TMW Off-Road
Factory UTV
Axia Alloys

Sport UTVs:
Can-Am Maverick 1000R X-ds Turbo
Polaris RZR XP 4 1000
Polaris RZR XP 1000
Arctic Cat Wildcat
Can-Am Maverick
2016 Polaris RZR XP Turbo

Product Review

2006 Yamaha Rhino - Special Edition

Yamaha Rhino - Special Edition ( Product Review) Yamaha Rhino Review - A 2006 Special Edition Yamaha Rhino

Yamaha Rhino - Special Edition ( Product Review)   Yamaha Rhino - Special Edition ( Product Review)

Cross an ATV with a pickup truck and you get an UTV. UTVs or Side by Sides are incredibly popular in general, but in the dunes, their popularity is off-the-charts.

On a trip to Sand Mountain, we had the opportunity to test out a 2006 Yamaha Rhino 660 Auto 4x4 Special Edition (specifications). The Special Edition differs from the standard Rhino with a silver frame and springs, steel blue bodywork with a special logo and graphics, standard LCD gauge, special seats, sport steering wheel and cast aluminum wheels. Nice additions for a few extra bucks. 

New for 2007 Yamaha Rhino models:

  • All of the Rhinos now come with digital dash and fuel gauge.

  • Silver SE - Pre-load adjustable piggy-back shocks, molded roof, aluminum wheels.

New for 2008 Yamaha Rhino models:

  • All-new 686cc engine puts out plenty of broadband power. New four-valve head with 9.2:1 compression and forged piston bumps power and efficiency.

  • Electronic fuel injection ensures peak performance in nearly all conditions and elevations, along with instantaneous cold starts.

  • Tough, rotomolded doors keep mud, water and dirt on the trail where they belong.

  • New four-wheel disc brakes provide unsurpassed stopping power, and a new parking brake is super convenient.

  • Cool, comfortable new steering wheel and new passenger grab handles.

  • Now with two cup holders for even greater creature comfort.

  • New underhood tool-free air filter is a snap to service.

  • New Stainless Steel Exhaust with Spherical joints

  • New front differential

  • Bigger CV Joints and Axles

  • Larger Radiator and Fan

  • New Brake Pad Material - Eliminates Squeaks

  • CVT filter has been redesigned

2008 Yamaha Rhino 700 FI Auto. 4x4 SE Midnight Armor   2008 Yamaha Rhino 700 FI Auto. 4x4 SE Midnight Armor
Midnight Armor

2008 Rhino - Doors
New Doors

   2008 Rhino - Rear Disk Brakes  2008 Yamaha Rhino - Rear Disk Brakes  2008 Yamaha Rhino - Rear Disk Brakes
Front/Rear Brakes

2008 Rhino - Steering Wheel 
Cup Holder

2008 Rhino - Steering Wheel
Steering Wheel

Rhino - Shifter, new Parking Brake and Passenger Grab Handle 
Shifter, new Parking Brake and Passenger Grab Handle

2008 Yamaha Rhino - Under Hood Air Box  2008 Yamaha Rhino - Under Hood Air Filter
Under Hood Air Filter

We decided to put the Rhino through the paces on a trip around the base of Sand Mountain. This gave us a good chance to see how it handled the flats, whoops, side hills, and climbing with two guys in it.  The Rhino has a dry weight of 1049 lbs., but even with the a bone stock engine we were quite impressed. The Rhino borrowed technology from Yamaha's already proven 4x4 660 Grizzly (engine, transmission, and front and rear differentials).

Yamaha Rhino Test
The Rhino is great for cruising around the flats. Very comfortable. Easy to start and maneuver.

Yamaha Rhino Product Review at Sand Mountain

Yamaha Rhino - On the "highway" to Super Bowl at Sand Mountain
We tried to get it up to Super Bowl, but it just didn't quite have enough to get there with two guys in it.

Yamaha Rhino Test - Climbing out of Toyota Gulch
Although it fell just a bit short of making it up to Super Bowl, it was able to climb out of Toyota Gulch (near the Wall).


Right out of the box, the Rhino is very capable. It has decent power and suspension. If you are a trail rider, or just want to cruise down to the vendors or your friends camp, the Rhino is a great vehicle. It is easy to drive for the novice, but fast enough for an experienced rider to still have fun. And since you can take a friend with you, it is a great way for newbies to see the dunes and learn how to drive from a more experienced rider.

The Rhino surprised us in what it could do in the dunes, but also concerned us at the same time. If you are not an experienced duner, we could see how you could get in over your head pretty quick out in the dunes. In our opinion, if you want to hit the dunes hard, there are a few things that could be done to make it a safer and more capable vehicle.

  • Rhino Suspension: the Rhino comes with fully independent four-wheel suspension: Double-wishbones front and rear deliver 7.3 inches of wheel travel and 12.1 inches of ground clearance. Decent for easy trail rides, but with stock-width a-arms, it feels like it could tip on side hills, or run out of suspension going through the whoops or hitting a witches eye. So if you are serious about taking it for more serious dune rides, either invest in some aftermarket suspension, or know the vehicle's limits. In stock form, the Rhino has a 75" wheelbase, and is 54.5" wide.

    Rhino Long Travel Kits

  • Seat Belts: The stock seat belts won't do well enough in a roll-over. To keep driver and passenger in the vehicle, we'd recommend a set of 4 point harness restraints.

    Rhino Safety & Rhino Seats & Harnesses

  • Rhino Roll Bar/Cage: If you are just using your Rhino to cruise the flats, you are most likely good to go.  It is very easy to get in and out, and the likelihood of a rollover is slim. But out in the dunes, we would be concerned with the strength of the roll bar and the openness in the doorway.  In a rollover, it would be human nature to try to stop the rollover by sticking your foot out.  In stock form, there is nothing to prevent you from doing this. A door, net or additional bar is necessary to keep your feet in the more protected cab.

    Rhino Roll Cages

  • More Power: What true dune nut could leave a stock engine alone? In stock form the Rhino has:

    • 660cc, 4-stroke single, liquid-cooled w/fan, 5-valve SOHC
    • Bore x Stroke - 100mm x 84mm
    • Compression Ratio - 9.1:1

    Adding more power to your Rhino can always be used to get you up to places the stock engine can't get to now (e.g.. Super Bowl, the top of Sand Mountain or racing up Oldsmobile Hill). There are options to swap out the CDI box (changes rev-limiter) and makes the timing curve a bit more aggressive. There are also air filters, exhaust and jetting that will help. A few companies have big bore & stroker kits, and we've even seen a few turbos and blowers.

    Rhino Performance & Exhaust

    Contact Info:

    Yamaha Motor Corporation, USA

    Website: Yamaha Rhino Special Edition

    UTV Guide - Overview and comparison of available Side x Side Vehicles

    Back to Product Reviews

    Back to Sand Dune Guide

    Long Travel:
    Can-Am Commander Long Travel Kits
    Kawasaki Teryx Long Travel Kits
    Polaris RZR Long Travel Kits
    Arctic Cat Prowler Long Travel Kits
    Yamaha Rhino Long Travel Kits

    Favorite Sites:
    UTV Guide
    Crowley Offroad
    UTV News
    UTV Models


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