When it comes to powersports and recreational activities, side by sides have recently taken the USA by storm. long considered a measly work tool used to carry fertilizer around a farm, UTVs have now become a wonderful family pastime and no wonder why. Not only are side by sides very fun and exhilarating, but they are also relatively safe and affordable. UTVs have another great advantage: many models can seat 4 people comfortably. this is one of the reasons why UTVs, also known as Side By Sides, have become so appealing for families.
If you are reading this article and are interested in getting a side by side for you and your loved ones, you might be wondering which one is the very best on the market. while there a lot of great options available, there are some models that are definitely superior to others, especially when it comes to family use. So considering that, I decided to make this article to talk about which are the best UTVs available as of 2019, considering several factors including comfort, safety, affordability and style.
What You Should Be Looking For In A Family Side By Side
Now since you are probably going to be riding around with your kids and partner, there are a few things that I strongly recommend that you have in your UTV of choice. while it’s not the end of the world if the side by side that you are looking at doesn’t have these features, having them will definitely make your life much easier. most of the features that I’ll mention below are available as options, so ask the seller if they have them available.
- Get EPS: EPS, short for electric power steering, is a system that will assist you with turning the steering wheel in your UTV. if you have driven older cars, then you probably know that their steering feel is much heavier than in more modern vehicles. the same thing happens with side by sides. if you are going to be riding longer than 30 minutes, then this is pretty much a must-have. some side by sides come with EPS as standard, some offer it as an option, and some don’t even give you the choice.
- Have A Winch Handy: If you are going to be riding on offroading or muddy areas, then carrying around a winch is super important, especially if the machine that you are looking at doesn’t have AWD. a winch is a device that will pull out a side by side off a muddy situation by attaching itself to it. most dealers will also sell winches on their premises, but if not, you are going to have to get one from Amazon or a physical store.
- Automatic transmissions are the way to go: While manual transmissions can be very fun and enjoyable, especially on ATVs, they can be quite cumbersome and tedious, especially if you are somebody that is just getting started with side by sides. sure, you have more control of the engine, but modern technology such as paddle shifters has kind of supplanted manual transmission and made them pretty much obsolete. I recommend that you go with an automatic transmission unless you are a purist that demands an old school trans.
The Best Side By Sides For Family Use
- Polaris RZR S4 1000- The Hotshot: The Polaris RZR is as of 2019 the best side by side available, especially for families. and there are many things that make the RZR number 1. first of all, the 4 seater version feels very sporty, especially when considering its size and weight. the UTV feels very planted to the ground, and body roll is almost nonexistent. The suspension is firm and well damped without being excessively harsh or unforgiving, plus it comes well equipped from the factory, with a diverse amount of features, including electric power steering as standard. the RZR resale value is also very good, trailing only the Honda Talon as the best in the sport UTV segment. other pros about it include a lot of aftermarket parts for those who like modding their machines. No UTV is perfect though. some of the cons of the RZR include a steep price of admission. now, don’t get me wrong, the RZR isn’t super expensive, but Polaris has steadily increased the pricing over time. many people wait for the holiday season to buy these to take advantage of rebates and offers that might be available at that time, so if you find that the RZR is too expensive, it might be wise to wait until Black Friday or Spring Break to get one.
- Yamaha Wolverine X4 – For Hardcore Families Only! Yamaha has always been known for being a little bit more sporty and focused on performance than most other brands. ATVs like the Yamaha Raptor and the Yamaha Grizzly are prime examples of this, and when it comes to the Yamaha Wolverine, it’s no different. one of the great things the Wolverine X4 has is that it rides and handles as if it’s the 2 seater model. because 4 seater UTVs are generally stretched to fit 4 people they typically become slower and harder to maneuver, but this is not the case with this Yamaha. the suspension is typical Yamaha firm, something that you will greatly appreciate if you tend to corner sharply. another bright spot is the engine. Yamaha introduced a new engine for some of its UTVs a few years ago as so far it hasn’t disappointed. the 847cc engine feels very sporty and aggressive, producing pleasant sound and loves to rev. the engine is definitely one of the main reasons you buy a Wolverine. Now, when it comes to the cons, the transmission is not exactly super smooth. I’m not saying that the transmission is mediocre or faulty (quite the opposite actually) but it is definitely more tuned for performance rather than comfort. 99% percent of riders are not going to notice this, but it’s still something you should keep in mind though.
- Can-Am Maverick Sport MAX DPS – The Offroader’s Choice: If there’s 1 phrase that could describe Cam-Am and what they are working for, it would be offroading capability. when it comes to riding on challenging trails and muddy conditions, Can-Am is numero 1. anyways, the Maverick Sport MAX is Can-Am 4 seater offering, combining a premium ambiance with excellent ground clearance. Traversing trails is a breeze on this bad boy. the AWD system will assist with seamlessly crossing through mud and heavy sand, and the ground clearance will ensure that you do not get bogged down. in short, if you are looking for a competent offroader that won’t leave you stranded and that will sit 4 people comfortably, then this is the way to go. when it comes to looks, it’s no secret that Cam-Am machines are the best looking on the segment, using high-quality materials on the cabin and a very stylish body on the outside. Cam-Am style can be summarized as “edgy”, relying on flashy colors that contrast very well with its rugged frame. if you are the kind of guy who loves flashy gear, then the Maverick is worthy of your money. now, all UTVs have their weaknesses, and with the Maverick it’s no different. the first problem is that the space in the back seats is a little bit limited, especially when compared to rivals such as the RZR and the Yamaha Wolverine. while kids aren’t going to have a problem sitting on the back, adults might not feel comfortable, especially on bumpy roads or long rides. Can-Am also tends to be a little bit more expensive than other side by side brands, so if you are on a budget, it might be wise to look elsewhere.
- Kawasaki Teryx4 – The Underdog: The top UTVs that I talked about above are tremendous machines that are each worth a look, but they all share a small problem: they can get quite expensive. and if you agree with me, then I would advise that you check out the Kawasaki Teryx. now over the last few years, Kawasaki has sadly been on a downward spiral, with dealerships all over the country closing their doors and people using their products less and less. but this doesn’t mean that their products are mediocre. Actually, the Kawasaki Teryx can be considered a return to form for them: a capable, reliable Japanese Side by side that will not break the bank. The main pro about the Teryx is its pricing. this is one of the most affordable 4-seater UTVs on the market. it’s base price is 15,000$, and factoring rebates, discounts, and other deals, you can easily get it brand new for under 10 grand. and this side by side isn’t just cheap. it features a surprisingly sporty ride that combines a punchy engine with stable handling. just don’t expect a very refined experience with this UTV though. just like Honda, Kawasaki’s products tend to be on the more rugged side, which might be a pro or a con depending on the user.
Safety Is Number 1 When It Comes To Family UTVs
Even though riding Side By Sides is very fun and a great way for the family to have some quality time, most people have a few concerns and things to think about before buying the machine. and one of those concerns includes safety. both ATVs and Side by sides can be very dangerous, especially when used by inexperienced operators or when the Side by side is overloaded. and if you are looking for a new UTV, then there are a bunch of safety features that will give you peace of mind and will protect your loved ones in case of something happening.
One of these safety features is seatbelts. as of 2019, not all UTVs will feature them, and if they do, they tend to be offered on only the front seats or as a dealer accessory. wearing seatbelts has been shown to be one of the most important safety measures you and your family can take, and because of this, I wouldn’t ride fast without one. and even if the UTV that you are interested in doesn’t have seatbelts, then don’t worry, you can always install aftermarket 3-point seatbelts from a 3rd party store.
Another safety feature that is thankfully becoming standard among most UTV manufacturers are roll cages, which consist of combinations of steel frames that will make sure that the passengers are protected in case a roll-over occurs. some manufacturers offer reinforced frames that reportedly will withstand heavier pressures than the stock steel bars. if that is the case, I would personally go with that option because even though they are becoming standard across the board, the stock roll cages aren’t very resistant.
Also, this isn’t exactly a safety feature that you can find on the UTV itself but rather its something that you and your family should be wearing every time that you hop on the machine. and that is safety gear! it will protect your life more than seatbelts, roll cages, ABS systems, you name it. you should be looking for at least a decent helmet and a chest protector for everybody that is going to be riding on the machine, but if you have the money, then the ideal thing to do is to buy a complete safety equipment kit. If you are more interested in safety gear, then check this article about protective gear for adults and this one for protective gear for kids.