THE WOLVERINE X2 EPS Clearly, the biggest news in Yamaha’s 2019 UTV lineup, the all-new Wolverine X2 gets a purpose-built, twin cylinder 847cc motor and a radically new chassis. Yamaha designed and developed this newest two seat platform to be the ultimate recreational UTV. A silent killer on the tightest, most technical of trails, and a formidable work partner in the field or on the job site. More power, more payload, and increased handling in a slightly smaller machine that is also noticeably quieter and overall, smoother to operate. On paper, this new machine is a great improvement on an already stellar performing trail UTV.
THE NEW STUFF
The twin cylinder engine is probably the biggest news; it claims 32% increase in HP and 47% more torque than the big bore, single found in the previous Wolverine. Yamaha went to great lengths to ensure this engine platform to be both ultra-quiet and ridiculously smooth. You will also notice that it’s virtually vibration free, due a counter-balanced design and vibration isolating, and minimizing rubber dampers. While this new ultra- quiet, high-performance motor is a huge deal, Yamaha has made a whole slew of other improvements to the two-seat Wolverine as well. The newest crossover sport-utility workhorse is designed to be compact and nimble, excelling on the trail, yet ready to outwork the competition when it gets the chance. One slight, but very important change is the X2’s overall size. In a world of bigger, badder, better perception, the thought of reducing width, overall length, and suspension travel might seem like a step in the wrong direction. It’s not! Clearly de- signed to excel in the tighter, more heavily treed trail systems like you might find on the East Coast, or even the Pacific Northwest, the new X2 is 1.6” narrower than the previous model. The 59” overall width is a welcome relief when looking for that line through the trees, or rocks. The 59” wide machine also really shines when it comes to transporting to and from the trail system, as the Wolverine X2 will fit comfortably in the bed of just about any long bed pickup truck. The X2’s turning radius has also shrunk by 4 inches from its 700 predecessor.
Slightly lower suspension travel numbers still more than adequately soak up the terrain, yet directly correlate with improved handling accuracy, stability and payload increase. The improved stability and lower CG more than makes up for the X2’s slightly narrower track width. The Wolverine X2 suspension is designed to provide stability and confidence, whether at speed, or loaded down in the field.
Smooth, quiet, and comfortable operation was Yamaha’s key focus on the Wolverine X2. Engineers cut no corners in designing a machine that can be driven all day without wearing on the driver and/or passenger. This starts with the ultra-smooth suspension and steering, and finished with building a machine so quiet that you can hold a conversation with your passenger. We don’t mean yelling at them, we’re talking an actual human conversation while driving. No screaming over the exhaust note, or engine noise. Ultra-quiet operation was achieved with a counter-balanced engine that features an isolation and vibration minimizing design. Rubber damping kills the rattles and vibration buzz, while an extremely quiet muffler design brings the exhaust note to almost nothing.
The ATV WORLD crew got a solid week behind the wheel of Yamaha’s newest UTV model, the Wolverine X2. We spent the middle of July touring hundreds of miles of trails in Northern, Ontario. The scenery was amazing and the trails ranged from gravel roads in shaded forests, to muddy wetlands, and even up into a volcanic rock area. We drove the base model X2 with steel wheels and lower end preload adjustable shocks. The special edition R-Spec model comes with aluminum wheels and very high quality KYB’s that are fully adjustable, and offer even more resistance to bottoming and fade. The R-Spec shocks would probably be a welcome upgrade on more aggressive terrain, but for the tourism type riding we did, our base model suspension worked flawlessly.
The suspension set-up is extremely stable and confidence inspiring, as it stays nice and flat in the higher speed turns. The X2 shocks are plush enough to soak up the small chatter bumps, but still have enough bottoming resistance for the bigger bumps and g-outs that sneak up along the trail. You can definitely find the bottom of these shocks on a severe g-out, but it still stayed square and controlled. Obstacles like this were also extremely rare on the trails we rode. We spent the majority of our time in the X2 toting a decent sized, fairly heavy ice chest, supply bag and my camera bag. The additional weight was nowhere near its capacity, but still substantial for most UTVs. The additional payload made virtually no difference in the handling, as we would pull it out for most of the photo opportunities, and you really couldn’t even tell.
Acceleration was another area that didn’t seem to care if we were packing an extra hundred pounds or not. The way it comes from Yamaha, the X2 is not a fast UTV, but it’s very torquey and plenty quick. Truth be told, Yamaha has a speed cutout that limits you at just about 52 mph or 83-83 kph. We found ourselves leaning on the edge of it a handful of times, but we were also driving on a handful of wide open, flat dirt roads. That said, this is a trail machine that thrives on tough, technical terrain. In its intended element, 84 kph is plenty fast, and you would have a hard time even seeing the 70 range for any period of time. The 850cc X2 has plenty of HP to blast up the tougher hill climbs, but it is just as happy slowly and comfortably crawling up difficult terrain. Where many UTVs need the momentum to conquer a climb, the Wolverine will impress with controllable, smooth, bottom end power and traction that will impress in any terrain type.
The Wolverine’s ability to crawl along efficiently was really impressive, and a big part of it is in the clutch- ing. Yamaha has truly had CVT type clutching dialed in from the beginning, and yet they still continue to tweak and tune to make it better with each new model release. Yamaha’s Ultramatic CVT clutch uses both a type of wet clutch and a belt system for incredibly efficient clutching that has always been flat out reliable. Losing CVT belts has never been a Yamaha trait, and it won’t be with the Wolverine either. The Ultramatic CVT feeds a steady stream of power to the ground with selectable two wheel drive, a limited slip 4wd, or even the option of full diff lock. You can conquer most any trail obstacle in limited slip 4wd, but extreme rock crawling is incredibly easier and more controlled with the advantages of a true diff lock like the Yamaha has. The Speed Key is another cool power de- livery factor with the Wolverine X2. The removable speed key is designed to cut the x2’s maximum speed to 25 mph for employees, job sites, or even new drivers. Turn the key one way for full speed ac- cess, or turn it the other way and remove it for limited. What’s extra cool about the Yamaha system is that it still allows maximum power for hill climbs or trailer pulling, etc., whereas many other models cut the performance, or limit RPM with the speed limiter.
LEGENDARY YAMAHA FIT, FINISH, & DURABILITY
Yamaha is well known for building machines with high quality parts and materials. Yamaha ATVs and UTVs have always gone above and beyond in areas like fit and finish, as well as downright durability, and the Wolverine X2 is a prime example of this. While every manufacturer has their ups and downs, it’s the little details that stand out with a Yamaha. Things like quality door latches that are easy to operate, but won’t fly open on you going down the trail. High quality plastic that will gouge upon impact versus cracking or splitting is another Yamaha trait that we can really stand behind. Yamaha engineers have also designed the front plastic fascia with a steep transition to improve line of sight and trail visibility. Things like this really add up in a finished product that exudes quality and ingenuity.
Overall, the X2 is going to be a great trail/utility UTV. It’s extremely comfortable, quiet and easy to drive. Our base model was great for the trails we drove, and will be great machine. Would we spend the extra money on the R-Spec? For the extra 1000 bucks, absolutely! The R-Spec shock upgrade will make an even better sport machine, and we always appreciate the addition of an accessory roof.