Side-by-sides are incredible and there are so many manufacturers to choose from. Not only are their products and the specs of each vehicle important but also the company’s reputation is important. Here are some of the top side-by-side manufacturers that I want to talk about today:
- Arctic Cat
- CF Moto
- John Deere
As with anything that can be sold, they will be plenty of people trying to make a buck. Companies will try to do something unique to attract customers. Some focus on public relations and showing that they are trustworthy. Some try to push the boundaries of these vehicles and others pride themselves in making a simple vehicle that runs well and gets the job done.
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Arctic Cat has a long history with the outdoors and making equipment and entertainment for those that love the outdoors. They are well known and they make good products. Arctic Cat has expanded its line of products over the years to include off-road recreational vehicles. They have ATVs and UTVs among their snowmobiles. UTVs is the market we are specifically looking into because that is what the article is about.
The Arctic Cat company was created by Edgar Hetten who was the co-founder of Polaris. Edgar was a pioneer in snowmobiles and the company tries to live up to that legacy today.
How is the company living up to that legacy? In recent years Arctic Cat has focused on making their company greener. Many companies have done that for PR efforts but it makes sense that Arctic Cat is doing this. Everything that they produce and all the money that they make hinges on the fact that we still have the great outdoors and healthy landscapes to use these various off-road vehicles on.
Beyond that, they have also started to increase their market reach and started producing UTVs that are meant for farmers and ranchers. They have done well and plenty of ranchers use them today.
Arctic Cat is overall a respected company with plenty of products to choose from. They are determined to have environmentally friendly practices and procedures. They are expanding their horizons and helping to improve the lives of people whether through recreation or utility.
Polaris Industries is one of those well-known companies that have their hands in so many types of vehicles and continues to expand. Within the realm of UTVs, they have a couple of different options ranging from recreational, utility and a hybrid of the two.
Polaris makes some stellar off-roading vehicles. They are recognized not only by the consumers who stand behind them and their products but they are also recognized by the military. Polaris has been making ATVs for the military since the 19080s. There are some off-road vehicles that are made specifically for the army like the MRZR-D which is a diesel version of the RZR.
Despite making some great vehicles, sometimes things just go wrong and you have to recall vehicles and get them fixed. Over the past few years, Polaris has had to recall multiple ATVs and UTVs that had defects. The problems have caused fires to start while using different vehicles. This was more prominent in 2015 and they are making efforts to fix these problems.
They have become leaders in the recreational use of side-by-sides. The RZR holds market shares high and above competitors. Of course, they have been hurt by recalls in recent years but they are still going at it and they have diversified their product lines to help with the fallback.
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Honda is generally known for their cars but they have really shown that they can make their name known in the UTV world. In recent years they have come out with the Honda Pioneer line of UTVs and they are incredible. They are the mix between recreation and utility which seems to be the trend recently.
They have a couple of different models. The smallest of the bunch is relatively affordable and can hold two people. There are five different models in total with the last one being able to sit 5 people! That is kind of unique in the world of UTVs. Although, more recently the number of seats in UTVs have been increasing.
Honda only has the Pioneer line for now. Their focus is on power and usability. They do a good job at this and the pioneer gets the job done. The shocks are able to be adjusted to the weight that is in your vehicle. The utility functions were not overlooked either. The bed is good sized and you can unhook it to dump the load placed in it. If you are looking for a new utility UTV, I would highly suggest looking into Honda’s Pioneer line.
Related Reading: Honda Side-by-Sides: How They Compare to Polaris
Yamaha has done something that I find quite unique. They have three different kinds of UTV styles and what interests me is that they put recreation and sport UTVs as separate things.
Yamaha’s utility line, Viking has a few different models to choose from. One of their most impressive models, the Viking Ranch Edition, holds 6 people and is built for the rigors of ranch work. The YXZ line is known for being the ultimate dune buggy but it also has the ability to climb trails.
The YXZ is actually an example of how Yamaha has been listening to its consumers. The 2019 models have made plenty of improvements. They made the roll cage and the roof larger to accommodate taller people. The shocks have been improved and revised because of suggestions of consumers. There are other improvements as well but it goes to show that Yamaha is aware of their products and improvements that need to be made.
Besides all of that, Yamaha makes a very appealing vehicle. They all function well and they look beautiful. Yamaha UTVs were the first to have power steering and they lead in that area among UTVs.
I really enjoy Kawasaki’s machines because they are affordable and they are great for the price you pay. They are not the fanciest in the lineup but they get the job done. Mule Pro is their line of utility UTVs and I would say that this is the best thing they have to offer. They do have a more sports/recreational UTV called the TERYX but I had honestly never heard about and it seems overshadowed by all the big names.
The Mule Pro does have some 6-seater UTVs. They do have a line of diesel UTVs as well. The Mule Pro is highly regarded as a great utility vehicle for tough jobs. The great thing is these vehicles are smaller and you can zip around and get medium sized jobs done. They are incredibly useful.
If I had to say anything about Kawasaki UTVs, I would say that they are reliable. They do not focus so much on bells and whistle. They spend the time focusing on making an efficient and reliable UTV that can run on difficult terrain and get the jobs done that you need throughout the day. The only thing that I do not like is that these vehicles are bulky. They take up more space than other sleeker models created by competitors.
Can-Am has the whole UTV/ATV aesthetic down. They make some incredible looking off-roading vehicles. The Maverick is a piece of beauty and the Commander is versatile in its uses. I see them as an aggressive company that pushes the limits of what a UTV is and what it can do.
As with most UTV companies, Can-Am has its own set of multiple choices to choose from. The Defender is their simple utility UTV and the Maverick is their sports model. The Maverick Trail is a smaller vehicle built to go on all kinds of trails and because of its narrow design, it can fit in some tight areas. The Commander is their ultimate adventure package.
Can-Am has always impressed me with its design and specs. The Defender makes for a great hunting vehicle and it holds its own. When I think of Can-Am, I think of powerful off-roading vehicles with high endurance. You cannot really go wrong with Can-Am. They will continue to make great products.
Related Reading: Can-Am vs. Polaris Side-by-Sides
CFMoto is starting to become more popular in the United States. It is based out of China and hearing that might scare some people but CFMoto holds their own. The nice thing about CFMoto is that they have used the same name for a while and they have not changed their name like some Chinese manufacturers do when they get in a rough spot.
What should you expect from a UTV company trying to gain some traction in the United States? I personally think that they do create good vehicles. I would not say they are top of the line which makes sense because they have not found their identity completely. One thing I do like is that it comes with plenty of good things in it with no extra cost. It is hard to walk away with a UTV without a list of things that manufacturers are trying to sell you for extra cash.
I would not say that their vehicles are utility UTVs. They are more uptown I guess. I think it is not meant for the gritty work. I think it is good for those who want a UTV for like the beach or terrain that is not going to challenge them a ton. It is a pleasure vehicle. Give it a look especially if you are new to this whole UTV business.
If you are looking for a mid-range UTV and want to try out a new hobby but not invest a whole lot of money into it, I would give these a try. They are getting more popular so you might as well be ahead of the game.
Related Reading: CFMoto UTVs: Are They Good Quality?
Kymco makes a simply designed UTV. Their UXV model is meant to be an all-around UTV. It can do a little bit of everything. It is a jack of all trades vehicle. I like Kymco UTVs mostly because I feel like they have never let me down. The basic model of the UXV will not get you going fast. It is designed to get you up to speed and then get you over rocks and rough terrain. They are built for climbing rocks in places like Southern Utah.
They do have some model that really works well for utility purposes. The UXV 700i LE Prime Edition has electronic power steering and other features that allow for some tough work. It also comes with a 2,500 lbs winch and a bed that extends. I have been eyeing this one for a while. It looks really nice.
I think that the Kymco UTVs are nothing special in terms of flashy or top-notch vehicles but I do think that they get the job done and they do it well. They do not try to be anything they are not. They work great for getting across the terrain and that is what you can expect from them.
When I think of Bobcats, I think of construction vehicles and small ones at that. Coming from a construction background, it only makes sense that Bobcat makes utility focused UTVs. That is what they are good at and it shows. The Bobcat 3400 is a great utility vehicle. It is truly meant for working and hauling stuff. It is a workhorse and it will not fail you. If you are serious about using a UTV for work, give this a look I think that Bobcat makes some great side-by-sides for working.
Many farmers recommend Bobcat models. They are not fancy but they do get the job done. I would not recommend these who want a UTV for sport or major trail riding. I do not think that it is built to maneuver around rocks or go up and down large rocky terrain. That is not the purpose of these side-by-sides.
The Bobcat models are meant to carry loads and do it well. While operating one, I felt that the vehicle operated the same no matter if I had something in it or not. I personally think that Bobcat has made some truly great workhorse UTVs. They took their knowledge from construction and made a great utility vehicle that works great on a farm or any other place that needs a smaller vehicle to do some work.
John Deere makes me think of farming. That is all it does. They are known all over the United States as a great workhorse vehicle manufacturer. They make the classic UTV called the “Gator.” They tend to have uses in all walks of life. I have seen them on farms, haybale rides during October, and even at schools and colleges. They are highly respected and I feel pretty safe using one.
Because of their reputation, they do make military-grade Gators that are used by the US and Canadian militaries. They have different models of their Gators. They are all built for farming and they have classic green color that makes you think of small farms in the more rural areas of your region.
Not only are they reliable vehicles but they also are not incredibly expensive. They are not meant to be pleasure UTVs or sports ones. They are meant to be workhorses similar to the Bobcat models. I know many people that have John Deere UTVs and they love them. Everybody knows about John Deere and their product lines.
In 2018, John Deere was recognized as one of the World’s most ethical companies. I think that is incredible. John Deere makes quality UTVs that are good at what they are meant for. They do not try to market the UTVs for what they are not. They are meant for farming and working and I am sure they will continue to be reliable.