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My 1st post, so don't tear me up too bad!!

In the past two weeks I have test drove the following 4 UTV's at dealers:

Polaris 900XP Browning Edition (2014 model)
Kawasaki Teryx4 (2013 model)
Honda Pioneer4
and Yamaha Viking (non EPS version with 27" tires)

These rides were brief sprints on grass or parking lots and did not include any hill climbs, mud bogs, or lengthy rides.

I really want to like the Viking as I like most of the new innovations that Yamaha has added. Without the EPS it was difficult to steer at any of the lower speeds, and was noticeably noiser than all of the others, at idle and under throttle.
I wonder if the Viking has the engine isolated from the frame with rubber bushings like Polaris has, could that be why it is noisier? Clutch engagement was good at low speed. I like the seating arrangement for my purposes and was impressed with the overall looks of the vehicle. Very polished and seemed to be well constructed. The bed is awesome with the full steel liner. Plastic tailgate maybe a problem for some though. This is a very agressive looking vehicle!!

I think the Honda Pioneer4 is going to be popular with the strictly utility crowd, it was very quiet compared to all of the others, steering was good even without EPS. Fit and finish were very good and the price point on these new units are very good. It may have limited trail capabilities (waiting to hear feedback on trail usage) but it is a very refined vehicle none the less. This unit has a single cylinder smaller engine like the Viking but is quieter by a bunch and drove well. The transmission up shifted well under full acceleration with no lag in shifting, I was impressed with that. I own a Honda car and it felt a lot like that kind of a feeling when driving it.

The Teryx4 I drove was the 2013 model without the eninge boost that the 2014 model got. Performance was good and wasn't too noisy. I liked the placement for 4 passengers and the general performance level compared with a Polaris Crew that just seems like a big barge. I understand from the Forums that this model has a big problem with hot seats like the 800 Polaris tended to have. The small bed is a big disadvantage for utility purposes though. I do like the 4 place arrangement in a short wheelbase vehicle, it adds some performance to hauling around 4 people.

The Polaris 900 XP is the gold standard for comparisons right now with the high level of technology that they have brought to the side by side game. It had great straight line performance and was very quiet at idle and under full throttle all you could hear was the engine noise and no perceived driveline noise. This was the Browning Edition with EPS and steering was very easy. I do dislike the clutch engagement like so many others mention with the Polaris. To bad we couldn't take the Yamaha Ultramatic clutch and put it on the Polaris!!

I have not made a decision on any of these for a purchase, but feel right now that these 4 represent the ones that I would make a choice from if I were ready to take the plunge. I currently do not own a side by side, nor have I previously owned one.
I would be using the UTV primarily for utility purposes around the farm and some field cruising when possible. Very limited actual trail riding although I would like to try it out someday. I would want a side by side with at least some trail capabilities to cover future possibilities.

Gary
 

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Im suprised to hear you felt the viking was difficult to steer at low speed. I have the EPS which is easy and read alot of post telling the non-eps was easy as well. I was begining to think the 1k for EPS was a waste.

You have done your research and I dont envy you in making a decision. I know I made the right choice for me and my intentions with it. I was torn between the Viking and the Pioneer until I sat in the pioneer and looked at the small differential. I had flash backs of my honda Rincon being pulled out by Grizzly after Grizzly. I don't mud ride anymore and plan to use it around my property and hunting. But keep in mind Reliability, good service and parts network far outways a bigger engines, slipping belts, breaks down or waiting on parts for weeks.

Good luck in deciding Gary
 

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I've got a non EPS, with 28s, I don't find it hard to steer
 

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Any of those vehicles will likely make you happy, it is about going with your gut at a certain point. I was also surprised to hear that you thought the Viking was hard to steer though. Are they all priced similarly?
 

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I will agree the viking is hard to steer with bigger aggressive tires like my mud lite xtr's. Now im the opposite on clutch engagement. I dont like the clutching or there trqnsmissions. Ive seen them break with ease. I like the polaris alot. That 900 prostar motor is second to none. Obviously there detuned in the ranger but they are the best motor on the market imo. The Kawasaki is a very nice machine to overall. I havent drove the 4 but the regular teryx I put some miles on them.

Sent from my SCH-R760X using Tapatalk 2
 

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Gary, great write up.

You're approaching this with a good sense of objectivity. Smart, considering such a big ticket item.

I also did a search similar to yours, although my needs were quite different and I am a current owner of a 2008 Rhino, so I had that experience to help in my comparison.

I tried not to wear my rose-colored Yamaha glasses when I was shopping and comparing, but, to be honest, it was hard to do. The reliability and build quality of my Rhino leaves quite an impression and sets a pretty high bar when looking at other manufacturers.
That machine is darn near bullet proof. Many miles/events and stories to recount.

My priorities were off-road capability and reliability. Not just trail-worthy, but pucker-factor off-camber situations loaded down with gear --- kind of capability. Hunting and exploring is about 80% of what I was looking for in a vehicle. Where reliability may save you from an unplanned night out or a 20+ mile walk out. Quickness, top end speed, and sportiness takes a back seat to low-end torque, towing, storage capacity and getting back to camp after a 14 hour day.

My take on the Honda Pioneer was impeccable quality and finish. Agree with you, very Honda-like. What I disliked was the lack of power. The gearing wasn't quite low enough but purred and shifted like butter. Great machine. Big trust factor in their engineering. Small aftermarket for these.

Kawasaki Teryx 4 was a nice blend between the Viking and a Razr. Own a Kawasaki Prairie 360 since 2001 so I like Kawasaki engines. The Teryx, overall wasn't as polished as the Honda or Viking but was the funnest to drive of them all. Seats were comfy but the ergonomics of the seats & controls were just off for me. ( all relative by person ). Lower utility than the Viking or the Polaris. Shifting was smooth, interior noise was loud as expected.

Having driven my friends Ranger xp900, tons of power, great gearbox. Bench seats nowhere near as comfy as the Teryx or Viking. But the ability to pack a third person is huge. Nice dash layout, well designed. Floor gets hot. Great for farming/ranch work. Off-road capability is tenuous, at best. High center of gravity, way too tippy for my needs.
Loud as well.

The new Viking is WIDE. 3 separate seats in a bench-like configuration. Genius. May exclude it from 50" trails. (pack a chain saw) Same engine as the Rhino series but has been tuned a bit. Lot of engine vibration, the whole front cab shakes when idling. EPS is wonderful, long overdue from Yamaha but has been implemented very well. More steering assist at low speeds, less at higher speeds. Gear selection was stiff, but loosening up after some mileage. Biggest bed of all. LOUD. Yamaha really screwed the pooch on this one. They sell a noise suppression kit which make you wonder if this was planned. Overall fit & finish was second to the Honda.

The Viking was the best fit for my needs, though it does have it's areas for improvement. Circling back to my priorities, off-road capability and reliability still drove this decision. The Teryx was a close second. 3-seats with best offroad capability of this group, was the compromise of a true 4-seater.
Once I threw the bigger tires on the Viking, it pretty much nullified the little extra power Yamaha wiggled out of it.

Good luck on your decision and please post back here on what you settled on. Everyone here is (most everyone) aren't locked on to a brand.

Search for an excellent comparison Schroeder wrote up on a selection on a new Teryx4. Great points and observations he made.
 

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I think the hard steering might come about from tryinf to turn on pavement at load speeds without a rear diff.

Shortnugly that vibration almost fully disappears after you get a few hours under it.
 

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mine still vibrates the same as the day i bought it and it has 50 some hours and 400 miles on it. but it doesnt bother me 'cuz it goes away when i hit the gas, i dont sit idle for very long. get in, turn on, mash gas pedal and smile

also added the silencing kit, extra silencing material and a hushpower muffler. very quiet now
 

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I looked at all the same sxs as well as Kubota's and John Deere's. I went with the Viking for overall ulitity and have been very satisfied with no regret. If you read posts on this forum it might make your decision a bit easier. Good luck.
 

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mine still vibrates the same as the day i bought it and it has 50 some hours and 400 miles on it. but it doesnt bother me 'cuz it goes away when i hit the gas, i dont sit idle for very long. get in, turn on, mash gas pedal and smile
Oh really, mine's practically gone? You're right about the gas pedal though!
 

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I think the hard steering might come about from tryinf to turn on pavement at load speeds without a rear diff.

Shortnugly that vibration almost fully disappears after you get a few hours under it.
Not sure what was causing Gary's hard turning issue. My viking with EPS, I can almost two finger turn the wheel at low speeds. Maybe the demo model had a faulty power assist motor, or not installed correctly? Others have reported easy steering even without EPS.

Good to know the vibration will relax after awhile.
 

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mine still vibrates the same as the day i bought it and it has 50 some hours and 400 miles on it. but it doesnt bother me 'cuz it goes away when i hit the gas, i dont sit idle for very long. get in, turn on, mash gas pedal and smile

also added the silencing kit, extra silencing material and a hushpower muffler. very quiet now
I have a roll of GT sound damping mat, a roll of adhesive sound absorption foam mat and the Yamaha noise deflection kit. Ready to quiet this beast down. :)

You got a part number for your hushpower muffler?
 

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Not sure what was causing Gary's hard turning issue. My viking with EPS, I can almost two finger turn the wheel at low speeds. Maybe the demo model had a faulty power assist motor, or not installed correctly? Others have reported easy steering even without EPS.
Mine doesn't have EPS and when I'm trying to manoeuvre around my yard the steering is quite heavy when you are turning hard on pavement, the rest of the time it is easy as.
 

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I have a roll of GT sound damping mat, a roll of adhesive sound absorption foam mat and the Yamaha noise deflection kit. Ready to quiet this beast down. :)

You got a part number for your hushpower muffler?
No. just get on ebay, type in after muffler silencer. scroll down about 20 items. they have one on sale for $69.99.so id hurry if u want one. just be aware its not a direct hookup. i had to take it to a muffler shop, have the brackets ground off, have them turn the whole muffler around so the inlet is on the left side and weld a new pipe from the factory exaust to the inlet of the hushpower. took about 2 hrs and cost me $100 bux but def. worth it.
 

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member mass n trash has the same muffler and he had his made so its removeable. mines welded straight up. his looks a little cleaner with more of a straight run but im in B.F.E pennsylvania so im just glad it works. and it does work good. i can barely hear it running when it is at idle.
 
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