in getting up or down most any trail.
The belly of this new Wolverine X4 is dressed in Yamaha’s welded on steel skid plates covering the vitals and with up to 10.7 inches of ground clearance there weren’t many obstacles that we encountered that would grab at the machine. These skids are also tapered on the sides to maximize available ground clearance and to keep the machine sliding along debris instead of getting hung up on it.
Suspension is another great point of interest as Yamaha has utilized the “self-leveling” shock technology on the rear of Wolverine X4. These rear shocks will adjust to the amount of load in the cab and keep the unit at its neutral or desired ground clearance. If you have just one rider then you may not notice the suspension adjustment but when the second, third or fourth passenger get in it keeps not only the comfort but height as well. Great stuff for sure! The ride is great for a single passenger, as well. Suspension travel is in the 8.7-inch range for the front and 8.9 out back.
Another interesting feature about the 2018 Yamaha Wolverine X4 is the rear passenger seating area. The extra two seats provide ample room tall passengers. With floors purposely angled to better suit the rear passenger’s foot position, the high back seats also feel just as comfortable as the front. Rear seats are elevated to allow the rear riders to see over or perhaps beyond the front passengers to keep the excitement of the trail in view. We had been given the opportunity to test out the movable rear seats as well and simply lifting the seat base, unlocking the back of the seat allows you to easily push it forward. This creates storage space for any gear you might need on the trail. Yamaha does offer a cargo box that is molded plastic and takes the place of the tail gate for extra cargo area when every seat is filled.
Overall, we had a great day in the new 2018 Yamaha Wolverine X4. We didn’t have a chance to get into any real mud or forge any water, but all other elements of trail encounters had been experienced from rock gardens, root walls and steep switchbacks both up and down gave us plenty of excitement. And we can tell you confidently that it really does handle terrain of many kinds.