Best 6-Seat Side-by-Sides on the Market


When you are looking to buy a 6-seater side-by-side, you want to know the specs, how it handles, is it comfortable, and other things. Since there are so many to choose from, I figured that I would make it simple for you. These are my top choices.

  • Best Utility Side-by-Side: Ranger Crew XP 900
  • Best Family/Friends Side-by-Side: Can-Am Defender HD10 Max XT
  • Best Value Side-by-Side: Kawasaki Mule Pro-FXT

I split these three 6-seater side-by-sides into different categories depending on what I thought worked best. These are my thoughts on them and why I like them. I will touch on the pros and cons of each. I will be including review videos that are not all from the current year. Specs may have improved on models or have gotten worse. These are my top picks.

NamePriceHorsepowerTowing CapacityPayloadWinchGround Clearance
Ranger Crew XP 900 EPS$14,09968 HP2,000 lbs1,750 lbsN/A12 in
Can-Am Defender HD10 Max XT$17,39982 HP2,500 lbs1,750 lb4,500 lbs13 in
Kawasaki Mule Pro-FXT$13,09947 HP2,000 lbs1,616 lbsN/A10.2 in

Best Utility Side-by-Side: Ranger Crew XP 900

Our Choice: Ranger Crew XP 900

Pros: Handles really well at all speeds, Plenty of accessories to choose from, Powerful low-end ability

Cons: Ride is not as smooth, seats are uncomfortable, not very adaptable

NamePriceHorsepowerTowing CapacityPayloadWinchGround Clearance
Ranger Crew XP 900 EPS$14,09968 HP2,000 lbs1,750 lbsN/A12 in

The Polaris Ranger Crew is one of the toughest UTVs on the market. It is well worth the money especially if you are looking to haul some heavy things at a good price. It is a really good looking vehicle. The Accessories that you can get for the Ranger are incredible as well. You can’t go wrong with a Ranger Crew.

One Powerful and Moderately Fast UTV

When it comes to power, Polaris Ranger XP 900 is absolutely where it is at. It stands at the head of Utility side-by-sides. Polaris has been around the block and it knows what to do. The Ranger is one of their tried and true vehicles on the market. It is one of the most well know UTVs out there.

When it comes to shifting, the Ranger does a great job at just moving through the gears. It handles well and when you drive it, you can feel that it is high-quality stuff. Polaris knows what they are doing. it can get jobs done. This might not seem like much but when you are in the side-by-side throughout the day consistently, having a nice ride over a fast one is preferable. Can you imagine being in a vehicle that does not shift well or something that creates a bumpy ride? I would rather not.

The only problem is that if you wanted to go fast in this thing, it may not be the vehicle for you. I suggest looking into the RZRs instead. It has a limiter which makes it cap out at a top speed of around 50 mph. I do not know why they did this but they did. The vehicle does have lots of low-end power so if you need to pull a stump out or just want to haul thing at a moderate speed. What it lacks in speed it makes up for in power. With 68 horsepower, it is not a shabby choice.

Handling

Handling works like a charm in this vehicle. It has its own power steering function similar to other models. Some other models have trouble with the power steering not functioning as well at certain speeds but the ratio in this vehicle is smartly designed to give you the maximum help you need at any given time.

The power steering is meant to always keep you at the same level of effort in steering. The Ratio is in steering and speed. When you slow down, the power steering will match the steering to the speed and then help you with steering. This makes it easier to turn and maneuver without getting half as tired. On rough terrain, the power steering in the Ranger is a life saver. You do not want to show up to do a job with tired arms.

Power steering can be tricky to get right. It has to help out a person so that they do not get tired from the steering but it also has to feel real. You need to be able to feel the turning and feel the road somewhat underneath you. You have to get the ratios right and I believe that Polaris did a great job.

The shocks are not the best on these vehicles. They work and they help but the ride is generally bumpier. Any rough terrain will be felt a little more. Make sure you are strapped in for this one. That can be annoying for the long trips but it does have good power steering. You will have to pick your poison on this one.

Storage Space and Internal Design

The storage design on the Polaris Ranger is good. It is practical, like you would expect. Nothing too fancy. It has the typical under-the-seat storage for plenty of things like tools and your lunch. Those are all located under the passenger seat and the back seats. It a box on the dash to hold other things that you might need more on hand at a moments notice.

There is plenty of storage here and you will not be hurting to have more. I think Polaris did a great job of keeping it simple in design. They have been around for a bit and they know what they are doing.

When it comes to adaptability, the Ranger does not have a lot. You cannot really move anything to change the layout. It is what you see and that is about as far as it goes for adaptability. Anything bigger than the space you have for it just will not fit and that can be really annoying.

The safety nets are designed well so it is not a hassle to get in and out of the vehicle. The spacing is good and getting out and in the vehicle is pretty easy without much awkward scooting around.

The middle guy in the front has next to nothing to hold onto which can be really uncomfortable on a bumpy ride. Everybody else has at least something to hold onto. The backseat has the best handholds but the front could be better.

The seats are not the best I have sat in. Which was surprising to me because Polaris has been around for a while and I figured that this would be have been something they had figured out a long time ago. It is not the worst but I expected more comfort while sitting in this high-tier UTV.

Thankfully not all of the interior is uncomfortable. Space is good and comfortable for all who ride in it. The backseat has plenty of knee room which is more vital than you would think on long rides throughout the day.

Polaris Knows How to Do Accessories

One of the biggest strengths of Polaris is their accessories. They have been around for a bit so they have worked out all of the kinks in their UTVs. Everything fits well and are easy to mount. Their snowplow attachment, for example, is so easy to attach. It only takes a few seconds to attach. You take the winch and attach it to the bar at the end of the snowplow and then reel in the winch. It hooks into place and it is efficient.

That is just one example. Polaris has attachments and accessories of all kinds. Basically, everything you could think of or want is available for purchase. Storage racks, gun mounts, utility sprayers, and even a little tent for breaking the wind. They have so much stuff because they have been through a lot and seen what is needed for different scenarios.

Pricing

The Polaris Ranger XP 900 has a lot going for it. It is a powerful side-by-side with plenty of accessories great power steering. The storage is great but the interior design is lacking a little bit. It does fit better for bigger people. Overall, I think that the price is great.

You will most likely spend a little more money on extra accessories like a winch. It does not come with one. I believe that it should. The Lower price does help because you can spend a little extra money on accessories and not feel like you are throwing a ton of money at this thing. I think this a great choice for a prime utility side-by-side.

Best Family/Friends Side-by-Side: Can-Am Defender HD10 Max

Our Choice: Can-Am Defender HD10 Max

Pros: Ride is smooth, Adaptable, Plenty of storage space

Cons: Does not handle as well as others, Accessories are not as good

NamePriceTorqueHorsepowerTowing CapacityPayloadWinchGround Clearance
Can-Am Defender HD10 Max XT$17,39969 lb-ft82 HP2,500 lbs1,750 lb4,500 lbs13 in

The Can-Am Defender does so many things right when it comes to long days at work. It is spacious for family and friends to come and join you. If you have a crew that you are working with, the Defender does a great job at accommodating the extra weight. I have included a video that goes in-depth on a head-to-head comparison of both the Ranger and the Defender. It brings up some great points.

Adaptability, Comfort, and Space

Since this is a 6 seater, you obviously have people to haul around in it. You would not buy one of these if you did not have to carry a bunch of people. With people comes things they bring with them. Any good 6 seater needs to have plenty of storage space and the Defender does a great job with this. I think that Can-Am does a great job at this. There is plenty of space underneath the seat to place items or boxes. On the dash is a removable box with a handle that can hold a couple of snacks or lunches for your family or friends.

Under the two front passenger seats is a bin that is watertight. It can fit in the back too if you need extra room in the front. It is larger than the box on the dash and can hold more. The middle seat in the front can be put down to reveal a cup holder and some other storage areas. The front dash also has other storage areas. The Defender does storage space right.

The seats feel good and are cushioned in the right places. The set up for the driver just makes sense. Everything you need is within your reach. I personally feel that the steering wheel is far enough away from my chest to where I do not feel confined. The Passengers have plenty of room too. The handhold for the front passenger is good. It feels good and the spacing is right.

The nets are kind of awkward to clip and are more of a hassle than they should be. If you are a big person, you should not be in the back. You will not have nearly enough leg room. Besides that, the legroom is not bad. Although, getting in and out can be annoying. People knock their knees sometimes when getting in or out.

The Defender has the ability to make more room and can be configured differently by hand if needed to be. Now, of course, you cannot rearrange the entire cab but you can remove the big box underneath the front passenger seat and even lift up all of the seats entirely to make room for bigger things.

Clearence

With only 13 inches of travel on this model, it makes me worried that it may bottom out (others are worse). Not so actually. It has factory level gas powered shocks that really do an outstanding job to make sure you do not ruin the bottom of your vehicle and keeps you riding smoothly. One of the most smooth rides I have ever had were in the Defender.

Whether it is large or small bumps, it can handle it and you will not feel much. Everybody will stay in their seats without a problem. That will be helpful if you doing stuff with young children. I will take a smooth ride over anything if there are a lot of people piled into the vehicle.

Handling

Can-Am recently in the past few years came out with a single-mode DPS system. DPS stands for “Dynamic Power Steering.” This helps with the maneuverability and making driving a simpler job. It makes steering easier and it has to change with the speed of your car. Its job is to create the perfect ratio of speed and steering effort so that when you drive, steering always feels the same.

This is especially helpful on rough terrain. Other UTVs have similar systems and the single-mode DPS system is not as good as others. Sometimes the ratio is not right and it leaves you fending for yourself with tougher steering than others.

Generally, I would go for a vehicle that has better and more reliable power steering but I were going on a long trip, I would rather have something that rides better than something that handles better. The handling on the Defender is not bad, it just is not the best.

The Defender has a payload up to 1,750 lbs and that is pretty great for a utility vehicle of this size. It has a two-inch receiver hitch in the back and can tow up to 2,500 lbs. The winch that comes built can hold up under 4,500 lbs. It does not slack in any of these areas. You can carry plenty of material and stuff in the bed of this UTV.

One thing I want to mention is the Turf Mode. Turf Mode helps when turning through low traction areas in the grass so you do not kick up and ruin the ground beneath you. The two back wheels are not connected so when you turn, one ends up turning faster than the other and can dig up the earth. With Turf Mode on, power gets transferred to the wheel that is not on a slick patch to get you through it faster and hopefully not dig up your grass and ruin the yard. This is great for landscaping purposes.

Is the Defender Equipped to Have Accessories?

Yes, there are things you can buy for it but not nearly as much as others who have been in the race for a while longer. Lights, windshields, side mirrors, and other accessories are available. You can extend the bed wall so you can carry taller stuff. The accessories are good but do not work as well and are not as seamless as other brands when it comes to accessories.

They do work. It is just not the strong suit of the Defender. Polaris does a much better job with their accessories. Fully outfitted, you can everything you could ever want. The Defender does come with more perks and things than some other UTVs do but also at the cost of more money. The extra money is because it comes with the important things in the factory model. It does not cost extra. It really depends on what you are trying to get out of your side-by-side.

Best Value Side-by-Side: Kawasaki Mule Pro-FXT

Our Choice: Kawasaki Mule Pro-FXT

Pros: Perks for good reasonable price, Practical, Smart design, collapsible backseat

Cons: Not a whole lot of storage space, Strange set up for dumping the bed, not as powerful as other models

NamePriceHorsepowerTowing CapacityPayloadWinchGround Clearance
Kawasaki Mule Pro-FXT$13,09947 HP2,000 lbs1,616 lbsN/A10.2 in

If you are looking for a powerful UTV for some tough work but only want to pay as much as you need to without excess, I would recommend the Kawasaki Mule Pro FXT. Sitting at $13,099, this is a great price for the package that comes with it. It has plenty of space and practical use in the cab for you to get your job done at a lower price. I want to focus on the perks that come with this vehicle for the price you get.

Practical Vehicle

If you are looking for something fancy and flashy with lots of random words being used to describe the amazing potential of the vehicle, I would not even think about investing in the Mule Pro-FXT. It is not meant for the high rollers. This vehicle is for the practical use of utility vehicles and nothing else. It is built to be sturdy. What the vehicle lacks fancy design it makes up for with a practical approach to sturdy, well-built design. You can count on the Mule Pro-FXT to do the heavy lifting.

It does lack a little in a comparative sense. The torque and payload departments are not as good as the others. It is not as strong in those areas but it is a better-built machine from my experience. With that kind of price, I think that is to be a little expected but if you are going for the practical side of things, this should not be too much of a worry. I mean it is a 6-seater utility UTV for a couple thousand cheaper than the competition. You really cannot beat that.

Thoughtful Design

The design of the vehicle is genius. It is simple yet smart. The thing that stood out to me is the overhead bar for the front seat passenger. I love that design because I have thought multiple times as a passenger how useful something to hold onto above me would be. The overhead bar does not exist in other UTVs as far as I am aware. Another small thing is the half doors. They are easy to open without much hassle.

It seems like every little thing inside of the cab was designed with a purpose. It is easy to get in and out and working the vehicle is simple and nice. When you use something a lot, you began to notice small things that you do not like or that make your job that much harder. This usually extends over a period of time. If you are working outside all day and you get into the UTV frequently, the small things really begin to stand out. Kawasaki Mule Pro-FXT does a great job at making the small things less of a hassle.

The dash is something that leaves a lot to be desired. This is more of a cosmetic thing. It does not really look appealing but it works and it does what it needs to. the LCD display feels kind of small, at least for me. I like to have a bigger display so it is easier to see something small in a quicker amount of time. Some of the buttons feel like you have to extend yourself more than you should on a vehicle. That is annoying. Besides that, I think that the design is good. That is the main thing that bothers me.

The bed is pretty small when you have the full six seats being used. That is just what you have to deal with. You can collapse the backseat (I will talk about that later) and it increases the size of the bed. How often will you have more than 3 people in your UTV at a time? I do not think that it is as big of a deal as it may seem.

It is not the biggest of the 3 models but for whatever reason, it feels bigger. It is roomier and it is a better fit for bigger people. That is not so much of a big deal for all people but I know plenty of really tall and big guys that complain about not enough leg room, having to duck a little while driving or just not feeling comfortable.

Not a Whole Lot of Storage Space

The biggest setback that I can think of is the lack of storage space. You really only have it on the dashboard and that barely holds anything. There are other spots in the cab where you can place your stuff but you have to pay extra money for the storage placement applications. I personally do not like this. I tend to put a lot of stuff in my car.

I think they did well-designing everything but the compartments to hold stuff. I do think that the extra bins to hold stuff under the bench was a missed opportunity. Everything else was designed to be practical and helpful. I guess one cannot really complain when you get this incredible vehicle at the price that it is.

Collapsible Back Seat

The thing that stands out most in the Mule Pro-FXT is the fact that you can collapse the back seat to make a bigger bed for carrying stuff. It has a latch to keep everything in place so you do not lose anything or have the collapsed back seat banging around. I love this idea because how often do you have 6 people in your UTV? Probably rarely I imagine. I think this is a smart use of the back portion of the UTV. I frequently wonder why other companies do not do this. I can’t see myself taking 6 people on UTV all the time. Why not make it collapsible and add extra room for carrying? It is such a neat idea.

It might seem like because of the collapsible back and just the smaller size of the vehicle that the backseat would not be comfortable. Believe it or not, the seats are comfortable and the back seat are fairly roomy as well. You should be able to fit just about anybody in here.

Although I think the idea of the collapsible backseat is totally wicked, it does have some difficulty trying to figure out how to collapse it the first few times. The seat sort of tilts up a bit and it seems kind of weird. It works but I think they could improve it. The roof also has to unlatch in the back when you lift the bed to dump it and that is kind of weird. I think that they should focus a little more design time on that aspect. I would be a happy man if they did that.

A Strong Vehicle

The vehicle comes with a powerful engine that does not get going fast but has the ability to power through. It has extremely good low-end power. After all, you are not using this for sports purposes and if you are, you bought the wrong UTV. It has the ability to carry heavy loads and the thing I appreciate is that the vehicle does not try to be anything but what it is. It gets the job done and it does it without all the bells and whistles.

If you looked at the table at the beginning of the article you will notice that the Kawasaki Mule Pro-FXT really does not have as much clearance as the others. Surprisingly everything is built well it ides not feel like it will bottom out. It is structured to hold things and hold them well.

Geoff Southworth

I am a California native and I enjoy all the outdoors has to offer. My latest adventures have been taking the family camping, hiking and surfing.

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