World's Best Selling Side-By-Side Magazine For The Off-Road Enthusiast

Yamaha YXZ1000R with GYTR Turbo

Yamaha YXZ1000R with GYTR Turbo

Story: Casey Cordeiro      Photos: Courtesy of Yamaha

It all seems like a blur – pull both paddles, release brake, throttle up, GET READY, release paddles and FLOOR IT! That, my friends, is the process to engage a little system called Launch Control. And, did you know that launch control still works just dandy with a GYTR Turbo attached to a YXZ1000R?!

Yamaha YXZ1000R with GYTR Turbo

My first experience with a GYTR Turbo-equipped Yamaha YXZ1000R was earlier this year in the beautiful sand dunes of Glamis, CA. The sand was smooth during our middle-of-the-week trip (aka the best time to ever visit the dunes…). Kevin Hart, Jack Black, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, and more actors were out there shooting the latest Jumanji movie. And, Yamaha, the company that routinely gets a hard time for not offering a factory-available, Turbo-equipped YXZ1000R, had recently unveiled a full GYTR Turbo unit that no longer required an ounce of motor work. It is the answer to all the naysayers out there, especially when they look at just how much power this kit puts out. The installation protocol now calls for a simple bolt-on process. And, just like the first paragraph states, all of the “fun functions” of the tried-and-true YXZ1000R remain even with the Turbo attached…

Yamaha YXZ1000R with GYTR Turbo

Yamaha YXZ1000R with GYTR Turbo

This first hand experience with the Turbo YXZ led us to the infamous Oldsmobile hill. It’s a bit of a smaller hill than it used to be, still fun to tackle though. Most Turbo-equipped side-by-sides are pushing mid 40’s to mid 50’s mph numbers when they reach the top. But, none have this feature called Launch Control from the factory… How could we not line up at the bottom and try it?! Again, it’s an easy process – pull both paddles, release brake, throttle up, GET READY, release paddles and FLOOR IT! Grab gears! Sit back, relax, and enjoy the fighter jet sounds! Beat everyone to the top of the hill, let off, and say to myself, “Man, I could do this all, flippin’ day!” But, seriously, I could really do this all day…

The beauty of the Yamaha YXZ1000R is that it has top-notch build quality in every component on the machine. Not only are they assembled in the USA (Newnan, GA, my friends!), but the quality factor is top notch, right down to the bolts that hold the plastics on. It’s a simple pleasure knowing that those simple bolts don’t come loose over time. I first noticed the quality of this UTV when I looked at the front a-arms – the ball joints on the YXZ are bigger than most any other factory side-by-side I have driven, and I am thankful to have driven them all. The quality continues all the way back – the frame is E-coated on the inside and powder coated on the outside. The exterior and interior plastics are secured in all the right places to prevent rattles, squeaks, loose bolts, and any finicky issues down the road. When you get to the rear haunches, you notice how easy it is to clean and service every component on this vehicle. It’s all right there. Plus, all of the external fluid lines are securely attached and easy to get to.

If you haven’t seen a GYTR Turbo system yet, then you’re in for a treat when you do. The braided lines and AN fittings are all a thing of beauty, plus the Garrett Turbo isn’t a bad looking unit either. Neither are the TIG-welded exhaust headers and complete exhaust system. At the end of the day, you look at this system and your mind instantly screams the word “Quality”. Yes, it has taken a couple years to refine the installation process and the entire system, but Yamaha has it down now. No longer does the installation require opening up the engine and replacing factory parts with strengthened parts – all of those upgraded components are in there from the factory now. And, anyone who buys a 2019 and newer YXZ1000R can outfit their unit with one of these GYTR complete systems on their own or at an installation shop.

Now, back to the ride…

Yamaha YXZ1000R with GYTR Turbo

Yamaha YXZ1000R with GYTR Turbo

Stepping into the YXZ1000R, there is more headroom in the 2019+ models than ever before thanks to the newly designed flat-top ROPS system. Taller individuals will really enjoy this revision. The seats still have a laid back profile that sits you back just far enough without being totally low-rider status. Opt for the 4-point harness system in the GYTR catalog like our tester had and you’ll be even more safe and secure in the driver’s seat. One thing that I also really appreciate about the YXZ1000R is the excellent sight lines out the front of the vehicle. Credit the suspension design and low, aggressive fenders for this. You can see all of the rocks or obstacles right in front of the tires, and you also have a clear view up the next hill with the taller cage. Other than those fine details, the interior is fitted with professional-grade instruments and dials for selecting 4WD and lighting modes for the headlights. The steering wheel gave me plenty of adjustment to get comfortable, and the pedals are located in a great spot for spirited driving, whether you are a two-foot whipper snapper or operate via a single foot. The center tunnel does protrude into your right leg just slightly, but it doesn’t make the overall feel uncomfortable after a long day. And, the seats are well bolstered on the bottom, but they could use a bit more side bolstering to keep your back in place during hard corners. Other than those items, the interior is pretty dialed in, even in stock form.

Starting the GYTR Turbo-equipped engine up is a familiar process – turn the key and you have that signature YXZ sound emitted from the exhaust. Personally, I dig the fact that this Turbo’d engine sounds the same as the stocker – it is a TOTAL sleeper. Unless someone knows what to look for on the driver’s side, you’d never know that this YXZ has a Turbo on it… However, racers will be asking you “what do you have in that thing?” when you get back down the hill after roasting them up and dropping the Launch Control system at the start. Needless to say, this thing is mind blowingly fast!

Yamaha YXZ1000R with GYTR Turbo

Yamaha claims about a 60% increase in horsepower from stock, which would put this vehicle at around 184 horsepower. From the seat of the pants feel, I sure felt like there was even more horsepower coming out of this UTV – it just plain rips! I haven’t even mentioned the fact that the direct-connection of the sequentially, paddle shifted transmission really amplifies the go-fast feeling of this vehicle. Driver’s will get into this vehicle and feel like they are completely in-tune with it, like you have control over every little facet. And, I truly believe that that direct feel of the YXZ1000R is what makes it so unique and so special in this crowded marketplace – no where else can you find the off-road thrills like the YXZ1000R can deliver, especially with the GYTR Turbo kit attached.

True to YXZ form, the handling dynamics are top notch for driver’s who want a true “driver’s car”. Turn-in is precise on straight or off-camber corners. The YXZ also rotates around corners predictably and with a smoothness that is hard to find in an off-road vehicle. You can easily blip the throttle and allow some oversteer at corner exit, or roll onto it and your corner exits will be smooth and fast. Needless to say, the handling prowess of the YXZ is really top-notch. The other good news here is that the GYTR Turbo doesn’t make the YXZ any harder to drive with unwanted power surges, which are typical of turbo kits in street and off-road vehicles. Again, the buildup of power is smooth all the way from the low end to high RPMs. And, the low end is the most improved part of the YXZ’s engine output with the Turbo kit – it really has some grunt now!

Yamaha YXZ1000R with GYTR Turbo

Yamaha YXZ1000R with GYTR Turbo

For 2019, Yamaha made some purposeful improvements to the YXZ1000R that shine very well in the mud, dunes, deserts, trails, and everywhere else. The radiator relocation to the rear of the vehicle, plus the fact that it is 33% larger with dual fans, enhances the handling of this vehicle because of its rear location, which resulted in a better weight bias. Plus, the new unit puts more cooling power to the engine. I heard the fans come out about twice the whole time we were riding, and the temp gauge consistently hovered around 190 degrees, even in spirited riding. Of all the 60+ changes (some of which have already been mentioned), the other two significant changes are the taller stock tires (29” now) and the re-gearing of the transmission. When you combine the larger stock tires and the re-gearing, first gear is now 24% lower, and the rest of the gear stack is 7% lower overall. That translates into a vehicle that can now crawl at 5-6 mph over rocks and rough terrain. The difference is very welcomed, and the YXZ can now be considered a bit of a crawler. It still doesn’t allow for 3-4 mph crawls like a belt-driven machine, but it is much improved over previous model years. And, for those who like to go fast, you won’t notice the reduction in gearing in overall speed capability – this vehicle goes plenty fast and gets their more efficiently now.

Some of us have been asking why Yamaha didn’t include a dedicated transfer case, which would give the YXZ a true Low range gear setup? I’m not sure about that one, but I’m sure they are listening now that the Talon has a system with a dedicated Low range. For now, the YXZ might not crawl at the slowest of speeds, but it is slow enough to make it perfect for 95% of the driver’s on the trails.

Yamaha YXZ1000R with GYTR Turbo

Overall, the GYTR Turbo-equipped YXZ1000R is a blast to drive, but is it worth the $5499 price tag for the turbo kit? When you factor in the stock vehicle price (2020 YXZ1000R SS SE model retails for $20,699 MSRP), plus the GYTR Turbo kit, the trail price comes up to $26,198. That’s right in line with many of the other Turbo-equipped vehicles on the market, and in most cases, you get more horsepower and, in all cases, much more race-ready components in this Turbo kit than any other on the market. Just look at the braided lines and TIG-welding throughout. So, with a resounding YES as an answer, I’ll definitely say that “it is worth it” and I’d spend my hard-earned money on this vehicle…

Since our first drive in the Glamis dunes, we’ve been fortunate to spend much more quality time in the GYTR Turbo-equipped YXZ1000R, and most of that time has been in the desert. We’ve been able to tune the shocks more and truly test out the crawling capability of this machine, plus see how the clutch works in the desert environment. Again, it performs just as well in these hard-packed environments as it does in the sand. Stay tuned for more updates here in the near future.

Until then, stay safe on the trails and we’ll see you out there!

 

Also, see our Honda Talon Turbo UTV Review

Comments

comments

Comments are closed.