— Yeah, UTVs are good, but here’s how to make them even better —
By Joe Kosch .
More new 2019 UTV models are appearing every day, and I like what I’m seeing. Did anyone even dream that we’d have machines with the power, suspension and comfort of the latest Textron Wildcat XX, Yamaha YXZ1000R, Can-Am X3 or Polaris RZR XP Turbo S when the first Yamaha Rhino appeared in 2004? I think the answer there is a big no. Did anyone dream there would be so many different kinds of great UTVs back then? Think of all the cool 50-inch-wide sport machines, 60-inch-wide sport machines and recreation vehicles we have to choose from now. I don’t think anybody saw all those great machines coming. I had dreams of how UTVs could be better back then, but today’s machines are far better than I dreamed they could be. How could anyone ask for better when they’ve been offered machines that surpass their wildest dreams? I’m about to do it, so get ready.
In Joe’s perfect UTV world, UTVs wouldn’t be so noisy. There are some respectably quiet recreation machines, like Yamaha’s latest Wolverines, Kawasaki’s Pro Series Mules and a few others, but they could be better, and most UTVs and practically all sport machines are pretty rough on the ears. I like good engine exhaust and intake sounds as much as most drivers, probably more than most drivers, but many UTVs make a lot of noise I could do without. I hear enough whining from people’ I don’t want to hear any whining or clattering from transmissions, gear cases or any part of the driveline. Chassis noise isn’t just annoying, it worries me, and a sophisticated piece of equipment like a UTV just doesn’t sound very sophisticated when it sounds like a bunch of kids bouncing on an antique bed. Rattling from doors and cargo beds just makes a vehicle seem cheap. If the unnecessary racket was reduced, manufacturers could back down exhaust and intake noise levels, and you’d end up with machines that are less fatiguing and more fun to drive, and you could talk with a passenger while you drive.
In Joe’s perfect UTV world, UTVs would have more useful standard equipment. I like the fact that some UTVs come stripped of extras so you don’t have to pay for what you don’t want, and give you a blank canvas to customize, but I’m surprised how few useful standard features high-end models come with. When you’re paying nearly 20 grand or much more for a machine, there should be a version that has a roof, full doors, rear-view mirror, side mirrors and sun visors.
In Joe’s perfect UTV world, UTVs would be tougher. Most manufacturers have made some impressively rugged machines, like Textron’s Wildcat XX, Polaris’ RZR XP Turbo S and Yamaha’s YXZ1000R, but I’m surprised how many machines need beefing up for any kind of racing and even aggressive drivers who aren’t racing. I know most sport machines aren’t intended for racing, but saving the car is more important in UTV racing than it should be, because most UTVs aren’t tough enough to handle it.
Asking for things that are hard to produce is the easy part, but UTV manufacturers have created vehicles that are better than I dreamed of before, so I’m looking forward to them doing it again. I just hope I don’t have to wait 15 years this time.
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