Top 10 Sport Side by Sides of 2020
If you’re looking for the most effective, comfortable, and badass way to conquer the world of off-roading, you can’t do much better than from the seat of a side by side. These dedicated machines are purpose-built for kicking up monster rooster tails, taking you places you never thought possible, and taming the wild.
The side by sides on this list range in price, purpose, and style, but are all super capable companions that will bring a massive smile to your face.
This side by side from Can-Am is an absolute beast. It seats four people, has a lockable front differential, four-wheel drive, beefy suspension inspired by Trophy trucks, a sweet 7.6” digital display, and enough of a cool factor to make Ken Block jealous. Power comes from a
turbocharged 900cc Rotax three-cylinder engine, which makes a robust 195 horsepower.
The X RS is a whopping 72-inches wide, rides on 30-inch Maxxis Bighorn 2.0 tires with aluminum beadlock wheels, and offers up 22-inches (!) of suspension travel. One of the other great things about Can-Am side by sides, including this version of the Maverick, is the sheer number of customizable accessories you can add – different doors, bumpers, roofs, windshields and other goodies can be added or removed to create your ideal machine.
All these features mean the XS X RS Turbo RR is one of the most capable and premium side by sides that Can-Am offers. Starting MSRP is $30,399.
The RZR XP 4 Turbo from Polaris is a super capable side by side that makes great power, has terrific off road prowess, looks awesome, and can handle just about anything you throw at it. Polaris gave the XP 4 Turbo a turbocharged 925cc two-cylinder fuel injected engine, and peak power is 168 horsepower and 114 pound-feet of torque. Braking is handled by disc brakes at all four wheels, and the XP 4 Turbo can even carry up to 300 pounds in the rear compartment behind the back seats – sweet!
No high performance side by side is complete without premium suspension, and the XP 4 Turbo doesn’t disappoint. Front and rear shocks are Walker Evans Needle Shocks with 16 different adjustment settings. The front suspension offers up 16-inches of travel, while there’s 18-inches of suspension travel from the rear setup. The final feather in the XP 4’s cap is on-demand all-wheel drive – when wheel slip is sensed by the machine’s computer, the other wheels kick in to give you ultimate grip in nearly every situation. Starting MSRP is $22,699.
Wait, didn’t we just cover the XP 4 Turbo? We did, yes, but this is a cut above – this is the XP Turbo S 4.
The XP Turbo S 4 is similar in many ways to the previous side by side on this list, but it turns the performance and thrills right up to 11. Power is the same – 168 horsepower and 114 pound-feet of torque – but it’s in the stability and off road handing departments where the S pulls ahead. There’s a massive 25-inches of usable travel from both the front and rear suspension, an increase of nine and seven inches over the XP 4 Turbo respectively. The front shocks are upgraded to FOX 2.5 Podium Internal Bypass shocks with Live Valve in the front and FOX 3.0 units out back.
Tires on this beast are ITP Coyote tires measuring 32 x 10-15 and are paired with cast aluminum wheels. There are a ton of rider aides and comforts inside the machine as well – a seven-inch display, GPS, Bluetooth connectivity, radio, in-vehicle communication system with Sena headsets, and a whole lot more.
If you’re serious about dominating any terrain you come across from the commanding position of a mega side by side, look no further. Starting MSRP is $25,199.
Honda’s entrant on this hallowed list is the Talon 1000R, a great looking machine that comes in either two or four-seater variants, and is powered by a 999cc two-cylinder motor that features roller-tip rocker arms and Unicam cylinder head design that’s also found in Honda’s high-performance CRF450R motocross bikes.
The powerful engine is mated to Honda’s DCT automatic transmission that provides smooths, superfast shifts. And, like all good performance side by sides, the Talon is held aloft by great suspension – in this case, it’s FOX Live Valve suspension at all four corners. Suspension travel is equally impressive with 17.7-inches up front and 20.1-inches in the back.
Overall width of the Talon is 68.4-inches, and the ‘R’ model is longer than some of its competitors and stablemates, making it great for high speed stability and confidence inspiring handling. And, the Talon 1000R is a relatively light machine too, weighing in a 1,545 pounds.
This side by side is lean, mean, and ready to rip. Starting MSRP is $20,999.
And finally, we’ve come to the crème de la crème of the RZR line with this, the RZR PRO XP 4. The stats are impressive – 64-inches wide, 181 horsepower, super stable 125-inch wheelbase, 14.5-inches of ground clearance, 20-inches of usable suspension travel up front and 22-inches out back, and more off road performance than you can shake a stick at. And it’s not just performance the PRO is great at. Polaris gave it an industry first fold flat storage design where you can fold the rear seats down to dramatically improve storage space just like in a passenger car.
To match the increased power and performance, Polaris also gave the PRO a stiff, one-piece suspension, a more durable transmission, redesigned clutch that improves cooling, and beefier axels. The PRO is also packed with technology, a sweet premium sound system, and available DYNAMIX active suspension.
Really, what more could you want? Starting MSRP is $25,699.
The KRX 1000 is a robust machine that looks great, goes great, and is built to tackle trails, berms, ruts, and anything else it comes across. Powering the KRX is a 999cc parallel-twin engine that makes nearly 77 horsepower, is liquid cooled and fuel injected. Routing that power to either two or four wheels, depending up on your preference, is an automatic CVT transmission with four gear positions.
Holding things aloft and absorbing all the punishment are FOX 2.5 Podium LSC shocks with 18.6-inches of travel at the front of the machine, and the same shocks only with 21.1-inches of travel at the rear. Both sets of shocks offer 24-position adjustment for genuine fine tuning.
Additionally, there are disc brakes at all four corners, a large 10.6-gallon fuel tank, a generously sized bed that can hold up to 351 pounds, alloy beadlock wheels, and the KRX 1000 can be had in a potent shade of Kawasaki/lime green (could you really even have it any other way?)
Starting MSRP is $20,499.
Yamaha, could you even fit any more letters in that name?! Jeez!
This side by side from Yamaha is packed with features, rocks an inline three-cylinder engine, rides on Yamaha exclusive Maxxis Carnage tires, and brings a ton of features to the table for a very reasonable price. That triple engine is a 998cc liquid cooled and fuel injected unit with four valves per cylinder and is connected to a five-speed sequential transmission with a three-way locking differential, and selectable two- and four-wheel drive.
Like many of the other machines on this list, the YXZ’s suspension comes from FOX, this time in 2.5 Podium RC2 Dual Spring guise. Travel is a healthy 16.2-inches up front and 17-inches at the rear. This mean Yamaha also weighs in 1,625 pounds, features four-wheel disc brakes, has a large nine-gallon fuel tank, is 64.4-inches wide, and looks properly cool when spec’d with the ‘Covert Green’ color scheme.
Get ready to get muddy in the YXZ1000R SS XT-R. Starting MSRP is $21,799
This iteration of Honda’s Talon side by side differs in several key ways to the other Talon model on this list. Firstly, this is the four seater version. Secondly, and most significantly, this machine features FOX’s epic Live Valve suspension.
For the uninitiated, this setup includes the brand’s 2.5 Podium suspension, but includes an electronic component that is constantly adjusting the damping settings at each corner of the vehicle on the fly as you drive. Every five milliseconds, the shock is adjusted by the computer in response to the driving conditions, giving you and your side by side ultimate command of the terrain. Now that’s cool.
Other features of the 1000X include Honda’s smooth automatic DCT transmission, as well as Launch Mode for getting off the line like a rocket. The engine is a 999cc two-cylinder with the same great features as the Talon 1000R. And, one of the very best parts of the 1000X-4 is the price – it’s only $1,000 more than the Talon 1000R while offering a ton of additional features.
Starting MSRP is $21,999.
The list of Can-Am X3 variants is almost endless. This version, the awesome looking X3 X RC Turbo RR is designed to be the most badass rock crawling side by side money can buy. It features four-link TTX suspension with a whopping 24-inches of travel, a lockable front differential, super strong crash and bumper guards, a 4,500-pound winch, and a stonking 195 horsepower from a 900cc Rotax turbocharged three-cylinder motor. Power is sent through Can-Am’s Quick Response System X CVT transmission, and that locking front diff uses the company’s Smart-Lok system. It also makes use of a four mode traction system that has a dedicated four-wheel drive rock crawling option.
And unlike many of the machines on this list that are designed for tearing it up in the mud, the tires on the X3 X RC are 32-inch Maxxis Liberty tires with a lower tread profile and are designed to help this Can-Am scale any rock outcropping you throw at it. Additionally, there are disc brakes at all four wheels, overall width is a huge 72.8-inches, it weighs in a 1,811 pounds, and carries up to 10.5-gallons of gas.
Oh, and one final thing. This side by side has to be one of the best looking machines we’ve seen. The proportions are terrific, and we love the red/grey color scheme. Starting MSRP is $29,799.
And finally, we come to the Polaris RZR RS1. Different in philosophy and execution than all the other machines on this list, the RS1 is smaller, lighter, less expensive, and offers something truly unique – a single seat, center driving position. Riding with a group of your buddies in a side by side is unquestionably awesome, but so is commanding the trail in a super nimble, lightweight machine where you’re completely in control.
But don’t let the lower pricetag and lack of seats fool you – the RS1 is packed with great features. It makes 110 horsepower, has 13-inches of ground clearance, has 21-inches of suspension travel both front and rear, uses quality Walker Evans Needle Shocks, and four-wheel disc brakes. The RS1’s compact 83-inch wheelbase means it can turn on a dime, making it great for trails that require ultimate agility.
It weighs in at a relatively svelte 1,383 pounds which enhances that agility and makes for a thrilling driving experience. Starting MSRP is $14,999.