Honda Foreman vs Yamaha Wolverine - YouTube

Honda VS Yamaha ATV

Honda / August 30, 2022

At some point in a young man’s life, Hot Wheels lose their allure and big-boy toys enter stage left. Currently scorching the adult-toy segment (remove your head from the gutter, please) is the side-by-side all-terrain vehicle (ATV), sometimes called a utility ATV, or simply a UTV. That may be because these two-seaters come fitted with idiot-proof CVT automatics and go-anywhere, long-travel suspensions. Operating one is as easy as driving a golf cart—each has two pedals and a steering wheel. But golf carts fall short on steep hills, over rocks, and in mud, whereas these UTVs prevail in those contretemps. They are all capable of navigating rough terrain, and some of them can blow through a forest at speeds entertaining enough for Ricky Carmichael.

We assembled four of these little brutes, all with different demeanors and individual merits, and headed to online features editor Jared Gall’s newly acquired 20-acre spread, where we proceeded to get them all kinds of dirty. Gall set up an impromptu off-road course in the tall grass that covers the rolling hills of  his property. We lapped the 0.42-mile “Macönring Gallschlëife” (Gall designed it, so he got to name it and all of its corners) till the tanks ran dry. This grueling assignment took courage, strength, and valor, as we had to right-side one of the UTVs on three occasions. In other words, we never dreamed these things could be so much fun. Gall has since hired a mediator to help him convince his wife that he needs one to, um, tend his acreage.

With low-back seats and a steering wheel angle that reminded two editors of their bus-driving pasts, the Gator was far and away the tank of the group, lapping the Macönring with the greatest leisure. Which is fine because what it lacks in outright speed and sportiness, it makes up in utility. John Deere sent us this Gator fitted with optional equipment: a power dumping bed (9), perfect for the do-it-yourself landscaper, and a Warn winch (9) tucked behind the bumper that we could see serving as a hoist should the need arise to field-dress a deer. It also proved to be one of the most maneuverable: It was the only UTV capable of a U-turn on a two-lane dirt road without borrowing some shoulder. The heavy Gator (1865 pounds) surprised us by reaching 40 mph in 9.4 seconds, second to the Polaris Ranger RZR S (5.3). The Gator’s top speed in our testing was 47 mph, and it’s the least expensive in this group. (309-765-8000;

This Israeli-designed beast is the longest, widest, and heaviest UTV we could find. It’s one of the slowest, too. We were hoping the only rear-drive unit of the bunch would be a tail-happy good time, but its inline-four makes just 51 horsepower (four fewer than the RZR, though the Tomcar weighs nearly twice as much). Still, its chain-driven axles and 13-inch suspension travel make this the UTV that can go anywhere—just not in a flash. The unique axles allow the TM5 to maintain its 15.0-inch ground clearance under acceleration, whereas the other UTVs squat, as automobiles do. In fact, mashing the throttle from a standstill causes the TM5 to rise up like a powerboat. This is felt by the driver but is even more noticeable to onlookers.

The styling reminds us of a Baja-bombing Class 1 buggy, and its optional windshield ($900), adjustable seats, tilting steering wheel, and four-point harnesses made us feel like we were driving more of a car than a plaything, despite very heavy steering.

Like the RZR, the TM5 did not endure our trials trouble-free. After we ran it hard for half an hour and then immediately parked it, its engine would suffer heat soak and not make full power for the next joy rider who strapped in. The cure was to give it a few extra minutes of low-speed cooling. We’re told this has been fixed for 2011 models. The TM5, with a price of nearly 20 large, was the most expensive of our pack by a significant margin. Ultimately, we wish it had a little more motor to go with its tough, militant looks. (866-486-6227;

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