Why Buy a UTV?

The main reason to own a UTV is for their recreational and utility off-road uses.  UTV’s are typically narrower than a standard vehicle making them easier to drive on smaller tighter dirt roads and their tires and suspension are designed to maneuver rougher terrain than a paved road. 

Narrow Can travel on smaller pathways
Off-road suspension and handling Handles different terrains: dirt, sand, mud, hills, rocks
Steering wheel, Gas and Brake Pedals Similar controls to a car for an easier learning transition
Roll-cage Protection in case of a rollover crash
Seats with seat-belts Being strapped in for safety
Multi-purpose Recreational or Utility  play in the dirt or have a project
1-6+ passengers Transporting multiple people in remote areas or just fun with friends

Since UTV’s are steering wheel operated and brake and gas pedal controlled it’s a fairly easy transition from driving a car to driving one of these off-road vehicles.

A UTV consists of a body frame that includes a roll cage to help protect its passengers and not all off-road vehicles offer this feature. Plus they can seat anywhere from 1 – 6 people whereas other smaller off-road vehicles can be limited to no more than 2 riders

Examples of why you would want to own a UTV:

  • Offroading
  • Hauling
  • Camping
  • Exploring
  • Hunting
  • Racing
  • Construction
  • Carrying loads
  • Transporting people
  • Snow removal
  • Lawn maintenance
  • Military
  • Law enforcement
  • Fire and rescue
  • Parks management
  • Public works

There are two main types of UTV’s you could own that are built differently to accommodate different off-road needs. 

 The 1st type of UTV is Recreational or Sport UTVs that are more performance-based vehicles and mechanically are designed to push max-speeds, the suspension that can handle jumps and steering to maneuver tight turns on trails. They tend to be more of a mix of a quad and a dune buggy.

The 2nd type is of UTV  is more suited for Work and utility-based needs and typically offer a cargo bed for storage in the rear, can handle larger towing capacities, and are more of a mix between a golf cart and a truck. 

Are Side by Sides Fun? And are they worth it?

Do you like going fast? Hitting jumps in a vehicle that shouldn’t be able to leave the ground under its own power? Of course their fun. One of the most exciting parts of off-road motorsports is doing something you can’t do in car or street motorcycle. 

You will probably spend a large amount of time during your life in a highway based vehicle like a car so you know where you can and can’t take your car if you don’t want to be in need of a tow truck. There is nothing like looking at that idea backward and not just taking the safest route possible, but instead aiming for the challenge.

The feeling of dropping down into an area that is really steep and really deep is so, so amazing. You are committing to giving it everything you and your machine can do to climb back out. 

Or what it’s like to keep hitting that lip a little bit faster each time so see how much more air you can get while still riding that fine line of safety. Or just putting the pedal all the way down and flying across rolling hills of terrain that most road vehicles can’t even get out to.

Now, imagine doing all that with a copilot or even a cab full of people. Your now the rollercoaster operator and they are the excited riders with no sense of control over the ride but there are no rails to keep you on track so the possibility of the ride actually going wrong is there.

It’s exciting and adrenaline rushing, to say the least. I personally think the amount of fun is totally worth the risk.

Why are Side by Sides so Popular? and Why Are UTVs So Expensive?

If you go to a dealership or visit Polaris or Can-AM’s websites you will find a huge range of UTV pricing from $5k all the way past $30k for an off-road toy. So what has pushed that price tag up to where it is?


One of the reasons for their pricing has to do with UTVs being on an upward trend. The idea of a small buggy-like vehicle that could share the same territory as a four-wheeler is not a brand new one. For years people have been creating vehicles similar to an Odyssey or a go-cart to take off-road.

Before I was 10 my dad had built me a small single seat buggy out of an old three-wheeler. I’ve even seen a wave of people transforming old golf carts into awesome off-road machines. But after Polaris introduced the RZR back in 2008, people flocked to this exact recipe of an off-road vehicle.

I grew up in a family of sand rail people and I myself am still a ‘buggy’ guy but one thing that never caught on with sand rails was a large motorsport company creating a factory built vehicle.

Sand rails have always been a very custom ride pieced together from parts made by different manufacturers. When Polaris proved that the market did want a small off-road buggy-type sports vehicle it wasn’t long before other large motorsport manufacturers jumped on the wave.

By 2012 the trend became an upward hill of interest with no signs of going away anytime soon.

Race Ready

Some newer sport UTVs only need slight modifications to be able to race with the big boys in trophy trucks and race buggies in huge races such as the Baja 1000 and cost only a fraction of what a trophy truck costs($600k-$1M).

Stop for a minute and think of a side by side as a small car. Now, what kind of car can you buy that can reach 80mph on bumpy offroad terrain or take jumps that send the car sailing ten feet high in the air and still be able to drive that vehicle the next day. I’m pretty sure that if you jumped a $15k Kia Rio it would be totaled.

UTVs have suspension that is designed to travel really far up and down compared to a car. Most older dune buggies were designed around the idea of using parts from older Voltswagon bugs and vans including the suspension.

I used to jump my moms sand rail (powered by VW parts) at the dunes until I got too brave and was getting three to six feet of air before I started breaking stuff and was told I had to get my own ride.

Some UTVs are coming stock with 22 inches of suspension travel which gives you a lot of cushion for some high speed whoops sections and some big air. And speaking of stuff breaking, the major UTV companies offer at least a 6-month limited warranty and the option to buy an extended warranty.

Meeting the ROHVA Definition of an ROV / UTV

Making the highest performing 1000cc engine with the highest horsepower has pushed the cost of UTVs to new heights also. The big brands like Polaris, Can-AM, Yahama, & Honda are all pushing to be the biggest and the best when it comes to horsepower stats.

Because a UTV needs to meet the standard of having an engine with a displacement of no more than 1000cc, these companies have started adding more performance parts like turbos to their UTVs to reach higher and higher horsepower numbers.

These performance add-ons cost more from a horsepower-to-dollar ratio than if you could just upgrade to a larger cc engine, but the manufacturers have to stay under 1000cc for the vehicle to still be considered a UTV. For more info on 1000cc UTV limitations, check out our article right here.

Why Are UTVs Limited to 1000cc? | Comparison Guide of 100+ UTVs

So maybe like me, and you like the nuts and bolts of off-road machines and were wondering what all the different engine size options were in Side by Side vehicles. After a little research, I quickly realized that a lot of side by side manufacturers were pushing their engines right up to a 1000cc limit.

So why are UTVs limited to 1000cc? UTVs are limited to 1000cc because the Recreational Off-Highway Vehicle Association defined the vehicle to meet certain restrictions so that state and federal agencies can enforce land access, registration, and tax laws. Because of these guidelines put in place by the ROHVA, race associations have also adopted the engine size limit to stay within their definition.

To further explain this limit we have to understand what these agencies define a UTV or ROV as.

What is an ROV and How is it Defined?

So real quick, the acronym ROV stands for Recreational Off-highway Vehicle and is commonly interchanged with terms like UTV, Utility Terrain Vehicle, Utility Task Vehicle, Side by Side, SxS, MOHUV, multipurpose off-highway utility vehicle and yes, these are all the same vehicle class. They are just different names for the same machine.

The ROHVA defines an ROV as a vehicle meeting almost ALL of these specs:

  • Designed for off-highway use
  • 4 or more tires
  • Steering wheel
  • Non-straddle seating
  • Seat belts
  • Roll over protective structure
  • Max Speed greater than 30Mph
  • Less than 80 inches in width
  • Engine displacement less than 1,000cc
  • 17 character VIN or PIN

A UTV manufacturing company could technically have a larger engine in one of their side by sides but then it would possibly be placed in a whole new class of Off-Highway Vehicle. In most states, the next class up would be the dune buggy and rock crawler class.

Which Side by Sides are 1000cc?

We took some time diving into the top Side by Side manufactures and found over 110 different models for you to compare some specs on. Most of these stay around the 1000cc limit or are a little under. However, we did find some that are larger than the 1000cc and are still considered UTV’s.

1000cc UTV Comparison Guide

Yamaha 1000cc side by side

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*3rd party horsepower stats

Honda 1000cc side by side

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*3rd party horsepower stats

Can-am 1000cc side by side

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Polaris 1000cc side by side

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Kawasaki 1000cc side by side

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Arctic Cat (Textron) 1000cc side by side

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*3rd party pricing information

Hisun 1000cc side by side

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*3rd party horsepower stats

Coleman 1000cc UTV

Coleman’s largest UTV engine is an 800 cc engine. 

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Roxor Mahindra (Jeep) 1000cc UTV

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Massimo 1000cc UTV

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Odes 1000cc UTV

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*3rd party horsepower stats

Komodo 1000cc side by side

*Chironex Motorsports Inc. is no longer in business*

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Comparing MSRP – Here are some Tips

The above Pricing table shows the newest model years, specs and the MSRP for those units. The MSRP may not include destination fees or dealer fees and taxes.

However, if you were to go to the manufacturer’s website or walk into a dealership there’s a good chance the UTV company will be offering special rebates, low-interest rate financing options, additional warranty coverage or other dealer incentives.

Consider these when comparing the different UTV models.

Another thing to consider about this comparison data is that these are the newest possible side by sides you can get right now so this doesn’t take into account last year’s model or even the model before that that might still be brand new at your local dealership and might be a cheaper way to go.

So keep those things in mind when price shopping.

Now the Real Question: Does Having the 1000cc Engine Limit Lessen my Off-Road Experience? 

The Quick answer: No not really! See, the Performance of these smaller sized engines pack a lot of punch! The High-performance UTV’s have max speeds of 85 mph and considering they only weigh around 1450 – 1850 lbs they really do get up and go!  Especially on dirt, sand, hills, and trails going 80 mph can be a pretty intense experience considering the terrain.  

Now to elaborate,  it really does depend on what you are used to driving, and how you are using the off-road vehicle! Are you an experienced ATV rider or have you had the pleasure of driving a high-performance dune buggy or rock-climbing rig? 

Plain and simple if you are used to driving a larger machine with a bigger engine and pushing the pedal to the medal then you might want to stay with the rides you are used to. So if you have a 5 seat long travel sand rail with Corvette LS1 engine, you might be a little disappointed with the switch.

However, you could test drive a side by side at a local dealership or if you are really getting serious you could always go to a jamboree which usually offers a variety of manufactures and they even provide and borrow you riding gear for your demo ride. Keep in mind you will have to sign some waivers and go through their safety ahead of time but it’s well worth it. 

If you are used to driving a smaller ATV in and out of 50” narrow trails then chances are you have seen some of these UTVs on some of the trails with you but keep in mind, not all of them fit. Most of the higher-performance side by sides are 64” inches or wider.

Of course, the pros of a UTV are that they carry more people and provide you with physical cover from the elements and provide extra safety measures like a roll cage and seat belts.

Here is a 4 wheeler example that compares to a 1000cc UTV with similar specs and of course there are plenty more examples out there.

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Fastest 1000cc UTV 

The Top three fastest UTVs are the: Yamaha YXZ1000R, Can-AM Maverick X3 Turbo, and the RZR XP Turbo S models have a top speed locked in at 80-85 mph. 

One aspect of UTV top speed is that the UTV manufactures actually have factory top speed limiters that govern these machines to stay under a set speed.

Having a speed-limiter helps protect the engine so that it lasts longer, and I’m sure having lower speed also helps reduces the severity of the crash and or chances of a crash.

Some people reprogram their speed limiters (ECU), like on the Yamaha YXZ1000R and can reach speeds of 100 mph or greater.

Cheapest 1000cc UTV

We did a lot of research, hours and hours and what we found might shock you…. (see 2nd place)

  • 1st Place: 
Hisun Strike 900$11,999924cc65*Sport4-Stroke V-Twin
Cylinder OHC

*3rd party pricing information

  • 2nd Place:  
Model MSRP CCHorse-
2020 Can-am
Trail 1000
$13,399 976 cc 75hpSportRotax V-twin, liquid
cooled / Rotax Turbo-
charged 3-Cylinder
  • 3rd Place:  
2020 Kawasaki
$14,09999324hpUtility4-stroke, 3-cylinder,
OHV, liquid-cooled,

1000cc Turbo Side by Side

If these bad boys weren’t already fast enough for you, the big names all have some UTVs with turbo offerings or add-ons.

  • Polaris offers 10 turbocharged models ranging from $21k all the way up to $31k
  • Can-am offers 15 turbocharged models ranging from $19k all the way up to $30k
  • Yahama offers a factory turbo kit that can be added to their 4 non-turbo SxS models ranging from $24.5k all the way up to $27.3k

 Yamaha GYTR has a new Turbo kit that, when installed by Yamaha dealers, retains the factory warranty! The $5499.99 kit includes a Garrett GT860RS Turbo and gives you a 60% increase in power.

Polaris UTVs with Turbos

2019 RZR XP 4 Turbo S$30,999925cc168hpProStar 4-Stroke DOHC Twin Cylinder with turbo
2019 RZR XP 4 Turbo Dynamix$28,499925cc168hpProStar 4-Stroke DOHC Twin Cylinder with turbo
2019 RZR XP 4 Turbo S Velocity$28,399925cc168hpProStar 4-Stroke DOHC Twin Cylinder with turbo
2019 RZR XP Turbo S$28,199925cc168hpProStar 4-Stroke DOHC Twin Cylinder with turbo
2019 RZR XP Turbo Dynamix$25,999925cc168hpProStar 4-Stroke DOHC Twin Cylinder with turbo
2019 RZR XP Turbo S Velocity$25,399925cc168hpProStar 4-Stroke DOHC Twin Cylinder with turbo
2019 RZR XP 4 Turbo LE$24,899925cc168hpProStar 4-Stroke DOHC Twin Cylinder with turbo
2019 RZR XP 4 Turbo$23,699925cc168hpProStar 4-Stroke DOHC Twin Cylinder with turbo
2019 RZR XP Turbo LE$21,999925cc168hpProStar 4-Stroke DOHC Twin Cylinder with turbo
2019 RZR XP Turbo$20,999925cc168hpProStar 4-Stroke DOHC Twin Cylinder with turbo

Can-am UTVs with Turbos

2020 Maverick X3 Turbo$18,999900cc120hpRotax ACE Turbocharged 3-cylinder engine, liquid cooled
2020 Maverick X3 DS Turbo R$20,999900cc172hpRotax ACE Turbocharged 3-cylinder engine, liquid cooled
2020 Maverick X3 RS Turbo R$22,499900cc172hpRotax ACE Turbocharged 3-cylinder engine, liquid cooled
2020 Maverick X3 X DS Turbo RR$24,999900cc195hpRotax ACE Turbocharged 3-cylinder engine, liquid cooled
2020 Maverick X3 X RS Turbo RR$27,499900cc195hpRotax ACE Turbocharged 3-cylinder engine, liquid cooled
2020 Maverick X3 X RC Turbo$23,999900cc120hpRotax ACE Turbocharged 3-cylinder engine, liquid cooled
2020 Maverick X3 X RC Turbo RR$29,599900cc195hpRotax ACE Turbocharged 3-cylinder engine, liquid cooled
2020 Maverick X3 X MR Turbo$23,199900cc120hpRotax ACE Turbocharged 3-cylinder engine, liquid cooled
2020 Maverick X3 X MR Turbo RR$26,399900cc195hpRotax ACE Turbocharged 3-cylinder engine, liquid cooled
2020 Maverick X3 Max Turbo$21,999900cc120hpRotax ACE Turbocharged 3-cylinder engine, liquid cooled
2020 Maverick X3 Max DS Turbo R$23,699900cc172hpRotax ACE Turbocharged 3-cylinder engine, liquid cooled
2020 Maverick X3 Max RS Turbo R$25,199900cc172hpRotax ACE Turbocharged 3-cylinder engine, liquid cooled
2020 Maverick X3 Max X DS Turbo RR$27,499900cc195hpRotax ACE Turbocharged 3-cylinder engine, liquid cooled
2020 Maverick X3 Max X RS Turbo RR$29,999900cc195hpRotax ACE Turbocharged 3-cylinder engine, liquid cooled
2020 Maverick X3 Max X MR Turbo RR$28,899900cc195hpRotax ACE Turbocharged 3-cylinder engine, liquid cooled

Yamaha UTVs with the GYTR Turbo add-on ($5499.99)

2019 YXZ1000R SE$26,099 with Turbo Kit998cc179hp*liquid-cooled DOHC inline three-cylinde; 12 valves
2019 YXZ1000R$24,499 with Turbo Kit998cc179hp*liquid-cooled DOHC inline three-cylinde; 12 valves
2019 YXZ1000R SS SE$26,099-$27,299 with Turbo Kit998cc179hp*liquid-cooled DOHC inline three-cylinde; 12 valves
2019 YXZ1000R SS$24,499 with Turbo Kit998cc179hp*liquid-cooled DOHC inline three-cylinde; 12 valves

UTV 1000cc Diesel

If you are looking for a diesel Side by Side with a 1000cc engine then here are the options:

2020 MULE PRO-DX EPS DIESEL $14,099993cc24hp4-stroke, 3-cylinder, OHV, liquid-cooled, diesel
2020 MULE PRO-DXT DIESEL $14,299993cc24hp4-stroke, 3-cylinder, OHV, liquid-cooled, diesel
2020 MULE PRO-DXT EPS DIESEL $15,099993cc24hp4-stroke, 3-cylinder, OHV, liquid-cooled, diesel
2019 Mahindra Roxor $15,999
2498cc 62hpTurbo Diesel 4-stroke, 4-cylinder
2019 Mahindra Roxor Nugent Edition$20,999 – $27,7482498cc 62hpTurbo Diesel 4-stroke, 4-cylinder
2019 Mahindra Roxor A/T$19,5992498cc 62hpTurbo Diesel 4-stroke, 4-cylinder
Massimo T-BOSS 1100LE$17,9991123cc24.8 HP Kubota Diesel D1105-E3B, 3-Cylinder
Massimo T-BOSS 1100D$15,9991123cc24.8 HP Kubota Diesel D1105-E3B, 3-Cylinder

Which 1000cc UTV are 50” wide?

Model MSRP CC Horse-
2020 Can-am
Trail 1000cc 
$13,399 976cc 75hpSportRotax V-twin, liquid
cooled / Rotax Turbo-
charged 3-Cylinder

The next closest 50″ UTV is the Polaris is RZR 900 at 875cc.

And in case you are wondering Yamaha currently does not have a 50″ trail-sized UTV. Yamaha’s 1000cc YXZ lineup is 64 inches and the Wolverine X2 comes in at 59.1 inches wide at 847cc.

What is the Best 1000cc Side by Side?

Best Value 1000cc UTV:

2020 Can-am Maverick Trail 1000cc I mean come on it’s got the 1000cc engine, it’s Turbocharged and is around $13k. That’s a lot of CCs for the money!

Best Performance 1000cc UTV:

Yamaha YXZ1000R Steering wheel paddle shifting 5 speed and ECU Reprogrammable Speed 100MPH

Best Utility Diesel 1000cc UTV: 

Kawasaki MULE PRO-DXT DIESEL Switches between 3 or 6 passenger seating in about a minute with a 1-ton towing capacity

Best Turbo 1000cc UTV: 

Yamaha YXZ1000R with a GT860RS Turbo Kit and with Dealer install it remains under Factory Warranty ($5499.99 kit)  

The Best Time To Buy A UTV? Deals, Rebates, & Tips

When you’re thinking about making the huge purchasing decision of buying a UTV for yourself or your family, you want to make sure you’re getting the best deal! I’ve been into offroad since I was a kid and am now a family man with a wife and three kids and lately we have been eyeballing four-seat Side by Sides but we weren’t sure when was the best time to buy one.

So when is the best time to buy a UTV? In the last quarter of the year as that’s when dealerships start getting ready for next years model. They need to make room for the new arrivals so they incentivize people to still buy the older models even though the newest options are right there enticing them with their brand new specs and rugged good looks.

This model is very similar to a car dealership but there can be some incentives that don’t correlate with the automotive dealership model. Where you live and the seasonality of your chosen hobby like sand duning or hunting can also be a factor when finding that sweet deal.

When do UTV dealerships make the best deals?

As we mentioned above your ideal time of year to buy a new UTV is in the months of October, November, and December. The salespeople at the dealership have goals that they need to hit and these are going to be monthly, quarterly, and yearly goals incentivized with year-end kickbacks. Combine that with the new models coming in toward the end of the year and that can present some great opportunities with old inventory.

Now we are not suggesting that strolling in at the 11th hour is your best bet. If you walk into a UTV dealership on the last day of the month you may be too late for that smoking hot deal. Financing approval can take some time and the dealership may have already started their new month so keep that in mind. So we recommend allowing at least a few days before the end of the month.

Because not everyone needs an off-road vehicle quite like they need a car, the model year end scenario doesn’t look the exact same. An offroad dealership may not sell a new UTV for two or even three years and that’s not uncommon. It’s currently the middle of 2019 and a dealership near me here in Northern Colorado is selling a 2016 Arctic Cat Wildcat X as ‘new’ still.

Seasonality of your chosen hobby and where you live

The best time to buy a Side by Side in Colorado may not correlate with the best time to buy one in California so where you live can be a factor

In Colorado, we experience all four seasons so the ideal time to head to the sand dunes for us is in the summer usually between the end of May to the end of August (or Memorial Day Weekend through Labor Day Weekend). By September it’s starting to get pretty cold at night up in the high country. This would be the time of year when sales would start to drop locally as interest declines.

In California, they experience warm weather year round so the dealerships may not have quite the same dip in sales. I’m sure there are some months where it’s just uncomfortably hot, but it may not be the same show-stopping experience as snow.

Your hobby may have an offseason. Take hunting, for example, there are specific dates when the season begins and when it ends so trying to find a deal in the offseason will be much easier than the week before the season opener and this is going to vary depending on what part of the country you are on. 

The hunting season in Colorado is during the fall/winter months of roughly September through December. Where earlier I mentioned the sport season comes just before that during summer so the type of UTV you are looking for may have a better time to buy in.

Keep your eyes open for Holiday Sales. Some of the biggest sale dates of the year happen during some of the biggest holidays. Here is a list of major sales days:

  •     Martin Luther King Jr. Day
  •     Presidents Day
  •     St. Patrick’s Day
  •     Easter
  •     Mother’s Day
  •     Memorial Day
  •     Father’s Day
  •     Fourth of July (Independence Day)
  •     Amazon Prime Day
  •     Tax-free weekends
  •     Labor Day
  •     Columbus Day
  •     Black Friday
  •     Cyber Monday
  •     New Year’s Eve

Visit, email, or call the 5 closest dealerships

It can really pay off, in the long run, to buy locally. You may be able to find a dealership out of state that is willing to take a $1000 off and that can seem enticing especially if your buying more than one. But what happens if something goes wrong with one of them in the near future. You may not get the same quality of service from your local dealership because you didn’t buy from them. What seemed like a good idea may actually be more of a hassle in the long run.

We suggest you jump on Google and search for ‘utv dealership’ or ‘atv dealership’ and focus on the maps listings. Google will give you the top 3 and then you can click on ‘more places’ to move over to a maps search. Now you can see what your options are as far as where some dealerships are in relation to where you live, how other people rate them, and their contact info.

Next, you can start calling or emailing them and let the dealerships give you their best pricing on your desired make and model. Based on the responses you can start narrowing it down to the one or two you want to try striking a deal with.

Two places to negotiate are the front end or the back end of the sale. The front end is the amount between cost and MSRP, options, gear, and accessories. The back end has to do with down payment and how much money they make in interest on the loan if it’s an in-house loan. Other areas of negotiation can be if you have a trade in and if you decide to get a warranty. 

So if you are negotiating on either the front end or back end the dealership will want to make some kind of profit. It needs to be a “win, win situation”. It’s also a good idea to check out their service department and compare their customer service and quality. (The Google reviews from earlier can help with this.) The best out the door price might not always be the only thing that matters if you also are going to be returning for years of service and repair. 


Depending on the time of year, if one particular model of UTV is not selling well then the manufacturer will send out rebates to try and increase sales. These rebates can also come as a push for the new year. You can find these rebates through the manufacturer directly. Some offer them directly on their website and other on social media. Here are some resources:

Can-am promotions on their website (https://can-am.brp.com/off-road/promotions.html)

Polaris Special Offers on their website (https://offroad.polaris.com/en-us/special-offers/)

Arctic Cat email sign up for news/deals (https://arcticcat.txtsv.com/email-sign-up?email=)

Kawasaki current offers on their website (https://www.kawasaki.com/ShoppingTools/CurrentOffer)

Yamaha current offers on their website (https://www.yamahamotorsports.com/recreation-side-by-side/pages/dynamic-finance-sxs)

What Side by Side Fits In A Truck Bed? Ramps, Racks, & What Not To Do

Before buying a Side by Side I wanted to know all the different expenses involved and one of the big costs is going to be how to haul a UTV. Questions came up like: does my current truck work? Am I going to have to invest in a trailer? Which UTVs will actually fit in my truck bed?

When investigating these questions I didn’t find just one source for all the answers I was searching for so I decided to make one.

UTVs That Fit in a Truck

In general, the side by sides that are going to fit into a truck bed are the trail class UTVs that are 50″ wide and under. Here are some examples:

  • Cam-Am Maverick Trail
  • Polaris RZR 570 / 800 / 900
  • Honda Pioneer 500
  • Arctic Cat Wildcat Trail
  • Older Yamaha Rhino (52″)

Some things to consider now will be getting the UTV up into the truck, keeping the weight off the tailgate, and not smashing into the back window.

And for all of you wanting to fit a larger 60″ UTV, there are still options out there for your truck. Keep reading.

Advantages of Hauling a UTV in your Truck

  • Speed can be a factor. In almost every state there is a towing max speed limit of between 55 – 65 Mph. Here is a great resource to find specific state information. drivinglaws.aaa.com

  • You won’t have the additional costs of owning a trailer like licensing, maintaining, or storing.
  • You can free up your hitch for towing additional toys or a camper. (This could be an answer to the question: how to haul 3 side by sides)

Photo credits: Green Mountain MetalWorks

The Average Truck Bed Size

The two average truck beds we are going to be talking about here are the ‘short bed’ and ‘long bed’ truck beds which are 6′ and 8′ in length roughly. Both are designed to be able to pick up building materials that come in 4′ x 8′ sizes like drywall or OSB particle board in between the wheel wells.

There is only 48″ in between the wheel wells and a trail UTV is usually right at 50″ so that means you will have to drive up and over one or both of the large wheel well ‘humps’ in the back of the truck.

In the picture below, this person fabricated a ramp system for the back of their truck to get around the wheel wells.

Picture credits: grage on RZR Forums

Weight on the Tail Gate

Because of the overall length of most UTVs, the tailgate will have to remain down as the UTV will be sitting on it. Tailgates were not designed to hold a significant load so you will need a solution.

I have seen some different custom fabricated options in the forums where people weld up some square tubing going from the end of the tailgate all the way down to the receiver hitch of the truck for added support.

A company called DG Manufacturing created a product that looks like a steel strap that works in conjunction with your stock tailgate cables. The Tailgate EX Support is available for just about every truck on the market and are in the $80 range. Click here to go shop for one on Amazon.

Picture credits: DG Manufacturing

Getting a Side by Side up into your Truck

There are many options when it comes to getting the UTV in your truck whether it be just a couple ramps all the way up to a push-button system.


If you are going to use just a pair of ramps you will want to make sure you buy ramps that have a weight rating that covers your UTV, any fuel in it, and your weight included. That should be in the 1500lb range. Don’t just ‘wing it’ with some old lumber you have laying around the house. Be safe.

A great ramp option is the Yaheetech Aluminum folding ramps. They have a 1500lb capacity rating and come with safety straps to hook to your truck to make loading safer. They are in the $150 range and you can click here to go shop for them on Amazon.

When it comes to loading a UTV in a truck bed, I recommended you pull it in backward so that the majority of the weight is not directly over the tailgate. The engine in a UTV is located above the back wheels making that area the heaviest. This is where you would want to get a product like the Tailgate EX Support mentioned earlier for added tailgate strength.

Truck Cab Safety

Something to consider when putting a UTV directly in the bed of a truck is keeping your Side by Side from driving right into the back of the truck cab.

Two great options for keeping your truck cab safe are wheel chocks for the UTV and a headache rack for the truck.

The wheel chocks can be a very inexpensive way to avoid a very expensive accident. This could be something you make yourself out of wood or you can buy plastic chocks on Amazon for around $16.

A headache rack is a metal frame system that helps protect the back window and cab area of a truck. It is also used as a way to haul lumber and ladders that are too long for the truck bed. This is something you could custom fabricate or just pick one up off of Amazon for $140.

Don’t forget straps. No matter what solution you end up deciding on you will want to buy some good straps to keep your UTV securely in place. Make sure they are rated to secure 1500lbs or more. Click here for our recommendation on Amazon.

Pivoting Ramps

Another ramp option that has a unique pivoting system is the Mad-Ramps. It connects to your receiver hitch for a quick secure installation and keeps the back wheels of the UTV just off the tailgate for added safety. Mad-Ramps sell for $995 plus tax and shipping. See them in action below and visit their website to check out their 27 five star reviews! madramps.com

One great feature of the Mad-Ramps is that you don’t have to remove the ramps every time. You just simply slide the forward and lock them in place as opposed to removing them completely and then having to find somewhere to store them during transport.

The In-The-Truckbed Rack and Ramp Option

A custom metal fabrication company called Tumbleweed-Mfg out of Amarillo, TX has made a rack setup that attaches to and is supported by your receiver hitch and on the other end connects to a gooseneck ball.

The large rectangular frame can be installed by one person and will let you put a 4 seat UTV in a 6.5′ truck bed. Check out this YouTube video to see it in action and give them a call at 806-622-9411 to get yours.

UTV Carrier Rack

For a lot of truck owners, the idea of a carrier rack can be a very appealing one as it puts the UTV up and out of the way of the tailgate making it possible to tow a trailer or camper as well as haul the UTV. This also frees up the bed of the truck to store more gear.

DiamondBack sells a flatbed carrier rack that is mounted to the top of your truck bed and sits on top of your bed rails much like a Tonneau cover.

It has a built-in headache rack so you don’t have to worry about smashing your back window and includes ramps and a tailgate-panel jack post that lets you open and close the tailgate with a UTV loaded.

This carrier rack accommodates for UTVs up to 60″ wide and is priced in the $2800-$3300 range depending on which finish option you choose. Delivery in the US is included. Diamondbackcovers.com

4 Seater UTV Truck Rack

So you have a larger 60″ Side by Side and still want to fit it in your truck? A company called Green Mountain Metalworks custom fabricates rack systems that extend up and above the cab of the truck to accommodate for larger UTVs like the Can-am Maverick X3 Max and other 4-seater UTVs.

They make a bold claim that they can custom build a rack for almost any truck and UTV. The racks advertised on their site are in the $2400 – $2600 range and they offer accessories like a roof guard, winch mount, and fuel can rack. Get yours started today with a $515 deposit by visiting gmmetalworks.com.

The Hydraulic Lift Option

If you really wanted to go all out on your truck rack option then the Hydraulic Tufflift is in a category of its own. They specialize in custom fabricating what amounts to a flat deck that you can park a UTV on at ground level and then a hydraulic arm pulls/lifts your load up onto your truck.

These bad boys are in the $10k – $15k range but they do offer financing and occasionally offer used trade-ins on their Facebook page. If you want to see more videos, check out their website at tufflift.net.

What NOT To Do

The video below shows plenty of examples of what NOT to do including… trying to load without ramps, not securing ramps, wheelieing into a vehicle, jumping/pulling/throwing out of a vehicle, and just a lot of stupidity.

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

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

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

Side by Side Dog Crate / Kennel

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

Petmate Sky Kennel

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

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Dog Boxes for Side by Sides

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

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

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

Side by Side Dog Harness

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

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

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

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

Side by Side Dog Carrier

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

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

UTV Dog Bed / Seat

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

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

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

Dog Pad Designed For Heat Safety

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

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

Best UTV for Dogs

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

UTV Accessories for Dogs

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

In Summary

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

Side by Side Beginner Questions – The What Where & How of UTVs

As we try to expand our understanding of Side by Sides, my wife and I have created another guide here to cover some of the more beginner questions. In our 1st Basic UTV Visual Guide article, we hopefully made UTVs easier to understand and talk about so if you haven’t already please go have a look at that article here. Now that you know what a side by side is, let talk about what can you do with one.

What are UTVs used for?

There are a variety of different ways to use a UTV/Side by Side and here are some examples for both work & play:

  • camping
  • exploring
  • hunting
  • racing
  • carrying loads
  • transporting people
  • construction
  • snow removal
  • lawn maintenance
  • military
  • law enforcement
  • fire and rescue
  • parks management
  • public works

Where are UTVs designed to be operated?

UTVs or side by sides are designed to be used in off-road environments such as:

  • Trail Riding

There are lots of places to take your Side by Side on off-road trails and pathways to explore the countryside whether it be private or public lands. Trails can be as easy as a country dirt road or involve crossing streams surrounded by mud. They can be full of huge rocks that require a spotter (someone outside of the vehicle giving you direction) or some smaller 50 inch and under trails can take you into some dense forest type areas that are almost impossible to reach with a larger vehicle and that can make for some exciting exploration.

  • Hill Climbing

One of the most fun parts of having an off-road toy is putting yourself against a large and challenging hill climb. Unlike a race where you are putting your skills and your ride up against other people, hill climbing is just you versus the mountain. It’s exhilarating watching as others try and try to hit certain lines or paths up the hill and have to try over and over. When it’s your turn it can be adrenaline rushing. Whether it be sand, dirt, or rock the mountain will put your rig and your driving abilities to the test.

  • Farm

Whether you are transporting supplies or plowing fields, side by sides are great utility options. There are many accessories that you can pull behind a UTV to get the job done on a farm. One of which is a trailer. A trailer is a very multipurpose tool and behind a UTV it can go in some smaller areas that a full-sized tractor may not fit. Other accessories include mowing, seed spreaders, harrowing, and raking attachments. You can even get attachments for safely herding livestock.

  • Job Site

I’ve personally moved more bags of concrete on my shoulder than I can even recall. I built decks, patio covers, and pergolas for five years and I would have absolutely loved to have had a UTV at our disposal. Especially for moving large amounts of concrete bags around some of our bigger job sites. I’ve also been on some larger commercial projects where moving people from a work trailer to the site was a logistical consideration. Some tools are just ridiculously heavy and having a UTV can really help in a lot of different scenarios in the construction industry.

  • Race Track

UTV racing covers more than just the traditional race track you might think of as an ATV rider. UTVs have their own class at the some of the biggest racing events of the year including the Baja 1000 and the Best In The Desert Series. These two races, in particular, are long desert races that push you and your vehicle for hours on end. Side by Sides get some major upgrades to the speed, handling, and safety of the vehicle to perform with the rest of the pack at these big races. Other race venues can include maneuvering and jumping various obstacles at a traditional track setting or even cornering through tight woodland trail type racing.

  • Sand Dunes

For years, my family and I have been going to the sand dunes in Northern Colorado to play. Sand dunes can be a fun mix of wide open play areas, challenging hill climbs, jumps, trail riding, and an all-around fun camping experience. Weather conditions can create and/or change the shape of the terrain and produce an assortment of different places to play. There are bowls to climb and jump out of and giant hills to challenge the ability of your machine and your driving skills. A shower never felt as good as it does at the end of a long weekend at the dunes. The sand goes in places you didn’t know you had.

No matter where you take your UTV, be sure to use the buddy system, be courteous and slow down for oncoming traffic, and always use required safety equipment like eye protection, head protection, whips (flag) for over the hill visibility, and just some old fashioned common sense.

Are side by sides allowed on trails?

Yes, Side by Sides are allowed on trails but there are certain restrictions depending on the width of the UTV. There are two major sizes of UTVs which are 50 inches wide and 60+ inches wide. Trails that have a 50-inch width restriction are designed more for a four-wheeler sized vehicle or smaller and trails greater than the 50″ restriction are geared more towards larger off-road vehicles.

I live in Colorado and we have a wonderful tool called the Colorado Trail Explorer and as you can see from the image below you can choose between ATV trails or OHV/off-highway vehicle (>50″) trails.

Be sure to check out the restrictions where you are going to ride as some trails define their rules based on if the vehicle seats passengers side to side versus front to back or even the weight of the vehicle, not just the width of the vehicle.

Don’t worry, there are plenty of UTV trails out there for everyone to discover.

How to drive a UTV

If you are just getting started with your Side by Side learning journey and are wondering how similar they are to driving a car… they are just not the same driving experience.

Since most UTV’s have higher ground clearance and a narrower design, their center of gravity is usually higher than most cars which means that they have a greater risk for tipping and flipping. It’s in your best interest to start off slow on flatter easier terrain and evolve or progress to more challenging terrain as you build up your experience. Going fast on one of these types of vehicles means you have less reaction time to handle obstacles so it is recommended to gradually expose yourself to harsher terrain and speeds over time.

There are courses out there that you can take to get well acquainted with Side by Sides whether it be for offroad play or at the job site. rohva.org offers a free E-Course that provides two hours of interactive and multimedia content. After completing the E-Course you can then signup for an ROV Basic DriverCourse and use their search tool to find an instructor in your area for hands-on training.

If you’re someone who likes to read, the US Department of Agriculture has a 68 page PDF Operator Training Course that was designed for forest service employees and covers quite a bit about UTVs and how to use them in an illustrated guide.

If you need to get your employees certified to use a UTV you can visit hardhattraining.com and for $79 you can purchase a 60-minute online training that is OSHA compliant and delivers printable certificates/wallet cards.

How fast do Side by Sides go?

Sport off-road side by sides have a top speed between 75-95 miles per hour depending on the exact model UTV, any potential built-in limiters, the terrain, and modifications that have been done. The more utility type UTVs are going to have more of a top speed in the 25-45MPH range.

Are side by sides automatic?

The majority of side by sides are considered automatic because the transmission is doing the work for you. But they are not the same automatic transmission that your car has. A large number of Side by Sides have what is called a CVT or continuously variable transmission. This type of belt-driven transmission relies on pulleys and a centrifugal clutch similar to a snowmobile. As you start to give it throttle, the pulleys engage the belt and power is distributed down to the wheels.

Not all UTV’s have an automatic transmission as Yamaha’s newer YXZ1000R UTV models have a five-speed transmission that can be controlled with steering wheel paddle shifters similar to sports cars like the Ferrari.

On the utility side of the UTV world, there is a transmission option called the hydrostatic transmission. This is a variable control system like the CVT but it uses hydraulic oil, plates, and shafts. It has fewer parts that require maintenance and lends itself to more utility accessories that require hydraulics like a utility dump bed that moves up and down for example.

Do you have to register, liscense, and title a Side by Side?

Registration Sticker Example

You will need to register and title your side by side for public use.

Much like a car, you will get a title when you purchase a side by side that can be used to prove ownership. That will be necessary documentation in a loan or insurance situation.

Then depending on your state, you will be required to register, obtain permits, or license your UTV. Here in Colorado, we are required to get an Off-Highway Vehicle Registration which basically amounts to buying a $25 sticker that we attach to our vehicle. (see example image)

If you are just using your side by side on your property or your farm only then you may not need to register it but if you do then you may qualify for a farm use tax exemption.

Do Side by Sides need insurance?

No, not all UTVs need insurance. However, there are some situations where you would be required to carry it. Whether or not you need insurance for your UTV/Side by Side is not a one size fits all kind of answer. It depends on many factors like what state you live in/play in, what you use it for, if you have a loan that requires it, and where you want to ride (public or private land). It can be used to protect your vehicle in a wreck, protect you from getting sued because of a wreck, or even just protect you in the event of a UTV theft.

Keep in mind that some insurance companies will give you a discount if you take an off-road course.

If you’re someone who lives on a chunk of land and are able to use your UTV at home then there would be a good chance you would be covered by your homeowner’s insurance for most scenarios.

If you are using them for work purposes then you will most likely need commercial insurance.

For the states that do require it, much like insuring a car, there is a minimum ‘liability’ requirement which covers property damage, bodily injury, and legal fees.

How long do side by sides last?

How long do UTVs last or How many miles do side by sides last are both questions that are not a one-sentence quick answer. These questions are similar to asking how many miles are on a car or truck and then looking up the average lifespan of that particular make and model of vehicle. That works for most vehicles you drive on the road because of where you are driving it: on the road. That’s the constant and because of that, the average car gets driven in a fairly similar way.

When it comes to off-road vehicles, where you take it and how you drive it are some very large variables as to how long it will last you. A UTV that gets driven around the exact same paths on a farm day in and day out but with some serious attention to detail when it comes to the maintenance is going to far outlive a UTV that gets pushed hard on crazy rough terrain and then just put back in the garage until next time and not maintained at all.

UTV & Side by Sides – A Basic Visual Guide

These fun off-road toys are known by many names and can be confusing to someone who is first getting into the sport. I was trying to explain what they are to my wife and mom and realized how messy it can be with all the different acronyms and such so I wanted to write an easy helpful resource to help clarify things.

Here are a few of the names commonly associated with Side by Side vehicles:

  • UTV (utility task vehicle or utility terrain vehicle)
  • Side by Side (sometimes written as SxS)
  • RZR (a specific model of a UTV)

And here are some of the not commonly used names that are used by machines, encyclopedias, and the government:

  • ROV (recreational off-highway vehicle)
  • MOHUV (multipurpose off-highway utility vehicle)

And What it’s not:

  • ATV (This is a 4 wheeler that you straddle like a horse also known as a quad)

So what are side by sides and what does a UTV look like?

A Side by Side is a small to medium sized off-road vehicle that generally consists of a body frame that includes a roll cage to protect its passengers. They can seat anywhere from 1 – 6 people and the majority of SxS’s are powered by motorcycle sized engines.

They can include four-wheel independent suspension and can be set up for long travel shocks and springs to take some very large jumps and not take any damage. Most have doors of some kind and some have the option of a fully enclosed cab.

Side by sides or UTVs are small vehicles that are designed to handle off-road terrain like dirt, mud, and sand. They can be used for fun camping trips in the mountains or everyday working scenarios like on a farm or job-site.

Recreational UTVs are a mix of a quad and a dune buggy. They have the portability of a four-wheeler which gives you the option of trail riding. Like four wheelers, you can take them on a much narrower path down skinny winding trails that larger 4×4’s can’t go down. But with the option of taking more people in the vehicle with you.

Work UTVs have a cargo bed in the rear and are more of a mix between a golf cart and a truck. They are good for transporting heavy loads and have more utility purposes such as hunting, mowing, plowing, and transporting materials crews and tools.

What does UTV stand for?

I mentioned above that there are two different UTV acronyms: Utility Task Vehicle and Utility Terrain Vehicle.

For me, a Utility Task Vehicle conjures up an idea of a job site vehicle with a small truck bed on the back that can move heavy tools or materials to a different part of the work site much easier and faster than doing it by hand. These types of UTVs would most likely be geared lower to have more low-end torque and less overall speed.

A Utility Terrain Vehicle is more of a recreational toy that you would see flying up a sand dune or down an off-road trail. These can take jumps and handle corners at high speeds as they have the necessary suspension. The engines have more horsepower and are designed for higher top speeds.

Why is it called a side by side?

So why are side by sides called by Side by Sides? The easy answer would be that most of them have two seats that are literally sitting side by side or left to right versus sitting in a row front to back like a motorcycle or quad.

What is the difference between a UTV and a Side by Side?

A UTV is a Side by Side. They are the same vehicle but just two different names. These are the two most common names for this type of off-road vehicle. While the term Side by Side is the most commonly used name as it refers to two seats sitting side by side, the seating arrangements can vary greatly from just one seat right in the middle of the cab all the way up to six passenger seats.

Is an RZR an ATV or UTV?

The RZR (pronounced “razor’) is a specific model of UTV/Side by Side made by Polaris. Because of the popularity of this specific make and model, some people started referring to all Side by Side models as a ‘razor’. This would be like referring to all tissues as a Kleenex or all tablet computers as an iPad. An RZR is just one example of a Side by Side. There are many brands/manufacturers, see an example list further down below.

Are side by sides considered ATVs?

Side by Sides and ATVs (or quads or 4 wheelers) are definitely not the same class of vehicle. While they may be used similarly for work or play, they have very different design features.

Here are the 4 biggest differences:

SteeringSteering Wheel
(like a car)
Handle Bars
(like a motorcycle)
Gas & BrakeFoot Pedals
(like a car)
Hand controls
(like a motorcycle)
SeatingBucket seats or bench seating
(like a car)
Straddle seating
(like a motorcycle)
SafetyRoll cage, seat belts, optional doors
(like a car)
Open air design
(like a motorcycle)

ATV & UTV Similarities:

The reason these two vehicles could be mistakenly grouped as the same besides the acronyms have just one letter off from each other (ATV and UTV) is that they are also used very similarly and have similar mechanical parts.

They both have multiple different names for the same machine as an ATV or All Terrain Vehicle can also be called a quad, 4 wheeler, 3 wheeler, or quadricycle.

You can take both on narrower paths and smaller tracks which make them more versatile than larger Jeeps and 4×4’s.

They are made by some of the same manufacturers/brands and have similar parts such as off-road knobby tires, A-arm coil over suspension, and comparable engine sizes.

Both ATV and UTV have models that are designed just for a hunting application with extra cargo space and optional gun racks & mounts.

ATV & UTV Differences:

The UTV and ATV may have some overall mechanical similarities, but they are totally different driving experiences. A UTV/Side by Side handles more like a car, and an ATV handles more like a motorcycle.

When riding an ATV, throwing your body weight around is a big part of controlling the vehicle. You’re going to be leaning into corners to not fall off or roll the 4 wheeler.

You’ll stand for bumpy terrain and jumps and then correct any balance issues in the air by shifting your weight around. Because of these riding nuances, it can limit the number of passengers as having someone behind you will limit your mobility.

In contrast, driving a UTV or side by side your body weight has less impact on the overall driving experience. Your passengers can enjoy the full experience of taking corners at high speeds and hitting jumps without you being held back or wondering if the passenger is still holding on.

Because you are strapped into a seat in a UTV, you have less ability to use your weight to correct any sort of aerial balance issues. Once you hit the jump, you are fairly fixed in which way the scenario plays out.

Do side by sides have seat belts?

The quick answer is yes. In fact, the majority of new UTVs that come off the assembly line have a very similar seat belt to a car that has a lap belt and shoulder strap in one that clicks down into a quick release receptacle. In a more custom off-road vehicle like a dune buggy, you might see everything from 5 point harness systems all the way down to just a lap belt.

Side by Side Examples

UTV Manufacturer Examples

  • Arctic Cat
  • Bobcat
  • Can Am
  • Cat
  • Coleman
  • Hisun
  • Honda
  • John Deere
  • Kawasaki
  • Polaris
  • Suzuki
  • Yamaha

Similar Vehicle Examples

Wrapping things up

Now you have a good idea of what a Side by Side is and looking at the pictures above you can probably tell that the UTV didn’t just appear out of thin air as a brand new idea, but evolved over time from many different off-road vehicles.