Side by Sides for Kids | Ultimate Youth UTV Comparison Guide

When I was 5 my parents got me a Peewee 50. That iconic name refers to a 50cc dirt bike made by Yamaha and it was a great bike for a little kid. It was a small frame with small tires and a good amount of cc’s for the intended rider. This gave little me just enough power to have hours and hours of fun but at the same time not so much power that I risked hospital stays during every ride.

Having three kids, I wanted to see what Peewee options there were in the UTV category. Using the idea of a power-to-fun ratio, I’ve researched all of the side by side options that have a smaller engine and/or specific options aimed at younger riders. The majority of these Youth UTVs have between 130 – 300cc’s as compared to the 800 – 1000cc full-sized UTVs that are considered mainstream (think Polaris RZRs, Yamaha YXZs, and CanAm Maverick X3s).

As for the safety options that are geared towards kids you’ve got your adjustable sliding seats, tilt steering wheels, your engine limiters, and your kill switches. One of the side by sides can even let you define an area in real-world space using your cell phone and then set the max speed of the UTV while in that space and out of it as well.

Right after the table of contents, I’m going to hit you with what I consider to be the best one and then you can scroll down to see the other options and even compare them side by side (pardon the UTV pun) in a spreadsheet of statistics.



The Best Youth UTV

Hands down, the best UTV for kids on the market right now is the Polaris Ranger 150 EFI. Seriously, the ability to lock your kids out of it electronically is great in this day and age of electronic parenting. The idea that my kids can’t go joyriding in it without my permission or my wife’s consent is an awesome feature.

Gone are the days of my mom having to run behind me holding the end of a ten-foot rope that was connected to the kill switch on the 50cc 3-wheeler four-year-old me was driving. I was fascinated with driving straight at our front yard tree so my mom would have to give the rope a good tug and the engine would die.

With the digital engine controls provided in the smartphone app, parents are now able to limit the max speed using a huge range of selectable speeds in miles per hour (MPH).

Another genius feature is the Geofencing option. Using the Smartphone App you are able to draw an area on a satellite image enhanced map to set a ride area. You can then set the speeds inside and outside of that area.

So for example, you could either set an area (like in the campsite) where the kids have to ride slower inside the set boundary to keep the dust down. Or you could set an imaginary space close by the campsite that is the only place where they can ride so they don’t wander off. I think this one feature could be used in so many scenarios.

Because this machine is so full of modern parental controls and because Polaris is a leader in this industry I’m convinced this is the best option for my kids. Check out the video below to see these options in action.

2020 Polaris – Ranger 150 EFI ($5499 MSRP)

  • Geofenced ride boundaries let you create an invisible fenced off area where you can control the speed limit inside and outside of this area.
  • Digital speed limiting using ride command app (this lets you set the exact max speed limit using a smartphone app)
  • Passcode Protected Safe Start (lockout the engine using the smartphone app)
  • Tilt Steering & Slide adjustable driver’s seat
  • Suspension Travel (5.1” front / 6” rear)
  • 150cc engine
  • Recommended Age 10 years old +

Safety and Operating Guidelines

Safety equipment

  • Eye protection
  • Helmet
  • Gloves
  • Boots
  • Pants
  • Long-sleeved shirt

Safety Recommendations

  • Make sure there is a 2” gap between the top of their helmet and the roll cage.
  • Look for a UTV that has adjustable seats and adjustable speeds to keep them safe and so that your child can get some years out of the machine.
  • Ensure that the passenger can reach the floor with their feet, as well as handles to hold on to.
  • Some of these smaller UTV’s will have some max weight limits you will want to stay under.
  • Must have adult supervision at all times.

Should I buy a Youth UTV or ATV?

Things to consider:

Style: What is your family used to riding? If your kids have grown up riding on the backseat of your four-wheeler or in the passenger seat of your UTV, then they already have an idea of what to expect once it’s their turn to drive.

Age: Old enough on the ATV to be able to maneuver the 4-wheeler with their body around curves on the trail. UTV age requirements start at 10 years old v.s ATV’s (in some states) will allow a 6 year on a 50 CC ATV. However, a small 6-year-old controlling an ATV that is capable of going 30 MPH might be a scary combination, especially if they don’t have experience.

Safety: There is no roll cage or seat belt on an ATV versus a Side by Side. ATVs have a higher center of gravity which means a greater risk of rolling.  A UTV is more like driving a car and an ATV is more like driving a motorcycle.


How old does my child have to be to drive a UTV?

  • Each state has different age requirements, however, on private land, there are no restrictions.
  • Each manufacturer has their own guidelines, usually age 10 years or older

Youth Side by Side Helmets

To see more options and learn more about helmets go visit our Recommended Gear Helmets page.


Youth Harness for UTV

If you’re not very excited about the seat belts that your UTV or future UTV has to offer then you could always upgrade to a five-point seat belt.


Polaris Youth Side by Sides

https://offroad.polaris.com/

Polaris originally got their start in snowmobiles starting in 1954. They have been in the offroad game since the mid-eighties with their iconic utility-style four-wheelers but when they released the RZR in 2008, it was a game-changer.

They created the sport side by side category of vehicles and unlike the competition, they did it domestically and are very proud to be an American company. They are always blazing new trails with their vehicles and the technology behind them and have the most variety of what they offer over their competition.

2020 Polaris – 170 EFI ($5,299 MSRP)

  • Parent Adjustable Speed Limiting
  • 169cc engine
  • 5″ Suspension Travel (Front & Rear)
  • Tilt Steering
  • LED Daylights
  • Recommended Age 10 years old + 

2019 Polaris – ACE 150 EFI ($3,999 MSRP)

  • 4-Mode electronic speed limiting
  • Tilt steering
  • 5.7″ of seat sliding adjustability
  • Suspension travel (5” Front / 6” Back)
  • 9″ of ground clearance
  • 149cc engine
  • Recommended Age 10 years old +
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x7jk428MisI

Off Brand Youth Side by Sides

Polaris is the only company currently offering a youth side by side model out of the big players including Yamaha, Honda, CanAM, & Kawasaki.

The rest of this list could be categorized as more of the off-brand or cheap or Chinese side by sides depending on who you are talking to.

A lot of these companies are based out of China but have a warehouse in Texas so they can import the UTVs over here to America and have somewhere to assemble them and act as a local support hub for customers.

Some of these brands look identical to each other as I believe they are part of the same larger company.


hiSUN Youth Side by Sides

https://www.hisunmotors.com/

HISUN used to build ATVs for other companies as a private label partner before growing their own brand. HISUN Motors has a facility in Texas for assembly, parts, and support but is essentially a Chinese UTV & ATV off-road manufacturer. They’ve been around since the late eighties and in 1996 started creating their own engines as a power plant for their lineup. In 2008 they came up with the first V-Twin Powersports engine to be manufactured in China.

2019 hiSUN – STRIKE 250 ($5,199)

  • 229cc Engine
  • 2500lb Winch included
  • Half doors
  • Hard roof
  • 2 piece windshield
  • turn signals & horn
  • analog speedo & tach w/ LCD rider info
  • Recommended Age 12 years old +

2019 hiSUN – SECTOR 250 ($5,299)

  • 229cc Engine
  • 2500lb Winch included
  • Half doors
  • Hard roof
  • 2 piece windshield
  • Turn signals & horn
  • Analog speedo & tach w/ LCD rider info
  • Recommended Age 12 years old +

Pitster Youth Side by Sides

https://pitsterpro.com/

USA Motortoys was born out of the pit bike craze of the early 2000s and was aimed at manufacturing factory pit bikes and mini machines so people wouldn’t have to pour thousands into modifying little kid’s dirt bikes.

Pitster Pro – Avenger ($3,695.99)

  • Adjustable throttle control
  • Adjustable driver’s seat
  • Full doors
  • Half windshield
  • Suspension travel (6” front / 5.5” rear)
  • Recommended Age 16 years old + 
  • Up to 34MPH

Pitster Pro – Lil Mojave ($3,999)

  • Adjustable Throttle Control
  • Mesh Net Doors
  • Recommended Age 16 years old + 

SSR Youth Side by Side

http://www.ssrmotorsports.com/

SSR Motorsports is another brand that got its start in the pit bike craze opening its doors in 2002. They are an importer and distributor of off-road products such as pit bikes, dirt bikes, enduros, and UTVs. SSR offers on-road products such as street bikes and scooters and they also have a large lineup of electric bikes and scooters.

2018 SRS – SRU170RS ($4,199 MSRP)

  • Maximum Speed of 35 mph
  • 168.9 cc engine
  • Weight capacity of 330lbs
  • Mesh Net Doors
  • LED Headlights & Taillights
  • LED Light Bar
  • Over-the-hood Reinforcement Bar

Cazador Youth Side by Sides

http://www.cazadormotorsports.com/

Cazador is another Texas-based importer/distributor of UTVs, ATVs, and Go Karts.

Cazador Beats 180 ($3,699 MSRP)

  • Maximum Speed of 28 mph
  • 169 cc engine
  • Front bumper / brush guard
  • Front and Rear LED LIghting

Cazador Enforcer

  • Front and Rear tubular bumpers
  • 150cc Engine
  • Nets

Bennche Youth UTV

https://www.bennche.com

Bennche is a Texas-based off-road vehicle company and is the Official ATV & UTV of the Texas Rangers. These toys are powered by the Japanese made Kubota engines.

Bennche Spire 150 ($3,799 MSRP)

  • Front and Rear tubular bumpers
  • 150cc Engine
  • Nets
  • Age limit of 12 recommended

Trailmaster Youth Side by Side 

http://www.bvpowersports.com (website not really working as of this writing)

This is another of the Texas-based importer/distributor of Chinese UTVs but unlike the rest, this one seems to be the hardest to find a strong web presence and is easier to find for sale on Amazon.

TrailMaster Challenger 150X

  • 150cc Engine
  • Side Nets
  • Electric start with kill switch
  • Adjustable Steering Wheel
  • Adjustable Driver Seat w/ 4 Point Safety Seatbelt
  • Windshield
  • Front Bumper
  • Digital Speedometer/Odometer
  • Top LED Hunting Lights
  • Max load: 500 lbs

You can buy this bad boy right from Amazon (click here to check it out)


Youth Blade UTV 

https://www.vitacci.com/utvs/

Vitacci is a Texas-based importer of scooters, cycles, ATVs, UTVS, and go-karts.

Vitacci Blade 150cc

  • 149.6cc
  • Front & rear LED lights
  • Windshield
  • ¾ doors
  • Front bumper
  • Solid roof
  • 34MPH top speed

Massimo Youth UTV

https://www.massimomotor.com/

Massimo Motor Sports LLC was founded in 2009 and is headquartered in Garland, Texas. They import and assemble from China as well. They offer utility UTVs, recreational ATVs, and mini-bikes.

Massimo MSU 200 ($2,999 MSRP)

  • Front Bumper
  • Door Nets
  • Vinyl roof
  • Windshield
  • 149.6cc

Youth UTV Comparison Table


Youth Electric Side by Side

Most parents that are looking for an electric UTV are shopping for more of a toddler aged kiddo and are looking for more of a ‘power wheels-type’ vehicle like these:

My Kids personally had the dune racer and they ran that thing all over their grandmother’s back yard for hours on end. Also, it’s about $100 cheaper than the above options.


Related article about buying a UTV

Taking A Dog On A UTV – Tips, Safety, Products & Accessories

We dog owners love our pooches and we love involving them in everything we can. My family loves to take our pug camping with us and as you may know, sometimes travel can make your dog anxious which can create an unsafe environment in a vehicle especially an offroad vehicle like a UTV.

That’s why it’s important to keep them secured for their safety and yours so we did some research for this article to provide you with all the different options of how you can take your dog with you on all your UTV adventures. In the process, we found some unknown safety concerns and great solutions.


Side by Side Dog Crate / Kennel

One easy option for taking your dog with you in a UTV is to strap a kennel into the utility bed. Just make sure that the area doesn’t get too hot and that you have the crate or kennel securely fastened.

Petmate Sky Kennel

A great option is the Petmate Sky Kennel as it’s a hard-sided molded plastic kennel so you can strap it down to your side by side nice and tight and know that it’s not going anywhere. They come in 6 different sizes and range from $50 all the way up to $300 depending on the size of your dog.

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Dog Boxes for Side by Sides

If hunting is your thing then you may already be familiar with a dog box. Now they don’t just have to be limited to the back of your truck or part of your trailer. These dog boxes are made out of lightweight aluminum and are designed with safety in mind. Depending on the weather conditions you hunt in you can add insulation or fans as needed. Other accessories include led lights, custom paint, full rhino lining, and water/food containers.

Tree Dog Kustoms offers a line of dog boxes for your UTV in the $600-$1500 range that are made out of aluminum and are geared toward the hunting niche. Their boxes can fit anywhere from 2 dogs all the way up to 8. treedogkustoms.com

Old South Dog Boxes is a custom manufacturer of dog boxes and accessories in the hunting niche based out of Springfield, Louisiana that can build a box that is specific to your exact application. They can also build you a custom UTV dog trailer full of dog boxes that can haul both the dogs and your UTV. Click here to visit Old South Dog Boxes on Facebook.


Side by Side Dog Harness

A great option for dog safety in any vehicle is a dog harness that can work in conjunction with a seat belt. An accessory like this can be used not just in your UTV, but also in your day to day vehicle.

There are a ton of options in this department but one that really stands out from the crowd is the AllSafe Harness from 4×4 North America. They have pushed their product to meet government crash test standards in the US and in Europe. The odds of crashing go way up in an off-road vehicle as opposed to just a regular highway vehicle.

Their harnesses include high viz reflective material and a short removable tether that can attach to any seat belt.

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If you want your dog to ride in the back utility bed but you want to be able to use a harness like this to keep them safe then one option would be to install a headache rack to hook them to. A headache rack is a metal bar system that goes across the back of the cab to protect the passengers from the load they are carrying. This setup would be more for keeping them from jumping out then actually protecting them in an accident. The safer option is definitely to keep them in the cab hooked up to a seat belt.


Side by Side Dog Carrier

Dusty Dogs is a manufacturer of custom built carriers for UTVs and ATVs and makes a couple great looking carriers for the RZR and Pioneer families of UTV. All three models come with an upper rack so you can still take extra gear along.

Their carriers really fit the contour of the vehicle for a great look and they feature a release pin gate system. They cost between $600 – $850. dustydawgs.com


UTV Dog Bed / Seat

SSSOffroad.com offers a back seat conversion kit for your Polaris or Can-Am that will create a flat surface for a dog bed to sit on. They start at $379 so go check out their website for more information.

They have options for the Polaris RZR, Polaris General, and the Can-Am Maverick x3.

And if you need an oversized memory foam ped bed, check out this super popular option on Amazon.


Dog Pad Designed For Heat Safety

Most people may not realize how high temperatures can get in the cargo bed of their side by side. It doesn’t matter the brand of UTV, on a hot summer day the temperature in the cargo area just above the engine can easily reach well over 100°F (37.78°C) and even as high as 130 – 170°F (54.4 – 76.67 °C ).

A company called Razorback Offroad has created heat pads that help to dramatically lower that temperature by up to 50 degrees making it safer for your dog to ride back there and the heat pads are easily affordable in the $100 range. As a bonus, storing your cooler on top of one can extend the life of your ice from only 4 hours to as much as 12 hours. Check out the YouTube video below to see this amazing product in action. razorbackoffroad.com


Best UTV for Dogs

The best option for a dog owner in the market for a side by side would be a Polaris RZR due to the many different ways you can haul your dog. The amount of aftermarket accessories for the RZR is huge, including the carrier system and the quick-release seats mentioned above. You can find a safe option to bring your dog in just about any UTV but the Polaris RZR has the most options available.


UTV Accessories for Dogs

Part of bringing your dog on a UTV adventure is making sure you pack all of their necessities too. Make sure to bring plenty of food and water and bowls for easy feeding. The LED collar is a great option to not only keep them safe but also to keep an eye on them at night. Here is a list of other great things to bring along.


In Summary

It’s always a good idea to practice whatever setup you decide to go with and get the dog used to the rig before a big off-road outing. One way to try and get them comfortable with it can be to put their bed or a blanket with their scent on it into the UTV or UTV accessory. We use this same technique to make our pug feel more ‘at home’ in the tent at night by bringing along his bed.