10 min read
31 Jan

Here is the ultimate guide for UTV enthusiasts. Whether you're a seasoned off-road adventurer or a hardworking rancher in need of reliable utility, this comprehensive list has something for everyone. 

From rugged workhorses to high-performance thrill-seekers, we've curated the top UTVs in various categories to help you find the perfect ride for your needs. 

Get ready to explore the great outdoors with confidence and style as we dive into the world of side-by-side and uncover the very best options on the market. 

See also: 2024 Honda Talon 1000: Defining Off-Road Mastery in Two and Four-Seater Side-by-Sides 

1. 2021 Honda Pioneer 1000-5: The World's Most Reliable UTV

  • Starting Price: $20,999 (Limited Edition)
2021 Honda Pioneer 1000-5.

The 2021 Honda Pioneer 1000-5 stands as the epitome of reliability in the UTV world. Renowned for its robustness, this model boasts a towing capacity of 2000 lbs and uses an intelligent transmission catering to both sporty and relaxed drivers for a versatile driving experience. 

Honda's six-decade-long legacy of excellence shines through in the Pioneer 1000-5, setting the gold standard for reliability and durability. Powered by a 999cc liquid-cooled twin-cylinder Unicam engine, it delivers impressive performance across diverse terrains. 

The fully automatic dual-clutch transmission (DCT), equipped with six speeds and paddle shifters, elevates the driving experience to new heights thanks to enhanced ride smoothness and efficiency. 

Honda Pioneer 1000-5 Key Chassis and Mechanical Specifications: 

  • Engine Type: 999cc liquid-cooled Unicam four-stroke parallel-twin
  • Transmission: Fully automatic dual-clutch with six speeds and reverse
  • Power Steering: Electric power steering (EPS)
  • Suspension: Independent double-wishbone with ample travel for optimal handling
  • Brakes: Hydraulic discs on both front and rear
  • Towing Capacity: A robust 2000 pounds

2. 2024 Polaris Sportsman 570: The Overall Best UTV For The Money

  • Starting Price: $10,699
2024 Polaris Sportsman 570.

Looking for that one UTV in the world that offers the most value relative to cost? You might want to look beyond the world of side-by-side. For the sake of unbeatable value and versatility, the 2024 Polaris Sportsman 570 is an easy pick as the undisputed champion of value and versatility in 2024, setting the bar high for UTVs in its class. 

Thanks to its unparalleled adaptability, the Sportsman 570 caters to both novice and seasoned riders, empowering everyone to conquer diverse terrains with confidence. Bolstered by a ProStar 567cc single-cylinder engine with 44 horsepower, this UTV strikes the perfect balance between power and agility. 

The Sportsman 570 boasts selectable 4WD, a generous 9.5 inches of suspension travel, and an impressive 11.5 inches of ground clearance, a recipe for impressive capability and handling across any landscape. 

The Sportsman 570 showcases impeccable build quality, from its robust engine to its rugged frame, guaranteeing reliability and longevity even in the harshest conditions. The best part is that it offers exceptional value without compromising on performance or features, priced at roughly $10,000. 

Insist On A Side-By-Side UTV? 

If we must pick one model as the side-by-side UTV that offers the best value for the money in 2024, our money would be on the: 

Kymco UXV450

  • Starting Price: $9,349 (Approx.)
Kymco UXV450.

This UTV offers a 4x4 drive, a warranty, and high-end accessories, but those aren’t the only reasons we picked it as a value-for-money option in the UTV market over models like the Polaris Ranger 500 and the Kawasaki Mule SX XC. 

The Kymco UXV450 is a versatile and rugged utility vehicle with a compact size that improves its maneuverability in tight spaces, while still offering ample cargo capacity. The ride is smooth and comfortable, thanks to a well-designed suspension system. 

The UXV450's powerful engine delivers impressive performance, whether you're tackling off-road trails or hauling heavy loads. Some users may find its top speed a bit lacking compared to other models in its class, but this Taiwanese brand is no less a reliable workhorse for work and play. 

Other best-for-the-money side-by-sides include the Arctic Cat Prowler Pro LTD, CF Moto ZForce 500 (With ROPS certification), and the John Deere XUV560 EP. The last offers a premium user experience but pairs that with a focus on durability. 

3. 2021 Kubota RTV-X1100: The World's Best UTV For Work And Play

  • Starting Price: $21,299
2021 Kubota RTV-X1100.

The Kubota RTV-X1100C is among the top UTVs for work and play. This side-by-side is recognized for its combination of functionality and luxury, complete with a climate-controlled cab and an array of performance features, including 4WD and Variable Hydro Transmission (VHT-X). 

With a lively 24.8-horsepower Kubota D1105 3-cylinder diesel engine and a load capacity of 1,629 lbs, Kubota built the RTV-X1100C to handle various tasks – work or play. 

Kubota RTV-X1100C Key Chassis and Performance Specifications: 

  • Engine: Kubota 3-cylinder, 24.8 HP diesel engine
  • Displacement: 1,123 cc
  • Transmission: Variable Hydro Transmission (VHT-X)
  • Suspension: Front and rear independent suspension
  • Brakes: Hydraulic disc brakes
  • Cargo Bed Capacity: 15.2 cubic feet / 1,102 lbs
  • Towing Capacity: 1,300 lbs
  • Fuel Capacity: 7.9 gallons
  • Ground Clearance: 10.4 inches
  • Wheelbase: 77.4 inches
  • Overall Dimensions (LxWxH): 124.2 x 63.8 x 79.7 inches
  • Weight: 2,347 lbs (dry)

See also: 10 Awesome 1-Seater Cars That Belongs In Every Enthusiast's Garage 

4. Polaris Ranger SP 570: Best UTV With Dump Bed

  • Starting Price: $15,000 (£11,999, Excl VAT)
Polaris Ranger SP 570.

If you have a specific quest for the top UTV with a dump bed, look no further than the Polaris Ranger SP 570.  It is equipped with a gas-assist dump bed and easy-to-open rear gate, making unloading up to 500 lbs as effortless as it gets. 

It offers 44 horsepower and best-in-class suspension travel and ground clearance, making this utility vehicle right at home for both work and recreational activities. 

The UTV also comes standard with a 2" hitch capable of towing 1,500 lbs and features a "Turf Mode" that unlocks the rear differential for tighter turns and better maneuverability in tight spaces. 

Additionally, it offers a front bumper, a full-body skid plate for extra protection, and an optional big storage area under the front seat for tools and gear. Pricing for the Polaris Ranger SP 570 varies depending on the specific model and edition. 

The standard SP 570 starts at around $15,000, while the EPS model starts at $16,264 (£12,799). The SP 570 EPS Hunter Edition starts at $17,153 (£13,499), while the EPS Nordic Pro starts at $18,424 (£14,499). Notably, the 2024 Polaris Ranger SP 570 NorthStar Edition has an MSRP of $20,599. 

Polaris Ranger SP 570 Features: 

  • Engine: 567cc, 4-Stroke Single Cylinder DOHC
  • Horsepower: 44
  • Bed Dimensions: 33.3" x 48.7" x 12.3"
  • Box Capacity: 500 lbs
  • Hitch Tow Rating: 1,500 lbs
  • Payload Capacity: 1,000 lbs
  • Ground Clearance: 11"
  • Turn Radius: 12.7'

5. 2023 Polaris XP 1000: Best Side-by-Side UTV For Farming

  • Starting Price: $22,399 (Approx.)
2023 Polaris XP 1000.

The 2023 Polaris Ranger XP 1000 gets motivation from a 999cc engine generating a formidable 82 horsepower, paired with a versatile transmission system. Its high ground clearance and robust towing capacity of 2,500 lb make it ideal for heavy-duty tasks. 

It offers comfort and convenience with features like electronic power steering, adjustable driver seat, and cargo system. The premium cut & sew seats, Polaris Pulse Electrical System, and LED lighting enhance its appeal for agricultural use. 

Other top UTVs for farming include the 2019 John Deere Gator XUV865R and 2022 Kawasaki Mule Pro-FXR. These UTVs stand out for their unparalleled combination of strength, durability, and effectiveness. 

We chose the Polaris Ranger XP 1000 for its optimal traction, expanded cargo space, seating, and exceptional power-towing capabilities. 

6. Polaris General 1000 EPS: Best Side-by-Side UTV For Hunting

  • Starting Price: $17,499
Polaris General 1000 EPS.

The Polaris General 1000 EPS is an exceptional choice for hunting due to its impressive performance and versatility. It boasts excellent handling, resulting in a smooth and controlled ride even in rugged and off-road hunting terrain. 

The suspension and ride quality contributes to a comfortable and enjoyable driving experience, allowing hunters to traverse diverse landscapes with ease. 

With its higher ground clearance, the Polaris General 1000 EPS has no fear of challenging terrain, providing hunters access to remote hunting areas. Its cargo bed and towing capabilities make it ideal for hauling hunting gear, retrieving game, and transporting tree stands or blinds. 

The low noise level of the Polaris General 1000 EPS makes it well-suited for hunting, allowing hunters to travel quietly through the wilderness without disturbing wildlife. The best UTVs are built durable, and Polaris' General 1000 EPS is no exception. 

Its value is evident in its ability to offer hunters a dependable and capable vehicle for their hunting expeditions. This EPS comes with a $17,499 starting price, while the Polaris General XP 1000 starts at $24,499. 

7. 2024 Kawasaki Teryx KRX 1000 eS: Best Side-by-Side UTV For Tail Riding

  • Starting Price: $26,399
2024 Kawasaki Teryx KRX 1000 eS.

Photo credit: Hebeler Sales & Services

The Kawasaki Teryx KRX 1000 eS stands out as the best side-by-side UTV for trail riding due to its impressive speed, rugged build, and off-road capabilities. 

The Teryx KRX 1000 eS is equipped with a 4-stroke, DOHC (Dual Overhead Camshaft), 8-valve parallel-twin, liquid-cooled engine that provides strong and responsive power to tackle trails with speed and confidence. 

The utility’s rugged design, long-travel suspension, and robust construction make it well-equipped for conquering challenging and varied trail conditions – elevation changes and obstacles encountered during trail riding. This model features next-level Kawasaki Electronic Control Suspension and is designed for the ultimate sport side-by-side experience. 

We picked Teryx’s KRX 1000 eS because trail-riding enthusiasts treasure a balanced combination of utility and sportiness. Its sturdy build and ample ground clearance enable riders to navigate various trail types while providing a comfortable and enjoyable experience. 

See also: A Deep Dive into Honda's 2024 Motorcycle Lineup – Sportbikes, Dual Sports, and More 

8. 2023 Honda Talon 1000R-4: Best Sport Side-by-Side UTV

  • Starting Price: $25,799
2023 Honda Talon 1000R-4.

Since we've already picked the Kawasaki Teryx KRX 1000, albeit the eS model, as the best for trail riding, you can hardly do better than the 2023 Honda Talon 1000R-4 if you are looking for an excellent UTV for sports competitions. 

The Talon 1000R’s remarkable handling, powerful engine, and sporty design immediately endear it to enthusiasts who value performance and agility in competitive scenarios. Additionally, its suspension and off-road capabilities support its readiness for challenging terrains. 

The Honda 4+ link rear suspension is one of the secrets to this utility’s exceptional handling—both in the dunes and on the trail. The 2023 Honda Talon 1000R-4 is a four-seat model built for rugged, wide-open terrain. 

Its FOX live-valve 2.5 shocks are an automatically adjusting Live Valve technology, constantly changing their compression damping for all four wheels independently in real-time, resulting in less body roll in corners, a smoother ride through whoops, and more resistance to bottoming. 

The Talon 1000R-4’s wheelbase has been fine-tuned to provide a tight turning radius. 

2023 Honda Talon 1000R-4 Mechanical Specifications: 

  • Engine: 999cc Honda Unicam engine
  • Drivetrain: Exclusive automatic Dual-Clutch Transmission (DCT) driveline
  • Seating Capacity: Four seats

9. Honda Pioneer 1000-5 LE: UTV With The Best Ground Clearance

  • Starting Price: $20,999
Honda Pioneer 1000-5 LE.

The Honda Pioneer 1000-5 LE has the best ground clearance among UTVs, boasting a ground clearance of nearly 13 inches. This impressive ground clearance allows it to navigate over obstacles and challenging terrain with ease, making it an excellent choice for various uses, including off-road adventures and competitive events. 

This is a versatile side-by-side utility vehicle designed for both work and recreation. It offers seating for up to five passengers and comes equipped with a powerful 999cc engine, advanced suspension system, and electronic power steering for smooth handling. 

The LE model offers additional features such as special edition graphics, aluminum wheels, and a quick flip roof. The LE is short for Limited Edition and came with a starting price of $20,999. 

10. Polaris Ranger XP 1000: The World's Overall Best UTV

Polaris Ranger XP 1000.

Singling out one model as the overall best UTV in the world is a monumental task, but the Polaris Ranger XP 1000 holds strong as the overall best UTV due to its exceptional combination of power, durability, advanced features, and suitability for a wide range of tasks and terrains. 

Its robust build, powerful engine, and durable construction make it well-suited for a variety of uses, including farming, hunting, trail riding, sports competitions, and more. 

The Polaris Ranger XP 1000's outstanding traction, cargo space, seating, and towing capabilities further enhance its utility and versatility. 

Additionally, its impressive ground clearance, suspension, and advanced features contribute to its apex position in the UTV world. 

UTV Brands To Stay Away From

Hisun Motors Strike.

Hisun Motors Strike

You don't have to take our word for it, but some UTV models have garnered negative feedback and are considered less favorable for off-road adventures and other uses. They include: 

1. Kawasaki Mule: While the Kawasaki Mule is known for reliability in certain applications, it may fall short in terms of performance and off-road capabilities. Owners have reported concerns regarding the Mule’s limited power and suspension, making it less suitable for challenging terrains and demanding tasks.

 2. Massimo UTV Models (Buck and T-Boss): Massimo UTV models, specifically the Buck and T-Boss, have received negative feedback regarding their overall quality and reliability. Owners have reported premature wear and tear, electrical failures, and mechanical issues, resulting in expensive repairs and a compromised off-road experience. 

3. Hisun Motors Strike: The Hisun Motors Strike has garnered criticism for its subpar performance and build quality. Owners have expressed dissatisfaction with the Chinese-made UTV’s engine reliability, suspension capabilities, and overall durability. 

Issues such as frequent breakdowns, parts failures, and limited support have been reported, more than hinting at a rather frustrating ownership experience. 

4. Can-Am Defender: While the Can-Am Defender is known for high-performance capabilities, it has received criticism for its inflated price compared to competing UTV models. Some buyers have found the price-to-value ratio of the Can-Am Defender to be lacking, especially when considering similar features and performance available at a lower cost from other brands. 

5. Polaris Ranger: Despite its popularity, the Polaris Ranger has faced alarming complaints related to reliability and build quality. There are enough productivity issues reported about this nameplate that leave us wary of its suitability for long-term use. 

Remember that individual experiences and opinions may vary, and there are many factors to consider when evaluating UTV brands and models. 

ATV versus UTV: Which Is Better?

ATV vs. UTV.

The choice between ATV (All-Terrain Vehicle) and UTV (Utility Task Vehicle) depends on the user’s specific needs and preferences. Both have distinct advantages and applications. 

ATVs (All-Terrain Vehicles): 

  • Better maneuverability in tight spaces and narrow trails.
  • Ideal for solo riders who seek an agile and sporty outdoor experience.
  • Suitable for recreational riding, trail riding, and racing.
  • Limited hauling and towing capacity compared to UTVs.

 UTVs (Utility Task Vehicles): 

  • Greater seating capacity, making them suitable for multiple passengers.
  • Enhanced cargo space, making them ideal for hauling equipment and supplies.
  • Higher towing capability, allowing them to tow heavier loads such as trailers and farm equipment.
  • Ideal for agricultural work, hunting, and outdoor utility tasks.
  • Typically provides a more comfortable and stable ride over rough terrain.

Ultimately, the choice between ATV and UTV comes down to the specific use case. If the primary goal is recreational riding, racing, or navigating narrow trails, an ATV would be the way to go. Conversely, for work-related tasks requiring hauling, towing, and rough terrain traversal, a UTV would be the better choice.

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