Yamaha Drops Rhino For All-New Viking Side-By-Side
2014 Viking innovative and powerful; 3-passenger seating design and longer wheelbase adds to greater comfort and control
By Bruce W. Smith
The Rhino is dead. Long live the Viking.
That is going to be the mantra heard around the country as Yamaha pulls the plug on the popular Rhino side-by-side and rolls into 2014 with its replacement: the Viking.
I got a sneak peek at Yamaha’s newest UTV, which dealers should be receiving in August. It’s a big technological step forward from the Rhino.
Although we weren’t able to take one for a spin, here’s my take-away from a walk-around.
Viking sits on an 84″ wheelbase with nearly a foot of ground clearance, so the longer footprint should give it much better ride and handling than its predecessor.
Then there’s the 686cc, liquid cooled, fuel injected, SOHC power plant which is said to outperform many 800s.
Yamaha’s says the new engine delivers strong low-end acceleration and pulls hard through the rpm range to deliver excellent power delivery for getting the job done or when hitting the trails.
The exterior look is far more progressive and bolder than the staid Rhino.
Another huge improvement is the bigger cab and pass-through three-across seating. The latter with the center seat leaned back a touch so the middle rider is comfortable.
There’re 3-point seat belts for all three passengers and a cool grab bar for the passenger and middle ride to use. No shoulder banging, either.
The wider door opening makes it real easy to get inside and there’s plenty of arm and legroom so you don’t feel like you’re driving a bus.
Yamaha says the new engine and Ultramatic® transmission with dual-range (Hi/Lo)drive and reverse is the most advanced drive system available.
It utilizes a new automatic centrifugal clutch design that maintains constant belt tension for reduced belt wear and uses a sprag clutch for all-wheel downhill engine braking in 4WD mode and reverse.
The Viking will be a hot commodity among the contracting, landscaping and farming community as well as the outdoor crowd.
Standard models come in Steel Blue, Hunter Green (with sun top), Red (with sun top) and Realtree AP HD camo (with sun top).
The non-EPS (Electric Power Steering) models start at $11,499 MSRP while the EPS models start at $12,499 MSRP.
A Special Edition Tactical Black model will be available in spring 2014.
Details at www.YamahaOutdoors.com.
I’ll let you know how it runs later in the year. — Bruce Smith/Editor