Yamaha has been designing and building golf carts since 1971, when the first G-1 rolled off the line. The company is known for building a reliable, comfortable product and their popularity in the Florida market at a lot of courses – public, private and resort -has grown significantly over the past couple of years. Yamaha is currently number three, behind E-Z-Go and Club Car, and produce more than 40,000 carts per year at its facility outside Atlanta, GA. And, since Yamaha Carts are rated #1 in customer satisfaction, customer support and reliability, it won’t be long before they climb the ladder.
Last year when I was asked to review the new Yamaha AC Drive Golf Cart, I accepted the assignment with a little bit of reservation. I live in a golf community in Florida and already own a golf cart. Since my wife is not a golfer, I wondered what I was going to do with two carts. So, I figured I would leave my cart at a relative’s house who was gone for the summer while I put the Yamaha through its paces. Well, to make a long story short, I liked it so much, I sold mine and kept it. This year, when asked to compare the new 2017 model to last year’s, I jumped at the opportunity.
For 2017, Yamaha is using a Hitachi 48-volt high-efficiency, shunt wound dynamic alternating-current (AC) engine and an internal solid-state tachometer with an output rating of 2.6 kW that produces the most horsepower in the industry. This motor is coupled with a Toyota Industries NEOS 350-amp AC controller unit. The new Yamaha AC PowerTech Drive2 cart comes stock with 6 8-volt Trojan batteries boasting an incredible 25,000 amp hours. Too technical? It moves quickly, quietly and efficiently!
The Drive2 uses the same chassis as last year’s model. The HybriCore chassis features a robotically welded steel automotive ladder-style frame attached to a polypropylene floor, and strengthened by a multistep, full-immersion phosphate treatment It’s also protected by an epoxy basecoat with a polyurethane topcoat. The rack and pinion steering system hasn’t changed either.
What has changed are the body lines, albeit ever so slightly. Not only will the polypropylene side sills protect you from minor bumps and scratches, the front and rear bumpers will absorb energy at up to 5 mph. Some new colors have been added to both the fleet and PTV lineups. Between the two, 12 colors are available: Carbon, Glacier, Rich Brown, Jasper, Bluestone, Moonstone, Sandstone, Sunstone, Garnet, Emerald, Onyx or Aqua Blue. Three of these have never been offered by Yamaha before.
Yamaha’s exclusive ClimaGuard top provides great coverage for both the driver and the passenger. It’s the only canopy cover that features a double rain channel that runs around the entire top and directs water to a clog-proof drainage system. It sits up high too; at 5’2” my wife can almost stand up in it.
The bag well is slightly different too and offers a service access panel that is nearly three times larger than before. The sweater basket is 39 percent larger than on older Drive models. The stock seats are well padded and comfortable. They are made of fabric-backed vinyl that is bonded to foam with contoured cushions. These seats are seamless, water resistant and warp resistant and include steel plates for added strength and durability.
The automotive style dash gives easy access to all your personal items and beverages and has been outfitted on each side with a USB port, perfect for a GPS system and/or your favorite tunes. And, since these days, everyone seems to carry more stuff – smartphones, tablets, headphones –the storage area of the new Yamaha AC PowerTech has 34% more room than last year. No-slip mats have been added in the front storage compartments, to keep personal items more secure during the round.
What I like most about the AC PowerTech Drive2 is that way it seems to accelerate going up hill; there is no loss of power whatsoever. The rear suspension has been redesigned on all models and creates a much smoother ride, granted, it could still use some refinements.
All Drive2 PTVs come equipped with premium rims and tire that have deep, effective tread patterns. The LED headlights are bright and are second to none in form and functionality. I would venture to say the you could put this at the top of the luxury golf cart list.
Yamaha produced its one millionth car in September 2015, I’ll bet it doesn’t take them nearly as long to produce their next million! For more information on the new Yamaha AC PowerTech Drive2 cart or to find the closest dealer, visit their website at www.yamahagolfcar.com.