Not Just For The Dunes!
Faced with some seriously steep and rocky terrain, we switched into 4-wheel drive (on the fly) and explored just how low we could lug the RPM on the YXZ without having to start working the clutch. At one point, we saw 2 mph on our speedometer in first gear before we needed to give it a little bit more throttle at the crest of a steep and rocky hill. Having to navigate quickly between large boulders and race through twisting ravines exposed the nimbleness of this machine, and the low, slanted hood allowed for terrific visibility up front. So, it was very easy to place our tires wherever we needed for the best traction, and in order to avoid any unnecessary sidewall abuse.
We got the opportunity to tackle some pretty rocky, slow, and technical sections, and with a little clutch work we had no issues navigating around or over everything we came across. If you have ever ridden a sport quad off-road and in the rocky stuff, then you will easily get the hang of driving the YXZ in the same type of terrain.
Once we were through the other side of the tight mountain trails, we found ourselves at the beginning of a long, sandy wash, complete with plenty of whoops and some really fun berms. This was a great time to test out the difference between two- and four-wheel drive, and to feel the handling characteristics of the YXZ’s sporty suspension, as well as the huge, piggyback FOX 2.5 Podium RC2 shocks.
One by one, we headed off into the wash at speed, and we know we weren’t the only ones mentally timing how fast we could make it to the end! There were times when we wanted to find as much traction as we could, and other times when we wanted to slide the back end around — having a manual shifter made it possible for us to get everything we asked out of the YXZ. In two-wheel drive, we could easily slide the back end around the high berms and through the deep sand, breaking traction any time we wanted. When the wash became whooped out and brutal, we switched into 4-wheel drive so the front end would track straight and we could pin it through the rough stuff without fear of getting crossed up.
Every once in a while we would come up on a deep rain cut with more speed that we thought we were carrying, but the suspension handled it all like a champ, and we grew even more confident with what this machine could pull us out of when necessary.
The wash run was a favorite for all of the editors, so much so that we all did it one more time! Shifting is a huge part of what makes this machine so much fun to drive, and if you don’t like to actually be a part of the “driving experience,” then perhaps the YXZ isn’t for you. For the rest of us, however, having full control over the RPM, downshifting, upshifting, and being able to manipulate its power puts this machine into a whole new dimension of fun.
Once we got our fill of the wash, we were able to really open up our machines and let them run, as we sped across a huge dry lakebed and into some low, rolling dunes. Having a machine capable of going as fast as the YXZ is one thing, having a machine that can actually handle terrain at those speeds is something really exciting! In many UTVs, when we are faced with a situation where we hit a G-out or rain gulley at a high rate of speed, the back end tends to not only bounce up, but also sideways, which really gets your attention quick! The YXZ can handle those types of situations without the sideways movement, allowing the driver to maintain control even when things get a little sketchy. Having this type of confidence in the machine definitely allows us to have even more fun that we thought possible in a side-by-side.
Even though we only had one day, we basically did it all — low speed, technical, rocky stuff, some crazy hill-climbs, dunes and deep sand, twisty washes and some pretty big whoops thrown in. The high-speed lakebed allowed us to open-up the YXZ to its full potential, and the open desert showcased the YXZ’s ability to handle and allow the driver to adapt to sudden, unexpected terrain.
Most of all, it was eye opening to experience first-hand even more of what the YXZ can do. We learned that even though it may have been designed to excel in the desert and dunes, it is also a very capable and fun-to-drive machine in just about any terrain you might want to tackle.