6-Seat Side-By-Side Comparison- Best 6-Seater UTVs

6 seater UTV blog post cover image featuring a Polaris 6 seat side-by-side

Side-By-Sides are growing increasingly popular with dunes and trail-riding enthusiasts these days for good reason. These are powerful and fun machines that will help you to conquer all kinds of terrain in the security of a seat. This can be a more preferred experience when off-roading than can be offered by a quad or a dirt bike as being able to take your friends and family with you as you ride is a lot of fun.

These UTVs have increased in size over the years and 6-seaters are now available on the market in addition to the standard two and four-seater varieties. This means more fun for a family that wants to simply ride along and it means that you can bring more people with you to the dunes, on a hunting excursion, on the trails, and more. This can be one of the best options for a large family purchasing a UTV and people are eager to take advantage of what this option can mean for adventuring fun.

If you are ready to learn more about the best 6-seater Side-by-Sides that are on the market today, read on!

What is the Best 6 Seat UTV?

The answer to this question might vary depending on your unique desires related to your use of your UTV. There are models on the market that are more performance-focused and models that are more comfort-focused. All of them will offer you the ability to traverse lots of tough terrain types as you go on adventures that would not be possible to be enjoyed with a traditional four-wheeler or a dirt bike.

The best 6-seat UTV might be a Polaris if you want great power and less speed. You might be inclined to look into Can-Am models if you want to have a more comfortable ride for your family. There are also going to be upgraded models within each brand’s catalog of design choices that will offer you additional features to tailor your use of the vehicle more specifically to your needs.

You will always want to consider the power and the speed that you want to have access to first when you are picking your UTV, but you can upgrade and customize many parts of your driving and use experience from there with different packages and options. You will be able to look at all of the additional features and functions for most of these models with ease when you shop online, but sometimes going to see and sit in these vehicles can also really help you to decide which one is the right one for your needs. There is no shortage of ways to customize and improve your driving and enjoyment of your UTV and you should make sure that you are willing to look carefully at all the options before you buy.

Does Polaris Make a 6 Seat UTV?

Polaris does make a 6-seater UTV and you will get all of the usual quality features and functions when you buy from Polaris. This is a company that makes a lot of really great adventuring vehicles and most of them can be used for work as well as play. The 6-seater Ranger that is made by Polaris offers a full-body skid plate as well as a durable front bumper. You can also upgrade the tires to 29” if you want to do so. You will get a really nice and smooth ride from this vehicle and this can make it a great choice for family fun as well as for business or work use.

The Ranger Crew will cost you about $12,000 for the base model but you can upgrade to add additional speed features, additional comfort features, or even additional towing capacity and load handling features. This is a really nice UTV that is perfect for all kinds of uses and you will get the benefit of backing from a well-known and beloved brand when you pick this Side-by-Side for your needs.

Does Can-Am Make a 6-Seater Side-By-Side?

Can-Am also makes a 6-seater UTV called the Commander Max. This is a really nice UTV to pick if you want power and fun as well as the horsepower and frame strength for some hard work. This is a company that is always focused more on performance than on comfort, but they have been increasingly moving toward adding some comfort features to their UTV offerings. You will get a tough and reliable vehicle that can handle all kinds of tough terrain with ease when you buy from Can-Am.

There are many ways to upgrade this vehicle to make it fitter for trail use or for activities like hunting. They also offer desert-specific features and functions that can be perfect for your location if that is the terrain that you encounter most often. Handling sand well is one of the best-known and beloved features of this brand and getting a side-by-side to take to the dunes is easy when you work with Can-Am for your side-by-side purchase.

There is a specific look to a Can-Am that is sporty and exciting and this is part of the reason that they are so popular with adventuring families and people who love to go fast and have fun when they are out using their UTV. You might not get as comfortable of a ride from this vehicle, but you will get a really high-performance experience and a vehicle that looks amazing while it is working hard on your behalf.

How Much Does a 6-Seater Side-By-Side Weigh?

The weight of your UTV can impact handling, the way in which you transport it, and considerations of use with a heavy load of people in the seats. This is something that not many people consider when they are buying. You will want to look at the weight of the Side-by-Side before you commit to buying so that you are sure about the kinds of use and functions that you can use your 6-seater for.

When you are looking at weight, remember that “dry weight” is the weight of the UTV without passengers, cargo, or fuel of any kind. The curb weight and operating weight or wet weight will include all of the fluids and a full tank of gas. This is not something that everyone knows and it can impact your ability to judge what kind of hauling arrangement you need to make as well as how you enjoy your UTV after you have purchased it.

  • Yamaha

Yamaha 6-seaters come in at about 1761 pounds. This is a nice balance of weight and available performance and you can get a little bit of the best of both worlds when you choose this model. Yamaha has been a well-known name for years and they do know their way around comfortable and yet practical and powerful adventuring vehicles.

  • Polaris

The Polaris Ranger Crew will come in at about 1936 pounds on average without passengers. This might go up or down depending on your cargo load, the amount of fuel that you are carrying, and then of course the number of passengers in the vehicle with you. You will need to think about this capacity and weight when you are considering the terrain and the kinds of activities that you want to do with your 6-seater.

  • Can-Am

Can-Am is always focused on the performance aspects of their products and you can get a 6-seater UTV from them that comes in at about 1770 pounds. This is a wet weight, so you will just need to add in the passengers when you are thinking about the total weight of the item when in use. This reduction in weight has a little bit to do with the reduction in some comfort items, which means that you will not get as soft and comfortable of a ride as with some other models.

  •  Kawasaki

The curb weight of a Kawasaki Mule with six seats is about 1911.7 pounds. This will include everything but the passengers. You will find that Kawaski and Polaris tend to be heavier overall as they are built for work duty operations as well as for trail and dunes use. You are looking at the comparison of a hunting quad style weight rather than a sportbike weight when you think about this brand and what its 6-seater weighs. This is also a very capable option for family comfort and safety due in part to the added weight.

  •   Honda

Honda UTVs of this size will come in around 1538 pounds with standard equipment and fluids on board. You will just need to add the weight of your passengers to be considered as part of the total weight involved. You will find that Hondas tend to be more lightweight as a whole and this can be better for some terrains and some uses.

How to Choose the Right 6-Seater UTV

If you are still feeling like you are not sure how to pick from all of these great options for your UTV purchase, there are some ways that you can narrow down your search a bit and help focus on the items that you really need for your use of this vehicle. If you have owned a UTV before, some of these considerations might be familiar to you already, but many people step into the UTV market without having ever even sat in one before.

This list of considerations can help you to pick the perfect UTV for you and your friends and family to use and enjoy. You will want to make sure that you are clear with yourself and with your family about what really matters to you in your purchase before you buy something and are disappointed.

1.       Consider Total Weight

The total weight of the vehicle can impact the activities that you can do with it and can also limit the kinds of terrains that you can handle when fully loaded. Sand and other soft surfaces can be more challenging if you are looking at the heavier model and the comfort additions to make these heavier units will be offset by a reduction in the nimble nature that you might be looking for.

Always consider what kind of terrain you need to be working with when you are using your UTV and make sure that you are not going to be unable to have fun with your UTV when it is fully loaded. You want to be able to access the locations and the activities that made you want a Side-by-Side in the first place and weight can impact these options greatly in some cases.

2.       Consider Power

If you want a more speedy and nimble performance package, you will need to look at a slightly less comfortable interior to offset the weight needed for comfort items. You will want to be sure that you can enjoy all that power with the vehicle fully loaded and that might mean that you will not be able to use a more powerful unit with small children for example. There are many reasons that you might want power for your regular use but if you want to go fast or climb tough hills and terrain, power can be a must.

There is a balance between comfort and performance that is a delicate one and you need to be sure that you are getting the right ratio of performance options when compared with safety and comfort options. The question of power is often not a huge consideration when you are looking at a large UTV unless you really want to go fast or climb intensely, but if this is important, make sure you build this into your buying process.

3.       Consider Cargo Space

Do you need to use your 6-seater UTV for work? Are you needing to bring camping gear or other items with you when you are out having fun? The storage options for 6-seaters can vary greatly between brands and you might be surprised at how little storage is possible with some models of larger UTV. This is a major stumbling block if you want speed and power as well as storage and you will need to shop carefully to meet both of these needs.

The storage options for your 6-seater can also greatly add to the weight of the total unit when in use, so make sure that you do not forget about this. You can easily make your 6-seater much less fun to ride in and to use when you are looking at needing to carry a lot of weight for the terrain that you want to navigate during your adventures.

4.       Think About Fuel Capacity

Most people use their UTV with ready access to their campsite or to a location that offers fuel as needed. However, if you are looking to use your Side-by-Side over great distances, you need to think about the amount of fuel that it will use and the size of the gas tank. You can also take into consideration the amount of fuel that you can carry on the unit with you.

The fuel capacity can be a critical function for your needs if you want to ride your 6-seater over long distances away from services. This can be a common need for those that like to participate in events in the desert and you will want to be sure that you do not fall in love with a 6-seater that cannot be used in this way if that is what you like to do most. The added seats can impact your ability to carry fuel with you, so make sure that you are not forgetting about this crucial point when selecting your machine.

5.       Consider Overall Performance

While this is not always the prime consideration for a larger UTV purchase, power and speed are what make these items fun in some uses. You will not want to scrimp on this part of your purchase if you love to use your UTV as a toy and the dunes are a really great place to enjoy the power and speed that these units are capable of and you can do so even with your family along for the ride.

Purchasing wisely for power and speed with performance in mind can be really important for some users of UTVS. It can be easy to get caught up in looking at the comfort options or the total weight of the machine for hauling purposes, and forget about the stuff that makes using the machine fun! You will want to consider what you want to do with your UTV before you pick one that does not offer the power and the performance choices that you really need for your enjoyment.

6-Seater UTVs Can be Fun and Practical

There are many makers of 6-seater UTVs these days but they do not all offer the same benefits and features. Make sure that you are looking critically at all of the various options that these makers offer before you choose one at random. You might want to consider many variables related to power, performance, comfort, and cargo capacity and you should take the time to be really honest with yourself about what you absolutely must have when buying a UTV for fun or for work purposes.

UTVs are increasing in popularity as they grow ever more capable for many different needs. This is a really great investment for your adventuring fun and you will love your purchase even more if you take the time to consider all the various options available carefully.

Who Makes the Best Electric UTV?

A Utility Terrain Vehicle (UTV) is one of the best ways to explore rough trails. But most of them run on unleaded fuel, aka gasoline. I wanted to find one that would be powered by an electric battery. So, I did some research into what the best options were. Here is what you need to know when buying an electric UTV. 

There are a few companies that make exceptional electric UTVs. The Polaris Ranger EV is one of the most well-known electric UTVs. But you might also want to consider manufacturers like Hisun, Textron, and Nikola. 

Many brands might make an electric UTV. But do they have quality offerings? Let’s look at some of the best electric UTV manufacturers on the market and the models they offer. 

Does Polaris Make an Electric UTV?

Polaris is a large, well-trusted manufacturer in the side-by-side arena. They have spent several years proving that they know how to construct an exceptional UTV. They do manufacture an electric UTV. This is called the Polaris Ranger EV

This is one of the few electric models that is made by a major manufacturer. To give you a better sense of whether it’s a good choice for you, let’s look at some of the features that it offers. 

How Fast Does a Polaris Ranger EV go?

If you’re planning on getting a UTV, you want to be able to travel quickly. You might be using it for hunting and need to keep up with the game. You might be a farmer who needs to get a back paddock urgently. But, for most of us, we like to go fast because it’s fun. 

The Polaris Ranger doesn’t disappoint in the speed department. It’s capable of going at around 25 miles per hour (40 kilometers per hour).  That’s pretty good, considering that the average UTV will travel at 45 miles per hour. Remember that things like the amount of weight you are carrying might affect the top speed that you can achieve. 

What is the Range of a Polaris Ranger EV?

One of the most important considerations when choosing an electric vehicle is the range. You don’t want to get stranded in the middle because you ran out of battery life. To drive a Polaris Ranger EV, you’ll need to use eight batteries. These are placed under the seat. 

Once you’ve charged them up, the batteries should last for around 25 to 30 miles. The display lets you track how far you will be able to travel with a single charge. Generally, this will mean that you’ll be able to drive the EV for between one to two hours.

To keep them working for a long time, you’ll need to take care of the batteries. Before you start using them, make sure that the new batteries have been fully charged. At the end of each day, fully recharge the battery. If you can do this, the batteries should last for four years. If you need to replace them, consult your Polaris dealership. 

Does Honda Make an Electric UTV?

Honda has earned a great reputation in the UTV world. Generally, their products are built to last for a long time and deliver exceptional performance. Naturally, they were another stop on my quest to find an electric UTV. 

Currently, Honda doesn’t offer an electric UTV. However, they do have plans to create one in the future. At the recent Consumer Electronics Show (CES), Honda launched a range of new technologies. One of the most exciting was a battery. This would be able to work with multiple devices, from UTVs to appliances in the home. 

To help show off this concept, the Honda team showed how these batteries would work in a Honda Pioneer. This presentation shows that the UTV would be powered by two batteries, in the side of the vehicle. Though it’s unclear when you can expect to purchase one, it’s a very exciting announcement. It shows that Honda is actively considering an electric UTV. 

What Other Manufacturers Make Electric UTVs? 

While Honda and Polaris might be some of the most well-known UTV manufacturers, there are plenty of other companies that produce these vehicles.  Many of them are embracing electric UTVs, feeling that they could represent the future of the industry. 

Hisun

Hisun offers an electric UTV, called the Sector E1. This offers fairly good performance. For example, you’ll be able to get 45 miles of range per charge. It will take about six hours for these batteries to be fully recharged. 

There are a few other features that will come in useful when you are on the track. For example, you’ll be able to get a powerful winch. It will be able to tow up to 1,500 pounds. Because of this, this can be a very versatile UTV. 

Textron

Another company that is starting to explore the electric UTV world is Textron. This company is uniquely positioned to take control of the industry. This is because they have been making some powerful partnerships, including Arctic Cat. The electric UTV that they have made is the Off-Road Prowler EV iS

This UTV has several interesting features. The battery is expected to last for between eight to 12 hours. This will usually depend on how you are planning on using it. It’s a four-wheel drive, so you won’t need to worry about muddy tracks. It’s capable of towing up to 1,000 pounds. 

Nikola 

Nikola is a high-profile company that makes an electric UTV, called the Nikola NZT.  Recently, the company has been getting a lot of attention because some people speculate that it could be the next Tesla. However, Nikola is focused more on developing electric trucks. 

Their UTV offering has a suitably futuristic design. It also delivers excellent performance, with one of the biggest battery packs on the market. You should be able to get around 125 miles before you need to recharge. The battery can be recharged in two hours. It also comes with the ability to tow 3,000 pounds. The biggest issue, though, is the price. It will set you back $80,000. 

What is the Future of Electric UTVs? 

As we’ve seen, there are a few manufacturers that are starting to produce electric UTVs. It’s likely that this is a trend that will continue for the long-term.  It’s also likely that components, like batteries, will grow cheaper making these UTVs more accessible. 

However, one of the biggest reasons why the electric UTV will continue to grow in popularity is continued research. There will be plenty of new technology developed. This will have a big impact on the UTV. We can expect to see batteries becoming more powerful, increasing the range of these vehicles. It’s also likely that the weight will continue to drop. As this happens, they will grow more competitive with petrol-powered models. 

There are a few other factors to consider. First, battery power makes driving a UTV more environmentally sustainable. This is increasingly important to buyers. Also, a battery-powered UTV tends to be quieter. This can be a huge advantage to hunters, allowing them to sneak up on their prey. Other people prefer a quieter engine because it allows them to enjoy the peace of the outdoors. 

Final Thoughts

Finding a great electric UTV doesn’t need to be difficult. There are plenty of great models available for you to choose from. Each of these will deliver exceptional performance. It’s best to investigate several options before you decide which one will be best for you. 

Registering an Offroad Vehicle | Tags, Plates, and Stickers

Getting a title and registration for an off-road vehicle is one of the first things an owner should do after the acquisition. However, US states have different processes for titling and registering such vehicles. So, the question is: how can you register your off-road vehicle in your state and acquire the necessary documents for operating it?

The process for registering an off-road vehicle varies in each state. In fact, there are even some states that don’t require the title and registration of ORVs in their jurisdiction. States also vary when it comes to certifying the registration, which includes stickers, decals, plates, and tags.

Responsible owners of off-road vehicles should have their machines titled and registered, especially now that it’s easier to have everything you need. We’ll discuss the processes you need to take in each state to register an ORV and get the necessary certification to ride your vehicle legally.

Registering an Off-Road Vehicle in Every US State

Generally, off-road vehicles (ORVs) can’t operate on paved roads. Additionally, no one can ride an untitled and unregistered ORV on public land. There are some exemptions to this rule because some states allow such vehicles’ operation even without registration. However, most states still require a permit to use it on public land designed for ORVs.

It varies from state to state, so we created a table for you to use as a reference in registering off-road vehicles and acquiring the necessary tags, plates, stickers, or permits to operate on public land legally. If you’re visiting another state, it would be best to acquire the necessary license even before you transport your vehicle.

StateOff-Road Vehicle Registration
AlabamaUnder Section 40-2A-7(a)(5), Code of Alabama 1975, owners can’t register off-road vehicles or have it titled unless they meet specific requirements. Operators aren’t required to possess a driver’s license or safety courses to operate an ORV.
AlaskaThe Division of Motor Vehicles states that off-road vehicles aren’t titled in Alaska, but owners may have their ORVs registered. Snow machines aren’t titled as well but must be registered unless it only operates on private property.
ArizonaArizona’s Off-Highway Vehicles and Boating Registration allows owners to purchase OHV decals by completing the Off-Highway Decal Application. This permit allows the owner to ride his ORV for a full year before requiring renewal.
ArkansasUnder the Arkansas Statutes Title 27, all owners of off-road vehicles must register within 30 days after the acquisition. He should provide satisfactory proof of ownership or a bond that costs 1.5 times the ORV’s market value.
CaliforniaThe OHV California State Parks requires all off-road vehicles to have the identification plate from the Department of Motor Vehicles or the “California Green Sticker.” Owners only need to register their vehicles once every two years.
ColoradoThe Colorado Parks & Wildlife requires all off-highway vehicles (OHV), including out-of-state vehicles, to be registered at any Colorado Parks & Wildlife office. The OHV permit is valid for one whole year and allows the owner to use it on any area designated for such vehicles.
ConnecticutThe Department of Motor Vehicles requires all OHV to have the registration plate affixed to the vehicle’s rear section. Owners are also required to display their registration numbers on both sides of the front section.
DelawareThe Division of Motor Vehicles requires all OHV to be registered by an owner at least 18 years of age or accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. The registration certificate for an off-road vehicle is valid for three years.
FloridaAs of July 1, 2020, all OHV owners must purchase their permits through ReserveAmerica.com. After the purchase, you can take your receipt to an OHV forest office to claim your registration sticker.
GeorgiaThe State of Georgia doesn’t register or title all off-road vehicles. Non-residents may operate their ORV for 30 days without registration, while visitors may operate for 90 days without registration, as long as it has a valid license plate from the home state.
HawaiiRegistration of off-road vehicles in Hawaii starts with the Application for Registration. The fee will depend on the registration personnel, and the owner needs to provide satisfactory proof of ownership to proceed.
IdahoYou can purchase your OHV certificate from the Idaho State Parks & Recreation website. You can also buy your registration sticker from ReserveAmerica.com.
IllinoisEvery ORV owner should visit their local Secretary of State Driver Services to apply for a title certificate. CyberDriveIllinois.com provides all the documentation needed for the registration and titling of off-road vehicles.
IndianaThe Bureau of Motor Vehicles handles all the registration and titling of OHV. You can visit a local BMV branch or visit their website to get full documentation on what you’ll need to register your OHV and acquire the necessary permits.
IowaThe Iowa Department of Natural Resources provides detailed documentation of everything you need for titling and registration. All ORVs that the owner operates in public areas need to have a registration decal affixed to the front section. He should also have the registration certificate at all times.
KansasIn Kansas, ORVs are treated as motor vehicles that require titling and registration. 3-wheel ORVs are registered as motorcycles, while 4-wheel ORVs are registered as passenger cars. To register your vehicle, you can visit the website of the Department of Revenue.
KentuckyAll ORVs in Kentucky are required to be titled, but they are not registered. You’ll need a completed TC 96-182 form with an attached photo ID to start applying for the title certificate.
LouisianaYou will receive a registration decal within 30 days after acquiring your ORV. However, according to the 2015 Louisiana Laws Revised Statutes Title 32, if you want a title and registration for your ORV, the state won’t honor your application unless you have satisfactory proof that you’ve paid all sales tax.
MaineAll ORV registrations expire on June 30 in Maine. New registrations must be in front of an authorized agent. Residents and non-residents can complete the renewals of their ORVs through the Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife’s website.
MarylandOwners of ORVs in Maryland should register their vehicles with the Department of Natural Resources annually. After the registration, you will receive a registration sticker that you need to affix to your ORV before riding it.
MassachusettsAll types of recreational vehicles in Massachusetts should be titled and registered. You can complete the process by visiting one of the local offices of the Boat and Recreation Vehicle Registration and Titling Bureau.
MichiganYou can acquire the title for your ORV through the Michigan Secretary of State. However, if you’re planning to use your vehicle on public land, you need to acquire an ORV decal from the Department of Natural Resources and renew it annually.
MinnesotaThe Department of Natural Resources handles all registration of off-road vehicles in the state. Registering and renewing should be done in person at any deputy registrar of motor vehicles.
MississippiAll ORVs with decals or plates declaring that the vehicle meets the Federal Safety Standards must be registered and titled through the state’s Department of Revenue. Without these decals and plates, Mississippi considers it a “toy vehicle” that can’t be titled or registered.
MissouriOwners have 30 days to pay all sales tax and acquire a title for their ORV. The Department of Revenue handles all titling and registration processes. They’ll also penalize owners who failed to title and register their vehicles before the 31st day.
MontanaResidents must register their ORV at the County Treasurer’s office where the owner resides. Non-residents can purchase an annual Nonresident Temporary Use Permit that expires every December 31.
NebraskaAll off-road vehicles are required to have a Certificate of Title before the owner can use it legally. To apply, the owner must submit one of the documents listed in the Department of Motor Vehicles’ website to the County Treasurer’s office.
NevadaThe Nevada Off-Highway Vehicles Program manages all the registration and titling process for ORV owners. All off-road vehicles must be registered annually and have their registration decal affixed to the vehicle before operating on public land or designated areas.
New HampshireORV owners who are operating their vehicles outside their property should have it registered. New Hampshire Fish and Game manages the registration of ORVs and has provided detailed documentation on how you can register your vehicle.
New JerseyThe state doesn’t require owners to acquire a permit or license to operate an off-road vehicle. However, they should still have it registered, and the operator must adhere to the guidelines listed on the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission’s website.
New MexicoThe state requires all owners to register their vehicles at any Motor Vehicle Division Field Office. Owners who want to operate their ORVs on paved roads should also have a valid Paved Road Use decal. 
New YorkThe Department of Motor Vehicles handles all titling and registration processes for ORVs that operate in the state. They’ve also provided detailed documentation on vehicles that fall under this category and the registration process.
North CarolinaThe Department of Motor Vehicles processes all titles and registration for ORVs in their jurisdiction. However, the requirement to acquire the certification to operate depends on the type of vehicle you own.
North DakotaBefore operating on public land, every owner should have their vehicles registered through the state’s Department of Transportation. Non-residents should acquire Non-Resident Public Trails and Lands Access Permit before they can operate legally.
OhioAll ORVs come with a 30-day temporary tag that allows the owner to use the vehicle on public land. However, owners should submit all the documents listed on the state’s Bureau of Motor Vehicle before the temporary tag expires.
OklahomaThe state requires all ORVs to be titled and registered before operating on public land. The owner should also pay all sales tax before he can even apply for a title and registration.
OregonVehicles should have operating permits (stickers) affixed to the front section before operating on public land. Anyone who owns an ORV can buy a permit on the State Parks’ online store.
PennsylvaniaThe state’s Department of Conservation & Natural Resources requires all ORV vehicles to be titled and registered before anyone can use it. Even if the owner will only use it on his property, he still needs to acquire a Limited Registration certificate for his vehicle.
Rhode IslandOperators don’t need a license or pass a safety course to ride an off-road vehicle. However, owners must have their vehicles registered with the Department of Environmental Management.
South CarolinaThe state’s Department of Motor Vehicles requires all off-road vehicles to be titled before operating on public land. The owner must submit all the documents listed on their website to complete the titling application.
South DakotaThe Department of Revenue Motor Vehicle Division requires all owners to have the Application for Motor Vehicle Title & Registration signed by an authorized agent with a Power of Attorney attached before getting an appointment for the registration.
TennesseeNot all ORVs qualify for a registration plate. You can refer to the Department of Revenue’s website for a list of vehicles that qualify for a plate, including the application’s processes.
TexasThe state categorizes ORVs as “unique vehicles,” and are required to be titled before they can operate on public land. However, vehicles designed for off-highway use aren’t eligible for registration. You can visit the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles to check if yours fall into this category.
UtahThe Division of Motor Vehicles handles all ORV registrations. Before someone can operate, or even transport, an ORV on public land, the vehicle should have its OHV registration sticker affixed to it.
VermontRegistering an ORV for the first time should complete the entire Vermont Registration, Tax, and Title application. Once you have all the documents needed by the Department of Motor Vehicles, a registration plate will be assigned and mailed to you.
VirginiaOwners of new off-road vehicles that can displace more than 50cc should have their vehicles titled through the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles. However, owners aren’t required to have it registered, and they can still operate legally even without it.
WashingtonThe Washington State Department of Licensing has different registration and licensing processes for various off-road vehicles. You can refer to their website to make your ORV legal for on and off-road operation.
West VirginiaThe state’s Division of Motor Vehicles handles the registration of ORVs with the exemption of vehicles used for farming, commercial use, and use within the property. They also have detailed documentation of everything that an owner needs to learn before riding an ORV.
WisconsinThe 2019 Wisconsin Act 183 expanded the models of ORVs eligible for registration. Before having it registered with the Department of Transportation, a vehicle should already have the registration decals and plate affixed to its rear and front sections.
WyomingTo legally operate an ORV in state, the owner needs to purchase the ORV Permit from ReserveAmerica.com. You can also order one through phone or via their selling agents found on the Wyoming Parks website.

Using Permits, Tags, Plates, and Stickers Correctly

Despite the differences in the law that US states have regarding the registration and titling of off-road vehicles, some things remain the same, such as the application of permits, tags, plates, and stickers.

Almost every US state requires a registration plate to be affixed at the rear of the vehicle. Some of them will even acknowledge these plates and may exempt you from the need for a permit to operate. The registration plate includes the registration number and the state where the vehicle is registered.

Registration stickers and tags should always be at the front section of the vehicle and attached to both sides of the ORV. Some states will have these mailed to you, while others will require you to have your registration number printed and affixed to the vehicle using a reflective material. Some states even use this as a requirement before you can acquire a permit to operate on public land designed for off-road vehicles.

Again, different states may impose different laws for the operation of ORVs, but knowing how to use them properly will make it easier for you to get the necessary permits. A title and registration certificate won’t be enough for an operator to use the vehicle in many states. It still needs a sticker affixed to the ORV, which you can order online, as long as you have the necessary documents.

Conclusion

Responsible ORV owners should make it a point to have their vehicles titled and registered unless the state doesn’t require or allow such vehicles to be registered. It’s the first step to legally operating your ORV.

Although some dealers can provide you with a temporary tag that allows you to use the vehicle, it only gives you enough time to process all the documents needed for the title and registration. It would be best to start working on them as soon as you acquired your ORV because many states only give new vehicles a 30-day temporary permit.

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

UTV Trailers & Toyhaulers – Cost? Multiple Side-by-sides? ATV’s too?

picture of a Polaris RZR 570 on a trailer

What Size Trailer for a Side by Side?

In trying to figure out the perfect trailer for your side-by-side you are going to have to figure out some information and preferences first. You will want to decide if you want a trailer that fits your UTV snug all the way around or has room for camping supplies or other gear.

You will want to decide if you need just a flatbed trailer, or if you want it enclosed with walls and a roof and possibly even somewhere inside for you to sleep and do dishes more like a travel trailer.

As for the exact dimensions, some trailers will advertise what size UTV’s will fit on them so you can start looking at your options right away, but before you pull the trigger on a major purchasing decision get the tape measure out.


The Flatbed or Utility Trailer:

The sizes of utility trailers that I will be suggesting range in widths from 5 feet 4 inches up to 7 feet wide and lengths from 12 feet to 26 feet long. I’m going to be suggesting a very specific manufacturer of trailers but you could always look for any make of utility trailer with the above dimensions in mind.


Echo Trailers

If you’re looking for a utility-style trailer that’s designed from the ground up for motorsports than look no further than Echo Trailers. They have a huge selection of trailers that are built with different combinations of vehicles in mind.

They also have great options like built-in strap setups with quick-release pin-style ratchets. This is not a small outfit that’s only available to a few locals and people that want something shipped as they are offered by many dealers nationwide. Just use their dealer locator to find one near you. Here are a few of the trailers they offer:

4 seater UTV trailer

Echo offers 14 different trailers across 4 categories designed for your 4-seat side-by-side. Whether you want something that doubles as a utility trailer, is more flashy like a race rig, is super lightweight, or has truck bed loading capabilities then they have you covered with their four main categories of trailers.

Here are some of the four-seat trailer size options from Echo trailers:

  • 5′ 4″ x 12′
  • 6′ 4″ x 13′
  • 5′ 3″ x 14′
  • 5′ 3″ x 17′
  • 7′ x 17′
  • 5′ 3″ x 19′
  • 6′ 1″ x 24′
  • 7′ x 24′
  • 7′ x 26′

What size trailer for 2 side-by-sides?

So you’re looking to haul 2 big toys. Well, a few of the trailers in Echo’s lineup can handle that job. They have 24-foot and 26-foot trailers that will hold:

a combination of [two] 2-seater UTVs and [one] ATV

or [two] 4-seater UTVs.

Cost of a flatbed/utility trailer

Here are some listings near me on Facebook Marketplace to give you an idea of the cost:


6.5’x9′ for $1,500

16′ for $1,750

18′ tilt for $3,500

The Enclosed Trailer:

An enclosed trailer is a very nice upgrade from a standard utility trailer as now you have more amenities like keeping your rig out of the weather, not having to worry as much about your load falling off, security, protection, and a list of ways to make these trailers multi-purpose.  

But it does also come with some drawbacks like visibility being one of the biggest ones. You’ve now made your rearview mirror almost completely useless and will now have to completely rely on the side mirrors and if they don’t extend off the side of your vehicle very far you may need mirror extensions (they look like clip-on mirrors) to even see past the trailer.

This decision may impact what you can use as a tow vehicle as you will now most likely be moving up to a higher weight class of trailer. You might have been able to pull a small flatbed trailer with your smaller SUV or minivan but you can’t pull that off with an enclosed trailer.

With that said, I’ve owned both a utility trailer and an enclosed trailer and the upgrade was a huge one. I upgraded from a 12’ flatbed trailer to a 16’ enclosed trailer and boy did I feel spoiled. I got so much more use out of the enclosed as well.

I became that go-to friend for helping people move and when I moved from Colorado to Arizona for a couple of years to attend college, it was so awesome to be able to take everything with me. No moving trucks for this guy, although I did have to pay to store it as my HOA said no way after I had already fabricated a new double-wide gate to get it into the backyard as they could still see it over the top of the fence.

But back to offroading… After I upgraded to the enclosed for hauling my huge sand toy around. I now had not just a trailer, but a tow-along tent the didn’t need setup or teardown. Just pull the toys out at the campsite, blowup the airbed, and make sure the Mr. Heater was ready to go and I had a huge room to sleep in at night. It was awesome.

Cost of an enclosed trailer

The cost of a new enclosed trailer can run anywhere from $2,000 to $20,000 and higher depending on your needs.

Here are some used examples from my local area on Facebook Marketplace:


4×8 for $1,800

7×14 for $4,999

8.5×18 for $7,500

What size enclosed trailer for a side by side?

Your standard widths for enclosed trailers are between 6′ and 8′. I personally recommend an 8-foot wide trailer so that getting in and out of the UTV while in the trailer doesn’t feel like a chore every time. If you go with a 6-foot width you’re not going to be opening the UTV doors any time soon. You’ll have to pull a Dukes of Hazzard entry/exit every time.

An eight-foot-wide trailer is nice because it really affords you a lot of extra storage room as well but keep in mind that you are now going to be taking up the entire lane that you are driving in. You will want to really keep an eye on a wide trailer to make sure you aren’t getting too close/crossing over the double yellow lines or taking one wheel off-roading or barricade bumping.

As for the length of the trailer, some common lengths of UTVs are in the 9 to 12-foot lengths. So without getting super technical with your specs you could start by looking at 10-12 footers for shorter UTVs and 14-16 footers for your 4-seaters. Once you start narrowing down your search and think you have a small selection of favorites, get the tape measure out and make sure it will fit before committing.

Picture of an example layout of a toy hauler

Do side by sides fit in toy haulers?

Yes, they do, is the quick and dirty answer. Now do all side by sides fit in all trailers? No, of course not. But, do most UTV owners have a toy hauler option? Yes. Now there are a few different ways in which these travel trailer companies have set up their toy haulers.

One way is to have the garage space and the living space as a sort of hybrid of somewhere to park the toy and then when it’s out you can move different furniture down into place like seating & sleeping areas. Most of these scenarios have a small bump out of cabinets (usually on the left side) which is where the kitchen, bathroom, or some other item starts. 

This means we now have another place that we will have to get measurements from to make sure our UTV fits not just in between the wheel wells, but also in the smaller space way upfront. You may just have to pull your vehicle in and off to one side.

My mom recently got a toy hauler for her VW powered sand rail and it’s such a tight fit that we have to pull it in 95% of the way and then someone lifts the frontend up and over the passenger side wheel well to get the wheels past the trailers built-in storage.

Cost of a toy hauler

Here are some listings near me on Facebook Marketplace to give you an idea of the cost:


2008 18′ for $8.500

2006 SuperLite for $11,980

2015 Keystone for $19,995

Weight

Weight Distribution

If you put the majority of your load weight at the front of the trailer it will give you too much tongue weight.

If you put the majority of your load weight at the back of the trailer it will create trailer sway while driving.

Ideally, you want to put the majority of the load weight over the axles for the best towing experience. 


Weight Definitions

Your truck and your trailer should both have a plate/sticker that has its weight and towing weight information on it. Check the driver’s door jam on the truck and near the hitch on the trailer. The owner’s manual is a good resource for this information as well.


  • Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR)

The Gross Vehicle Weight Rating is the maximum amount of weight either the truck or the trailer can handle as they will both have their own GVWR.  


  • Truck GVWR > Truck weight + driver weight + total passenger weight + fuel weight + cargo + trailer tongue weight.

A truck’s GVWR is the maximum amount of weight the vehicle can handle including its own weight.


  • Trailer GVWR > Trailer weight + load weight

A trailer’s GVWR is the maximum amount of weight the trailer can hold including its own weight.


  • Gross Combined Weight Rating (GCWR)

The Gross Combined Weight Rating is the total amount of your towing vehicle and the trailer with a load.


  • Tongue Weight (TW)

The tongue weight is the weight of the downforce right at the connection of the trailer to the towing vehicle. Your towing vehicle will have a maximum tongue weight it can handle and your trailer will have a max tongue weight as well. This area can definitely be affected by how you distribute your trailer weight.


  • Payload capacity

The payload capacity is the empty/dry weight of the trailer subtracted from the GVWR of the trailer. As an example, if you had a trailer with a 3,000lb GVWR and that trailer weighed 1,000lb by itself, then you could technically have a payload of 2,000lbs. But just because you can put 2,000lbs of ‘stuff’ on that trailer doesn’t mean you should try to fill it all the way up to max. It’s probably a good idea to give yourself a buffer. Your trailer will thank you in the form of a good pulling experience.


  • Gross Axle Weight Rating (GAWR)

The Gross Axle Weight Rating it the max distributed weight each axel can take.


  • Curb Weight

The curb weight refers to how much the rig weighs without the passengers or cargo.


Hitch Weight Classes

Class I – up to 2,000 pounds (light loads)

Class II – up to 3,500 pounds (light loads)

Class III – up to 5,000 pounds (larger loads)

Class IV – up to 10,000 pounds (larger loads)

10,000 – 25,000 pounds – Fifth Wheel and Gooseneck Hitches are required.


Trailer maintenance costs

  • Yearly licensing (plates)
  • Storage
  • Insurance?
  • Tire replacement
  • Wheel bearing greasing/maintenance
  • Brakes/maintenance
  • Stain or wood replacement (on flatbed utility trailers)
  • Vent covers (from hail damage)

Other things you will need

The truck/SUV will need a wiring harness for a trailer (towing package)

Receiver hitch with correct size ball.

Spare trailer tire

Check out our Trailer Accessory Recommendations on the gear page:


Trailering Speed Limits 

Generally speaking, throughout the US there is a maximum of 55-65 MPH for towing check into the States you will be traveling in to stay legal. 


UTVs in the back of the truck

If you’re thinking about putting your UTV in the back of your pickup truck then check out our article about truck racks here.

Side by Sides That Are 50″ Wide | Ultimate Trail UTV Comparison Guide

Most offroaders blend between different offroad vehicles and one of the biggest reasons is being able to go anywhere and do anything on any and all trails that are out there

Growing up going to the sand dunes we owned smaller 4 wheelers and larger offroad vehicles and learned quickly that there were a lot of trails that the buggy just couldn’t go on because we were over that 50” wide threshold. And let’s face it, when you are off-road you don’t want to be limited, those twisting tight trails are a blast.

That’s where the 50” Trail class UTV comes in. It lets you share that offroading experience with friends and family and comes in a small footprint capable of going on those smaller restricted trails.

UTV Trail Width Restrictions?

It’s all about the trails, and a large percent of offroad public riding trails have width restrictions on the offroad vehicle. The two main size categories are the ATV trails (50” or less) and OHV trails (>50”). Most ATV trail restrictions are limited to offroad vehicles that are four-wheeler sized vs. OHV trails are suited more for most UTVs and other larger offroad vehicles.

In fact, there are lots of Trail Navigation that can help you plan ahead of time and see some of those trail restrictions before you go on your offroading trip.

Depending on where you ride they may also limit the trail usage by the seat configuration and or the weight of the vehicle instead of just the width. Whereas, some other trails may just have a gate that is an indicator if you meet the width restriction or not.

Some of the biggest obstacles to navigate on these small trails are trees on both sides of the trail, and your ride possibly getting lodged in between them. 

We use COTrex here in Colorado to navigate through our offroad trails and it is really awesome because it shows trails specific to the type of vehicle you want to ride. 


Should I go with a 50 or 60 Inch Side by Side?

Whether you are wanting a compact UTV that can fit on most offroad trails, or for the ease of trailering or maybe fitting your side by side in the back of your truck, it is definitely an option worth considering.

Since so many trails are restricted for offroad vehicles 50”-60” inches it’s hard to not want an offroad vehicle that is narrower, yet still performs and also secures another passenger. 

Keep in mind the 60” UTV’s are going to also be longer and therefore the UTV’s center of gravity will feel a lot different, and if you are a larger person you might feel more comfortable in a larger side by side. 


50” UTV vs. ATV

Let’s face it, many of us out there in the dirt can’t help but notice the large scope of different offroad vehicles out there. If you are on a 4 wheeler you are used to riping through small tight trails and maybe you are getting an itch for the UTV experience.

After hunching over your quad seat and having to use your body to manipulate your vehicle all the time, those nice bucket & bench seats start to look inviting, especially after hours of riding,

Having that roll cage protection, seat belts and a passenger to your side can definitely do have a certain ring to it. But let me guess, what you are concerned about is just how much bigger UTV’s are to ATV’s, Right?

Here is the answer: 50” side by sides help bridge this gap so that you can still get on tight trails, but in the comfort of a seat you don’t have to lean over.  



So, which side by sides are 50”?

Polaris 50 Inch Side by Sides

2020 Polaris – RZR 570 ($10,599 MSRP)

  • ProStar 570 4-Stroke DOHC Single Cylinder
  • 45 Horsepower
  • 9”/9.5” Suspension Travel
  • ZF Sachs Shocks
  • Dual A-Arm & Sway Bar
  • Aggressive Driving & Seating Position
  • High-Performance True On-Demand AWD
  • Agile Maneuverable Wheelbase
  • 10.5” Ground Clearance
  • 25” Tires
  • Color option: White

2020 Polaris – RZR 570 Premium ($12,599 MSRP)

  • All the features of the above 570 plus:
  • Electronic Power Steering
  • VersaTrac Turf Mode
  • Maxxis® Tires
  • Premium Aluminum Wheels
  • Premium Painted Panels
  • High/Low Beam Headlights
  • Color options: Titanium Metallic

2020 Polaris – RZR 900 ($13,399 MSRP)

power-to-weight ratio & lightning-fast acceleration from 0 to 40 mph in just 3.76 seconds.

  • 75 HP ProStar 900
  • ProStar 900 4-Stroke DOHC Twin Cylinder
  • 10”/10” Suspension Travel
  • Dual A-Arm & Sway Bar
  • Aggressive Driving & Seating Position
  • True On-Demand AWD
  • Agile Maneuverable Wheelbase
  • 11” Ground Clearance
  • 26” Tires
  • Color options: White

2020 Polaris – RZR 900 Premium ($15,199 MSRP)

  • All the features of the above 900 plus:
  • Aluminum Wheels
  • Electronic Power Steering
  • High-Performance True On-Demand AWD
  • Color options: Premium Black Pearl, Premium Matte Nara Bronze

2020 Polaris – RZR 900 FOX Edition ($15,399 MSRP)

  • All the features of the above 900 Premium plus:
  • FOX – 2.0 Podium X (External Reservoir Shock With 24 Adjustable Clicker Positions)
  • Straight 1/2 Doors
  • LED Headlights
  • Color Option: Radar Blue

2019 Polaris – ACE 500 ($7,299 MSRP)

  • 10% more legroom than the competition. 
  • ProStar 500cc, 4-Stroke SOHC Single Cylinder
  • 32 HP
  • Over 1 gallon of cockpit storage. 
  • Tilt steering and adjustable seat slider.
  • Comfortable sit in, step out design
  • 10″ of ground clearance
  • Legendary rear suspension with 9.5″ of wheel travel
  • Color option: Velocity Blue

2019 Polaris – ACE 570 EPS ($9,299 MSRP)

  • ProStar 567cc, 4-Stroke DOHC Single Cylinder
  • 45 horsepower
  • Trail Premium Dual A-arm Suspension
  • 10.25″ of ground clearance to clear the toughest obstacles
  • Integrated 3-gallon front storage compartment
  • Quarter Doors
  • Legendary Independent Rear Suspension with 9.5″ of wheel travel
  • Comfortable sit in, step out design
  • Tilt steering
  • Adjustable seat slider
  • Color option: Ghost Gray


Can-AM 50 Inch Side by Sides

2020 Can-AM – Maverick Trail ($11,099)

  • Choice of Rotax 800- or-1000-cc V-twins  
  • Choice of 51 and 75 horsepower
  • Comfort and capacity of Ergo-Lok technology
  • Comfort all day seats
  • Selectable 2WD / 4WD with Visco-Lok auto-locking front differential
  • Adjustable tilt steering and thick-rimmed wheel
  • Multifunction digital gauge display 
  • Electronic Hill Descent Control
  • Double A-arm front suspension and TTA rear suspension up to 10″ front and 10.5″ rear travel.
  • Profiled steel cage, front steel bumper and full skid plates
  • Storage: Class-Leading 5.3 US gal (20.2 L)
  • Quick Response System (QRS) CVT
  • Half door (Only for 1000)
  • Color Option: White

2020 Can-AM – Maverick Trail DPS ($13,099)

  • All the features of the above Maverick Trail plus:
  • Dynamic Power Steering (DPS)
  • 12-in. (30.5 cm) aluminum wheels
  • Ergoprint seats with color accents
  • Color Options: Triple Black, Can-AM Red, Mossy Oak Break-Up Country Camo

Textron / Arctic Cat 50 Inch Side by Sides

2019 Arctic Cat – Wildcat Trail ($10,999 MSRP)

  • Rack and Pinion, Tilt Steering Wheel
  • Steel Wheels
  • 990 lb (449.1 kg) (Dry)
  • Color Options: Black with Orange Earth

2019 Arctic Cat – Wildcat Trail XT ($12,499 MSRP)

  • Electronic Power Steering, Tilt Steering Wheel
  • Aluminum Wheels
  • 1,025 lb (465 kg) (Dry)
  • Color Options: Blue with Lime Green

2019 Arctic Cat – Wildcat Trail LTD ($13,499 MSRP)

  • Electronic Power Steering, Tilt Steering Wheel
  • Aluminum Wheels
  • Standard Full Doors
  • 1,025 lb (465 kg) (Dry)
  • FOX® Shock Double A-Arm Suspension
  • Color options: Charcoal Metallic with Fire Red


Honda 50 Inch Side by Side

2020 Honda – Pioneer 500 ($9,199)

  • 5-speed Automatic Transmission with AT/MT modes
  • Paddle shifters
  • 475cc liquid-cooled single-cylinder four-stroke
  • Low-RPM torque
  • Independent rear suspension 
  • Bench-style seat
  • Electronic fuel injection


Cub Cadet 50 Inch Side by Sides

2018 Cub Cadet – Challenger 400 ($5,999 MSRP)

  • 404cc OHV Subaru engine
  • Dent-resistant cargo bed with 350 lb. capacity
  • D-ring tie-downs and bed divider slots
  • Cargo Bed Dent-resistant, double-walled cargo bed with tie-downs (accepts bed dividers)
  • Bed Lift Hydraulic lift assist
  • TailgateFlip-down latchable tailgate
  • Max Speed 25 mph

2018 Cub Cadet – Challenger 400LX ($6,599 MSRP)

  • Standard full windshield
  • Hard roof 
  • Aluminum alloy wheels with off-road tires 
  • Adjustable headrests.

2018 Cub Cadet – Challenger 400 4×4 (7,999 MSRP)

  • Four-wheel drive
  • Dual A-Arm / Swing Arm solid axle
  • Heavy-duty coil Shocks 
  • selectable rear locking differential 
  • 400-pound capacity and dent-resistant, double-walled cargo bed
  • adjustable driver’s seat
  • aluminum-alloy wheels

CFMOTO 50 Inch Side by Sides

2019 CFMOTO – Zforce 500 Trail ($8,999 MSRP)

  • 3000 lb winch, 2″ receiver and hitch
  • Four-wheel hydraulic disc brakes
  • CFMOTO 14” alloy wheels
  • HIGH-PRESSURE GAS, COMPRESSION, AND REBOUND ADJUSTABLE
  • Roof, side door nets, 
  • electronic power steering, tilt steering with steering wheel lock, horn

2019 CFMOTO – Zforce 800 Trail ($10,999 MSRP)

  • Highest Ground Clearance in the Trail class with 12.2 in. (310 mm)
  • V-Twin cylinder, liquid-cooled, 4-stroke, SOHC, 8-valve
  • 800 cc engine with 62 horsepower
  • CVTech® Secondary and wet clutch automatic
  • Double A-arms with adjustable coil-over nitrogen gas shocks
  • Half Doors

What is the Best 50-inch Side by Side UTV?

  • Best High-Performance Sport 50” UTV: Polaris RZR 900
  • Best Comfort and Suspension 50” UTV: Can-Am Maverick Trail 1000
  • Best Value 50” UTV: Polaris Ace 500
  • Best Utility 50” UTV: Stock Honda Pioneer 500 or a Polaris RZR w/Aftermarket Accessories

50-inch wide UTV comparison


Related Questions:

Does Yamaha make a 50-inch Side by Side?

No, Yamaha does not make a 50-in side-by-side. They used to make a model called the Rhino that was between 54.1” and 56.6” in width. They were in production from 2004 – 2013. You can still find used Yamaha rhinos at dealerships and from third-party sellers online.

Kawasaki 50 Inch Side by Side

Kawasaki is another manufacturer that created a whole line of UTVs that were just over the 50” mark called the Mule. The Kawasaki Mule has been in production since 1988 and their current lineup of 2020’s range from 52.6” all the way to 60” wide. For a fun, Kawasaki UTV History brochure from 1988-2012 click this link.

What about older used trail UTVs?

In 2008 a company called Land Pride had two models of utility UTVs, the Treker 4200NT 4×2 and the 4200NT 4×4, that were 50.5” wide. They were powered by a 20 horsepower 614cc Honda engine. So there’s another one for anyone looking in the used market.

50 Inch 4 Seater Side by Side

There is not currently a 50″ trail-ready 4-seater on the market. For those of you out there that want the narrowest UTV 4-seater, John Deere makes a Gator that is 56.5” wide and 144” in Length. There are 3 models to choose from:  

  • XUV560E S4 16 hp, air-cooled, Alternator 16 amp, Speed limit @ 28mph
  • XUV590E S4 32 hp, liquid-cooled 65 amp @4200rpm, Speed limit @ 45mph
  • XUV590M S4 32 hp, liquid-cooled 65 amp @4200rpm, Speed limit @ 45mph

They have a 4-Cycle gas v-twin with a dynamically tuned carb and feature a 1100LB Towing Capacity. Click here for the brochure.


Related articles

Still looking for more UTV’s that will fit on a 50″ trail? Check out this article about youth UTV’s as they are all under 50″ in width.

The 2020 Polaris RZR PRO XP Features, Specs, Comparison, Accessories

The Newest RZR Class –
Polaris has added a new Class of Pro vehicles to the top of their line-up surpassing the XP class. The 3 new RZRs are the:

RZR Pro XP – $22,999 MSRP
RZR Pro XP Premium – $24,499 MSRP
RZR Pro XP Ultimate – $28,499 MSRP
Polaris essentially made the 2020 Pro XP a new vehicle from the ground up. Not just a variation of an older model.

Continue reading

How Does a UTV Charge the Battery? Testing, Jumping, & Upgrades

How Does a UTV Charge the Battery?

One of the most common problems with UTVs and offroad vehicles that would keep them from starting is a battery issue. Over the years my wife and I have tried out a few different types of off-road vehicles and learned very quickly that one of the main maintenance issues is keeping the battery charged.

So How does a UTV charge the battery?

A UTV charges the battery using a system consisting of :

  • A Stator
  • A Rotor
  • And a Regulator Rectifier

It is basically a set of magnets moving past a copper wire array creating an electromagnetic field that generates electricity.

How the Stator/Rotor works:

The stator and rotor work similarly to an alternator except that they are built into the inside of the engine casing. The stator is disc-shaped with iron core outer spokes that are wrapped in copper wire and is stationary.

The rotor is an array of magnets built-in to the flywheel. As the engine crankshaft turns the flywheel, the magnets of the rotor spin around the stator’s spokes of copper wire coils and generate an electric alternating current.

Regulator Rectifier:

That alternating current (AC voltage) is pushed to a Regulator Rectifier. The rectifier converts the AC energy into direct current (DC Voltage) so that it can power your battery and other electronic components like your lights, ignition, and other electronics. The regulator keeps the DC voltage within its required range of 13.8-14.5 volts for safe operation.

Higher RPM’s Charge: 

Because the stator (or ‘magneto system’ as it’s sometimes referred to) is in a 1:1 ratio with the crankshaft, the charging system does not do a very good job at lower RPMs like at idle. Your UTV isn’t charging/maintaining the battery while it’s just sitting there running, only while you are out driving getting the RPMs higher.

Stator instead of Alternator: 

The alternator in your car or truck works in a different ratio than 1:1 because it uses pulleys and belts which give it the ability to push out a lot more electricity. Alternators need airflow and do not operate well with water or debris so that’s why your UTV has a fully encased stator instead.

Battery Drainage:

 Almost any battery that is left plugged into its intended device (even if it’s not being used) will slowly drain over time. Since you use your car/truck on a regular basis, it’s constantly charging itself but as most UTV owners park their Side by Sides for long periods of time the battery is slowly drained.

Check out our recommend trickle charging solutions further down this article.

Do Side by Sides/UTVs Have Alternators?

Most UTVs do not have an alternator as they take advantage of the stator system described above but there is always that one kid in class that just doesn’t fit in.

Enter the Roxor by Mahindra. This Jeep-looking vehicle has multiple reasons that make me scratch my head and ask: “How is this still a side by side?” but one of the main ones is the power plant

Long story short, to be classified as a UTV or Side by Side the engine has to be less than a 1000CCs and the Roxor is using a four-cylinder, 2500cc, turbocharged diesel. Because of this more automotive-style power plant, the Roxor has an alternator. Okay, so there’s not just one odd one out as a few of the diesel-option UTVs are also using alternators.

I believe that the reason for the stator vs the alternator in most UTVs is that Side by Sides adapt a lot of technology from quads and motorcycles as opposed to sand rails or 4x4s and motorcycle-style engines have stators where most larger four-wheel drives have alternators.

Examples of UTV’s with Alternators:

  • Mahindra Roxor Turbo Diesel 
  • John Deere GATOR 825i Gas & UTV Gator Xuv 855D Diesel
  • Kubota RTV-X900, RTV-X1100C, RTV-X1120, RTV-X1140 Diesel 
  • Caterpillar CUV102D & CUV105D  Diesel 

To replace an alternator can be about $70+, but if you want to convert from a stator to an alternator, it can cost around $600 – $2,300 for an alternator kit depending on your UTV Make and Model,

If you have a Polaris RZR and want an alternator there are a couple of companies that make an alternator add-on kit for $2,300. Here is a link to one such kit on Amazon.

Side by Side Battery Charger

I highly recommend getting a trickle charger for your UTV during the offseason. Anytime you know you’re going to park your side by side for 30 days or longer you need to put it on a maintenance charge.

No matter what charger you use, you don’t want to exceed a 2 amp charge. Most automotive battery chargers have a 2/10/50 setting selector so you could just use what you may already have in the garage.

The ideal setup is a battery charger that puts out a small number of amps, is always connected via a quick connect harness, and has built-in electronics that charge the battery only when it is necessary avoiding overcharge.

I recommend the Battery Tender Junior, click here to go see one on Amazon.

Another great option would be the NOCO Genius G3500.

Installing a Second Battery on a UTV

So you have a UTV and don’t want just the stock feel? You’re wanting to add a few light bars, a winch, and a stereo that shakes the ground beneath you? Well, I’m guessing after about one aftermarket install you will start to notice the drain on your electrical system.

Stators just don’t put out as much electricity as alternators, period. So one way to get around battery drain from too many accessories being used (especially while parked) is to install a second battery.

The battery itself will be in the $50 – $200 range and you will want to mount it near the existing primary battery. I recommend getting a match to your existing battery, preferably AGM deep cycle and not lead-acid. (In the event of a rollover, I don’t want a lead-acid battery in my UTV.) A great option for both batteries would be the Odyssey PC925 at around $185. Click here to get one on Amazon.

To really get the most out of having two batteries you will want to install a smart battery isolator. A company called TrueAm creates smart isolators that act as a bridge between the two batteries and your UTV.

When the UTV is running and the charging system reaches 13.4 volts the True Smart Battery Isolator kicks in and connects the two batteries so that they can both charge together. The True unit has a blue LED that will light up to show this is happening.

When the voltage drops below 12.9 volts the True isolator separates the two batteries preventing your primary ‘start’ battery from being drained by accessories powered by the second battery.

TrueAm sells a full kit that includes the smart isolator, all necessary install cables, and a voltmeter gauge that shows the current voltage of both batteries for $130. Check it out on Amazon by clicking here.

Another dual battery option is a kit from a company called Genesis Offroad. Their kit includes everything you need including a battery, a smart isolator, and all the necessary wiring for $339. The requirements of this kit are that you have a Polaris RZR 900 or 1000 that is 2014 or newer and you already have a non-stock battery like an Odyssey PC925 or the XS Power PS550.

If you need to add switches for all those new electrical accessories and also want somewhere to install that new voltmeter into your dash, then you may want to consider adding a switch panel like this one also on Amazon for $40. 


How to Jump a UTV/RZR Battery

The first rule of UTV battery jumping is we do not jump from a car or truck. And the second rule of UTV battery jumping is that we do NOT use a car or truck to jump from. It’s that important… so don’t do it.

Using a regular vehicle for the jump could really mess up the UTVs battery and/or electrical system. (If you have absolutely no other choice than to use a car, then follow the instructions below but do NOT start the car which is step 6)

Two major safety notes:

  • Creating sparks at a battery post can cause an explosion. Batteries not working properly can emit dangerous hydrogen gas.
  • During the jumper cable installation, make sure you do not let the cables touch each other as this creates a short circuit and can damage the battery. Also, the sparks can ignite any flammable sources.

Steps for Jump-Starting a UTV from Another UTV/ATV

  1. Park the good battery vehicle as close as possible to make the connection.
  2. Hook a red jumper cable to the dead batteries positive terminal.
  3. Hook the other side of that red jumper cable to the good batteries positive terminal.
  4. Hook the black jumper cable to the good batteries negative terminal.
  5. Now attach the other end of that black jumper cable to a good grounding point. (do not hook it to the dead batteries negative post as sparks could cause a hydrogen gas explosion)
  6. Start the engine of the good battery vehicle and get the RPMs high enough for the charging system to provide power.
  7. Now start the dead battery UTV.
  8. Unhook the cables in reverse order for safety. (Step 5, then 4,3,2)

A very safe and somewhat convenient option is a portable jump starter.

Not that different from a portable power bank for your cell phone, a portable jump starter is just a small battery that comes with accessories like cables with alligator clips to hook up to a dead battery and other optional cables to charge smaller devices that utilize USB cables.

Click here for a great jump starter by NOCO for $100 that can jump-start a battery 20 times on a single charge.


Can’t reach the battery terminals very easily for the emergency jump start? A company called UTV Stereo has a jump post that is like an extension cord for your battery terminals. Check it out here.

If a killer sound system is your thing I highly recommend you check out UTV Stereo’s website as that is their specialty.


How to Test a UTV Charging System

First, check the battery by hooking up a multimeter to it to ensure that you’re between 12.5 and 13.5 volts.

You can do a load test by simply hooking up a load tester to the terminals to simulate a load on the battery. With this test, you don’t want the battery to drop below 10 volts. If the battery can’t handle a load, it’s probably time to replace it.

Another way to do this test would be to hook up the multimeter to the battery and while checking voltage start your UTV. Make sure you watch the display on the multimeter while it’s cranking to see what the lowest voltage it drops to is and again you don’t want it to drop to 10 volts or lower.

To perform a system charging test leave your multimeter hooked up to the battery and start your UTV. You will have to rev the engine up to 5,000 RPMs and at that point, the meter should read between 13.8 volts and 15 volts DC.

If the volts don’t increase very much on this test it’s okay, it just means the rectifier regulator is doing its job regulating the amount of voltage put back into the battery.

Another good test of your UTV’s electrical system is called a parasitic amperage draw. It measures the amount of current that is leaving the battery when the machine is in the ‘off’ state.

To perform this test you have to unhook your battery’s negative cable and put your multimeter ‘in series’ by connecting the leads from the multimeter to the black cable you just unhooked from the negative terminal and the other multimeter lead to the negative terminal of the battery. If your eyes have just gone crossed, see the picture below.

The positive lead on your multimeter needs to be connected to the fused side of the multimeter and switch the meter to measure amps DC. With the UTV off you don’t want to be registering more than 8 to 10 milliamps.

If you are having larger draw numbers then you can start to unhook any potential aftermarket accessories or just remove their fuses to see what may be causing that draw.

A word of caution, while you have your multimeter hooked up in series to your UTV, do NOT start the UTV or it will damage the multimeter.

Charging Tips

  • Make sure battery connections are tight.
  • Keep the terminals clean with a baking soda and water mix.
  • Keep the battery on a trickle or maintenance charger.
  • Don’t charge using any more than 2 amps

UTV Transmission Types – Belt vs Shaft & Non-Belt Options

The Continuously Variable Transmission (or Belt option)

The most common type of UTV transmission is the Continuously Variable Transmission or CVT. The continuously variable transmission is a system of pulleys and a belt that has been around for a very long time. The CVT has a few different nicknames such as the shiftless transmission, single-speed transmission, stepless transmission, pulley transmission, or the ‘twist-and-go’ transmission.

When I think of CVTs and centrifugal clutches I think of snowmobiles. They are one of those rides you can hop on and just twist the throttle and go with no real worry of shifting. The same is true for UTVs with CVTs. As you start to apply the gas pedal, the engine RPMs get higher; meaning that everything starts spinning faster. There are two pulleys inside the CVT and each pulley can essentially pinch or release a belt using a system of weights and/or springs.

When you start a UTV with a CVT and have it just sitting at idle, the drive pulley is not pinching the belt so no power is distributed down to the ground. As you give the UTV some gas the drive pulley is spun fast enough to start pinching the belt and the power is transferred to the driven pulley. Both pulleys have an inner valley that the belt can ride up and down in to effectively change the gear ratio.

This can be thought of like changing the gears on a mountain bike. You have different size sprockets on the front and back that you can switch between as you drive to create different gear ratios to achieve higher speeds.


What Side by Sides/UTVs are Belt Driven?

Here is a list of UTVs that come with a Continuously Variable Transmission that utilizes a belt system:

  • Polaris RZR series (Polaris calls theirs a PVT)
  • Polaris RANGER series
  • Polaris GENERAL series
  • Can-am Defender series
  • Can-am Maverick series
  • Can-am Commander series
  • Yamaha Wolverine series (Yamaha calls theirs an Utramatic CVT)
  • Yamaha Viking series
  • Kawasaki TERYX4 series
  • Kawasaki MULE series
  • HISUN STRIKE
  • Arctic Cat WILDCAT series
  • Arctic Cat HAVOC series
  • Arctic Cat PROWLER series
  • Intimidator (all models & series)
  • Massimo 
  • KYMCO UXV series
  • ODES RAVAGER LT ZEUSi
  • ODES DOMINATOR X2
  • Bobcat 3400 & 3400XL
  • John Deere Gators
  • Mahindra mPact series
  • Mahindra Retriever series
  • Kioti Mechron series

What Side by Sides/UTVs are NOT belt driven?

The CVT is not the only transmission option for UTVs, just the most popular. Some UTVs are electric models that are more of a direct drive system and some have a more automotive type automatic or manual transmission. Some of the newer performance UTVs have a steering wheel paddle shift option that works in conjunction with an onboard computer to let you shift up and down the gears without the need of a clutch pedal. Some utility UTVs come with a Hydrostatic transmission that utilizes shafts, plates, and hydraulic oil. 

Here is a list of UTV models that are going outside of the CVT mold:

  • Yamaha YXZ1000R (manual foot clutch, 5-speed)
  • Yamaha YXZ1000R SS (Sport Shift, paddle shift with auto clutch, 5-speed)
  • Honda Talon Series (DCT [dual-clutch transmission], six-speed, AT/MT modes, paddle shifting)
  • Honda Pioneer 1000 (six-speed, fully automatic, DCT [dual-clutch transmission])
  • Honda Pioneer 700 (three-speed automatic with hydraulic torque converter)
  • Honda Pioneer 500 (five-speed automatic with AT/MT modes with paddle shifting)
  • Mahindra Ruxor (five-speed manual or 6-speed hydraulic-actuated automatic)
  • Polaris Ranger EV (electric vehicle with direct drive low noise gears)
  • Polaris Brutus (Hydrostatic transmission)
  • Bobcat 3600 and 3650  (Hydrostatic transmission, single 2-speed hydraulic motor)
  • Kubota RTV-500, X900, X1120D, X1100C, X1140 (Hydrostatic transmission)

The Hydrostatic Transmission (a Non-Belt Option)

The hydrostatic transmission is a fluid power system with infinitely variable control independent of engine speed. In this scenario, the UTV engine powers a hydraulic pump called an axial piston pump that has a handful of pistons in a circular array sitting on a plate. When the operator uses the drive pedal the plate is rotated in one direction and creates a flow of hydraulic fluid to the drivetrain. This control of fluid pressure is what gives you control of powering the vehicle forwards. When you let off the pedal the machine comes to a stop much like a tractor does. When the rider wants to reverse direction that plate is rotated in the opposite direction creating an opposite flow of hydraulic fluid effectively backing up the vehicle. The hydraulic oil is commonly in a closed loop oil circuit so it creates a very low maintenance driveline solution.

Belt driven CVT vs Hydrostatic

If you’re planning on hauling a lot of heavy loads, then hydrostatic is the way to go as it is sturdier than the belt.

If horsepower and speed is your thing, then the belt is the way to go.


What Side by Sides/UTVs are Shaft Driven?

We see this question being asked and feel like we need to clarify what shaft driven means. Shaft drive is usually referring to the drivetrain more so than the inner workings of the transmission itself.

For instance, when comparing a Polaris Ranger XP 900 to a Honda Pioneer 1000 they are both listed as shaft driven but the Polaris has a CVT transmission and the Honda has a six-speed automatic.

So shaft driven is usually referring to a drive shaft or axels coming off the transmission giving power to the front and/or back wheels.


Best UTV Drive Belt

Which UTV comes with the best belt? 

Yamaha offers a standard Factory 10-year belt warranty on its 2019 Side by Side models with the exclusive Ultramatic Automatic Transmission covering CVT Belt that is defective due to faulty workmanship or material from the factory. Click this link for more specifics

Which aftermarket belt is the best?

Here are some non-OEM options to check out:

  • Gates G-Force Belts (800+ four star+ reviews on [sherpa id=”b63f8e18″] $35 – $75)
  • The EPI Severe Duty Belt ($100 range on [sherpa id=”dc3ee65a”] )
  • [sherpa id=”dc9ab899″] (claims to be 4x stronger $140 – $180)

UTV CVT Maintenance & Tips

Using Low Range

Always shift into low gear for any of the following conditions:

  • Driving in heavy terrain or over obstacles
  • Loading the UTV onto/off of a trailer
  • Towing heavy loads
  • Driving frequently at low RPMs

Break-In Strategies: (0-50 Miles)

Allowing a proper CVT Belt break-in is what can really extend the life of the belt. During Break-In time (varies per manufacturer) it’s suggested to be as smooth as possible when operating the throttle. 

  • Don’t mash the gas pedal at low speeds or hold an open throttle for at least the first 10 minutes of driving.
  • Don’t run at the same throttle for more than 10 seconds. Instead, vary your speeds consistently for the 1st 30-50 miles. 
  • Stop often and let the engine cool off (heat cycle) some suggest every 15 minutes.
  • Avoid hauling heavy loads during these essential first miles. 

CVT belts break or wear in extreme use or driving too slow in high-range.

Extreme heat is one of the top contributors to breakage so always keep belt-cooling in mind, meaning keep your filter clean and let your ride cool off every now and again.

On average, most UTV owners don’t have to worry about replacing their CVT Belt for 3,000 – 10,000 miles as long as they follow their Owner’s Manual Guidelines and follow proper “Break-In” Strategies.

Belt Problems

 For recurring belt problems when the CVT belt life is less than 1000 miles:

  • Verify clutch is working properly and clear any debris
  • Replace belt with an extreme-duty belt
  • Avoid using high RPM/gears when tires are stuck in mud/sand or when loading/ unloading your vehicle.
  • Too much mud and water can be harmful.
  • Make sure you stay within the manufacturer’s specifications. 
  • Replacement CVT Belt is too long.
  • Verify factory vents are not blocked. 
  • Adding extra weight to the vehicle without changing how the clutch operates can make extra wear and tear on your CVT Belt.
  • Oversized tires (3” more than stock), adding a lift kit, gear reduction or other added performance features without adjusting your clutch.

Tips

Tune, calibrate and adjust your clutch with different springs and weights to adapt to the different types of driving conditions. 

Generally speaking, the more horsepower you have the more clutch weight you’ll want to increase or go steeper on the helix angle depending on your particular set-up.


CVT Upgrades & Solutions

Duraclutch is a company that offers a product by the same name that is essentially a pair of upgraded pulleys and a belt for your CVT. The Duraclutch kit comes with a Drive/Primary Clutch, a Driven/Secondary Clutch, and a new and improved belt designed specifically for their system that comes with a 5,000 mile one year warranty.

The Duraclutch helps eliminate jerky transitions, provides engine braking for downhill control, and can last as long as 10,000 miles or more. The kits are available for select models of Polaris RZR, Ranger, and General UTVs and cost between $1200 – $1900.

If you are into rock climbing or slow technical riding, Duraclutch boasts that this is one place you will really fall in love with their product.

EPI offers a range of clutch upgrade kits to adapt from high-performance to trail riding, to hauling heavy loads, or even oversized tires and muddy/sandy conditions. They range from about $180-$350 per clutch kit.

They also offer an EPI Severe Duty Belt if you’re needing one of the Best CVT Belts on the market, and most EPI products come with a 1-year warranty.

Dirty Dog Performance offers individual springs for $25 all the way up to a DDP Ultimate package for $1060. Their clutch kit comes as a well-calculated bolt-on system that can be adjusted and sheaves are included.

Keeping a spare belt on board

If you are concerned about burning through belts far away from home or camp then keeping an extra one on-board might be an answer for you.

Hardline offers belt mount clips that let you mount a spare belt to a bar on your UTV for $40. (Picture Above) Click here to view on Amazon.


How to change your CVT Belt

Here is a great 3-minute YouTube video demonstrating how to change the CVT belt on a UTV.


In Summary

The majority of UVT’s on the market have a CVT Belt and will hold up for many years. Yes, some people ride their side by sides hard and they break them right away, but for most UVT owners it isn’t a constant issue and they get thousands of miles out of them.

Even if you do break one they usually cost under a $100 and can switch out in a matter of minutes. Being equipped with a CVT really doesn’t have to steer you away from the experience of owning one of these off-road vehicles. Learning how to properly operate a UTV ahead of time can give you the advantage of a longer-lasting belt.

The real reason to not consider a UTV with a CVT is if you were wanting a sport shifting or a manual shifting option. That or you are shopping for a utility UTV and could benefit from hydraulics… not because you are afraid of burning up belts.

How Much Do Side by Sides Cost? New, Used, Averages, Shipping & Ins.

My wife and I have been visiting some UVT Dealerships trying to get a good idea of how much a new side by side would cost us but there are so many  UTV options it’s actually been kind of frustrating. In researching this for ourselves we wanted to help other people who might be overwhelmed by all of the UTV options and give you an easy answer to help you in your buying process.  

How much do side by sides cost? They are in the $5,000 to $30,000 range with an average of about $15,000. For example, a Polaris RZR 170 EFI’s MSRP is $5,299 and a Polaris RZR XP 4 Turbo S MSRP is $30,999.

Ok so now seeing that huge price range in UTV’s does it help settle your mind? For me and my wife, it left us still feeling like we were in the dark. So we broke it down into categories so it would be easier to digest and know what we could expect to pay. 


Average Cost of a New UTV

Recreation (Average Price: $15,491)

Brand/Model# of modelsAverage MSRP
Polaris RZR7$12,770
Polaris General8$20,336
Can-am Maverick8$17,486
Can-am Commander7$16,256
Yamaha Wolverine7$14,377
Kawasaki Teryx2$14,399
Arctic Cat Havoc1$16,199
Mahindra mPact13$15,999
John Deere Gator (Rec.)2$11,599

Performance (Average Price: $21,611)

Brand/Model# of modelsAverage MSRP
Polaris RZR22$23,526
Can-am Maverick X315$25,032
Yamaha YXZ1000R4$20,099
Honda Talon Cost2$20,499
Arctic Cat Wildcat XX1$18,899

Utility (Average Price: $14,460)

Brand/Model# of modelsAverage MSRP
Polaris Ranger26$15,641
Can-am Defender14$17,934
Yamaha Viking6$13,799
Honda Pioneer3$11,999
Kawasaki Mule9$11,587
Arctic Cat Prowler3$11,499
Mahindra Retriever16$16,770
John Deere Gator (Utility)30$15,121
Bobcat4$15,788

Rebates and Dealer Incentives:

  • Manufacturer Rebates (Cash incentive off MSRP)
  • Extended warranties
  • Low-interest financing

These can directly affect the cost of buying a UTV and are definitely something to consider when comparing different models. Since they have expiration dates they can vary from month to month so you might have to go to the manufacturer’s website or social media profiles to stay up to date on the latest deals.

Once you decide the category & spec’s you want in a UTV, then you can compare the different manufactures pricing and additional incentives they might offer per model. For more about buying from a dealership, check out our article titled “The Best Time To Buy a UTV“.

Here is a rebate example from Polaris:

2019 RANGER® XP 900 $1,500 Rebate Financing as low as 3.99% for 36 months Offer Valid: July 1, 2019 - July 23, 2019

2019 RZR XP® Turbo $2,000 Rebate Financing as low as 3.99% for 36 months Offer Valid: July 1, 2019 - July 23, 2019


Prices on Used Side by Sides

Something to keep in mind with used pricing is that the UTV might have a lot of upgrades, mods and aftermarket accessories added and may even be priced higher than the MSRP of a new UTV.

Some brands offer extended warranties and warranties that transfer to the new owner. However, some modifications can cancel manufacturers warranties so make sure you check into the specifics.

There are exceptions to this rule, however. If you get into a Yamaha YXZ and you get a dealer installed turbo you can still be covered under the manufacturer’s warranty.

Also, you can find package deals on used side by sides that include multiple UTV’s and their trailer set-up. 

Used UTV Examples:

Ebay Sold Price on used UTV’s ranged from about $2k – $35k

ATV Trader $1000-$70K


How Much Does it Cost to Ship a UTV?

Distance / 1.6 ratio = $ Estimated UTV Shipping Costs

We looked at a few different UTV Shipping Companies and figured out a ratio you could use to make an educated guess at how much it might cost to ship to somewhere within the US.

If your UTV is in the 500-1800 lb range: Take your distance in miles and divide it by 1.65. The number you get is an estimate of how much it might cost to ship.

It is probably more accurate to contact a few Shipping Companies on your specific vehicle specs to get a more accurate quote.

The exact price will vary depending on:

  • Shipping company
  • UTV weight 
  • Distance
  • Time of year
  •  Fuel costs
  •  Residential Fees
  • Any additional insurance that may be required.

What is the average cost to ship a utv?

We took 6 different shipping examples of UTV’s from 500-1000 lb+ and the average was $834 over an average of 1300 miles.

As an example, A1 Autosport’s price range to ship a UTV weighing 500lb-1000lb from a mile rage of about 500 – 3000 miles costs about $400 – $1700 to ship.

A-1 Auto Transport Examples of UTV Shipping Costs:

500 Pound ATV/UTV

Austin, TX to Richmond, VA (1450 miles): $874

Los Angeles, CA to Denver, CO (1020 miles): $605

Chicago, IL to New York, NY (805 miles): $436

1000 Pound ATV/UTV

Seattle, WA to Boston, MA (3,045 miles): $1624

Miami, FL to Washington, D.C. (1,035 miles): $771

Las Vegas, NV to Albuquerque, NM (575 miles): $698


What Does UTV Insurance Cost? 

On average UTV insurance costs $25-$83 Dollars a month.

Not every state mandates UTV insurance making it more dependent on where you drive on public and state regulated parks or on private land. The states that do require UTV insurance usually require minimum liability insurance.

Also, if you plan on financing your UTV, insurance will definitely be a loan requirement.  

Chances are If you use a UTV for work, you will be required to carry commercial vehicle insurance which typically your coverage minimum is higher than personal use.

Typically, your homeowner’s insurance will not cover your UTV if you drive it off your property or if you haul your side by side to another location. If something does happen at home, then there’s a good chance your covered.

The main factors that affect your insurance cost are: 

  • Driving History
  • Age 
  • Where you live & where you ride
  • How you use your ride & how often
  • UTV Year, Make and Model
  • Additional UVT upgrade coverages & deductible options
  • Discount approved UTV safety course

Examples of Coverage:

  • Accidental Damage or Loss of your UTV (Roll-overs are the most common cause of UTV accidents) 
  • Comprehensive Coverage: provides coverage from additional losses like theft, fire, vandalism, falling objects like rocks or other “acts of God.”  
  • Liability Protection: property damage, first aid, medical and court costs 
  • Gear and Apparel protection: some insurance companies cover up to $1000. 

Mama always said to get at least 3 quotes before buying vehicle insurance! Shop around to get the best deal since each state and each companies pricing is going to vary.


Here are 3 UTV Insurance Company Examples:

1. https://www.geico.com/information/aboutinsurance/atv/

GEICO insures all-terrain vehicles as well as most side by side makes and models. They do not insure three, six or eight wheelers or ATVs/UTVs with less than 150cc’s. Get it in gear and start your ATV insurance quote today! 

2. https://www.progressive.com/atv/

Progressive ATV/UTV insurance coverage automatically includes $3,000 in coverage for upgrades you’ve made to your vehicle. Need more than $3,000? You can purchase up to $30,000 in additional coverages and benefits coverage.

3. https://www.amfam.com/insurance/atv/coverages

American Family Insurance. ATV/UTV Insurance can cost, on average, anywhere from a few hundred dollars to over a thousand dollars per year. 


Cost of Owning a UTV

FYI always refer to your Side by Side’s service manual for safety information, exact procedures, oil/fluid specifications, and other specific maintenance requirements.

When it comes to maintaining your UTV, the frequency at which you have to replace or repair will depend on the following:

  • How hard you ride
  • How often you use the UTV
  • Quality of your UTV
  • Type of Terrain you ride on
    • Rocks 
    • Sand
    • Mud 
    • Snow 

UTV Tires: 

$80-$300 per tire

Your stock tires could last 2,500 to 5,500 miles on average depending on the quality of the tires.

Oil and Filter Replacement:

Dealership pricing: $140-$210 per oil change

Doing it yourself: 1 Hour time/labor + $20 – $30 parts

On a brand new UTV change the oil and filter at least 3 times the 1st year and on a used UTV 2 times per year. Make sure to keep your oil quality up & hold on to your receipts to maintain your side by side’s factory warranty.

UTV Coolant Replacement: 

The cost of a coolant flush typically runs between $100$150

Flush it at least once a year and in addition check rubber lines for holes, cracking, and leaks.

For Racing applications flush it at least 2 times per year.

Air Filter Replacement: 

$20-$90 at least 1 time per year.

Depending on the Make & Model of your UTV and if your air filter is reusable it can last up to 40 washes.

CVT Belt:

$60-$160 range

It can last around 500 miles up to 1000 miles of harder riding and 3000+ miles if your light on the throttle.

Allowing Proper CVT Belt “Break-in”: Using a low gear with varying speeds with no open throttle or high RPM’s for the first 50 Miles will help extend the life of your CVT Belt.

Brake Pads: 

$30-$80 depending on the make and model. 

Brake pads should be replaced when they reach their service limit, which is usually about 0.1 inch. On average 1400 – 2000 miles, but if you ride in mud and rocks it will probably be sooner!


Other Expenses To Consider: