There are a lot of great options currently available, which all offer versatility, power, and the promise of a fun drive. Narrowing down your options if you are a first-time buyer or are looking to upgrade can be hard with all the choices out there.

High performance sport model comparison.
These are the high performance superior models that are made for short, or long haul rides through most any landscape. Speed, agility, and control are important for every type of sports model, but the high-performance models make this a priority.

Polaris RZRCan-Am MaverickYamaha YXZArctic Cat Wildcat
Polaris RZR PRO XP Orange Madness LEMAVERICK X3 X RS TURBO RR WITH SMART-SHOXYamaha YXZ1000R SS XT-RArctic Cat Wildcat XX
ModelsPolaris RZR PRO XP Orange Madness LECan-Am Maverick X3 X RS Turbo RR with Smart-ShoxYamaha YXZ1000R SS XT-RArctic Cat Wildcat XX
MSRP$26,699$29,299$21,699$20,699
EngineTurbo900 cc Turbo three-cylinder998 cc three-cylinder998 cc
Horsepower181 HP195 HPnot specified130 HP
TransmissionAutomatic PVTAutomatic CVTSequential 5-speed paddle shift, auto clutchAutomatic CVT
Width64″
163 cm
72.7″
185 cm
64.4″
164 cm
64″
163 cm
Length126″
320 cm
132″
335 cm
128″
325 cm
136″
345 cm
Height71.7″
182 cm
68.5″
174 cm
69.4″
176 cm
68″
173 cm
Dry weight1,749 lbs
795 kg
1,646 lb
747 kg
1,624 lb1,816 lb
824 kg
Ground clearance14.5″
36.8 cm
16″
40.6 cm
13.2″
33.5 cm
14″
35.5 cm
Tire size30″30″29″30″
Drive systemAWD/2WDAWD/2WDAWD/2WDAWD/2WD
Power steeringYes, electricYes, electricYes, electricYes, electric
Warranty6 Months, unlimited miles6 Months6 Months6 Months
Link to manufacturerPolaris RZR PRO XPCan-Am Maverick X3Yamaha YXZ1000R SS XT-RArctic Cat Wildcat XX

Sport/tail models comparison.
Sport models are designed for entertainment and functionality. The trail models prize maneuverability and strength over speed.

Polaris RZRCan-Am MaverickYamaha YXZArctic Cat Wildcat
Polaris RZR  Pro XPCan-Am Maverick SportYamaha YXZ1000RArctic Cat Wildcat Trail XT
ModelPolaris RZR PRO XPCan-Am Maverick SportYamaha YXZ1000RArctic Cat Wildcat Trail XT
MSRP$22,999$15,299$18,999$11,499
EngineTurbo976 cc V-twin998 cc three-cylinder700 cc
Horsepower181 HP75 HPnot specifiednot specified
TransmissionAutomatic PVTAutomatic CVTManual 5-speed, foot clutchAutomatic CVT
Width64″
163 cm
60″
152 cm
64″
163 cm
50″
127 cm
Length126″
320 cm
119″
302 cm
123″
312 cm
110.5″
281 cm
Height71.7″
182 cm
71.1″
181 cm
68.9″
175 cm
64.3″
163 cm
Dry weight1,749 lbs
795 kg
1,390 lb
136kg
1,521 lb1,025 lb
465 kg
Ground clearance14.5″
36.8 cm
12″
30.5 cm
13,2″
33.5 cm
10″
25.4 cm
Tire size30″27″29″25″
Drive systemAWD/2WDAWD/2WDAWD/2WDAWD/2WD
Power steeringYes, electricYes, electricYes, electricYes, electric
Warranty6 Months, unlimited miles6 Months6 Months 6 Months
Link to manufacturerPolaris RZR PRO XPCan-Am Maverick SportYamaha YXZ1000RArctic Cat Wildcat

An intro guide to buying a sports UTV

This article will help you winnow the options by giving you a direct UTV comparison between all of the different alternatives so that you can choose whichever one will work best for you. The good news is that most of the manufacturers of sports UTV models have their unique spin on it, whether that is through the power, flexibility, storage space, or overall appearance.

There are a large number of additional features you can add to whichever model you choose from the show-room floor. We will cover those aftermarket features as well. This will allow you to have the most precise picture of what is available and what you want for our sports UTV before ever approaching a store or online retailer. Most of the information provided below about each model is taken directly from the manufacturer’s website, which gives you a clear idea of what to expect.

What are the major differences between the UTV manufacturers

There are dozens of well-known manufacturers that provide quality sports UTVs for both professional off-roaders and first-time UTV drivers. It is always great to have a choice. However, sometimes too much of a good thing means that you can have trouble identifying which of the available manufacturers provide what you are looking for specifically.

Whether you want a UTV that’s designed for sand dunes and beaches or mountain trails and cross-country off-roading, there is a manufacturer with the right model out there for you. The most significant differences between the different companies are where they design and fabricate their parts and whether their models are meant for workers, professional off-roaders, or weekend vacationers.

One of our other articles goes through a comprehensive breakdown of where certain manufacturers are from and what it is that they have to offer. You can read the article American made Side by Sides here. If you are looking to “buy American” or have a preference for a particular brand, then that link will be helpful.

Below are some of the most popular sellers of sports UTVs and what they have to offer to you with their various off the shelf sports packages, including deluxe options. While there are other manufacturers available, these are ones with time-tested designs that hold up under pressure.

Most popular UTV sport series and individual model comparisons

Here are some of the top sports UTV designers of 2020. Each company has some things that set them apart from their competitors. For exact feature measurements and a more comprehensive comparison between models, you can check out our side-by-side comparison at the top of this page. Below are listed some of the stand-out differences between the sports models created by these various manufacturers.

Arctic Cat – Wildcat XX

  • One of the most affordable options with sports models averaging around $20,0000
  • Average ground clearance with 14”
  • Premium Fox 2.5 Podium QS3 Shocks with Bottom-Out Control
  • 998cc 3-Cylinder Naturally Aspirated EFI Engine with 130 HP
  • 18 Inches of Front and Rear Travel
  • Great for driving over uneven terrain and increased shock absorption for a better ride over mountains and rock climbing

Can-Am – X3 X RS Turbo RR

  • The most pricey of the four with a price of $30,399
  • One of the tallest builds with a 16” ground clearance
  • 3 seater
  • 195 horsepower & Smart-Lok differential featuring Trail Activ mode
  • 4-point harness with shoulder pads
  • Trophy truck inspired double A-arm front suspension with sway bar
  • 4-link TTX rear suspension with sway bar
  • This is an excellent choice for rough terrains like rock crawling, dune riding or mountain trailblazing

Polaris – RZR PRO XP Orange

  • Average price tag starting at around $22,999
  • Able to overcome most trail obstacles with a 14.5” ground clearance
  • Turbo H.O. with 4-Stroke DOHC Twin Cylinder Turbocharged engine
  • 4-Wheel Hydraulic Disc with Triple-Bore Front and Dual-Bore Rear Calipers
  • This machine is great for all terrains. It is strong, fast, and versatile

Yamaha – YXZ1000R SS XT-R

  • Second most affordable sports design with an average cost of $21,000
  • Lowest ground clearance among these top four at 13.2”
  • 998cc liquid-cooled DOHC inline three-cylinder engine with 12 valves
  • Yamaha Sport Shift transmission with paddle shift with auto clutch and 5-speed sequential with reverse
  • Yamaha-exclusive Maxxis Carnage tires
  • Independent double-wishbone w/anti-sway bar front and rear suspension with fully adjustable Fox 2.5 Podium RC2 Dual Spring shocks w/adjustable crossover and 16.2” travel (rear suspension features 17” travel)
  • Great for rock climbing and mountain riding

Deluxe package options

Almost every sports series comes with a deluxe package that offers better quality build, accessories, and features. It comes down to whether you would enjoy having a standard, off the rack model, or if you do not mind spending a couple of thousand dollars extra to get a specialized version.

Most of the upgrades between standard and deluxe are aimed towards comfort while riding though some have been enhanced to make it easier to overcome certain terrain difficulties. Increased ground clearance due to superior a-arms is one example.

Common deluxe features

We have an article that goes in-depth on one of the more attractive features you can add on to your UTV, and that is a turbo power kit either aftermarket or as an upgrade. It also mentions some of the deluxe packages that include this type of power. The increase of speed and the accompanying advanced specs (e.g., “improved clutch, higher-quality seats, more solid axles, more durable belts, and stronger front differentia,” etc.) can make them a very attractive choice. You can read the article here (https://utvride.com/turbo-on-side-by-side-utvs/).

Below are a few of the more commonly seen deluxe sports features:

  • More seats (3 or 4 seaters)
  • Higher horsepower
  • Bigger tires
  • Higher bed weight capacity
  • Greater towing capacity
  • Higher suspension travel
  • Larger fuel tank
  • Overall larger in width, height, and length
  • Accessories are often added as well, but most of them can also be added as aftermarket features for standard models which is often the cheapest alternative

Aftermarket model features for your sports UTV

Most aftermarket features will give you the ability to tailor your UTV to your specific needs without the higher price tag of a deluxe or pro package. We have listed the areas of your UTV that you can upgrade to improve your model.

  • A-arms
  • Axles
  • Brakes
  • Bumpers
  • Clutch Kits
  • Door and Window Kits
  • Drive Train
  • Heaters
  • Hitches
  • Light Bars and Additional Lighting
  • Long Travel Kits
  • Roll Cage
  • Roof
  • Shocks
  • Skid Plates
  • Snorkels
  • Snow Plows (and additional plow types)
  • Steering
  • Suspension
  • Tires
  • Transmission
  • Wheels
  • Winches/Winch Mounts

That is a lot of personalization and does not include things like cosmetics such as decals. You can truly transform any UTV into the perfect machine.

What to expect from the different models

The power output, handling capabilities, and overall feel will vary slightly depending on which model you choose. We go over a comprehensive list of everything on the current market, as well as classic models that have held up well over time.

High-Performance sport UTV models

These superior models are made for short, or long haul rides through most any landscape. Speed, agility, and control are important for every type of sports model, but the high-performance models make this a priority. You can find out detailed information on how to alter your side-by-side to stand out by getting a kit to enhance the clutch and transmission abilities. You can read our article here (https://utvride.com/how-utv-clutches-and-transmissions-work/).

Sport UTV models

If you are a competitor looking for an upgrade or have been a fan of the sport for a while and are looking to dip your toe into the waters, Sport UTVs are a lot of fun, and there are dozens of great models in a variety of price ranges. These are designed for entertainment and functionality.

Trail UTV models

Trail models prize maneuverability and strength over speed. There are often obstacles to be driven over or around that may not be an issue on the clear courses and flat trails that most sports models are driven through. You will be able to enjoy the pleasure of the outdoors from inside the temperature-controlled, fast-moving cab of your brand new trail UTV.

Other types of UTV models

UTV competitions have increased in the last decade, which has left manufacturers scrambling to provide a wide variety of sports models which can be used over the various landscapes. Whether you are intending to start as a competitor or simply want to enjoy your time out in nature with a fun drive, the following terrains and their accompanying models will make for some epic driving. Quite a few manufacturers are working to create series and individual models that can be great for any location. Chief among those is the Polaris RZR series and the Can-Am Maverick series.

UTVs for mud

Due to the nature of mud riding, it is necessary to have snorkels, relocated radiators, and other precautions to keep the wet from stopping your fun. Make sure that you are geared up to handle the mud before heading out. That would include additional gear or features than you might otherwise bring, including the following.

  • Goggles
  • Winch system
  • Tow strap
  • Vent lines for deeper water
  • Aftermarket CV boot protectors
  • Mud tires
  • First Aid kit

Most mudding will need to be done after specially outfitting your UTV for the very wet nature of the sport, but there are some models that are ready to go. The Polaris RZR XP 1000 High Lifter Edition is one of the vehicles that will be great for almost any mudding situation. Below are our favorite UTVs for mudding.

Polaris – RZR XP 1000 High Lifter Edition

  • Average price tag starting at around $22,999
  • Able to overcome most trail obstacles with a 14.5” ground clearance
  • Turbo H.O. with 4-Stroke DOHC Twin Cylinder Turbocharged engine
  • 4-Wheel Hydraulic Disc with Triple-Bore Front and Dual-Bore Rear Calipers
  • This machine is great for all terrains. It is strong, fast, and versatile

Polaris – RZR 900

  • Starting at an affordable $13,399
  • 4-Stroke DOHC Twin Cylinder engine
  • 11” ground clearance
  • Dual A-Arm with Stabilizer Bar front and rear suspension with 10” Wheel Travel
  • 4-Wheel Hydraulic Disc with Dual-Bore Front and Rear Calipers

Can-Am – Maverick X3 X MR Turbo Series

Mud Series are listed below:

  • Starting at $21,199 and ranging to $29,099
  • Smart-Lok featuring 4WD MUD mode
  • 120 hp to 195 hp
  • 30 in. ITP Cryptid tires on 14” cast-aluminum with machined finish or deadlocked wheels
  • Fox 2.5 Podium Piggyback shocks

UTVs for trail

You need to make sure to bring a few safety accessories with you on the trail even for shorter rides. You never know what situation you will encounter where they may come in handy.

  • First Aid Kit
  • Winch system
  • Fire extinguisher

Here are our top picks for some truly great, affordable trail riding experience. These are hardy machines that will give you the speed and maneuverability you want for the trail.

Can-Am – 2021 Maverick Trail DPS

  • Starting at just $13,399
  • 800: 51 hp, Rotax 799.9 cc, V-twin, liquid cooled/1000: 75 hp, Rotax 976 cc, V-twin, liquid-cooled
  • Electronic Hill Descent Control SPORT / ECO modes for driving assistance
  • Intelligent Throttle Control with Electronic Fuel Injection
  • Quick Response System CVT with high airflow ventilation and Electronic Drive Belt Protection
  • Double A-arm with sway bar front suspension with 10” Wheel Travel
  • TTA with sway bar rear suspension with 10.5” Wheel Travel

CFMoto – ZFORCE Sport Series

  • Very affordable with a $10,999 price tag
  • Free snowplow included (current 2020 promotion)
  • 2 Year Warranty
  • Slightly shorter than most models with an 11.2” ground clearance
  • Engine: V-twin, 8 valve, SOHC

Kawasaki – TERYX Sport Series

  • Prices varying starting at $13,000 and ranging to $20,499
  • 2 and 4 passenger options within this series
  • Average of 11.2” ground clearance
  • Engine: 4-stroke, SOHC, 4-valve V-twin
  • The Teryx KRX 1000 offers amazing trail riding capabilities, including power, versatility, and range. You can dominate almost any trail with this UTV
  • The less expensive Teryx is also a great UTV, but with less height and power. It is perfect for casual riders

KYMCO – UXV 700

  • Very affordable at $8,999
  • A 12.2” ground clearance, good for trails
  • Engine: Fuel-injected 695cc SOHC liquid-cooled engine
  • Designed for both sports off-roading and utility capabilities this is a fantastic UTV for riding out in the middle of nowhere on a job or having fun with your friends.

Honda – Talon Sports Series

  • The average price of $21,985 for some truly epic sports capabilities
  • Amazing ground clearance with 15.1”
  • Engine: 999cc four-valve Unicam parallel-twin engine
  • Fantastic for trails and dunes. There are a lot of customizable aspects of this series, including interior and exterior options.

UTVs for sand and desert

While sand dunes in the desert and on beaches can be a lot of fun to drive through it is important to maintain your safety. To do that you need to be aware of the best ways to drive through this terrain and which UTVs will allow you to maintain the most control. Sand has a tendency to hide deep holes and dunes will often have much steeper drop-offs than they appear to the naked eye.

Here are a few useful accessories to bring with you during desert drives.

  • Fire extinguisher
  • Addition fuel tanks
  • Water/Cooler to stay hydrated
  • Winch system
  • Shade such as a portable canopy
  • First Aid kit
  • Portable air compressor

For some additional tips on how to safely traverse sand and desert terrain check out our article Sand dune and Desert Riding Tips. You want to make sure that you are always prepared before heading out for your first drive in a landscape that you are not used to driving through. This can allow you to have the most fun without getting injured or damaging your UTV.

You want to make certain that you choose the right sports UTV to handle the sand which will also give you the power, control, and speed you need to have a blast with your friends. Below are our top picks for UTVs that hold up well over sand dunes. Polaris and Can-Am have the highest rated sand UTVs available on the market today.

Polaris – RZR XP Turbo

  • Average price tag starting at around $19,999
  • Able to overcome most trail obstacles with a 14” ground clearance
  • Turbo H.O. with 4-Stroke DOHC Twin Cylinder Turbocharged engine
  • 4-Wheel Hydraulic Disc with Triple-Bore Front and Dual-Bore Rear Calipers
  • Bolstered Bucket Seats with Driver Seat Slider and Height Adjustable Seat Belts
  • Dual A-Arm with Stabilizer Bar front suspension with 20” Usable Travel and 16” of Wheel Travel
  • Trailing Arm with Stabilizer Bar rear suspension with 20” Usable Travel and 18” of Wheel Travel

Polaris – 2020 RZR Pro XP

  • $23,000
  • Ground clearance of 14.5” with high clearance suspension
  • 20″/22″ Usable Travel
  • Walker Evans 2.5 Needle Shocks
  • Turbo H.O.; 4-Stroke DOHC Twin Cylinder Turbocharged
  • Isolated Xtreme Performance True On-Demand AWD/2WD drive
  • Front and rear brakes are 4-Wheel Hydraulic Disc with Triple-Bore Front and Dual-Bore Rear Calipers
  • High-Clearance Dual A-Arm front suspension with Stabilizer Bar and 20 in (50.8 cm) Usable Travel, 17” wheel travel
  • Trailing Arm rear suspension with Stabilizer Bar and 22″ (55.9 cm) Usable Travel, 20″ wheel travel

Can-Am – Maverick X3 Series

Can-Am Maverick X3 X RS Turbo RR listed below:

  • The most pricey of the four with a price of $30,399
  • One of the tallest builds with a 16” ground clearance
  • 3 seater
  • 195 horsepower & Smart-Lok differential featuring Trail Activ mode
  • 4-point harness with shoulder pads
  • Trophy truck inspired double A-arm front suspension with sway bar
  • 4-link TTX rear suspension with sway bar
  • This is an excellent choice for rough terrains like rock crawling, dune riding or mountain trailblazing

UTVs for rock climbing

Rock climbing can be some of the toughest terrains for a UTV side-by-side. You need to know what to expect and which UTVs are best suited for this form of driving. Safety is essential, and it is worth the money to get a reinforced roll cage, doors, and seats with a five-point harness system. While a lot of people prefer open-air windows for rock climbing, some form of containment is useful.

You want to make sure that while you are rock hopping and rock climbing, none of the passengers or specialized equipment is going to fall out. Netted windows – include the back window if that is provided in your model – can help. It can be dangerous to have limbs outside of the vehicle during rock climbing rides.

One thing to keep in mind when determining which UTV is best for rock climbing is to remember that this is a slow drive. Speed is not necessary and will potentially cause problems. You want slow, steady progress. Make sure that you choose a vehicle with a clutch designed for low-speed loads. There are also clutch cooling kits you can use to alter your model.

Several more things you want to see in a rock climbing UTV include the following:

  • Winch system
  • Fire extinguisher
  • First Aid Kit
  • 8-to-12-ply tire for gripping rocks
  • Superior shocks (can be added using aftermarket kits)

Here are some of the best rock crawling UTVs on the market today, along with their price and a few features they offer. It takes a slightly stronger UTV with a greater suspension to traverse some of the large boulders and rocks that are common along favorite rock climbing trails.

Can-Am Maverick X3 Turbo

  • Starting at $21,900
  • Piggyback suspension
  • Rotax ACE (Advanced Combustion Efficiency) 900 cc Turbocharged Triple-cylinder engine with liquid-cooled and high-performance air filter
  • Intelligent Throttle Control with Electronic Fuel Injection (EFI)
  • Integrated front bumper
  • Quarter-doors
  • HMWPE full skid plate

Honda Talon 1000R

  • $21,000
  • Engine: 999cc liquid cooling Unicam parallel-twin
  • Independent double-wishbone front suspension – 17.7” travel
  • 4+ link trailing arm rear suspension – 20.1” travel
  • 6 speed automatic dual-clutch transmission (DCT) with high/low subtransmission

2020 Textron wildcat XX

  • $20,500
  • Premium Fox 2.5 Podium QS3 Shocks with Bottom-Out Control
  • 998cc 3-Cylinder Naturally Aspirated EFI Engine with 130 HP
  • 18 Inches of Front and Rear Travel
  • 14-inch Ground Clearance
  • Largest-in-class cab
  • Dual CVT air-intake

Kawasaki KRX 1000 Teryx

  • $20,500
  • 4-stroke, DOHC, 8-valve parallel-twin, liquid-cooled
  • Double wishbone front suspension Fox 2.5 Podium LSC shocks with piggyback reservoir with 24-position adjustable compression damping/18.6”
  • 4-link trailing-arm rear suspension Fox 2.5 Podium LSC shocks with piggyback reservoir, fully adjustable preload, and 24-position adjustable compression damping/21.1”
  • Dual hydraulic discs with two-piston calipers for front brakes
  • Dual hydraulic discs with single-piston calipers for rear brakes
  • Ground clearance of 14.4”

2020 Polaris RZR Pro XP

  • $23,000
  • Ground clearance of 14.5” with high clearance suspension
  • 20″/22″ Usable Travel
  • Walker Evans 2.5 Needle Shocks
  • Turbo H.O.; 4-Stroke DOHC Twin Cylinder Turbocharged
  • Isolated Xtreme Performance True On-Demand AWD/2WD drive
  • Front and rear brakes are 4-Wheel Hydraulic Disc with Triple-Bore Front and Dual-Bore Rear Calipers
  • High-Clearance Dual A-Arm front suspension with Stabilizer Bar and 20 in (50.8 cm) Usable Travel, 17” wheel travel
  • Trailing Arm rear suspension with Stabilizer Bar and 22″ (55.9 cm) Usable Travel, 20″ wheel travel

CFMOTO ZFORCE 1000

  • $14,000
  • High-performance CVTech drive and Trailbloc driven clutch
  • 3000 lb winch and 2” hitch receiver with power socket
  • Electronic power steering (EPS)
  • 11.8” ground clearance
  • V-Twin cylinder, liquid-cooled, 4-stroke SOHC, 4-valve engine
  • Double A-arm independent front and rear suspension