Best Side-by-Side UTVs for Families with Kids


Ask anyone around you about what the most important thing in their life is and they’ll say, family. We love our families and want to have good quality fun with them when we can.

We have ATVs, dirtbikes, and side by side UTVs for quite some time. Recently, however, there has been a spike in the UTV industry of four-seater UTVs and bigger to accommodate the demand for a family adventure.

Now parents who have enjoyed childhood adventures on single ATVs and such can share those experiences with their children as a family unit in a safe and fun way.

Compiled here is some information on the top six family-oriented UTVs on the market and what they have to offer you and your family.

The Top Six Family UTVs:

  • Can-Am Commander Max DPS
  • Honda Pioneer 1000-5 Deluxe
  • Kawasaki Teryx 4
  • Polaris General 4 1000 EPS
  • Textron Stampede 4
  • Yamaha Wolverine X4

Can-Am Commander Max DPS – $14,299-16,599

  • Stadium Style Seating
  • Rotax 1000 V-twin Engine
  • CVT transmission
  • Throttle Control
  • Eco and Sport
  • Tri-Mode DPS
  • TTI

First, we have my personal favorite the Can-Am Commander Max. This particular model comes in three different packages: DPS, XT, and Limited.

I’ll state the base specifications that come with every package and then talk about some of the awesome limited options that really make this my favorite model for families.

One of the greatest features of this UTV is that every model has stadium style seating no matter what package you decide to go with you will have plenty of leg space and slightly raised rear seating.

Those seats also offer lumbar and shoulder support. They are adjustable up to a full 6.3 inches.

They allow you to even completely and easily remove the seats entirely and use their freestanding ability to enjoy sitting outside the vehicle.

Those seat accessories aren’t only for the driver and passenger seats but also the rear passenger seats as well which are great for the family.

The engine on this model is definitely big enough to get the job done as it boasts 85-hp that comes out of a Rotax 1000 V-twin engine. If your family likes speed, then Commander Max will live up to the challenge.

Mechanically this machine is flat out smart. Commander Max has a CVT transmission with Electric Drive Belt Protection.

The integrated Electric Drive Belt Protection monitors the CVT belt and notifies the driver if there is a problem.

So if the driver is in High Gear but needs to be in Low the vehicle won’t move and will alert the driver of the problem.

Another smart feature is the throttle control system that helps maintain optimum throttle even when the driver’s foot is bouncing around due to rough terrain.

The Commander Max also has two drive-train modes ECO and Sport.

The Tri-Mode Dynamic Power Steering (DPS) has three modes (MIN, MED, & MAX) so that the driver can choose how much steering assist they want given the terrain that they are navigating.

The Torsional Trailing Arms Independent (TTI) rear suspension as well as the Double-A arms front suspension help to keep Commander Max very stable over any terrain.

The Commander Max comes with 14-inch aluminum wheels and 27-inch Maxxis Bighorn tires. The non-directional tires do a great job at absorbing any terrain and make for a very smooth and comfortable ride.

This particular model also has a dual-level cargo box that is really handy with carrying any type of cargo around without hindering the comfort and smoothness of the ride.

The cargo box can carry up to 600 pounds and has a watertight panel that separates the top and lower levels making two independent spaces if needed. The bed also has a removable tailgate for storing larger items.

This UTV also has a towing capacity of about 1,200 pounds.

Now on to some of the cool features of the Commander Max Limited.

Commander Max Limited:

Here is a short list of just some of the features that come in the limited edition of Commander Max.

  • Air Control Suspension (ACS) with FOX Air Assist shocks – an onboard control panel allows for six different shock settings.
  • Garmin GPS
  • A Sound System with four speakers and is also iPod/iPhone compatible and has a USB port as well for other music options.
  • 4,500-pound WARN winch
  • Half Windshield
  • Rear Net
  • Heavy-Duty Front Bumper
  • Rugged Bed Guards
  • Mudguards
  • Analog/Digital Guage Package: Has high-grade instrumentation. Includes a tachometer and speedometer with an advanced digital information center.
  • Limited Seat Trim: integrated headrests and side padding. Also easily removable and freestanding.

Honda Pioneer 1000-5 Deluxe: $17,699 + $700 Destination Charge

  • 999cc Engine
  • Six-Speed Dual Clutch Transmission
  • Standard and Sport Modes
  • EPS

Everyone loves a Honda. The trusted car manufacturer has its hand in anything from day to day vehicles to supercars to off-roading vehicles.

Honda really shows off their professionalism and high-quality utility vehicles with the Honda Pioneer 1000-5 Deluxe. The Honda Pioneer 1000 is a bit more pricey than its competitors but is well worth the extra cash.

This beast of a machine has a 999cc engine and can carry 1000 pounds of cargo in its bed and can tow up to 2000 pounds. So it is great for heavy-duty lifting and those tough chores around the ranch.

If you are a bit of a gear head like I am then this next detail of the Honda Pioneer 1000 will really knock your socks off and have you racing to go try one of these bad boys out.

The Honda Pioneer 1000 has the industry’s first ever six-speed dual-clutch transmission. That is actually a really big step forward for UTVs and we hope to see more of those DCT’s in other vehicles to come.

The most interesting and exciting fact about the dual clutch transmission of the Pioneer 1000 is that it is actually very similar to the Acura NSX, Honda’s amazingly powerful supercar.

That dual-clutch transmission is all gears! It is not belt fed what-so-ever. That can make all the difference in transmissions because belt transmissions can often break easier than gear/chain fed transmissions.

Basically, with this type of transmission, the driver can really become one with the machine. There is a direct connection between the accelerator and the wheels.

If you have ever driven a nice sports car with an outstanding race transmission you will know what I mean when I say the connection is something to be sought after in any vehicle.

So thanks to this amazing transmission and to the top of the line ECU, the gear shifts on this machine are seamless and precise!

The Honda Pioneer 1000, much like the Can-Am Commander mentioned above, has two drive modes, Standard and Sport Mode. The sport mode makes use of the manual paddle shifters.

The standard mode is quite adaptive though and through the Advanced Transmission Logic, senses the drivers style of driving and adapts accordingly.

That outstanding ECU also detects descents and provides actual engine braking. The paddle shifters work just like in any other vehicle and even in standard drive mode the driver can manually shift the gears if wanted.

The Honda Pioneer 1000 has a 2 wheel drive (locked rear differential), a 4 wheel drive (locked rear/limited-slip front differential), Differential lock (locked rear/locked front to maximize traction),

and a Turf Mode that utilizes the 2WD that helps protect against damaging turf or crops. So the farmers and lawn care experts can take a sigh of relief on that one.

The seating on the Honda Pioneer 1000 is also really ingenuitive. It comes with five-person seating and that’s what really makes this specific UTV great for families and kids.

The front bench of the Pioneer 1000 can seat two or three comfortably, and that is perhaps one of my favorite parts as well for this vehicle. While most front seats only allow two individual bucket seats this Honda has a bench.

That front bench seat offers hand-hold straps and a shoulder belt for the middle passenger so that all of the people up front can have some added stability when cruising through “rougher” terrain.

The center seat is also positions slightly forward as to offer leg space and so you aren’t bumping into each other on that bench.

The rear seating is available for two people and is another bright spot on the Honda Pioneer 1000. The two back seats can flip down as to make extra cargo space in the back.

The Pioneer 1000 also offers netting on all the hard doors for added safety, something parents are always wanting for their children/family.

The Honda Pioneer 1000 has electric power steering (EPS) which will react to vehicle speed and steering input. The vehicle also has tilt steering so that the driver and adjust the steering wheel to the desired position.

Just like the Can-Am Commander, the Honda Pioneer 1000 also has various packages that offer different things such as the All Weather, Trail, Hunting, Work, Protection, and Custom packages.

Spec Chart:2016 Honda Pioneer 1000-5 Deluxe UTV
MSRP:$17,699 + 700 Destination Charge
Engine Type:999c liquid-­cooled OHC Unicam parallel-­twin four‐stroke, 4 valves/cylinder
Bore x stroke:92.0 x 75.15
Fuel system:Fuel Injection, 44mm throttle body
Ignition:Full transistorized ignition
Clutch:2-­Multiplate Wet
Drivetrain
Drive system:Direct front and rear driveshafts
Transmission:6­‐speed fully Automatic DCT w/ Sport mode, paddle‐shift manual
Suspension (Type/Travel)
Front:Double Wishbone; 10.55″
Rear:Double Wishbone; 10″
Tires/Wheels
Front:27×9-14
Rear:27×11-14
Brakes
Front:Hydraulic w/ (2) 210mm discs
Rear:Hydraulic w/ (2) 210mm discs
Dimensions
Wheelbase:80.2″
Turning Radius:13.8′
Claimed curb weight:1709 lbs.
Ground clearance:12.4″
Turning radius:13.8′
Length/width/height:116.6″x 62.9″ x 76.4″
Fuel capacity:7.9 gal., 1.7 gal. reserve
Load Capacity
Cargo capacity:1000 lbs.
Towing capacity:2000 lbs.
Electrical
Lighting:
Instrumentation:
Colors:Red, White, Metallic Silver, Honda Phantom Camo

Kawasaki Teryx 4: $15,799 + 699 Destination Charge

  • Three Year Warranty
  • CVT transmission
  • Dual Hydraulic Breaking

The Kawasaki Teryx 4 is very similar to the Kawasaki Teryx with the only real difference being the additional two extra seats in the back.

If you are a Kawasaki fan than this UTV will be a great addition for a smaller family of four.

The Teryx 4 has 4 wheel drive and has a 783cc engine, Fox Podium 2.0 shocks that give 11 inches of ground clearance, and a stout chassis that is backed by a three-year warranty.

Unlike the Honda Pioneer, the Teryx 4 has a belt driven CVT transmission, that offers automatic downhill breaking. So it’s still good, great even, but I just love that gear driven transmission on the Honda.

The Kawasaki Teryx 4 is nothing to scoff at though seeing as it has a solid fuel injected engine and two 36mm Mikuni throttle bodies, so it certainly has the get-up and go that people want in their off-road vehicles.

Interestingly enough the Teryx 4 has a higher towing capacity than the Honda coming in at 1,300 pounds, 100 pounds more than the Honda Pioneer yet has the same 600-pound cargo capacity.

The braking system is very nice on this Kawasaki Teryx. It has dual-hydraulic discs with twin-piston calipers on the front wheels and a sealed wet brake in the rear.

The Kawasaki Teryx 4 also has electric power steering to give the driver a comfortable and controllable driving experience.

Polaris General 1000 4 EPS: $21,299

Here we have one of the most trusted brands on the market, Polaris’s General 1000 4 EPS.

The specifications on this machine are listed here in this chart.

Specifications:2018 Polaris General 4 1000 EPS
Engine Type:999 cc; 4-Stroke DOHC Twin Cylinder
Fuel Delivery:EFI
Transmission:Automatic PVT P/R/N/L/H
Suspension (Type/Travel)
Front:Dual A-Arm Fox QS3 12.25” Travel
Rear:Dual A-Arm Fox QS33 13.2” Travel
Brakes Front:Hydraulic Disc with Dual-Bore Caliper
Brakes Rear:Hydraulic Dual-Bore Rear Caliper
Tires Front:27 x 9-14; Maxxis / Cast Aluminum
Tires Rear:27 x 11-14; Maxxis / Cast Aluminum
Overall length width height:150”x62.5”x74”
Dump Bed Capacity600lb
Maximum Ground Clearance:12”
Wheelbase:113”
Fuel Capacity:9.5gal
Claimed Dry Weight:1857lb
ColorsBlack Pearl
Price:$21,299

As you can see from the chart it is very similar to many of the aforementioned vehicles. Instead of a CVT transmission, however, Polaris has their PVT transmission which some like better than the CVT.

The Polaris General is seen as best in its class for comfort and roomy interior. The long wheelbase, however, will make this vehicle a bit difficult to navigate in tight terrain.

Textron Stampede 4 : $15,199

Many people not familiar with the UTV world might not recognize this next manufacturer. Textron is not new however, they have been in the UTV market for quite some time.

Their former name was Arctic Cat, a brand that was well loved by drivers who love speedy and agile UTVs.

If there were three words that could describe the Textron Stampede 4 it would be space, space, and space. This machine is one of the roomiest in its class.

It is the only extended bed UTV in its class, has a roomy interior, large bed space, and even has extra storage space behind the rear seats. I mean this thing can haul all your camping gear and more!

It’s not just roomy either, it’s powerful. It has an 849cc parallel-twin power plant engine that pushes out 84-hp. So if you are in a race to the campsite this will win without needing a second trip for gear.

The trade-off for having all of that extra space in the Textron Stampede 4 is that you also have the longest wheelbase in its class so you can forget about making any tight squeezes in this UTV.

Yamaha Wolverine X4: $15,999

  • Small Wheelbase
  • 846cc twin cylinder engine
  • Ultramatic Transmission

The Yamaha Wolverine X4 may just be the perfect UTV for families! I would say that This is in my top three alongside the Can-Am Commander, and the Honda Pioneer 1000-5.

This Yamaha Wolverine X4 does only seat four, however, so if you’re looking for more seats it might not be the best fit.

However, it does have the stadium seats, so the back row is raised slightly higher than the front giving the passengers a good view of what is in front of them.

The fact that it has only four seats means it has a smaller wheelbase though, only 82.7 inches. That means it is the best in maneuverability in its class and can squeeze into those tight spaces all the other family sized UTVs can’t

The Wolverine X4 is quick too. It has an 846cc twin-cylinder engine that makes 80-hp. IT also has a smooth Ultramatic Transmission. So while it is a belt driven CVT it is perhaps the smoothest CVT on the market.

It also has a centrifugal clutch in that CVT transmission which makes it so smooth.

A cool feature on the Wolverine X4 is that it has a rabbit and a turtle setting. So the turtle setting only allows the vehicle to go 25 miles per hour. That’s perfect if you have family on and want to be safe.

This UTV also comes with self-leveling shocks, which really help when you have cargo in the back and don’t want to have to adjust everything for that trip carrying things.

Lastly, the Wolverine X4 has versatile cargo space. The rear seats move forward to allow for extra cargo space in the back. Overall this UTV by Yamaha is a perfect fit for the family.

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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