Ultimate Yamaha YXZ1000R 2020 Buyer’s Guide

In 2004, Yamaha changed the rules for the side-by-side market with the introduction of their Rhino 450 and 660 model UTVs. The Rhino was still considered a utility vehicle, but its compact size and sporty feeling engine and transmission combo made it a lot of fun on the trails as well.

It had decent suspension, bucket seats, and small doors that set the Rhino apart from its more utilitarian brethren. Polaris would take the next step with their RZR 800 sport UTV, but it was Yamaha that proved that these machines could be fun on the trail.

Since then, Yamaha has released various UTV models, all of which are good trail vehicles. Like Honda and Kawasaki though, Yamaha didn’t have a pure-sport UTV to compete with the Polaris RZR XP 1000 or the Can-Am Maverick. That changed for the 2016 model year as Yamaha released their highly anticipated YXZ1000R pure-sport side-by-side.

Not only was the styling unique and aggressive, it also featured a triple cylinder engine with a manual clutch, 5-speed transmission, both firsts in the UTV world. Now there are 5 models of the YXZ1000R, including a paddle shift version with an automatic clutch. Below is a guide to the YXZ1000R lineup to help prospective buyers sort through the different models and features and determine which one best suits their needs.


yamaha yxz1000r

The YXZ1000R is already a popular UTV with both racers and weekend warriors alike. From the beginning, Yamaha chose to take their pure-sport side-by-side in a different direction from the competition and it has served them well.

While their competitors stuck with tried and true CVT style automatic transmissions, Yamaha incorporated a manual clutch 5-speed sequential shift transmission in the YXZ. They could have easily used a version of their popular Ultramatic CVT transmission, but there was obviously a market for a manual shift, sport UTV.

To make this machine even more unique, they paired the transmission to a 998cc DOHC inline triple cylinder engine. Yamaha doesn’t advertise horsepower numbers, but it’s approximately 112 hp in stock form.

It has selectable 2wd, 4wd, and front differential lock. That, along with 13.2 inches of ground clearance, should allow the YXZ to go just about anywhere you point it.

The YXZ suspension setup features a dual A-arm design, front and rear, with fully adjustable FOX Podium 2.5 RC2 shocks. Front wheel travel is 16.2 inches, while rear wheel travel measures a full 17 inches. The YXZ has 29 inch Maxxis Bighorn tires and hydraulic disc brakes at all four corners.

The 64 inch width and 90.5 inch wheelbase has made this a very popular machine with east coast trail riders, though it’s no slouch in the desert either.

Excellent suspension, nimble handling, and decent ground clearance from the factory make this a fantastic trail machine. To further its ability as a trail machine, Yamaha has also relocated the radiator to the rear of the vehicle and incorporated dual fans, to ensure the engine is running cool, regardless of vehicle speed.

This prevents a lot of dirt and debris from getting caked on the radiator and also reduces heat in the cab. The cockpit features bucket seats and an analog tachometer paired with an LCD information display, and it’s enclosed by standard half doors. The YXZ1000R is available in Red and the MSRP for this vehicle is $18,999.


yamaha yxz1000r se

If you like the YXZ1000R, but want a bit of an upgrade, the YXZ1000R SE might just fit the bill. It has the same great features as the standard YXZ, such as the 998cc triple cylinder engine, the manual clutch 5-speed sequential shift transmission, and maintains the 64 inch width and 90.5 inch wheelbase.

It still has the 29 inch Maxxis Bighorn tires and 13.2 inches of ground clearance. Half doors are standard, as is the analog tachometer and LCD information display.

The big difference for the YXZ1000R SE, is the suspension. It still utilizes a dual A-arm setup, front and rear, but the shocks have been upgraded. It comes with FOX Podium 2.5 RC2 Dual Spring shocks with adjustable crossover, giving the owner even more control to fine tune the suspension for their type of riding.

Wheel travel numbers remain the same at 16.2 inches in the front and 17 inches of travel in the rear. The SE keeps the Maxxis tires, but the wheels are 14 inch styled aluminum beadlocks. It also gets SE specific paint and graphics. The YXZ1000R SE is available in Team Yamaha Blue with an MSRP of $20,699.


yamaha yxz1000r ss

Yamaha realized there was an unmet demand for a manual shift sport UTV and delivered an exceptional product. Still, there are those that wanted a manual shift, but didn’t want the manual clutch, for a variety of reasons.

Yamaha again responded and released the YXZ1000R SS, which features Yamaha’s Sport Shift 5-speed auto clutch transmission. The shifts are controlled by paddle shifters mounted on the steering wheel. There’s no manual clutch and no need to let off the throttle to shift between gears.

The rest of the vehicle is the same as the standard YXZ1000R. The SS still has the high-revving 998cc triple cylinder engine and selectable 2wd, 4wd, and differential lock.

It has dual A-arm suspension with FOX Podium 2.5 RC2 shocks with 16.2 inches of front wheel travel and 17 inches of travel out back. It maintains the 64 inch width, 90.5 inch wheelbase, 29 inch Maxxis tires, and 13.2 inches of ground clearance. This model is available in White and the MSRP checks in at $18.999. 


yamaha yxz1000r ss se

The YXZ1000R SS SE shares all of the aforementioned features of the YXZ1000R SE, but you get the 5-speed auto clutch manual transmission. It has the 998cc triple cylinder engine, 64 inch width, 13.2 inches of ground clearance, half doors and 29 inch Maxxis Bighorn tires.

Those tires are mounted on 14 inch styled aluminum beadlock wheels. Suspension is the same dual A-arm setup with with fully adjustable FOX Podium 2.5 RC2 Dual Spring shocks. Wheel travel numbers are 16.2 inches up front and 17 inches out back.

The selectable 2wd, 4wd, and differential lock drive system is standard, as are hydraulic disc brakes at all four corners. Driver information is provided by an analog tachometer and LCD display.

This is one of the best trail machines on the market and the auto clutch transmission adds a level of convenience that makes it even better for longer rides. The YXZ1000R SS SE is available in Team Yamaha Blue. The MSRP for this UTV comes in at $20,699.


yamaha yxz1000r ss xt-r

New for 2020, the YXZ1000R SS XT-R add another level of performance to an already great sport UTV. The YXZ is a very capable trail machine straight from the factory, but the new XT-R model aims to increase that capability even further.

It comes with the high-revving 998cc triple cylinder engine and the 5-speed Sport Shift auto clutch transmission, as well as the selectable 2wd, 4wd, and differential lock drive system that is standard for YXZ models.

The wheelbase is 90.5 inches, but the width increases ever so slightly to 64.4 inches. The XT-R model also comes with fully adjustable FOX Podium 2.5 RC2 Dual Spring shocks with 16.2 inches of front wheel travel and 17 inches of rear wheel travel. You also get standard half doors and analog tachometer and LCD information display.

Additionally, the XT-R gets several features that are specific to this model. The most obvious would be the XT-R specific graphics and bronze beadlock wheels. The tires also get a noticeable upgrade, as the XT-R gets Yamaha exclusive 29 inch Maxxis Carnage tires to provide copious amounts of traction in any terrain.

This setup not only improves the capability of the machine, but it also looks fantastic. It’s not overly flashy, but it will definitely stand out in a crowd.

The XT-R gets a unique front bumper to accommodate its standard Warn VRX 4500 lb winch. A winch is one of the most common accessories added by consumers, so it’s always great when manufacturers include them as standard equipment. While the previously mentioned features are great, Yamaha didn’t stop there.

The XT-R also gets additional lighting in the form of center mounted auxiliary LED lights and it also gets a standard roof. With upgraded tires, Warn winch, auxiliary LED lights, and the standard roof, Yamaha has included some of the most popular accessories on this model, which will surely increase the appeal to consumers.

The XT-R comes in a Titanium Bronze/Tactical Black color combo and sports a MSRP of $21,699. This is sure to be an extremely popular choice for those that spend most of their time on tight, technical trails. 

Time To Join Team Yamaha!

Yamaha truly went a different direction with the YXZ by introducing the first triple cylinder engine in a UTV, as well as the first manual clutch in a UTV. This has been a popular machine from day one and Yamaha continues to improve it every year.

Relocating the radiator to the rear and increasing the tire size are just a couple of the notable changes they’ve made to make this vehicle more capable. The introduction of the SS models opened the door to additional riders and now the XT-R adds another level of performance.

The YXZ has already proven itself in races and it has become a popular UTV for those riding east coast trails and that popularity is likely to continue to climb.

There are also quite a few people who prefer belt-less transmissions and that already narrows their options down to the YXZ or Honda Talon. No doubt there’s a demand for this type of machine and Yamaha will likely continue to improve this lineup.

They even offer a GYTR turbo kit that increases horsepower by up to 60%, for those that want more power. Simply put, if you’re looking for a manual transmission UTV or you just want a solid, reliable, and fun sport UTV for the trails, the YXZ1000R or YXZ1000R SS models will suit your needs nicely!