Yamaha’s Rhino may not have been the original UTV, but it was the first to combine a work ethic and serious recreational ability, and that made the UTV business boom. Many companies started to produce machines designed for work and recreation. Starting with two-seated vehicles, soon consumers saw the need for a machine with the capability to hold more passengers. Before long, the UTV business had vehicles like the four-seated Polaris RZRs and the Kawasaki Teryx4. These UTVs were long but still fun to travel rough terrain with you and three others.
However, Yamaha did not venture into the elongated UTV market and decided to make the Viking, which held three people in a single row. This meant the machine was still short in length, which makes traveling tight and tough terrain easier than a longer four-passenger vehicle. Unfortunately, the demand for more passengers out of a Yamaha UTV grew, and the company could not sit back and disappoint.
INTRODUCING THE 2015 VIKING VI
Yamaha has set a new standard with the Viking VI. The first “true” six-passenger UTV brings new capabilities to the market. With two rows of three seats, you can now take a larger crew of friends to go hunting, or bring your employees to a job site with ease. No other UTV manufacturer has come out with a six-passenger UTV that has individual seating instead of bench seats like the Polaris Ranger has. Even though the individual seating is wider than a bench seat, the Viking VI is sized closely to other manufactured multi-passenger machines.
The Viking VI shares the same powerplant with the original Viking, a reliable 686cc, fuel-injected, single-overhead-cam engine. This may frighten some consumers away from the Viking VI, since the machine will be carrying much more weight. It is no rocket ship, but with on-the-fly 4×4 and 4×4 diff-lock capabilities, this machine makes it through the rough stuff with ease. Fortunately, the power is not an issue, and even when the VI is fully loaded, the engine carries the weight with ease. With a driver and five passengers, the Viking VI can pull up to 1500 pounds with the bed loaded with a maximum of 600 pounds.
The CVT system in the Viking VI has been improved upon. They managed to reduce belt wear by increasing the heat venting around the belt system by adding an integrated cooling fan. Yamaha also introduced a new centrifugal clutch system with stronger materials that takes the abuse from heat and friction, allowing a lengthened belt life.
STEERING AND SUSPENSION
When a manufacturer adds length and additional seats to their preexisting UTVs, steering and suspension can be affected poorly. Fortunately, Yamaha took care to improve on the suspension and steering on the Viking VI to feel more like the original Viking. The Viking VI has fully independent suspension parts borrowed from the Viking, but strengthened to handle the heavier machine that weighs in at 1634 pounds. It has a ground clearance of 11.4 inches. The most noticeable change in the suspension was how plush the Viking VI’s suspension was. It rides on 8.1 inches of travel on all four corners and has new dual-rate springs to help keep the ride smooth yet still handle a heavy payload.
UTILITY AND COMFORT
None of the original features from the Viking have been compromised with this new model, either. Each seat is equally as comfortable as the next, with the center seats being offset from the driver and passenger side seats. The dump bed is large and strong, and the roll cage has been improved upon for the elongated machine.
Each seat has secure footing and hand-holds to grasp when the going gets rough. The roll cage in the rear allows ample headroom, and the headrests have been redesigned for more comfort. The seat belts are strong and keep you planted while riding through rough terrain.
As far as storage and capacity goes, the Viking VI boosts eight cup holders, a large glovebox, and multiple under-seat storage containers. More can be purchased for your machine through Yamaha. The cargo bed can hold up to 600 pounds with sturdy tie-down points in the fully metal dump bed.
If you tend to travel the trails or go to a job site with more than three passengers, the Viking VI is the answer. The ride and seats are comfortable, the bed loading and hauling capabilities are great, and the engine is reliable and strong. Other six-passenger machines like the Polaris Ranger Crew 800, starting at $12,499, do not fit all six passengers as comfortably as the Yamaha does. The Viking VI starts at $12,799 and has a ton of accessories that you can purchase with the machine. Bang for buck, this UTV is worth its price for its intended work and recreational uses.