Mainly targeted for general utility and recreational use by farmers, ranchers and hunters, Yamaha’s new 2015 Yamaha Viking VI presents a very unique way of transporting a small group of people to otherwise unreachable places. We’ve already had the chance to experience this new three passengers wide format with the Viking last year and we were impressed on how the vehicle stayed a viable solution for trekking through tight wood trails at 61.8 inches in width, a size that helps minimize 30″ row crop damage.
The Yamaha Rhino, introduced back in 2004, became so successful, appealing to such a wide range of different users, that many other off-road vehicle manufacturers quickly followed with similar offerings. The original was actually so popular, that many people would call any such vehicle, regardless of who made it, a Rhino. Darker times fell onto this wonderfully versatile vehicle and the popularity of its name became so important that Yamaha seemed to be the only manufacturer targeted by law firms, even if strangely enough the Rhino was considered just as safe to operate as any of the numerous Side x Side models on the market. Some law firms would even go as far as giving the impression that the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issued a safety recall on the Rhino when in fact it was Yamaha that issued a voluntary recall/repair campaign which involved adding spacers at the rear wheels and removing a anti-sway bar. The CPSC later reported that many of the accidents occurred while the driver and/or occupants were not wearing the safety restraints.
When looking closely at the design aspects of this replacement for the Rhino, the Yamaha Viking or even now this 2015 Yamaha Viking VI, it’s obvious that Yamaha engineers did an excellent job of further improving protection for all the occupants, even those who don’t necessarily follow guidelines to a tee. We can imagine the tough roto-moulded side panels and doors not only offering good splash protection but also make it almost impossible to get badly hurt if something does go wrong. In the case of this Viking VI, the chances of someone losing control over rough terrain are almost null, thanks to its extra long wheelbase of 115.6 inches, that will smoothen the ride quite a bit in comparison to its shorter sibling. Like its predecessor, the Viking VI rolls on extra-efficient Maxxis Bighorn 2.0 tires and boasts an independent double wishbone front and rear suspension system that delivers 8.1 inches of travel plus a rear anti-sway bar to further improve ride comfort. Of course you can expect the belly of this ride to hit the ground a little more frequently than with the shorter Viking over sizable bumps but it is very well protected with a Steel skid plate under the frame that provides very good protection from rocks and ruts and helps prevent the Viking VI slide on through with ease and without worries.
Today almost every ATV maker also offers Side x Side vehicles, for two, four or even more occupants but never before have they been presented in this fashion. By now you must have noticed the big difference with all the others; placing not two but three occupants per row of seats. The center seats are intelligently positioned with the seat back slightly laid back just a little more than the side seats, which creates a very secure feel in those particular spots. They offer a never before felt level of comfort and secure feel to the off-road rough terrain conquering experience.
For persons with mobility challenges, sitting in the Viking is no struggle at all. With the door open you can back into the vehicle bum first and use the protective side panels for leverage and support to help you get in. Sliding to the middle seat position is pretty easy too, as the seat design stays simplistic in shape while superbly comfortable.
Despite the fact that we’ve never even been in a 2015 Yamaha Viking VI, there are quite a few positive things we can underline about this vehicle that we know to be excellent qualities. Yamaha’s very own Ultramatic transmission with dual-range (Hi/Lo) drive and reverse, is among the most advanced and durable drive systems available. An automatic centrifugal clutch maintains constant belt tension for reduced belt wear and uses a sprag clutch for all-wheel downhill engine braking. The Viking’s engine can’t disappoint either. The all-new Viking VI will give you confidence to conquer whatever comes your way with a powerful 686cc, liquid-cooled, fuel-injected, SOHC power plant. You get good on-demand low-end acceleration and the strong pull through the rpm range provides excellent overall conquering ability combined with the electric power steering system, which enables precise control of vehicle behaviour over all kinds of terrain. For those who like a more direct feel of the trail and enjoy getting a bit of upper body exercise, the Viking VI is also available without EPS.
Yamaha’s devotion to client satisfaction, safety, great quality control and passion for performance, was extremely palpable when we drove the three-occupant Viking and this longer version we expect will satisfy us even more with its even smoother feel over every bump. You can expect a very easy to operate and maintain off-road vehicle experience. The motor and all of the main components are easy to get to under the stamped steel dump bed rated to haul 600 pounds of gear and you have 1,500 pounds of maximum towing capacity to get almost any job done quickly.
Once comfortably seated in the driver’s seat, one quickly finds all the necessary controls with extreme ease. Just left of the steering wheel is an easy to find without having to look big, simple, round knob for the three-position On-Command 4WD system that lets you choose between 2WD, limited-slip 4WD and fully locked differential 4WD. The dash-mounted parking brake is also very simple and convenient to use on the other side of the sassy steering wheel and a few inches further to the right is a smooth yet decisive in operation gear mode selector. The foot controls are plush with a car-like feel, without any lag or sideways looseness to them like many others in its class. Our only beef is that the steering isn’t a tilting one but we understand Yamaha engineers wanting to impose this comfortable for all position, which encourages a certain level of attention while driving. The digital instrument panel is placed in the center with a slight angle so that it can be easy to glance at without having to peer through the steering wheel and boasts multifunction LCD display with speedometer, odometer, dual trip meter, hour meter, battery volt meter, 4WD status, transmission position, clock and fuel gauge.
Not only can this vehicle carry lots of people but it will also enable them to stay efficient at work with lots of room for storage and eight convenient cup holders, as well as two accessory power outlets that are easily accessible and almost indispensable in this battery powered gadget era we live in. The latching glove box is also very practical to store smaller items such as cell phones, wallets, etc. Under-seat storage provides additional storage space and the stamped steel dump bed is rated to haul 600 pounds of gear and features four standard tie-down hooks to help make sure cargo is anchored securely.
A Special Edition Viking VI is also available, featuring Matte Silver paint, aluminum wheels, a soft sun top, mud flaps, fender extensions, under-seat storage and bed rail accessory mount.
For more information on the above mentioned models, please visit the Yamaha Motor Website