Yamaha’s first swing at a sport side-by-side, and they knocked it out of the park.

In the off-road world, having complete control over gears and engine speed is sacred. Which begs the question of why, until 2016, every side-by-side on the market came with a continuously variable transmission — essentially a gear-less gearbox.

It’s awkward to think that the first manual side-by-side didn’t hit the market until this year, but the execution from Yamaha in the YXZ1000R is incredible and deserves applause. Baja 1000-racer styling, a spartan interior, a performance-focused gearbox — just let the revs hang in the upper 8,000s and watch the rooster-tails fly all day. Not to mention the On-Command 4WD system, full-diff lock and piggyback twin-wall Fox 2.5 Podium X2 Shocks with 17 inches of travel. Dunes, dirt, rocks — the YXZ1000R attacks them all with equal poise. It may be Yamaha’s first pure sport side-by-side, but it makes the competition look amateurish.

$21,599

Engine: 998cc inline three-cylinder
Transmission: five-speed sequential manual
Horsepower: 112
Redline: 10,500 RPM
Top Speed: 85 mph
Curb Weight: 1,560 lbs

Motoring

2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV
2017 Audi A4 Allroad
2017 Rolls-Royce Dawn
2016 Porsche 911 R
2016 Indian Scout Sixty
2016 Yamaha YXZ1000R
Airstream Basecamp
2016 Triumph Thruxton R
2016 Aston Martin Vantage GT8
2017 Jaguar F-Pace
2017 Honda Ridgeline
2017 Bentley Bentayga