First Impressions Of Our 2021 Yamaha Wolverine RMAX4 1000
We made no effort to hide how excited we were to see the introduction of Yamaha's Wovlerine RMAX2 and RMAX4 1000 several months ago. We pulled no punches about the fact this might very well be the Yamaha Wolverine we have been waiting for from its 1000 class engine to its suspension travel numbers. We have since seen several walk-around videos and read initial reviews from multiple friends and sources we trust in the industry that have 99-percent positive things to say. We have drooled at the thought of getting a Wolverine RMAX for testing, and, dreams do come true because ours just arrived! What we have discovered from the moment we got into an RMAX is that this is not just another Yamaha, but a different Yamaha side-by-side in so many great ways.
We have been busy since we picked up our Yamaha Wolverine RMAX4 1000 XTR and rolled back into the ATV ESCAPE proving grounds. We have so much content planned for this side-by-side, and we have already begun working. It has been photographed and video has been shot. Then, we have been driving it around to get a feel for the RMAX4 which has truly made us giddy. This is a new level for a Yamaha side-by-side. Here are our initial thoughts.
The Wolverine RMAX4 1000 has a completely different feel to it than previous Wolverines.
The feel of the Wolverine RMAX4 1000 is really really nice. There is a "heftiness" to both the way the vehicle feels as well as the way it actually rides. The RMAX4 feels firmly planted on the trail in a way few other side-by-sides that we have driven. The beefiness of the build is obvious from the moment your foot hits the accelerator.
It Looks Good!
There is no way getting around the fact this is a good looking side-by-side. It is aggressive looking with a front-end that is bold with sharp lines. It looks mean with a seriousness about the styling that says it will tackle anything. The matte green color with black accents and graphics offer such a great color combination. The scoop on the hood gives an indication of the power the RMAX4 1000 brings to the trail.
The halo LED accents give a fantastic glow to the frontend day or night. It is like the Wolverine RMAX4 1000 is staring at you.
The Ride Is Ridiculously good.
Speaking of ride, it is extremely plush with the combination of FOX QS3 shocks and enough travel to make quick work of all kinds of trail obstacles. Between the big travel numbers, 64-inch width, shocks, and heftiness of the RMAX, the cab itself seems to be isolated from all the trail happenings going on underneath it. Just cruising around it is amazing how you can go over bumps and feel almost nothing in the cab. The RMAX4 has great articulation as you go over obstacles, making it feel very grounded and not the least bit tippy. We have not tried anything necessarily sporty or any high speed cornering... yet, but we have confidence that will show the RMAX4 to stay flat. We shall see!
The FOX 2.0 QS3 shocks have preloads, but more importantly, they have piggy-back reservoirs with a simple 3-setting dampening dial. These shocks are on all four corners and all can be adjusted with a easy turn of the dial. Ours were set at the plushiest setting when we received it, and that is the setting we have been using so far.
Front travel lands at 14.2-inches. Notice how heavy-duty the front a-arms are, and how the lower front a-arms are arched for more ground-clearance across more of the RMAX.
Rear travel comes in at 13.3-inches. Unlike the RMAX2 1000 the seats in the rear limit the amount of travel in the rear. We haven't noticed any lack of comfort in the ride resulting from that less travel in the rear. Also, look at how heavy-duty the rear a-arms are on the RMAX.
Ground clearance is 13.4-inches though we swear it feels like more. We will put a tape measure on it. Full metal skids run the entire underneath of the RMAX. Here you can see the tublar steel that protects the rocker panels from rocks and trail obstacles. We appreciate this protection being integrated into the vehicle.
The Interior Is Automotive & Plush
We like Yamaha side-by-side interiors but they are on the simple and functional side. Well, take that preconception, wad it up, and throw it away. The interior of the Wolverine RMAX4 1000 is absolutely functional but is NOT on the simple side. Quite the contrary, in fact, the interior is plush, well designed, and plush to the point of bordering on fancy. Yes, we did say plush and Yamaha interior in the same sentence! There is an automotive feel to the vehicle as a whole, but the interior is particularly automotive in the way it feels. Both the gearshift and parking brake look straight out of a car. The dashboard and center console have accents and multiple colors and textures giving everything a higher-class look. The seats are high-back, contoured and comfortable with seat belt shoulder belts that can be height-adjusted to find that perfect position for passengers. The entire steering column moves up and down including the instrument cluster. The interior of the Wolverine RMAX absolutely raises the bar for what the interior of a side-by-side should be.
This dashboard and center console looks like something out of a car. Notice the instrument cluster is above the steering wheel and then the Adventure Pro sat-nav system also integrates into the dash. Adventure Pro also shows RMAX vehicle info such as coolant temp, RPM, speed, and so much more.
Here is the vehicle sceen of the Adventure Pro Sat-Nav system. The touchscreen is actually an Android tablet that can be removed from the vehicle. It is locked in there so just anyone can't come take it. We love how the screen looks like it was born to be in that space in a way that doesn't look like its removable.
Just look at the center console with automotive-type controls, storage, and tons of expansion knockouts that can be removed by hand to add switches to control accessories.
Notice there is a glove box and right above it a rubber surface "cubby" to put stuff that will not fall out.
To say this is an adjustable passenger grab handle the likes of which we have never seen would be completely accurate.
There are good-sized switches for 4-wheel drive, lights, and "D" modes. Notice the texture on the panel around the switches.
The changes Yamaha made to the front doors make getting in and out of the Wolverine RMAX 1000, X2, and X4 so much easier.
See this rubber pad. This is on the center console and is the spot your knee natural comes to rest when driving. There is another one of these pads on the doors for where you knee rests there. This kind of attention to detail makes the interior of the RMAX quite possibly the best interior on a side-by-side for passenger comfort. Yep, that is a tall statement!
There Is Room For Four
To round out the RMAX4 1000's resume it does carry up to four people while still having a comparatively short length compared to say a typical four-seat side-by-side. The fact the rear seats are full size complete with contour in addition to the fact they slide forward individually offering up more cargo bed space is pretty cool. Now, we have sat in the back for a while and will be the first to admit the overall foot space is small, and getting in and out of the back seats requires a little bit a ninja training. That said, the rear seats are comfortable and offer acceptable leg and foot room. We would imagine most people will be putting kids of all ages in the back seats as their primary purpose, but adults can ride back there comfortably.
Getting in an out of the back seats for an adult requires some bending, and you can see that foot room is not what we would call plentiful. Once up in the seat, there is plenty of room to place your feet in addition to leg room.
The back seats have four cupholders as well as full size high-back contoured seats that are very comfortable. You can see that the doors are not very big.
This is a new feature on the Wolverine RMAX that comes standard on the XT-R and Limited trim levels. You can see in the picture the dial switch has three D or "drive" modes: Sport, Trail, and Crawl. With the Wolverine vehicles having a drive-by-wire system, the throttle input travels through a throttle "brain" that then tells the engine how much throttle is being fed to it. This means that different throttle mappings can be created that tailor throttle response to the terrain for example, or the style of driving you are doing. That is exactly what these D-modes do. Sport is designed for "spirited" driving or dunes and desert where you want to engine to respond to every twitch of your foot. Trail mode gives a little bit of play in the throttle response which more less smooth out the throttle response over rough terrain. Crawl mode would be for exactly would you would expect, rock crawling. It requires a lot more foot input to change the throttle response. This is particularly helpful in rock crawling situations where you want very smooth throttle response. So what do we think? We love it. The 999cc engine on the RMAX 1000 has plenty of power to say the least, but being able to control how the throttle responds to the driver based upon the situation or terrain is very helpful. Trail mode is out favorite and what we drive with 90% of the time. When going over rough terrain this mode allows a little "play" in the throttle so that the RMAX doesn't lurch forward when your foot bounces on the throttle. Crawl mode does allow for finite throttle control, and sport mode unleashes the beast at the slightest change in throttle input. We are fans of the D-Mode system.
The XT-R package trim level is the middle trim level choice. Here is what makes it an XT-R.
- Integrated Yamaha Adventure Pro
- WARN winch
- FOX 2.0 QS3 adjustable shocks
- Maxxis Carnivore tires with XT-R specific wheels
- XT-R paint and graphics package
Other Things We Dig
We thought we would draw attention to a couple of other things we really like. Here we go.
All of Yamaha's Wolverines have reverse lights. They are bright LED lights that actually illuminate things behind the vehicle, and they work great. Not only is this such a great idea, but the bigger question is why all side-by-sides don't have reverse lights? They should!
This is the heavy duty front bumper on the RMAX. You will notice that there are these very nice tie-down/pull points built into the front end. These things are great for two purposes. First, you can use them when getting yourself or others unstuck. Secondly, and much more useful, is you can put your strap hooks into these to tie-down your side-by-side on the trailer. For years some manufacturers have placed hook points on the front of its vehicles while others haven't. Yamaha has been one that hasn't...until now! This is such a small thing, but gives such a big payoff. Again, shouldn't every ATV or side-by-side have these? The answer is abso-freaking-lutely!!!
Our First Impressions
We love the Wovlerine RMAX4 1000...full stop. It is worth the hype given, and it seems to do a lot of things well. General the saying goes that if you try to be all things to all people then you wind up being good at nothing. Strangely that is not the case with the RMAX. It does recreation... lots of recreation...really well. The power, suspension, interior, exterior, and even the person-carrying ability are on point. It will do utility also. What surprises us is the level of "sport" the RMAX 1000 brings to the party. It can do some pretty impressive "sport" compared to other sport segment side-by-sides. Let's be clear: The RMAX is not a sport side-by-side. It does however blur the line between sport and recreation real good. Now, we still need to knock out more sport driving with the RMAX, but it is going to do pretty well at it. What is exciting for us is that the RMAX does so many of these things well which means it could win an award for being the best adventure vehicle on the market since it will excel in any terrain. That is pretty special. When we look at the RMAX it screams to us "let's go on an adventure". That is our kind of side-by-side. Don't worry. We are going to be doing a lot more testing and will be putting together more articles and some videos on the RMAX. So buckle up.