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UTV Side by Side Comparison

We have highlighted cells in the table below in green and red.
Items marked red are features that we feel should be improved. Items marked in green  are features that we like.

Comparison of the Top Sport & Sport/Utility Models

Pure Sport UTVs

The four hottest Sport UTVs on the market are the Polaris RZR XP 1000, Polaris RZR XP 900, Arctic Cat Wildcat and Can-Am Maverick.  You can click through on each vehicle to review more details, full specifications and images.  Or just use the table below to compare RZR XP 1000 vs. Can-Am Maverick, RZR XP 1000 vs. Arctic Cat Wildcat, Arctic Cat Wildcat vs. Can-Am Maverick or even RZR XP 900 vs. RZR XP 1000 line up for each of our top specification items.

  Polaris RZR 900 XP Polaris RZR XP 1000 Arctic Cat Wildcat V-Twin 1000 H.O. Can-Am Maverick 1000R
  Polaris RZR XP RZR XP 1000 Arctic Cat Wildcat Can-Am Maverick
Dry Weight 1190 lbs. 1,379 lbs. 1305 lbs. 1,295 lbs.
Ground  Clearance 13" 13.5" 13" 13"
Length 108.4" 119" 120" 118"
Width 64" 64" 64" 64"
Wheelbase 81.4" 90" 90" 84.3"
Travel 13.5/14" 16"/18" 17"/18" 14"
Engine Twin - 875cc Twin - 999cc Twin - 951cc Twin - 976cc
Bed Capacity 300 lbs. 300 lbs. 300 lbs. 200 lbs.
Tilt Wheel Yes Yes Yes Yes
Unlockable "Turf Mode"
Rear  Differential?
No No No No
Aftermarket
Parts
Rating
9/10 9/10 7/10 7/10
Center of Gravity Rating 9 9 10 8
Power Steering No Yes Yes No
Seat Height 31" N/A 26.5"  
MSRP $15,999 $19,999 $16,599  

Sport/Utility

  Can-Am Commander 1000 X Package 2008 Yamaha Rhino 700 FI Auto. 4x4 SE Midnight Armor 2010 Kawasaki Teryx 750 EFI 4x4 Arctic Cat Prowler XTZ 1000
 

Can-Am
Commander 1000X

Yamaha
Rhino 700

Kawasaki
Teryx 750

Arctic Cat
Prowler 1000

Dry Weight 1287 lbs 1049 lbs. 1276 lbs. 1165 lbs.**
Ground  Clearance 11" 12.1" 11.2" 10"
Length 118" 113.6" 115.7" 115"
Width 58" 54.4" 58.3" 60"
Wheelbase 75.8" 75.2" 75.8" 75"
Travel 10" 7.3" 7.5" 10"
Engine Twin - 976cc Single - 686cc V-twin - 749cc V-twin - 951cc
EFI Yes Yes (2008) Yes (2009) Yes
Hitch Capacity 1500 lbs
2" receiver
1212 lbs
2" receiver
1300 lbs. 1500 lbs.
2" receiver
Bed Capacity 600 lbs. 400 lbs. 500 lbs. 600 lbs.
Tilt Wheel Yes No No No
Unlockable "Turf Mode"
Rear  Differential?
No No No No
Aftermarket
Parts
Rating
9/10 10/10 10/10 5/10
Center of Gravity Rating 6 6 5 3
Seat Height 27.75" 29.5" 32" 34"
Rollcage - ROPS Certified Yes Yes Yes Yes
MSRP $14,699 $10,499 $10,899 $13,999

Four-Seat Sport

  Polaris RZR XP 4 Polaris RZR XP 4 1000 Arctic Cat Wildcat 4 1000
  Can-Am Maverick Max Polaris RZR XP 4 900 Polaris RZR XP 4 1000 Arctic Cat Wildcat 4
Dry Weight   1,390 lbs. 1,596 lbs  
Ground  Clearance 13 in. 12.5 in. 13.5 in. 13 in.
Length 148.1 in. 134.4 in. 146 in. 149 in.
Width 64 in. 64 in. 64 in. 64 in.
Wheelbase 113.8 in. 107.4 in. 117 in. 136. in.
Travel 14 in. 13.5 in./14 in. 16 in. / 18 in. 17"/18 in.
Engine 976cc 875cc 999cc 951cc
Bed Capacity 200 lbs. 300 lbs. 300 lbs. 300 lbs.
Tilt Wheel Yes Yes Yes Yes
Power Steering Yes Limited Edition Yes Yes
MSRP   $17,999 $21,999 $19,599

2014 Four-Seat Sport Model Review

50 Inch Trail Legal UTVs

  Wildcat Trail Polaris RZR 800

 

Wildcat Trail

Polaris RZR 800

Front wheel travel

10"

9"

Rear wheel travel

10.5"

9.5"

Ground clearance

10"

10"

Wheelbase

84.6"

77"

Overall length

110.5"

103"

Bed capacity

300 lbs.

300 lbs.

Price

$10,999

$11,499

RZR 800 vs. Wildcat Trail
Wildcat Trail vs. RZR 800

A Little "Side-by-Side" Analysis

Compare specifications and prices of leading UTVs

EFI

Almost all UTV manufacturers have made the switch to EFI since 2009.  If you are researching a new UTV, and it is still carbureted, be wary. It probably is a cheaply made import.

We are big fans of electronic fuel injection. With EFI, vehicles tend to start easier and run smoother.  And once you have an aftermarket fuel controller installed, it makes tuning easier after adding intake or changing your exhaust.

Minus: 2008 Kawasaki Teryx, pre-2008 Rhino, pre-2008 Arctic Cat Prowler

 

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Horsepower

Our favorite configuration is a twin cylinder with a minimum of 850cc.

Minus: Yamaha Rhino

Plus: Polaris RZR XP, Arctic Cat Wildcat, Can-Am Commander,  Arctic Cat Prowler XTZ 1000

Weight

Power to weight ratio is big for all of these underpowered UTVs.  Every pound you add affects how much horsepower you use. Check out the weight specs carefully, and also look at what you add to the vehicle.  A four seat roll cage, a bench seat, two kids and an ice chest adds a lot of weight.

Minus: Kawasaki Teryx, Arctic Cat Prowler, Can-Am Commander, Arctic Cat Wildcat

Plus: Polaris RZR, Polaris RZR S, Polaris RZR XP

Ground Clearance

In stock form, all the UTVs suffer from low ground clearance. A key to being successful on trails like the Rubicon or running the Baja 500 is ground clearance.

The Polaris RZR is about 2 inches lower than the Yamaha Rhino and Arctic Cat Prowler. The 2009 RZR S addresses this with larger tires and long travel.

   

Taller tires and wheels are the easiest way to gain a bit of altitude, but a lift kit is another way to get your UTV up in the air. The Ranger below has a lift kit installed.

 Adjustable ride height would be a big plus. Legend Air Suspension and Fox Racing Shox both have air shocks that should make this a reality. We will have to see how they perform in all types of terrain.

Minus: Polaris Ranger and Polaris RZR

Plus: Arctic Cat Wildcat, Polaris RZR XP

Low Center of Gravity

A low center of gravity translates directly to more stability. The Polaris RZR is the only UTV that really addresses this with how the engine is placed behind the seats. This directly translates to lower seats by several inches.

Unfortunately, some of the gains for the RZR are realized by lowering the entire vehicle. And this means low ground clearance.

Seat Height

Polaris RZR Seat Height - 26.5"  Polaris Ranger Seat Height - 34"  Arctic Cat Prowler Seat Height - 36"  Yamaha Rhino Seat Height - 29.5"  Kawasaki Teryx - Seat Hieght = 32"

Minus: Arctic Cat Prowler 700, Kawasaki Teryx

Plus:  Polaris RZR, Polaris RZR S, Polaris RZR XP, Arctic Cat Wildcat

Size

1. On the trailer - The Polaris RZR has a length of 102".  This just so happens to be the maximum width of a trailer being towed on the highway. The advantage here is you can stuff a Polaris RZR on the trailer sideways and save a ton of room.

Plus: Polaris RZR, Polaris RZR S

2. On the trails - Some trails have a maximum width restriction.  At 50" wide, the Polaris RZR is allowed on ATV trails.

Plus: Polaris RZR, Polaris RZR 570


Polaris RZR

Minus: Arctic Cat Prowler - 60" for the Arctic Cat Prowler 1000 is very wide.

3. Cargo - If you want to have two adults and all your camping equipment for two nights, it will be real tough in a RZR or RZR S.

Minus: Polaris RZR, RZR S, RZR XP, Arctic Cat Wildcat

Wheel Travel

When it comes to full size vehicles like Jeeps and Toyota trucks, wheel travel is probably the most important feature on trails like the Rubicon and Moab.  But for UTVs, it really does not seem to make a difference. On our UTV Rubicon run, we had a good mix of stock and long travel rigs. The other features listed here all seemed to make a bigger impact that long travel vs. stock. The one advantage that the long travel Rhinos did have was a plush ride.

Now go out on the track or play in the dunes, and wheel travel is much more important.

The Polaris RZR S, Polaris RZR XP and Arctic Cat Wildcat have great wheel travel and will dominate in factory form.

Aftermarket Parts Availability

If you look at what types of aftermarket parts are available for different side by side vehicles, you'll see that it isn't equal.  The Yamaha Rhino is the hands down king when it comes to aftermarket, but the Polaris RZR is catching on quick.  For example, there are almost 40 different long travel kits and lots of aftermarket pipes being made for the Rhino. For the RZR, there are now over a dozen long travel kits, with more coming out each month.

Try and find a long travel kit for the Polaris Ranger or Arctic Cat Prowler, and you will have just a few choices.

Long travel may not be in your future, but it seems like other sport-type aftermarket products (performance, roll cages, bumpers, etc.) are in line with the popularity of long travel for a specific vehicle.

Plus: Yamaha Rhino, Polaris RZR, Kawasaki Teryx, Can-Am Commander, Arctic Cat Wildcat

Ergonomics

Nothing else matters much if you aren't comfortable in a vehicle. Leg room, seat comfort, tilt steering wheel, cab space.

I am 6' 1" and 200 lbs. I fit pretty well in all of these side x sides. 

The Polaris RZR is a bit tight, but very doable. If I was much taller or pushing 250 lbs. with a similar sized guy next to me, the RZR would be on the small side.

The tilt wheel in the Polaris RZR and Can-Am Commander is nice.

Adjustable seats in the Can-Am Commander are very nice.

Side-by-side Comparison: Rhino vs. RZR vs. Prowler
Rhino vs. RZR vs. Prowler

Plus: Yamaha Rhino, Kawasaki Teryx, Can-Am Commander

Locking/Unlocking Rear Differential

Locking differentials are a real necessity for a trail like the Rubicon.  With an open differential, if one tire loses traction, all power goes to the tire that is spinning. That doesn’t help much when the spinning tire is in the air. With a locking differential, if a tire loses traction, the other tire can still pull. Thankfully, most of the UTVs come from the factory with some sort of locking differential. However, the rear differential on the Yamaha Rhino and the Polaris RZR are always locked and cannot be unlocked (open). The downside to a differential that isn’t open is poor turning radius. On a tight trail like the Rubicon, you can turn your wheels all the way in one direction, but the locked rear end will push the vehicle straight.

On the 2008 Arctic Cat Prowler 700, the driver controls whether the rear differential is open or locked.

In the dunes or desert trails, the locked rear end is no big deal.

Minus: Yamaha Rhino, Polaris RZR, Arctic Cat Prowler 1000, Can- Am Commander, Kawasaki Teryx

Plus: Arctic Cat Prowler 700, Polaris Ranger

Low Gear Ratio

Slow speed will help you keep your vehicle in control when you are rock crawling, and the ability to go slow is dictated gearing and how quickly the CVT engages. This is where the Polaris vehicles do well. The lower low range in both the Polaris Ranger and Polaris RZR gives them the ability to crawl up and over rocks, while the Rhino needs to have a little momentum to climb.

Fuel injection also helps get your vehicle moving more smoothly in off-idle situations.

Low range really doesn't come into play for dune use.

Plus: Kawasaki Teryx4

Minus: All

Power Steering

None of the UTVs on our run had power steering, but everyone agreed that it would have been nice. A few Utility ATVs already have power steering.  Sure sees like a natural for UTVs to be similarly equipped. Wicked Bilt has aftermarket electronic power steering kits available for most of the popular UTVs.

Minus: All

Plus: 2009 Polaris Ranger HD, Arctic Cat Wildcat, Polaris RZR XP 1000, 2014 Can-Am Maverick

Exhaust & Noise Output

The stock Rhino exhaust tip makes a downward turn and points the exhaust at the ground.  On a trail where you need to apply a good amount of throttle to climb up and over rocks, but not go very fast an exhaust that points down means one thing – DUST. Easy enough fix to cut off the downward portion of the tip, or to install a different tip, but very obnoxious for anyone in or behind a Rhino with a stock exhaust tip.

 

Off-road vehicle noise has also become a big issue in our National Forests.  A quiet exhaust makes the user experience more enjoyable on multiple-use trails.

The stock RZR is much quieter than a Rhino and the exhaust exits straight out the back.

Minus: Yamaha Rhino, Kawasaki Teryx

Plus: Polaris RZR, Polaris Ranger, Arctic Cat Wildcat

Common Axle Length

The possibility of a CV or axle giving up on the trail is pretty real. We had three CVs break amongst our 14 UTVs on the Rubicon Trail run. It would be great to be able to carry a spare axle with CVs and boots all ready to install in case of a breakage. Unfortunately, none of the UTVs have common length axles, so you would need to purchase and carry multiple axles for each vehicle to handle all scenarios.

Polaris RZR has two axle sizes. Yamaha Rhino has 3 for 2008 and 4 in 2004 - 2007.

Stock Yamaha Rhino Axles
2004 - 2007 Rhino Axles

Minus: All

Storage

For day trips, all the UTVs have plenty of capacity for spare parts and an ice chest.  But if you are going to camp out on the trail, you need more room for tent, sleeping bags, food, clothes, etc. The RZR is really the only "sport" vehicle available in the side by side market, and the bed is a bit small. It all depends on what you are doing with the vehicle.  If you want to pack two people, plus gear for two nights in the bed, the RZR will be a challenge.

Polaris RZR - Small Cargo Carrying Capacity
Polaris RZR has a small bed with low side walls.

Yamaha Rhino - Large cargo bed
Yamaha Rhino has much more storage capacity

Minus: Polaris RZR (if used for hauling)

Plus: Can-Am Commander, Kawasaki Teryx, Yamaha Rhino

Hitch:

Bent Arctic Cat Prowler Hitch
The Arctic Cat Prowler Hitch is 2", but is not strong enough to handle much of a load.


The Polaris RZR Hitch is 1 1/4".

Plus: Yamaha Rhino, Kawasaki Teryx, Can-Am Commander

Minus: Polaris RZR, Polaris RZR XP, Arctic Cat Prowler, Polaris RZR XP (none)

Features & Specification Resources:

All UTV Models


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Sport UTVs:
 · Commander 1000
 · Maverick 1000R
 · Maverick MAX 1000
 · Viking
 · RSX850i
 · RZR S
 · RZR XP 1000
 · RZR XP 900
 · RZR XP 4
 · Teryx 800

 · Teryx4
 · Wildcat 1000

Favorite Sites:
 · Dune Guide
 ·
Pirate UTV
 · SxS News

 · CrowleyOffroad
 · UTV Underground
 · UTV Parts HQ



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