UTV TEST: 2023 SEGWAY VILLAIN SX10 WX
Value-priced, 72-inch sport UTV By the staff of Dirt Wheels
Our first experience with any Segway powersports vehicle was a half day with the 2023 Segway Villain SX10 WX on the trails at Sand Hollow State Park in Utah. If you are aware of the Segway brand, you most likely are accustomed to the self-balancing electric mobility machine commonly seen in the hands of security guards or on sightseeing tours.
The original Segway company started in 1999, and the two-wheeled Segway self-balancing mobility machines hit in 2002. Various upgrades to the concept followed, including special law enforcement and security models. A special golf version that carried a bag of clubs was introduced as well. By 2015 Segway and Ninebot joined forces. The company has morphed through a variety of mobility and recreational products. Those include robots, e-go-karts, self-balancing electric unicycles and even one-wheeled self-balancing roller skates. There have also been electric scooters and compact electric dirt bikes. In 2022 Segway entered the internal-combustion powersports market with 4×4 quads and UTVs.
Our Villain test subject is the highest performing of all the Segway ICE (internal combustion engine) models. All 105 horsepower comes from a 1000cc, parallel twin-cylinder engine. The specs and the sound of the engine are reminiscent of a Polaris XP 1000 engine, but it clearly isn’t identical. The Segway has the CVT on the passenger side of the machine rather than the driver’s side. It has a twin-exit exhaust, and the intake is high behind and between the seats.
Throttle response and shifting were all we would expect. For a normally aspirated 1-liter engine, the over-the-ground performance is excellent. Sand Hollow mixes sand with little traction and rock slabs with stunning traction. All but the most powerful machines feel sluggish in the light, fine sand. Performance and acceleration are impressive.
There is strong torque feel from low in the rpm range, and that feel remains constant. High-rpm power is strong but NA strong. It doesn’t match turbo cars, but that is no surprise.
CHASSIS AND SUSPENSION
While the engine sound and performance resemble a Polaris, the Segway chassis and suspension has a decided Can-Am X3 bias. The similarities range from an identical wheelbase, the three rear radius rods that keep the rear suspension tracking, and a front suspension with shock reservoirs protruding through the hood.
The Segway feels like it has a robust frame, and we suspect that it is. Compared to a Can-Am or a Polaris RZR XP 1000, the Villain weighs several hundred pounds more. We feel that much of that weight must be in the chassis. Segway claims the Villain’s chromoly steel frame is both rigid and lightweight. We have seen line drawings of the chassis, and it clearly looks strong with a bounty of interconnected frame tubes to add strength.
The front suspension has lightly arched double A-arms with a sway bar. The Villain comes in three models. Two have a 64-inch width, and the SX10 WX that we drove has the full 72-inch width. In the rear are trailing arms managed by three radius rods on each side.
The Villain SX10 WX features Segway remote reservoir shocks front and rear. They share a resemblance with Fox shocks. They have adjustable preload, high- and low-speed compression adjustment, and even rebound adjustment. Adjustable shocks are still rare on sport UTVs. The shocks have threaded spring preload collars for fine ride-height adjustments.
The suspension delivers 16 inches of travel in the front and 18 inches in the rear. Like a Maverick X3, the rear shocks are mounted closer to vertical than most designs. Honestly, with a 72-inch machine, we find those travel numbers a little modest, as it looks like it has more. The reality is that the suspension action works quite well. In that light, who cares about the numbers?
While the 64-inch Villain models come with an unusual 29×9-14 CST Stag tire in the front and a 27×11-14 CST Stag in the rear, the 72-inch SX10 WX has a square tire combination with matching 30×10-14 CST Stag 8-ply tires on all four corners. This is a nice specification, and we appreciate the matching tires. The tires are mounted on beadlock 14-inch aluminum wheels.
CST Stag tires have a tread pattern something like sister company Maxxis’ Bighorn, but with the 8-ply rating they should be tougher and more puncture-resistant. Traction was impressive in the sand and on dirt, yet they grabbed traction on the slick rock as well.
The Villain features a front differential that allows seamless switching between 2WD and 4WD. The front differential lock can be switched manually while moving. Being able to engage front diff lock on the fly is a nice touch. We did find obstacles that called for diff-lock, and it works well for climbing tricky obstacles.
ON THE INSIDE
Inside the Segway Villain you will find very contemporary automotive styling. That includes sewn seats with bolster bottoms and contoured backs with small embroidered Segway logos, an automotive-styled tilt steering wheel, and attractive interior accents. We didn’t try it, but the steering column does have a keyed lock for security when parked. The driver’s seat is adjustable, and both seats have soft and easily adjusted four-point harness-type seats belts.
Doors on both sides latch easily and stay secure while driving. They are not full half doors but have a lower door opening. A nicely profiled and fitted molded plastic roof is standard.
For a vehicle in this price range, it has an impressive electronics package. In addition to the digital screen-type meter, there is a large center-mount touchscreen as well. The center display allows the owner to access real-time data from the vehicle through the Smart Commanding System (SCS). Through a feature called AirLock you can activate your vehicle by Bluetooth through your mobile phone. You can also use the app (cellular data) to unlock the car remotely with your mobile phone as the key. Only one phone can be linked to the car, and you still need to use the start button to fire up the engine.
You can set various drive and display settings. EPS was one of the options you could control. Safety alerts are also available. Set up emergency contacts within the app. In the event of a collision or rollover, the app will automatically send an SMS text to your contacts with your GPS coordinates!
Real-time data is also displayed. That includes speed, acceleration, torque and power output, mileage, and other vehicle data.
A 9×4-inch digital dash has a speedometer, tachometer, odometer, trip meter, clock, hour meter, gear indicator, fuel gauge, coolant temperature, voltmeter, service indicator and codes, as well as a seatbelt reminder. The cab includes a DC outlet and a USB charge port.
Just as we felt with the interior, the exterior of the Segway Villain has smooth lines and curves that evoke an automotive design feeling. It would be more obvious if the lines and curves were completed. For example, if the doors had full skins and the body panels came closer to the wheels or extended over them. There is even a door over the fuel-filler cap and filler neck.
We like the lines and the smooth look, and we suspect it will be easier to wash than many UTVs. Entering and exiting the Segway Villain is easy enough. We didn’t drive it at night, so we have no comment on the lights.
THE DRIVE EXPERIENCE
Our test Segway had some miles on it, and it was described to us as 98-percent production. Final updates to the design will be to the air-intake cover found at the front of the bed. Air is drawn into the engine from right between and slightly behind the seat back, head-rest area. The engine starts easily and runs smoothly, but compared to other brands our machine had significant intake sound. Segway is trying to finalize the design with a cover that does a better job muffling the intake. Our car had no cover at all.
Aside from the intake sound, we found few distractions. The Segway was comfortable, accelerates hard and has responsive suspension. Slow trails and climbs required low range. With the stock 30-inch tires, low range is not as low as we like it to be. For most driving it should be fine, but for the slow, abrupt climbs at Sand Hollow, the CVT was right at the point of engagement.
On slow mountain trails and over rocks and chop in the open, the suspension felt smooth and responsive. While the shocks had a multitude of possible adjustments, we felt no need for changes on our half-day ride. The other car we had along is one of our all-time favorites. We worried that our opinions of the Segway would collapse when we switched from the high-end long-travel turbo car to the Segway with its narrower track, shorter suspension travel and non-turbo power output. Instead, we found the Villain to be fun, stable, and we never resisted the switch after the first time.
If the going is not too steep for the low-range gearing, the Segway Villain easily pulls its way up hills and through rocks. The combination of the low-rpm response and smooth build of power make the Segway a pleasure for trail driving. We’ve been in the dunes at Sand Hollow with a number of 100-ish-horsepower, normally aspirated machines and found them wanting. There simply wasn’t enough oomph to keep them on top of the sand enough to be satisfying. The Villain had the punch and traction (again, tires) to have satisfying acceleration out of turns.
Segway’s Villain SX10 WX is comfortable, attractive and nicely equipped. The price is as low as we have ever seen for a 72-inch sport machine. Segway backs it with a 12-month warranty. We’d want a quality dealer in our area, but we’d be happy to have this machine in the garage, even if it was the only machine in there!
2023 SEGWAY VILLAIN SX10 WX
Engine type 105 horsepower, 4-stroke parallel-twin cylinder DOHC
Transmission Automatic CVT P/R/N/H/L
Final drive Shaft
Fuel system EFI
Fuel capacity 11.6 gal.
Ground clearance .14”
Estimated dry weight 1940 lb.
Front Dual A-arm w/ remote reservoir gas shocks/16”
Rear Trailing arm w/ remote reservoir gas shocks/18”
Front 30×10-14 CST Stag
Rear 30×10-14 CST Stag
Front Hydraulic disc
Rear Hydraulic disc
Bed capacity 200 lb.
Towing Hitch optional
Colors White/red, gray/black, black/green, black/black