The New Yamaha Viking is Awesome
When I looked at the list of What to Bring for the 2014 Yamaha Viking media event, I thought the suggested items were perhaps a bit extreme. Do we really need a helmet, goggles, gloves and boots? I thought. We're going to be test driving the new Viking EPS side-by-side – not motorcycles or four-wheelers. I assumed we'd be taking the new three-seater Viking for a leisurely drive down a level, well-cut pathway. After all, isn't that all that large UTVs are capable of? Boy was I in for a surprise – in more ways than one.
After three flights and a two-hour drive, my group of media attendees and I finally arrived at the Red Reflet Ranch outside of Ten Sleep, Wyo. I'd checked out the ranch's website before the trip, but I was not prepared for the breathtaking scenery that greeted us. The working cattle and horse ranch, which doubles as a luxury guest ranch, is located in the western foothills of the Big Horn Mountains and is no doubt on the top of my list of the most beautiful places I've ever visited. Locals call the area the Painted Desert or Colored Hills after the sandstone formations in shades of yellow, grey, orange and bright red. I took a few iPhone shots to send to my husband and friends, but of course, they didn't do the scenery justice.
After arriving at the ranch, we had a chance to learn about the Viking's many impressive features and abilities. I discovered that a massive amount of thought and research went in to each component. From comfort, to power, to usability – nothing was left to chance in the 2014 design.
After a brief driving instruction the following morning, we headed out onto the trails. I instantly learned why we needed the safety equipment. The colorful formations that made the area so beautiful also made it treacherous. Narrow, rocky and steep, the trails presented quite the challenge, but the new Viking was up for it.
I was a little nervous as we began the initial climb into the foothills. I'd flipped my four-wheeler in less extreme terrain than what we were tackling and feared I'd do the same in the Viking. But, as we navigated over rocks, fallen trees and other obstacles, my confidence skyrocketed. The Viking took it all on with ease.
We spent the morning exploring the 27,000-acre ranch and its varying landscape. We drove up bare mountain sides and through dense aspen forests. We navigated down dirt roads and across meadows. The Viking handled superbly through it all, and provided for an ultra-comfortable ride. I'm big on comfort and the Viking's superiority in this area impressed me the most.
One of the coolest features is its pass-through bucket seating, which includes a unique off-set center position (set 5 degrees back) that provides plenty of shoulder room for all three occupants. This is the only vehicle in its class with three-point seat belts for everyone, plus headrests all around, adjustable handhold for both passengers and a textured floorboard with dedicated foot wells.
Of course, power is important as well, of which the Viking has plenty. In fact, the Viking boasts Yamaha's strongest four-wheel drive engine to date – a 686cc liquid-cooled 4-stroke, SOHC, single-cylinder, 4-valve fuel-injected engine.
The features are too numerous to list here, but you can check them out in Realtree's Featured Products section.
I truly enjoyed testing out the Viking. I was surprised by how fun and easy it was to drive, and I was seriously impressed by how effortlessly it handled the rugged terrain. Whether you need a UTV for farming, hunting or recreational purposes, the new Viking is a great choice.
Also, make sure you enter the Yamaha Dream Hunt Sweepstakes for the chance to win a free hunt and the opportunity to test drive the new Viking.