For those of us who still love to have outdoor fun, but also need help to get all the work and transporting done, we can have both with a trusty side-by-side. For the most part, we're looking for a solid vehicle that can work when we need it to, but also be fun to drive and comfortable to sit in. The most purpose-centered use for our side-by-sides is to get in, get out, and finish the work so we have more time to hunt and fish. Luckily, the market has been blessed with some of the best utility vehicles from some of the most trusted names in the industry. Each year they change it up a bit with great modifications and updates to try and outdo the other brands, which bodes well for buyers like you and I. So many outdoorsmen and women understand the remarkable ability of a side-by-side to work the land and have fun on it, too. If you're looking for an effective, comfortable, and badass way to conquer the off-roading world, then there's a side-by-side with your name on it. Here are some of the top brands worth considering, and a few notes on what they do best.
The reliable Can-Am Defender has a big cargo box and payload capacity, 1,000cc 82hp V-twin motor, and can be loaded with accessories. In fact, you can go as far as adding two more wheels to create a 6x6 with unrivaled traction, 3,000-pound towing capacity, and the longest 6 x 4.5 ft dump bed with hydraulic power tilt. Plus, the ability to opt for a sealed cab makes it great for work in the cold of winter as well as the heat of summer. It's a year-round, do-it-all utility machine, and one of our favorite side-by-side brands of all time.
The Kubota Sidekick is comparable with any UTV out there for durability, work performance, and handling, but the prices are especially attractive, too. Sure, you can go all out with plenty of additional accessories, but the as-is costs of Sidekicks are rather value-driven. Users often cite the acceleration and torque as serious benefits, and these side-by-sides are able to take on plenty of tough jobs. With its 851 cc 4-stroke twin cylinder gasoline engine, it's able to crank out 48 horses, plenty of power for most of our needs.
The Polaris RANGER Series is another in a long line of reasonably priced, feature-packed workhorses that don't require a tradeoff between work and fun. It has great ground clearance, loves the tough terrain, and is incredibly nimble in tight spaces. Over the years we've had the chance to drive plenty of RANGERS, and we've been to some amazing places to test them out, and we've never come across a good reason not to own one. Plus, Polaris has already released the RANGER Kinetic, a fully-electric version, which has us really excited about the possibilities of a fuel-free side-by-side.
The Yamaha Viking has a 686cc liquid-cooled SOHC 4-stroke engine, but the towing capacity is a little on the low side at only 1,500 pounds. It has electric power steering, a digital instrument panel, and a huge 9.7-gallon fuel tank for extended rides. It also includes Yamaha's OnCommand four-wheel drive system and comfortable three person seating. As is usually the case, the sky's the limit when it comes to additional accessories you can add on to customize your ride, something we always appreciate in a side-by-side.
The John Deere name is well-known, and their Gator side-by-sides have grown popular in the farm and ranch community across the continent. There's likely a mental connection between the reliability of their farming equipment like tractors and plows and their utility vehicles that lots of folks make. The Gators fit into three series, the Work Series, the Mid-Size Crossover XUVs, and the Full-Size Crossover XUVs. There are also several special editions with premium features for a little more cost. Whether you need it for fishing, hunting, or adventuring purposes, or really need a workhorse to help around your property, John Deere will have a side-by-side that will fit your preferences.
Enjoy the outdoors?
Don't miss a story! Sign up for daily stories delivered to your inbox.