DRAKART SCORPION 4WD: WHAT IS IT?
A street-bike-engine-powered 4WD UTV built in the United States with 75-percent U.S.-made components. Drakart has been building UTVs in California for over 20 years using various drivetrains and seating options. The Drakart Scorpion 4WD is Drakart’s first 4WD machine, and it’s available as a two- or four-seater.
HOW DOES THE COST COMPARE?
Out of the box, the Drakart Scorpion 4WD’s $52,000 price tag is almost double what would get you into a turbo RZR, base Can-Am X3 or LE Yamaha YXZ1000R SS. The price is closer to what you would pay to add upgraded suspension arms, good shocks, aftermarket seats and a set of tires and wheels to one of those big name-brand cars; however, when we go through the details and talk about the components on this rig, you will learn that with the Drakart, you get what you pay for.
WHAT POWERS IT?
Lately, Drakart has been using the Suzuki Hayabusa powerplant that comes in exotic 1340 street sport bikes. The complete powertrain is used, including the four-cylinder four-stroke and the six-speed sequential gearbox. To make it work in a UTV, Drakart builds in-house a chain-driven gearbox in the rear that transfers power to the rear tires, and, after flipping a lever in the cockpit, transfers power to the front differential, too. To shift between gears, the driver pulls a short throw lever between the seats. The clutch pedal is on the floor.
HOW FAST IS IT?
Plenty. With 212 horsepower on tap and no CVT-belt power loss, takeoff is strong. You do want to rev the DOHC, four-cylinder engine to a singing level to break the tires loose. As with the original Yamaha YXZ, you want to rev it more than you think to keep it from stalling. Don’t worry, the Japanese engine can take it, and it prefers to be revved over being lugged. During our first test, we got the Scorpion up over 90 mph. The builder claims the machine will get close to the 100-mph mark in stock trim. The beauty of this manual system is that you can change sprockets to suit any speed requirements you have, add a larger rear sprocket for rock crawling or add smaller ones for more high speed. The gearing ratio is virtually endless. It uses a huge 530 O-ring chain.
HOW IS THE SUSPENSION?
The suspension looks like the same design as a long-travel Polaris RZR. It has dual A-arms up front and trailing arms with two radius rods out back. Drakart has been using this proven setup on its buggies for decades. Elka’s 2.5-inch shocks have been outfitted for all four corners. They are Stage 5s with high-/low-speed compression and rebound adjustments. Travel numbers are equal at 20 inches on all corners. Furthermore, when the shocks do bottom out, the car still has 5 inches of ground clearance underneath. So, the frame doesn’t drag when you go through deep rutted holes like it does on all other UTVs. This suspension travel, along with a 110-inch wheelbase, helps the car float over the bumps. There is no kicking or bucking like you feel in a RZR or YXZ. The Elka shocks are night-and-day better than the Fox shocks that come stock on most cars.
HOW STRONG ARE THE BRAKES?
This car uses big Wilwood brakes on all four corners. The calipers have four pistons in the front and four out back. The rotors are thick to dissipate heat. An adjustable brake-pedal assembly is made in-house, and the master cylinder is from Tilton. The entire system works incredibly well. These truly are race-car components that feel great. You can push the brake pedal hard, and the car “whoas” down as expected.
The brake bias is centered very well. There is no parking brake. The pedal assembly raises and lowers in three positions and moves rearward 8 inches for shorter drivers. The seat and steering wheel are also adjustable.
HOW IS IT IN CHALLENGING TERRAIN?
Like its namesake, the Scorpion can rip across the desert as well as it can crawl over most anything. The car we drove liked to be driven fast; however, there was torque to lug the machine around slower, and it only stalled if we came to a stop and forgot to push the clutch in. It’s certainly not as capable in the rocks as a CVT-equipped machine, but you can opt for the Rekluse auto-clutch option. This takes away the need for the clutch pedal when stopping, and it will help prevent stalling everywhere. In fact, the owner of the car we drove installed a Rekluse after a few trips with this machine just to make it a little more driver-friendly at slower speeds.
HOW ARE THE DETAILS?
The fit and finish are good. It’s not what you would expect in a UTV. There is a carbon fiber dash, and the cockpit has a race-car feel. You sit much lower than in most UTVs, but you can still see over the hood better than you can in a Can-Am X3. It has full gull-wing doors, so entering the car is easy, and when closed, they surround you well. In addition, the car sits nearly 10 inches lower than a RZR, so the center of gravity is lower as well. An aluminum skid plate makes up the floor, and a high-end automotive radiator with a Spal fan is behind the driver’s head. Our test car had an optional spare-tire carrier, large scissor jack and roof rack.
WHAT IS OUR FINAL ANSWER?
This answer is simple. If you are looking for something different, the Drakart is that. It’s fast and super capable in rough terrain. We would say it’s easily better handling in the bumps than an X3 or Turbo S—just not as easy to drive or quick off the line. Plus, with its Elka shocks and chromoly suspension components, you won’t see fading or breaking at the rate you do with some OEM components. Its chromoly suspension pieces, frame and other handmade components are way beefier than most stock UTV parts. So, again, if you are looking for something different and you’ve already learned a normal UTV is not strong enough for you, look at the Drakart. It might be the perfect fit.
DRAKART SCORPION 4X4
Engine type 4-cylinder, DOHC, 4-stroke
Transmission 6-speed manual
Front Dual A-arms, 2.5-inch Elka w/ 20”
Rear Trailing arms, 2.5-inch Elka w/ 20”
Brakes 4-piston hydraulic Wilwood calipers
Overall length/ width/height 132”/78”/64”
(w/o roof rack)
Claimed weight 1560 lb.
Contact www.drakart.com, (760) 713-1936
See the new 200 hp 2022 Can-Am X3 here: 200HP 2022 CAN-AM MAVERICK X3 TURBO RR – UTV Action Magazine