By Jon Crowley, UTVGuide.net
Yamaha unveiled the successor to the Rhino a few months back, and I got the invite to join them for the press introduction up in Wyoming. At first I wondered about why in the world Yamaha would pick such a remote location for a press intro. Nevertheless, I packed my bags and headed to the airport for a 5:45 AM flight.
The trip to Wyoming was not an easy one. After arriving in Denver on a jet, we downsized to a regional prop plane for the last leg to Wyoming. It took four more planes to get us to the Red Reflet Ranch, but that is a whole other story of weather, mechanicals and private jet rides.
We arrived at the Red Reflet Ranch several hours later than we should have, but once there it was nice to relax at the 27,000 acre cattle ranch. After dinner, drinks and an overview on the new Viking, we headed off to one of three guest cabins.
Morning came and after breakfast we divided into two groups. I was in the group that was going to take a ride up to 8,500 feet so we could get a good feel for the Vikings features. We did quite a bit of climbing up from 5,000 and the terrain varied from graded road to tight, curvy, tree-lined trails. This is the type of ride that I think Yamaha had envisioned when they designed the Viking. Not a high speed dune ride, but more of an exploring or hunting adventure.
We headed down to the lodge for lunch and then switched places with the group that had been using the Viking down around the ranch for work in the morning. Since we were at a working cattle ranch, Yamaha had arranged for us to be able to use the Viking in a work setting. I truly appreciated this effort because it is rare that we get to use a vehicle while towing a loaded trailer or with a bed full of weight.
The Viking has a bed capacity of 600 lbs and we loaded two barrels of minerals up that was probably close to 500 lbs. Yamaha spent some time designing the Viking so that the carrying capacity was adequately represented and that the vehicle was capable of handling the weight properly. After loading it up, I took a spin around the grounds. While the payload capacity may not be as high as some other models, I felt the Viking did a better job driving while near its max capacity. To be fair, a competitive vehicle might do fine with 600 lbs. in it as well, but I feel like that is important to test at what the manufacturer represents and the Viking did well. Only downside there is the ride suffers a little when empty because the springs are designed to handle more weight. This is always an area of give and take and I think Yamaha did a good job at setting the vehicle up to do work.
We also hitched up a trailer full of hay which probably got us near the 1500 lbs towing capacity. I drove this setup around as well and the Viking pulled it around like a champ. Clutch and brakes handle the weight just fine. The Viking has a centrifugal clutch maintains constant belt tension so there is little to no slip and with Yamaha’s 4-wheel-drive system, engine braking affects all four tires which is nice on steep descents.
Power in the Viking comes from the tried and true 686cc liquid-cooled 4-stroke, SOHC, single-cylinder, 4-valve fuel-injected engine. This engine is the basic platform that has been used for years in the Rhino, but updated with more power and additional cooling for the Viking. The good news is the 686cc platform is durable and proven. But if you are looking for a fast machine or something to play in the dunes, the Viking isn’t a great match.
The Viking that I drove had optional Electric Power Steering and this is the only way to go. The system provides a good balance of light feeling with positive feedback from the terrain. The EPS system did a good job at determining the appropriate amount of assist in all of the situations I put it through.
And if you have a need seating for three people without going to dual-row seating, the Vikings exclusive pass-through bucket seating features a unique off-set center position that improves comfort with maximum shoulder room for all three occupants. And the Viking has three-point seat belts and headrests for everyone.
The Vikings utility functions combined with Yamahas proven durability were designed for hard work, tough chores and long days in the field or on the trail. It is well suited for farm, ranch and hunting.
- Large, durable cargo bed capable of carrying pallet
- Individual seating for three
- Clutch felt strong even under load (trailer and load in bed)
- Under seat storage
- Power steering
- Large 9.7 gallon fuel tank
- Dash vibrates at idle
- Single cylinder engine
- Rear differential cannot be unlocked (turf mode)
More Viking Photos:
All new for 2014:
- The Viking is equipped with Yamahas most powerful 686cc engine with a broad, usable powerband. Four-valve head with 10.0:1 compression delivers optimum torque for virtually any workload, and up to a 30% gain in fuel efficiency.
- Electronic fuel injection ensures peak performance in nearly all conditions and elevations, along with instantaneous cold starts.
- Engine braking performance is provided across the entire speed range.
- Large-capacity air intake system contributes to the engines overall power development.
- New air injection system burns the un-combusted elements in the exhaust, resulting in even further reduced emissions.
- Specially designed drive system air intake helps prevent overheating and assists in keeping water and debris from entering the drive case.
- Convenient dash-mounted gated shift lever (L/H/N/R) provides simple Ultramatic transmission operation.
- Yamahas proven electric power steering system is available on the Viking for excellent handling over all kinds of terrain.
- 11.8-inch ground clearance delivers maximum underbelly protection while enhancing terrainability.
- Large diameter front and rear wheel disc brakes provide unsurpassed stopping power, and the dash-mounted parking brake is simple and convenient to use.
- Standard center-mounted, heavy-duty 2-inch receiver-style hitch can tow up to 1500 pounds.
- Tough, rotomolded doors help keep mud, water and dirt on the trail where they belong.
- Stamped steel dump bed is rated to haul 600 pounds of gear, with two simple, yet proven latching levers on the left and right for maximum durability. In the bed are four standard tie-down hooks to help make sure cargo is strapped down securely.
- The engine is located under the cargo bed and can be easily accessed when the bed is lifted.
- The seat layout is comfortable and versatile for three people. Padded head rests are included and the middle seat is set back for both driver and passenger comfort. The pass-through floor provides on-board ease of movement for getting in and out of the vehicle from either side.
- Digital instrument panel boasts multifunction LCD display with speedometer, odometer, dual tripmeter, hour meter, 4WD status, transmission position, clock and fuel gauge.
- Steel skid plate under the frame provides protection from rocks and ruts and helps prevent the Viking from getting stuck.
- Center hood access for battery and other electrical components ease maintenance.
- Latching glove box is included to store smaller items such as cell phones, wallets, etc.
- Dash-mounted parking brake for driver convenience.
- The Viking width is sized to help minimize row crop damage.
- The drivers seat and passenger handhold are adjustable to maximize comfort and to accommodate the widest range of appropriately sized operators and passengers.
- Equipped with four in-dash cup holders for passenger comfort.
- Large, 9.7-gallon fuel tank allows for long rides.
- Under-seat, tool-free air filter is a snap to service.
Yamaha Viking Specifications:
- Model – YXM700PEG; YXM700PER; YXM700PEL; YXM700PHEH
- Engine – 686cc liquid-cooled w/fan, 4-stroke; SOHC, 4 valves
- Bore & Stroke – 102.0 x 84.0mm
- Compression Ratio – 10.0:1
- Fuel Delivery – Yamaha Fuel Injection (YFI)
- Ignition – TCI: Transistor Controlled Ignition
- Transmission – Yamaha Ultramatic V-belt with all-wheel engine braking; L, H, N, R
- Drive Train – Yamaha On-Command pushbutton; 3-way locking differential; 2WD, 4WD, locked 4WD; shaft drive
- Suspension/Front – Independent double wishbone; 8.1-in travel
- Suspension/Rear – Independent double wishbone; 8.1-in travel
- Brakes/Front – Dual hydraulic disc
- Brake/Rear – Dual hydraulic disc
- Tire/Front – AT25 x 8-12
- Tire/Rear – AT25 x 10-12
- L x W x H – 122.0 x 61.8 x 74.1 in
- Wheelbase – 84.1 in
- Turning Radius – 177.56 in
- Ground Clearance – 11.8 in
- Fuel Capacity – 9.7 gal
- *Wet Weight – 1342 lb
- Bed Capacity – 600 lb
- Towing Capacity – 1500 lb
- Instrumentation – Digital instrument panel boasts multifunction LCD display with speedometer, odometer, dual tripmeter, hour meter, 4WD status, transmission position, clock and fuel gauge
- Lighting – N/A
- Color – Hunter Green; Red; Steel
Yamaha Viking MSRP:
- Viking EPS Camo (with suntop) – $13,249
- Viking EPS Red and Hunter Green (with suntop) – $12,699
- Viking EPS Steel Blue – $12,499
- Viking Camo (with suntop) – $12,249
- Viking Red and Hunter Green (with suntop) – $11,699
- Viking Steel Blue – $11,499
About Yamaha Motor Corp., U.S.A.
Yamaha Motor Corporation, U.S.A., (YMUS), a leader in the motorsports market, makes the toughest, most capable and versatile ATV and Side-by-Side vehicles. The companys ever expanding product offerings also include motorcycles, outboard motors, personal watercraft, snowmobiles, boats, outdoor power equipment, accessories, apparel and much more. YMUS products are sold through a nationwide network of dealers in the United States.
Headquartered in Cypress, Calif., since its incorporation in 1976, Yamaha also has facilities in Wisconsin and Georgia, as well as factory operations in Tennessee and Georgia. For more information on Yamaha, visit www.yamaha-motor.com.