2020 YAMAHA YXZ1000R XT-R

Yamaha knows how to build UTVs, but it’s smart enough to watch how UTVers use their machines and listen to what enthusiasts say they want. That’s how the YXZ1000R became so good and, for 2020, even better, thanks to the new XT-R model.

The XT-R was inspired by Yamaha’s Extreme Terrain challenge, so it’s no surprise that it takes to rough-going like a fish to water.

WHAT MAKES THE XT-R DIFFERENT?

The XT-R is equipped like the Sport Shift SE, with a paddle-shift, automatic-clutch, five-speed transmission for the high-revving three-cylinder engine, beadlock wheels and fully adjustable Fox piggyback reservoir shocks—and the XT-R trim level adds several valuable extras. Yamaha-exclusive 29 -inch Maxxis Carnage tires on color-matched beadlock wheels replace the 29-inch Maxxis Bighorn 2.0s on regular SEs. A Warn VRX 4500 winch package comes mounted to a new custom front grab bar engineered by Yamaha for winch duty. Since the winch package was designed alongside the new XT-R, the winch’s controls are integrated into the electrical system, putting the controls right where the driver needs them. Center-mounted auxiliary lights join the YXZ’s powerful LED lighting array, and there’s interior lighting also. The XT-R also gets distinctive Titanium Bronze/Tactical Black-painted bodywork and wheels with matching seat accents.

You could add the XT-R’s extras to any YXZ, but that would cost a lot more than the mere $1000 difference between the YXZ SS SE and the YXZ XT-R. Remember, the 2020 YXZ also benefits from all the 2019 upgrades, including lower gearing, more compliant suspension with more bottoming resistance, new shift programming for Sport Shift models, larger tires (29 versus 27), bigger brakes, rear-mounted radiator, stronger turbo-ready GYTR connecting rods, and a new cage that makes the YXZ easier to enter and exit.

You can never have enough light, so the XT-R has LEDs in the hood in adidtion to its four-LED headlights.

HOW DOES COST COMPARE?

The YXZ1000R SS XTR is $21,699. The YXZ1000R SS SE is $20,699. The Polaris XP 1000 is $18,599. Can-Am’s Maverick X3 Turbo is $18,999.

WHAT POWERS IT?

A naturally aspirated, 998cc, 12-valve, double-overhead-cam triple.

The XT-R works better than most machines on the trail, and it looks good doing it. Color-matched seats are just part of the package.

HOW FAST IS IT?

It’s a match for any naturally aspirated 1000 sport machine. Thanks to the transmission’s launch mode, which allows you to drop the clutch like a machine with a fully manual clutch, a good driver can get off the line faster than turbocharged UTVs that have more horsepower. Top speed is close to 80 mph.

The Yamaha’s unique engine/transmission combination, a torquey yet high-revving triple, paired with a paddle-shift five-speed transmission give the driver control over the machine’s power delivery you can’t find in any other UTV.

HOW IS THE POWER DELIVERY?

You decide. The Yamaha’s unique engine/transmission combination—a torquey yet high-revving (10,500 rpm!) triple paired with a paddle-shift five-speed transmission—gives the driver control over the machine’s power delivery you can’t find in any other UTV. You can cruise in a tall gear and let the engine’s torque do the work or shift to keep the engine pulling at peak power. No matter how we drove the YXZ, it always seemed ready to rev even higher. Most UTVs don’t feel like that.

HOW IS THE SUSPENSION?

It’s firm but remarkably compliant, even in the lower speeds and bumps you’ll find on the eastern states’ tighter trails. The YXZ was perfectly at home on the twisting trails of Alabama’s Top Trails riding area, and the Yamaha is also calm, collected and comfortable strafing whoop sections at 60 mph out west. If you feel the need, the YXZ’s suspension offers all the adjustability you could hope for, adjustable high- and low-speed compression damping, adjustable rebound damping, adjustable spring crossovers, and spring preload.

The 4500-pound Warn winch and the Yamaha designed front bumper seem like overkill until you need them.

HOW DOES IT HANDLE?

The YXZ is an agile, accurate handler in tight trails and it’s composed and stable at high speeds, even in rough, unpredictable terrain. It’s one of the most versatile, best balanced sport UTVs, and the XT-R’s Maxxis Carnage tires add extra grip in soft and muddy conditions, and hook up extremely well on hardpack and rocks. They are a step ahead of the YXZ’s good all-around Maxxis Bighorn 2.0s in traction, and they’re durable. Machines with days of hard riding, including plenty of climbing and braking in steep rocky trails, showed no tread wear to speak of, and none of 10 machines on the same tire got a flat. Theses tires’ meaty dimensions and broad tread spacing and chunky lugs look cool on the XT-R too.

With a 10,500-rpm redline, the YXZ’s naturally aspirated 998cc, 12-valve, double-overhead-cam triple never seems to stop pulling.

HOW IS IT IN TOUGH TERRAIN?

The XT-R was inspired by Yamaha’s Extreme Terrain challenge, so it’s no surprise that it takes to rough-going like a fish to water. The tires work well everywhere. The Yamaha’s 4WD system, with a selectable true-locking front differential finds traction even when there appears to be none left, and the rear-mounted radiator lets this machine play in the mud without overheating worries. If your urge to challenge extreme terrain is too much for your driving skills or the YXZ, the Warn winch is there to pull you out. We’ve seen it in action, and it is a ride-saver, maybe even a lifesaver.

The XT-R’s 29-inch Maxxis Carnage tires grip better than the other YXZ’s Maxxis Bighorn 2.0s, resist wear well and look cool.

HOW ARE THE DETAILS?

Typical Yamaha excellence, with one of the coolest paint schemes in the game to top it all off. Extra attention to detail is everywhere you look on the YXZ—from the car-quality door handles to the cool instrumentation, and the big features on the machine show extra thought, too. The cabin is extra roomy with outstanding forward visibility, even in steep terrain. The YXZ is super easy to enter and exit. There’s still room for improvement. The seat belt chafed our necks. The transmission’s shifts are noisy sometimes. We’d like more in-cab storage.

WHAT IS OUR FINAL ANSWER?

The YXZ1000R XT-R is the best version of one of the best sport UTVs available, and the extras that come with the package are worth far more than the XT-R’s small price increase. Get one before they’re all gone or Yamaha realizes they can charge a lot more for it.

SPECS:

2020 YAMAHA YXZ1000R SS XT-R

ENGINE/TRANSMISSION

Engine type Liquid-cooled, 12-valve, DOHC

4-stroke triple

Displacement 998cc

Bore x stroke 80.0.0 x 66.2mm (x3)

Compression ratio 11.3:1

Lubrication system Dry sump

Additional cooling Auto fan

Induction Yamaha EFI w/ 3 41mm bodies

Starting/back-up Electric/none

Starting procedure Turn ignition key

Choke location N/A

Air filter:

  Type Washable foam & wet paper

  Access Remove 5 Dzus and cover, unscrew cap

Transmission 5-speed sequential, auto-clutch

w/ reverse

Reverse procedure Pull D-N-R range selector to “R”

Drive system Selectable 2WD/4WD w/ diff-lock & EBS

Final drives Shafts

DIMENSIONS/CAPACITIES/WEIGHTS

Fuel capacity 9.0 gal.

Wheelbase 90.6”

Overall length/width/height 123.9”/64.0”/68.9”

Ground clearance 13.2”

Claimed wet weight 1,563 lb.

Bed weight limit 300 lb.

Hitch None

Towing limit N/A

ROLLING CHASSIS

Frame Steel round tube

Suspension/wheel travel:

  Front Dual A-arms w/ prel./ hi-low comp./reb./

X-over adj. shocks/16.2”

Rear Trailing arms w/ prel./hi-low comp./reb./

X-over adj. shocks/17.0”

Brakes:

  Front Twin-piston hydraulic discs

  Rear Twin-piston hydraulic discs

Parking Lever on console

Tires:

  Front 29x9R14 Maxxis Carnage 8-ply

  Rear 29x11R14 Maxxis Carnage 8-ply

ELECTRICAL

DC outlet Console

Lighting:

  Front 4 LED headlights

  Rear Single LED brake/taillight

DETAILS

Instrumentation Digital speedo/fuel/gear/trip &

hour meters/temp/time, analog tach

Color Titanium Bronze/Tactical Black

Minimum recommended operator age 16

Suggested retail price $21,699

Contact Yamaha Motor Corp., (800) 962-7926

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