— Yamaha created its first twin-cylinder UTV with the all-new Wolverine X4 sporting an innovative, 847cc, inline twin to power family adventures. Yamaha built the Wolverine X4 to be the most quiet yet off-road-capable four-seat UTV on the market with the most narrow width and shortest length and height for confidently negotiating the tightest forest trails. We got a chance to test the 2018 Wolverine X4 Special Edition at North Carolina’s Brushy Mountain Motorsports Park, and we came away mightily impressed with the X4.
WHAT’S A WOLVERINE X4?
It’s an all-new four-seat adventure machine with an all-new 847cc, DOHC, eight-valve, inline twin with the cylinders offset 7mm to reduce friction on the 82mm pistons. Stroke is a longish 80.2mm, but the connecting rods are short to keep center of gravity low. Yamaha also worked to keep vibration low with 30-percent-larger engine mounts and reduce cabin noise by more than doubling intake volume (9.2 liters) and increasing exhaust volume (7.4 liters). To combat CVT belt issues, Yamaha designed the largest, fan-cooled Ultramatic CVT with oil-cooled sprag clutch and spiral- and helical-cut gears to further reduce noise. Also new, a Yamaha Chip-Controlled Throttle (YCC-T) fly-by-wire throttle is servo controlled for less “pedal flutter” in rough terrain and smoother delivery, and a larger 14-volt/42.7-amp/598-watt stator handles accessories.
An all-new frame mounts the dry-sump engine for centralized mass, and the wheelbase is only 1.4 inches longer than the two-seat Wolverine. Dual A-arms and HPG shocks deliver 8.7 inches of front and 8.9 inches of rear travel, and the unique rear shocks self-adjust for a level ride no matter what the load. Front and rear torsion bars fight body roll. The stadium rear seats are mounted on tracks so they can be stowed forward for more cargo room in the bed with 600-pound capacity and a single-latch tailgate. Tires are four-ply 26×8-12 front Maxxis MU75s and six-ply 26×10-12 MU76 rears on steel (Graphite model) or aluminum rims, and four-wheel hydraulic, dual-piston brake calipers squeeze 207mm rotors. All Wolverine X4s have variable-assist EPS, and all but the Graphite model sport over-fenders. However, none of the five color/trim choices sport a sun top like the Wolverine R-Spec. Wolverine X4 color choices are Graphite, Yamaha Blue and Realtree Xtra, while Special Editions are Matte Silver or Matte Carbon.
Also new, a grey key under the hood limits top speed to 25 mph when engaged for work sites or neophyte drivers.
HOW DOES PRICE COMPARE?
The Graphite X4 is $15,999, Yamaha Blue is $16,499 and camo is $16,899, while the two Special Editions are $17,249 with tri-color seats and graphics on painted bodywork. The 2018 Kawasaki Teryx4 is $15,799, camo models jump to $16,299, and Limited Editions are $16,999–$17,199. The standard Honda Pioneer 1000-5 is $16,699, the Deluxe 1000-5 is $17,699, and the LE is $21,899. The 2018 Polaris General 4 1000 is $21,299, while the Ranger Crew XP 900 EPS starts at $15,499, and the Ranger Crew XP 1000 EPS starts at $16,999.
HOW FAST IS THE 850 TWIN?
Plenty fast. Yamaha tuned the 847cc twin for a smooth power delivery with YCC-T fly-by-wire throttle maps, so it doesn’t do anything unexpected and scoots along the trail fast enough to thrill. Low range is good for 23 mph, and high range is governed to 52 mph, which is plenty fast for woods and mountain work. And, if the turtle key is engaged, the X4 delivers full power for climbing gnarly hills while governing top speed to 25 mph. It won’t be outrunning RZR S4 900s in more open terrain, though.
WHAT ABOUT CVT/4WD DELIVERY?
The X4 sets a new standard for UTVs. The Ultramatic transmission is Yamaha’s largest and most durable with an oil bath and cooling fan, and the sprag clutch keeps constant CVT belt tension for long belt life. Yamaha tuned the CVT for low-rpm shift points, and the gated range selector is slick and easy to use. The servo-controlled 2WD/4WD/diff-lock knob carries out commands instantly with the new multi-meter’s icon showing the drive mode. The X4 engine-braking system (EBS) is second to none and delivers four-wheel braking for sure-footed descents in low or high.
HOW DOES THE WOLVERINE X4 HANDLE?
It’s as agile as the Wolverine R-Spec two-seater. Brushy Mountain has several very tight switchbacks, and we never had to make a two-point turn around them. We did go to 2WD around the tightest switchbacks, and the X4 turned around the rest in 4WD with limited slip. It rips around more wide-open turns and turns better than the Maverick Trail. It’s also stable in a straight line and has great EPS tuning for a good feel at the wheel. It had recently rained at Brushy Mountain, and the X4 was very sure-footed on the slick red-clay mud. The exclusive Maxxis MU75 front and MU76 rear tires also impressed with tread much like Bighorn 3.0s.
HOW GOOD IS THE NEW SUSPENSION?
Really good. It’s hard to believe that the X4 only has 8.7 inches of front and 8.9 inches of rear travel, as the shocks do a good job of soaking up hits from rocks and roots, yet resist bottoming on water bars and other G-outs. Front and rear torsion bars fight body roll in turns, yet allow articulation for big rain ruts or rock ledges. Front gas shocks have five-position preload rings, and the self-leveling rear shocks do a great job of compensating for various loads.
ARE MUD AND ROCKS ON ITS DIET?
You bet. The X4 over-fenders and half doors do a great job keeping mud out of the cabin, although the rear tires do fling mud between the bed and tailgate on either side. The sloped hood makes it easy to pick the best line through mud sections and technical rocks, and the X4 has plenty of power for leveling obstacles. The full-length skid plate is also nice, and the cabin floor has removable rubber grommets for draining; four of these grommets also cover precut toggle-switch holes on the dash for accessories. Our X4 Special Edition had the accessory Hard Sun Top kit ($499.99).
HOW ABOUT THE BRAKES?
They make the X4 as sure-footed as a four-legged wolverine. Twin-piston calipers ride on 207mm rotors on all four corners, and there is a fifth disc brake on the rear transfer case for a parking brake. The X4 has great feel at the pedal and awesome EBS assist.
WHAT ABOUT TRAIL COMFORT?
It reaches a new high via low cabin noise and vibration. The long intake tract, huge muffler, low-rpm CVT and special-cut gears in the drivetrain deliver the least noise and vibration in the cabin than any four-seater to date. You can actually hear casual conversation or the accessory SSV audio system, and the X4 has very comfortable seats with lots of legroom, front and rear. The tilt steering wheel, adjustable driver’s seat and passenger grab bar, and stadium-style rear seating all are top-shelf, as is the new dash and glove-box latch. Rear floorboards have an angled foot platform for more comfort as well. The X4 is thirstier and has 0.5-gallon less fuel capacity than the 708 Wolverine, but it tackles tough trail with less throttle.
WHAT’S OUR FINAL ANSWER?
Yamaha hit the bullseye with the Wolverine X4, and a lot of families will be “realizing their adventure” with this convertible four-seat explorer and workhorse. The tighter the trails, the better the X4 works, and it has very high creature comforts at any speed. It has a much more simple rear-seat system with much more legroom than the Pioneer 1000-5 and more tight-trail capabilities than the Teryx4. The X4’s smooth engine, Ultramatic CVT with EBS, fully locking front diff, crisp handling, great brakes and self-leveling rear shocks set a new four-seat standard. And, we’re sure the aftermarket will turn it into the preferred long-travel limo for Moab and other great destinations.
2018 YAMAHA WOLVERINE X4 850FI 4X4
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 122.0”/59.8”/77.2”
Ground clearance 10.7”
Claimed wet weight 1,663 lb., SE 1,666 lb.
Bed weight limit 600 lb.
Hitch 2” receiver
Towing limit 2000 lb.
Frame Steel round tube
Front Dual A-arms w/ prel.-adj. shocks/8.7”
Rear Dual A-arms w/ prel.-adj. shocks/8.9”
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 25-mph icon
Colors Graphite, Yamaha Blue, Realtree Xtra;
SE, Matte Silver, Matte Carbon
Minimum recommended operator age 16
Suggested retail price $15,999–$16,899;
Contact Yamaha Motor Corp., (800) 962-7926