As any off-road enthusiast knows, our fervor for exploration and the outdoors is also fueled by the desire to drive anything with an engine and tires to the absolute limit of its capabilities. With other activities/hobbies, as the journeys around the sun begin to pile up, I've witnessed plenty of folks lose their sense of adventure and abandon their passion. However, it seems as though my off-road brethren continually feel a sense of obligation to pass their love of the adventure and those amazing experiences on to their families.
The UTV industry is on fire, with new models hitting the ground at a seemingly unending pace. The “family guy demographic” wasn’t much of a thing as recently as a few years ago. Now there are a host of manufacturers building machines designed exactly for that market. We’ve compiled a list of the industry leaders, each with their own unique idea of what’s best for the multi-passenger trail crowd. For those in the market for a machine that can not only negotiate the toughest of trails, but do so with the entire family along for the adventure, these are the UTVs you’ll want to give a solid look.
Can-Am Commander Max DPS
The Commander Max DPS is a legit family UTV available in either 71-hp (800R) or 92-hp (1000R) flavors. With Can-Am being the only manufacturer offering adjustable power steering, the Tri-Mode Dynamic Power Steering (DPS) is a unique and usable feature. The full-size dump-cable box and the dual storage levels offer plenty of cargo space. The 106-inch wheelbase is more than a half-foot shorter than Polaris’ General 4 and nearly a foot shorter than Textron’s Stampede 4.
Honda Pioneer 1000-5 Deluxe
Being the only available machine in the category with a fully automatic six-speed Dual-Clutch Transmission (DCT) with paddle shifters as well as true five-passenger seating capability, the Pioneer 1000-5 is an anomaly. Excellent power, versatile seating arrangements, and excellent build quality make the Honda an excellent choice.
Kawasaki Teryx 4
With one of the most iconic engines on the off-road industry, Kawasaki's bomb-proof V-twin is the heart of the Teryx. Comfortable rear seats, Fox Podium 2.0 shocks, and a stout chassis backed by an industry-leading three-year warranty are all reasons to consider the Teryx4 for your next family rig.
Polaris General 4 1000 EPS
On top of a phenomenal 100-hp twin-cylinder powerplant, the General 4 1000 EPS offers one of the roomiest and comfortable interiors in the class. It also offers a full-size dumping rear cargo bed capable of hauling 600 pounds. The long wheelbase limits this machine in the tightest terrain.
Textron Stampede 4
Powering the Stampede 4 is an 80-hp, 846cc, parallel-twin powerplant. Thanks to the only extended cab in the class, the interior space is massive, with plenty of bed storage and additional space behind the rear passenger seats. With the longest wheelbase in the category, the Stampede 4 will perform optimally where the trails aren't tight and narrow.
Yamaha Wolverine X4
New for 2018, the Wolverine X4 is Yamaha's solution for the family. With an 847cc twin-cylinder engine, an amazingly smooth Ultramatic CVT transmission, and rear seats that slide forward to reveal usable bed space, the Wolverine X4 is an awesome trail rig. It’s no surprise that it has the shortest wheelbase, which offers it the smallest turning radius in the class.