The features and capabilities designed and engineered into the 2018 Wolverine X4 greatly improve the recreational side-by-side experience. However, these same important highlights also yield dividends that benefit the outdoor sportsman. The 2018 four-passenger Wolverine X4 is not a carry-over; it’s totally new from top to bottom. This machine makes it apparent Yamaha is literally re-thinking the nature of SxS design and use.
The Wolverine X4 holds a driver and passenger up front and two passengers in the rear. It measures 77.2 inches high, 59.8 inches wide and 122 inches long overall. The narrow, short machine is easy to navigate in tight, technical terrain and along narrow, twisting trails—the kind of stuff all SxS users encounter whether they are recreational riders or hunters. Its low profile reduces the potential for its roof to contact overhead obstacles such as tree branches. However, should such contact be unavoidable, the rounded, composite sun top offered by Yamaha covers the X4 from front to rear; it is curved and contoured to perfectly fit the vehicle. This increases the vehicle’s overall durability and maneuverability by allowing the overhead protection to easily slide off the obstacle, as opposed to catching or grabbing it.
Yamaha improves comfort and safety for all four occupants with high-back seats, automotive-style three-point seatbelts, high-traction floorboards and plenty of handholds. Every occupant enjoys plenty of legroom. The driver’s seat is adjustable with one hand; the steering wheel tilts up/down 12 degrees with one hand. The two rear seats are set slightly higher than the front seats to maximize passenger visibility. And the rear floorboards are sculpted to increase foot and leg comfort. There are multiple cup holders. All four doors feature handles located on the inside, so occupants do not have to reach over the top of a door to open it. Also, handles located inside the vehicle don’t collect mud, water and debris flung along the outside of the unit during operation, keeping gloves clean during ingress/egress.
The thought that went into the Wolverine X4’s rear seat/cargo bed design is “Transformer”-like. The rear seat bottoms fold up and forward to rest against the front seatbacks. The rear seatbacks glide forward on bed-mounted rails when users reach through the front of the cargo bed to activate their release, expanding the size of the bed to enable it to carry as much as 600 pounds.
Yamaha has been totally engaged in reducing the level of operating noise and vibration often associated with a SxS. New rubber engine mounts connect and cushion the new engine to the all-new chassis of the Wolverine X4. The exhaust system is engineered to further mitigate operating noise, as insulation to contain heat, noise and vibration has been added to the center consoles found between the front and rear occupants.
The all-new 847cc, parallel twin-cylinder, fuel-injected, DOHC, eight-valve, liquid-cooled gasoline engine has been engineered and designed to maximize capability and confidence on the trail. Idle speed is a low 1,300 rpm. The engine sits in the bottom, center of the machine to create a low center of gravity, but its air intake is mounted high to avoid water intrusion. The unit is rated to tow up to 2,000 pounds—with or without a full load in the cargo bed.
Yamaha’s drive-by-wire electronics eliminate mechanical throttle linkage. The algorithms for the electronics incorporate the behavior of the driver, speed, type of terrain and gear/drive selection (2WD, 4WD, 4WD front-differential lock). Throttle response is smooth, and totally transparent to the operator. Drive-by-wire permits Yamaha’s “Speed Management System” to limit maximum speed of inexperienced drivers to 25 mph. Owners may turn a removable key under the hood to activate it; a turtle icon appears on the LCD gauge cluster to indicate vehicle status.
Yamaha’s legendary electronic power steering (EPS, an industry first) reduces harsh feedback from the steering linkage, creating a more relaxed and comfortable driving experience. Yamaha’s durable and reliable Ultramatic continuously variable transmission delivers smooth, confidence-inspiring engine-braking by incorporating a one-way sprag clutch that prevents freewheeling during descents or when throttle pressure is relieved. A new feature the sportsman will appreciate is the dash meter, which can be dimmed to match user needs at dawn and dusk. The front diff-lock can be engaged as the driver feels it’s required. The rear axle features full-time diff-lock.
A plush, well-damped suspension balances comfort with chassis control and bump-absorption. The rear suspension is self-adjusting. When loads change (rear passengers or cargo is added or removed), its height automatically adjusts for consistent ground clearance, handling and ease of use. Suspension travel front and rear is 8.7 inches and 8.9 inches, respectively. Maximum ground clearance is 10.7 inches. Standard wheel and tire sizes are AT 26x8-12 up front and AT 26x10-12 out back.
Yamaha factory accessories include: a hard-body full-cab enclosure; composite roof; glass windshield; windshield wiper; glass door windows; lockable doors; heater; defroster; a roof-mounted LED light; rear tire carrier; a sealed storage box that replaces the standard tailgate; 3,500-pound Warn winch; and Yamaha’s state-of-the-art interior sound system including speakers designed into the composite roof. All Yamaha side-by-sides and full-size ATVs are assembled in the USA. The base price of the Wolverine X4 is $15,999.
• Drivetrain: 847cc liquid-cooled parallel twin-cylinder DOHC four-stroke 8-valve gasoline engine; Ultramatic V-belt transmission w/all-wheel engine braking; 4WD; On-Command 3-way locking front differential, full-time locked rear differential
• Brakes: dual hydraulic disc front/rear w/shaft-mounted parking brake
• Suspension: independent double wishbone front w/anti-sway bar, 8.7″ travel; independent double wishbone rear w/anti-sway bar, self-adjusting shocks, 8.9″ travel
• Dimensions/Capacities: overall length 122″; wheelbase 82.7″; width 59.8″; height 77.2″; ground clearance 10.7″; wet weight 1,666 lbs.; tow cap. 2,000 lbs.; cargo bed cap. 600 lbs.; fuel 9.2 gals.
• MSRP: $15,999-$16,899; yamahaoutdoors.com