Yamaha introduces a new utility vehicle that can replace your old farm pickup and heavily used ATV. The Rhino 660 4×4 is a “side-by-side” vehicle that can carry a passenger and a load to the field and do it after 5 in. of rain. Its powerful engine, automatic transmission and 4-wd give it the off-road capability of an ATV, while its passenger seat and tilting cargo box make it even more versatile than an ATV. The Rhino also will move along at speeds of up to 35 mph.

Yamaha is new to the utility vehicle market. This past summer's introduction of the Rhino and two accompanying vehicles, the Pro Hauler 1000 and Pro Hauler 700, officially indicates Yamaha's serious intention to compete in the growing utility market. The company designed the Rhino to compete with other off-road utility vehicles and engineered the Pro Haulers to compete in the small-farm utility market where off-road work is mandatory. The Pro Haulers will be available in dealer shops next year.

Fear factor

To demonstrate the versatility of its new Rhino, Yamaha invited members of the farm and recreation media to test-drive the vehicle. The company chose an off-road-vehicle area located in Kentucky's Land Between the Lakes park for the driving test. The park's rugged terrain included trails littered with rocks and logs. The trails wound up and down steep hills and were marked with ruts so deep that even experienced ATV riders felt a rise in blood pressure.

The Rhino clearly was capable of handling the tough Kentucky landscape. It crawled up 60° slopes, sped over logs and rocks, and straddled most ruts. The frame also squeezed between trees where only ATVs previously went. The Rhino equipped with ROPS and seat belts made its passengers feel secure and comfortable while bouncing over the rough trails.

Yamaha created this powerful vehicle by taking the Grizzly 660 engine and putting it into the Rhino. The engine features five valves, 660cc, liquid cooling and a 42-mm Mikuni carburetor. The Rhino is equipped with Yamaha's ultramatic automatic transmission that boasts all-wheel engine braking. During test drives, the engine braking kept the vehicle under control while traveling down steep hills. The four-piston hydraulic disc brakes in front and rear handled any other braking needs.

Automotive controls

The Rhino is designed with automotive-style controls, including a steering wheel, gas pedal and key-activated electric starter. High- and low-range gears provide plenty of power for any type of driving and a reverse for tight spots. A driver may select 2-wd, 4-wd and 4-wd differential lock with the push of a button on the dash.

Experienced Yamaha drivers took media members out through the woods to show the full potential of the vehicle and the comfort of being a passenger. The independent double wishbone suspension in the front and rear with 7.3 in. of travel absorbed bumps. The 12.1 in. of ground clearance helped the Rhino roll over most obstructions.

The vehicle handles farm utility jobs with a hitch and cargo bed. The standard 2-in. receiver hitch tows up to 1,212 lbs., and the tilting bed holds 400 lbs. The fuel tank holds 8.5 gal. to keep the Rhino in the field all day. Yamaha also added a waterproof, automotive-style DC outlet that will power a mobile phone or GPS device.

The suggested retail price of the Rhino is $8,499.

Bruin 350 automatic

Yamaha also worked on its ATV line and now offers the Bruin 350 in 4×4 and 2-wd models. The Bruin is based on the Kodiak 400 line and uses its chassis. However, the Bruin boasts some improvements, including Yamaha's new ultramatic automatic transmission with a V-belt that provides constant belt tension and 4-wd downhill engine braking. The 4×4 model also includes a push-button system to switch into 4-wd, just like the one on the larger Grizzly 660 model.

The Bruin 350 models are powered with a 348cc, four-stroke engine that is air/oil cooled. Yamaha installed an independent double wishbone suspension in the front with 6.3 in. of travel and a swing-arm suspension with 7.1 in. of travel in the rear. Ground clearance runs 9.7 in. due in part to full-size, 25-in. tires. A full-length skid plate under the ATV guards against damage from trail debris. Dual hydraulic front disc brakes keep the Bruin under control.

A standard 2-in. receiver hitch is rated for towing 1,102 lbs. The front rack can hold 88 lbs., and the rear rack can carry 176 lbs. The Bruin 350 automatic 4×4 retails for $4,999, and the price of the Bruin 350 automatic 2-wd is $3,999.

For more information about Yamaha's ATV or utility vehicle products, call 800/889-2624 or visit www.yamaha-motor.com or www.freeproductinfo.net/fin.

GPS made easy


The Yamaha test drive for the Rhino and Bruin 350 turned into a treasure hunt with the newest GPS devices from Garmin International. Drivers used the Geko 201 GPS unit to seek “geocaches” in Kentucky's Land Between the Lakes park. Drivers loaded the coordinates for each geocache and headed out into the woods. Even though most of the drivers were first-time GPS users, the Geko 201 proved so easy to use that everyone tracked several geocache treasures.

The Geko 201 weighs only 3 oz., is waterproof and rugged, and needs only five buttons to operate. The unit uses the Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS) to provide accuracy of less than 10 ft. Users may mark locations and navigate to the points. It stores 500 waypoints with graphic identification to mark campsites, parking spots and other locations. The 201 model also allows users to create routes and save the track log. Retailing for only $149.99, the Geko 201 becomes an economical device for such farm jobs as measuring distance.

Garmin also offers a Geko 301 that includes a compass and altimeter. The suggested retail price of this model is $246.42.

The Geko 201 and other Garmin products are available where mobile electronics are sold, such as Target, Wal-Mart and Best Buy. Visit www.garmin.com to locate a store near you or call 913/387-8200.