Let us face it…side-by-sides are expensive. Now I know that everyone has their hobbies, and they are willing to dump outrageous amounts of money into them, but typically there isn’t such a large start-up fee to getting into a hobby. The good news is that there are some UTV’s out there that you can find under 5 grand!
|SSR Motorsports||SRU170RS (Youth)||2018||$4,199|
|Hisun Motors||Sector 250||2018||$4,799|
|Hisun Motors||Strike 250||2018||$4,699|
|Bad Boy||Offroad XT||2008||$4,500|
|Polaris||Ranger 150 (Youth)||2018||$4,495|
|Polaris||RZR 170EFI (Youth)||2016||$4,299|
|Polaris||Ranger Xtreme Performance||2006||$4,405|
|Polaris||Ranger Xtreme Performance||2005||$4,080|
|Kawasaki||Mule 610 4×4||2013||$4,875|
|Kawasaki||Mule 610 4×4||2012||$4,635|
|Kawasaki||Mule 610 4×4||2011||$4,195|
|Kawasaki||Mule 610 4×4||2010||$4,000|
|Kawasaki||Mule 610 4×4||2009||$4,005|
|Kawasaki||Mule 610 4×4||2008||$3,745|
|Kawasaki||Mule 3010 4×4 Diesel||2008||$4,895|
|Kawasaki||Mule 610 4×4||2007||$3,470|
|Kawasaki||Mule 3010 trans||2007||$4,710|
|Kawasaki||Mule 3010 diesel||2007||$4,635|
With side-by-side riding that really is not the case, you are going to be spending thousands of dollars just to get your first side-by-side and if you are wanting a top of the line, new, vehicle, then you could be spending tens of thousands of dollars.
For the average Joe like you and me, dropping 30,000 dollars on a “toy” just is not feasible, and if you want to stay financially afloat then taking out a loan for the side-by-side does not really make sense either.
So, because of that a lot of people try to find ways to get a side-by-side for cheap and if that is what you want, then you should check out my article titled “7 Clever Ways to Buy a Side-by-Side on the Cheap.” There I discuss a variety of ways in which you can find good deals on cheap side-by-sides.
Knowing how to do something is only half the battle though. You may know how to search for things on craigslist and eBay effectively, but you also need to have an idea of which vehicles are already within your price range.
For that reason, I have compiled a list of various side-by-sides that you can purchase for under 5,000 dollars.
Reasons Why Buying a Side-by-Side for Under $5,000 May Not be the Best Choice
Let me be clear, a lot of these models are old. Allow me to rephrase that, some of these models are ancient. You are looking at 5-15 years old models and the side-by-sides that are new, are typically youth models.
“But Matt, I could easily find a good deal on eBay, or atvtrader, all the models cannot be that old.” Yes, you could run across a good deal locally as you peruse the various marketplaces. However, you’d have to be really lucky to find a newer, model vehicle for under 5,000 dollars.
Trust me on that too, I love working on cars, and always have one project or another I am working on at any given time, therefore I am constantly on Facebook marketplace, craigslist, or what have you, looking for good deals.
So not only does it take a constant eagle eye to find a good deal when they pop up, but if you are wanting a larger cc model, such as a 1000 series, or even something in the 800s or above, then I would not count on spending under 5,000 dollars for it.
If you do happen to run across a newer/bigger model side-by-side like that then I can guarantee that that model will have mechanical or cosmetic issues that would need to be fixed and that is why it is so cheap.
However, if you are a grease-monkey, know the mechanics behind side-by-sides and have the time and money to pour into a project then, by all means, look for those deals, they may be around and you may be able to get them for under 5,000 dollars.
For most of us though, we do not have the expertise, the time, or the money to put into a side-by-side and for that reason, I did not include any side-by-side in the information stated here in this article that is broken.
These prices reflect average prices found on atvtrader.com in various locales as well as the nada guide pricing for the specific vehicle. So you should definitely be aware of that when you are looking at these prices.
I know I mentioned this before, but it bears reminding, the majority of the side-by-side models listed here are pretty old. Now I would not recommend buying a side-by-side that is over ten years old, and ten is even pushing it for me.
When buying those older models you are going to run into more trouble than you would when buying a newer side-by-side. Side-by-sides work the same as cars, older models typically tend to have more mechanical issues.
No matter how well the vehicle may or may not have been taken care of, older models are most likely just going to give you more grief down the line, I mean that is why they are being sold in the first place because they are old.
Once again though the choice is up to you to decide whether or not you are going to want to take that kind of risk.
If you are dedicated to keeping that side-by-side budget of yours under 5,000 dollars though, then let us take a look at some various vehicles that could be on the market and in your price range.
And keep in mind that this is definitely not a comprehensive list of every side-by-side for under 5,000 dollars. It is simply a list of some of the better side-by-sides that fit that price range.
It is most likely that you have never heard of SSR Motors and that is because it really is not on the radar of any big side-by-side fan. To be honest I had never come across this company either until I began to research this topic.
It is not a crazy thing that no-one has heard of this company though. A lot of smaller start-ups and companies often get side-lined and push to the back of the line by the “big name” brands.
It is one thing when the market that you are competing in is comprised of the local grocery stores in a small town, it is another thing when you are in an international market competing with names like Can-Am, Polaris, Honda, and Kawasaki.
Plus this SSR Motors company really does not seem to be anything special. They have some dirtbikes, street bikes, pit bikes, and scooters, but they have only one side-by-side and that is the SRU170RS.
Most of their vehicles really are not that impressive, they have relatively small engines and seem to just be pretty “economy class” vehicles. So while affordable the vehicles are not jaw-dropping in any way.
Companies like this are not too prominent in the United States, however overseas and even in Latin America, where I lived for a few years, there are lots of lower end companies that sell rather cheap products such as these.
The SRU170RS is certainly not an exception to the standard of boredom that this company has seemed to set. While the SSR side-by-side may not stack up well against the side-by-side market as a whole, if you narrow it down to our under 5,000 dollar parameter, then it actually makes the list.
The thing that helps make this side-by-side stand out is the features that it brings for the price that it asks.
Some of the top features of this vehicle include is a light bar that is mounted atop of the side-by-side, a reinforcement bar on the front end as well as the back end of the vehicle, and mesh doors on either side of the vehicle.
Plus if I am being completely honest the SRU170RS does not look that bad either. It certainly is not the ugliest side-by-side that I have ever seen, our friend the Kawasaki Mule (early years) takes that prize.
Regardless of the features that the SRU170RS includes, it does not help the vehicle from being absolutely gutless. Granted the engine is only a small 170cc, single-cylinder, four-stroke. The engine is not liquid-cooled however, simply air-cooled.
Plus with that small of an engine, the side-by-side will only have a maximum speed of 35mph seeing that the engine only produces 11.1 horsepower and 8.1 ft-lb of torque.
So if you are wanting a rather easy-to-control side-by-side for your 12-year-old kid to start learning in, then this would not be too bad of an option. If you are looking for something to do some work in, and have a good time ripping around in, then this probably would not do it for you.
The ground clearance for this vehicle is only 7 inches, it has a Double A-arm suspension in the front and a swingarm in the back. The side-by-side does have a cargo box, but it only has a carrying capacity of 330 pounds.
If you were wanting something that was 4WD then this still would not fit the bill. The SRU170RS is a RWD vehicle with a CVT transmission. The side-by-side is not too wide, nor too narrow coming in at about 72-inches wide.
So is it the best side-by-side in the world? No, not whatsoever, but then again I do not believe it was designed to try and be. This is a great starter vehicle, and it is cheap. You get what you pay for.
The added light bar, mesh doors, and reinforcement bars help give it some value though. So if you were looking for a good starter for your child and did not want to break the bank getting something for them, then I would not mind recommending something like this because it does seem to fit more of a youth model type vehicle.
Here we have a more recognized company, Hisun. While the Chinese based company is not huge, it certainly is not small either. It is a pretty well-rounded company and they are actually gaining a lot of traction in the side-by-side world.
The reason for that traction gain is because they are giving a good quality product, for an astonishingly cheap price. Where the SSR Motorsports side-by-side lacked, the Sector 250 and Strike 250 excel.
Now could I say that these models compare to brands like Polaris and Can-am…no, not really. Currently, Polaris and Can-Am do not even offer a 250cc side-by-side on their sites.
So for the type of engine that then, Hisun really is the way to go. It is not the biggest, most powerful engine around, but it is powerful enough to haul things around the farm and get a good amount of work done.
That is not to say that Hisun does not make larger options either. Unlike the SSR Motorsport company, Hisun has a large selection of side-by-sides that range from the 250 models to the 1000 size models. That is with the Sector models and Strike models.
As far as the specs go on the Sector 250 they are not too shabby. This Hisun side-by-side has a single-cylinder, OHV, four-stroke, liquid-cooled electrically fuel-injected, 229cc engine. Now that may not seem like much, but when put to the test the engine passes with flying colors.
The Sector 250 does have a cargo bed, that only has a 110 lb carrying capacity, so it is lacking just a tad there, but the cargo bed is gas-assisted and the vehicle has a towing capacity of 2,500 pounds which is more than enough to tow things on the farm, at the job site, or wherever you may be.
The transmission on the Sector 250 is the same as many other side-by-sides out there, using a CVT belt transmission. Suspension wise, it is similar to the SRU170RS in that it has an independent Double A-arm suspension in the front and a swing arm in the back.
The Sector 250 is lacking a tad in ground clearance as well, with only an 8-inch clearance. This side-by-side is also only a 2WD side-by-side so it has that slight downside as well.
However, the Sector does make up for these few faltering areas with some sweet features, like a windshield that is included in the cost, as well as a 2,500 lb capacity winch.
So if you are an adult on a budget and need a decent workhorse, then the Hisun Sector 250 is a pretty good option for you.
If work is not at the forefront of your side-by-side needs, and you would much rather go out and race around and play, then that is where the Strike 250 comes in.
The Strike 250 would be best compared to the Polaris RZR 170 EFI except for the fact that the Hisun has graciously given more included features than Polaris does.
The Strike 250 comes with the same 2,500 lb synthetic rope winch that the Sector has, along with a roof, windshield, and doors, along with aluminum rims, which are better than standard steel.
The Hisun Strike 250 has the same 229cc, single-cylinder, four-stroke, liquid-cooled, OHC engine that the Sector 250 does, but the real difference between the two side-by-sides is in the added doors, as well as the overall appearance of the vehicle.
The Strike 250 is slightly less wide than the Sector 250 is, and is really just smaller overall, making it more agile. The Strike 250 has a cargo bed capacity of 50 pounds instead of 110 pounds.
The Strike has a ground clearance of 8-inches same as the Sector 250. For the price, and what is included in the vehicle, the Strike 250 is a great base model side-by-side.
It has enough power to have some fun and looks pretty good doing it.
CFmoto is a fairly well-known company within the world of side-by-sides, and they produce pretty high-quality products and very affordable prices. The newest models, of course, being slightly out of the price range that we have established, but if you are willing to get a model that is a few years old, then you can fit it into your under 5,000 dollar limit.
CFmoto has its Zforce series, which is its more sport/recreation type side-by-sides. They also have their Uforce series which is the utility side-by-sides that they offer.
For the sake of this article, we will only be looking at a few Zforce models. You may be able to find some of the Uforce models for under 5,000 dollars as well if the utility side is what you are focusing on getting.
Now that we are getting into some of the older models I will say that these models, especially once we get into the Polaris and Kawasaki models become very repetitive with the information given.
Side-by-sides, much like cars, typically do not vary all too much from year to year. Every now and again there may be a year where the company decides to “remake” a particular model and so that year the model will have a complete overhaul and will be significantly different from the previous year.
For the sake of not having to repeat the same information over and over, if a model has no real changes from the previous year then I will be very brief in its description. If there are significant changes I will talk about them, but for the most part, if everything is the same then I will just clarify that, no need to take up my time or yours with repetitive information.
With that being said, let us start with the Zforce 500 from 2016.
2016 Zforce 500
The brand new 2018 Zforce model goes for around $8,799 right now, but you can get a 3-year-old model for a lot less. Almost $4,000 less.
What I like about this model is that it is a bigger model in the sense that it is a 500 series vehicle. That means a bigger engine, more power, and more fun. So it is nice to see at least a few vehicles that are under 5,000 dollars that are relatively new and have a larger engine in them.
While the Zforce 500 does not have some of the nice features that Hisun and SSR Motorsports give us like windshields, doors, and lightbars, they do have some nice included features.
The Zforce 500 has front and rear stainless steel bumpers, a roof, a 3,000 lb winch, cargo and side nets, and 14-inch alloy wheels. So that is all pretty neat.
Engine-wise, the Zforce 500 is rocking a single-cylinder, four-stroke, SOHC, EFI, 495cc engine that puts out around 38 horsepower. The transmission on this vehicle is a CVT, while the suspension is comprised of independent double A-arms in the front and back.
The vehicle also has high-pressure gas, compression and adjustable shocks that help it to go over that rough terrain that much smoother. The vehicle is not too big with a wheelbase of 80-inches so you can still get into just about anywhere.
All in all, this is one of my favorite vehicles on this list. It has great reviews, great perks, and still keeps in the budget.
The Zforce 600 is no different from the Zforce 500 except for the engine size. The Zforce 600 has a 593cc engine so it is bigger than the Zforce 500’s engine.
Suspension wise it is the same for all three years that it is listed, and that suspension is the same as the 2016 Zforce 500. The vehicle still comes with the winch, alloy wheels, and everything that I mentioned previously.
The only reason that the 2015 Zforce 600 is more expensive than the newer Zforce 500 is that it has a larger engine, other than that the prices are lower than that of the 2016 Zforce 500.
|Ranger 150 (Youth)||2018||$4,495|
|RZR 170 EFI (Youth)||2016||$4,299|
|Ranger Xtreme Performance||2006||$4,405|
|Ranger Xtreme Performance||2005||$4,080|
Polaris does not have a lot of new models that are under 5,000 dollars. In fact, the only real “new” model that is under 5,000 dollars in the Youth models such as the Ranger 150 and the RZR 170 EFI.
The Ranger 150 is a very small model that has a 4-stroke, 149cc engine that is air and oil-cooled. It is a RWD model and has a lot of parental controls as well.
Since it is for youth it does not go very fast, right around 25 mph and you can even set the vehicle to go slower than that if you want to set it that way. There is even this cool geofencing feature that keeps your kids in a safe parameter around the house or wherever.
So great side-by-side for kids, not necessarily fast, and definitely not big enough for an adult but still makes the list.
RZR 170 EFI
The RZR 170 EFI, is just like the ranger 150 in that it has a parental speed control setting. The vehicle itself only has a 6-inch ground clearance with 5-inches of travel.
It has a slightly larger engine, a 169cc engine so it can go a bit faster than the ranger 150. It is still 2WD though like the Ranger. So if your child is a bit bigger, or you trust them to be able to handle a bit more speed then the RZR 170 EFI would be a good choice.
Once again this is a youth model so it is not meant to go fast or carry adults.
This is where you will start finding more affordable Polaris brand vehicles, however, they are a lot older. Luckily Polaris is a really good brand, a leader in the industry, so you can probably rely a bit more on their quality to be lasting, even in these older models, but you can never be too sure.
The Ranger 4×4 is a utility side-by-side that has a 499cc, single-cylinder, four-stroke, fuel-injected engine. The 2008 model and older all have these specifications.
They all have a selectable 2WD/4WD drivetrain and have a towing capacity of 1,500 pounds. They also offer enough room to seat three people on the bench seat, which is nice.
The 2005 model is only slightly different in the fact that it has a carburetor for the carburetor type while the other models are fuel-injected.
Ranger Xtreme Performance
The Ranger Xtreme Performance was one of Polaris’s first attempts at giving their Ranger a boost of power. It has a longitudinal twin-cylinder engine that has a displacement of 683cc.
It has a CVT transmission and is fuel-injected. It has 4×4 capability and has a limited-slip differential. It also has a towing capacity of 1,750 pounds.
The Ranger Xtreme Performance did not really last too long seeing as it was only out for a few years and then Polaris just decided to make higher-powered Rangers, and put their sports focus into their RZR series.
|Mule 610 4×4||2013||$4,875|
|Mule 610 4×4||2012||$4,635|
|Mule 610 4×4||2011||$4,195|
|Mule 610 4×4||2010||$4,000|
|Mule 610 4×4||2009||$4,005|
|Mule 610 4×4||2008||$3,745|
|Mule 3010 4×4 (diesel)||2008||$4,895|
|Mule 610 4×4||2007||$3,470|
|Mule 3010 trans||2007||$4,710|
|Mule 3010 4×4 (diesel)||2007||$4,635|
The mule 600 has a 401cc, single-cylinder, four-stroke, engine, the carburetion type is a carburetor and not liquid-cooled similar to the older Ranger models by Polaris.
It has a standard CVT transmission and the driveline for the Mule 600 is only 2WD, but there are some side-by-sides from Kawasaki listed here that are 4×4.
The vehicle also has a towing capacity of 1,100 pounds so it can still get some heavy towing done if necessary. The Mule 600 really does not change at all throughout any of the years listed.
The only differences that you are going to find on these vehicles over the years will be the amount of wear and tear on the vehicle.
Mule 610 4×4
The mule 610 4×4 is exactly like the Mule 600 in every way except for the fact that the Mule 610 4×4 is in fact a 4×4 machine.
The Mule 4000 is a bit larger than the Mule 600 and 610. The engine in this side-by-side is a 617cc, V-twin, four-stroke, fuel-injected engine. With a CVT transmission.
It is a 2WD vehicle though so, no 4×4 on this thing. It can tow slightly more weight than the 600, being that it can two up to 1,200 pounds. The vehicle has the same specifications for all the years that it is listed here.
The Teryx is Kawasaki’s sport/recreational vehicle. So it is not the typical utility vehicle that Kawasaki produces. There is also only one year that it is listed here for under 5,000 dollars.
Everything after this year is over 5,000 dollars and any time before 2008 it was not being made.
The Teryx has a 749cc, V-twin, carbureted, four-stroke engine, as well as a CVT transmission. It is 2WD/4WD so you have the two drivelines with this vehicle.
It has the highest towing capacity listed thus far, coming in at 1,300 pounds. While it is an older vehicle if you are looking for a fun, fast, sports-type side-by-side then this would be your best bet in my opinion.
The Mule 3000 is another slightly larger utility vehicle having a 617cc, V-twin engine. It too has the side-by-side tried and true CVT transmission. It is a 2WD vehicle.
In all of the years that it is listed here it has the same specifications. In my opinion, if you are wanting to get a Kawasaki side-by-side that is a utility class I would go with the 3010 trans that I am about to introduce.
Mule 3010 Trans
The Mule 3010 trans is the same exact thing as the Mule 3000 but it has 4×4 capability.
Mule 3010 (Diesel)
The 3010 Diesel is where Kawasaki takes the cake in all of these utility side-by-sides from Kawasaki.
This side-by-side has a 953cc engine, so it is huge. Not to mention that it is a three-cylinder, fuel-injected, four-stroke engine. The transmission is a CVT. There are two drivelines 2WD/4WD
It also has a 1,200-pound towing capacity. Personally, I like this diesel option, it has a bigger engine, 4×4 capability, and since it is diesel-powered I prefer it to gas.