— Testing the lighter & sportier 2-seater version —
When Yamaha designed the four-seat Wolverine X4, they created a new, more refined vehicle built around a new, twin-cylinder 850 engine. We’ve been hoping for a two-seat Wolverine 850 since the four-seater was introduced, and now it’s here!
Yamaha didn’t just drop the 850 twin into the existing Wolverine two-seater to make the new two-seat Wolverine X2. The new machine is based on the X4’s newer chassis, which means the wheelbase is 1.4 inches longer than the original Wolverine two-seater for more stability, with a 1.9-inch-shorter overall length and narrower 59-inch width to retain maneuverability on tight trails. Behind the two seats, there’s a tilting cargo bed that can carry 600 pounds.
There are also numerous measures aimed at reducing noise and vibration. The X2’s large-volume intake and exhaust make it outstandingly quiet. New engine mounts absorb more vibration. A new closeout panel isolates the cabin from engine noise.
HOW DOES COST COMPARE?
The new Wolverine X2 starts at $12,699 for the base model with steel wheels and spring preload-adjustable KYB gas shocks. The camo model is $14,949. The X2 R-Spec comes with fully adjustable KYB piggyback reservoir shocks, red- or white-painted bodywork and aluminum wheels for $14,499. For $15,299, Special Editions come with fully adjustable KYB piggyback reservoir shocks, tri-color seats, fender extensions and Matte Carbon or Matte Blue painted bodywork. The Kawasaki Teryx starts at $12,999 and goes to $15,199 for the LE. Textron’s Wildcat Sport starts at $14,599. Can-Am’s Maverick Sport starts at $14,699. Polaris’ RZR S 900 starts at $14,699.
WHAT POWERS IT?
The same healthy, 847cc, double-overhead-cam, eight-valve, inline twin that powers the X4. The cylinders are offset to reduce friction.
WHAT KIND OF TRANSMISSION DOES IT USE?
A fully automatic belt-type continuously variable transmission. A sprag clutch on the primary clutch protects the belt and provides automatic engine braking to all four wheels in 4WD. Helical gears in the geared section of the transmission operate more quietly than straight-cut gears. The range selector has an outstandingly smooth, solid action.
WHAT KIND OF 4WD SYSTEM DOES IT HAVE?
Selectable 2WD/4WD with a locking front differential.
HOW FAST IS IT?
For an 850, it moves. The Wolverine X2 is more than 200 pounds lighter than the strong-running X4, so it hustles when you hit the gas. The 50-mph top speed is more than you’ll need on tight trails and enough to cover open terrain quickly.
HOW IS THE POWER DELIVERY?
Smooth, strong and adjustable. Yamaha’s fly-by-wire throttle system calms gas-pedal bounce in rough terrain and gives good, solid throttle response when you need a shot of power to conquer obstacles or just enjoy strong acceleration. If someone who doesn’t need the X2’s full top speed will be driving it, you can limit the vehicle’s top speed to 25 mph with a keyed switch under the hood.
WHAT KIND OF SUSPENSION DOES IT HAVE?
The X2 SE has double-A-arm front and rear suspension, using piggyback reservoir KYB shocks with adjustable high- and low-speed compression, rebound and spring preload. Front and rear sway bars keep body roll in check. Travel is 8.7 inches up front and 8.9 inches in the rear. That’s less than the previous Wolverine and less than most other UTVs in the 60 category.
HOW DOES THE SUSPENSION WORK?
It’s very good for typical woods trail-riding speeds. Our initial testing took place at Brimstone Recreation in Tennessee, which is loaded with trails that are tight enough to keep speeds fairly low but rough enough to challenge any suspension. The Yamaha’s ride quality and control were remarkably good on the tough Tennessee trails at low and high speeds, especially considering the travel it’s working with. Machines with more travel work better for extremely aggressive driving and in wide-open western conditions, but Yamaha has those too.
HOW DOES IT HANDLE?
It’s exceptionally confidence-inspiring. The Yamaha is sure-footed and stable in steep, uneven terrain and at high speeds on bumpy trails. It also corners easily and predictably, and there’s enough power on tap to steer with the throttle on surfaces that offer less than perfect traction. Few machines feel so balanced and well-planted.
HOW IS IT FOR HILLS AND CHALLENGING TERRAIN?
When it comes to difficult terrain, the Wolverine is one of the most capable machines we’ve driven. Like a live wolverine, the Yamaha can go nearly anywhere. Most drivers will run out of nerve before the Yamaha runs out of climbing ability, and the steep hood angle provides excellent visibility from inside the machine. All along the way, the X2 is kind to the driver with comfortable seats and a spacious cab. Steep, slick downhills that seem sketchy in some machines are just part of the adventure in the Yamaha due to its even, predictable engine braking and amazing stability.
HOW ARE THE DETAILS?
The Wolverine X2 proves that Yamaha’s standards for comfort, fit and finish are extremely high. Noise and vibration are very subdued, and the seats have just the right feel. The tilt-adjustable wheel is strong and has a comfortable shape. The driver’s seat slides to adjust, and the cabin is roomy with plenty of storage, though drivers over 6 feet tall may want more legroom. The full doors are sturdy, don’t rattle and latch easily. Look around the machine and you’ll see the extra attention to the way things are fastened and how the wiring is routed. The transmission design, with the sprag clutch protecting the drive belt, results in exceptionally long belt life. The side bolsters beside the seats make getting in and out of the X2 a little harder, but they’re there for safety.
WHAT IS OUR FINAL ANSWER?
The X2 was worth the wait. Yamaha’s new twin-cylinder adventure machine lets you hit the trail with more muscle and refinement than the original Wolverine two-seater it replaces, and it has the maneuverability and tough-terrain capability that made the first-generation machine one of our favorites.
2019 YAMAHA WOLVERINE X2 SE
Engine type Liquid/oil-cooled, 8-valve, DOHC, 4-stroke
Bore x stroke 82.0 x 80.2mm
Compression ratio 10.5:1
Lubrication system Dry sump
Additional cooling Auto fan
Induction Mikuni YCC-T EFI w/ (2) 36mm bodies
Starting procedure Turn ignition key
Choke location N/A
Type Washable foam, pleated paper
Access Tool-less, remove hood and undo 4 clips
Transmission Dual-range CVT w/ reverse
Reverse procedure Move range selector to “R”
Drive system Selectable 2WD/4WD w/ diff-lock & EBS
Final drives Shafts
Fuel capacity 9.2 gal.
Overall length/width/height 115””/59”/74.8”
Ground clearance 11”
Wet weight 1586 lb.
Bed weight limit 600 lb.
Hitch 2” receiver
Towing limit 2,000 lb.
Frame Steel round tube
Front Dual A-arms w/high/low/comp/reb/preload
Rear Dual A-arms w/high/low/comp/reb/preload
Front Twin-piston hydraulic 207mm discs/
Rear Twin-piston hydraulic 207mm discs/
Parking Lever on console
Front 26×8-12 Maxxis MU75
Rear 26×10-12 Maxxis MU76
DC outlet Console
Front 2 30W LED headlights
Rear Dual 21/5W brake/tail light
Instrumentation LCD digital multimeter w/ turtle
Colors Matte Carbon, Matte Blue
Minimum recommended operator age 16
Suggested retail price $15,299
Contact Yamaha Motor Corp., (800) 962-7926