A unique cross-promotional event at Gunsite Academy in Arizona this summer put on by Glock, Nosler, Shoot United, and Yamaha Motorsports brought together a combination of journalists from the firearms, outdoor adventure, and automotive industries. As much fun as I had during the John Wick-style firearms training, my real job at Gunsite involved testing out every model in the Yamaha UTV lineup, highlighted by the high-performance YXZ side-by-side.
Unlike most SxS manufacturers, Yamaha eschews the more easily accessible CVT automatic transmission in favor of a sequential gearbox on the YXZ. Controlled via paddle shifters that allow the YXZ 1000R SS’s inline triple to rev right up to 12,000 RPMs, the sequential setup left me grinning from ear to ear after the first lap around Gunsite’s extensive compound.
Glock, Nosler, and Shoot United brought the fun factor, without a doubt, and our group of journalists learned a ton about firearm safety during quick-draw technique exercises. Then, Yamaha pulled out the UTV lineup to show off the capabilities of the YXZ, Grizzly ATV, and the Wolverine in R Max, X2, and X4 layouts. While the fun Grizzly and more utilitarian Wolverines do employ a CVT, the YXZ drew my full attention simply because of that sequential shifter.
Though down on power compared to many other brands—notably, Polaris with the Pro R’s 225 horsepower—the YXZ offers a unique combination of a shorter wheelbase and aggressive design to go with adjustable shocks and knobby tires.