Time for a new utility vehicle?
Polaris and Kawasaki have decades of experience crafting bulletproof side-by-sides. So should you go American or Japanese for your next one?
With so many options, there isn’t a simple answer.
This isn’t quite a direct comparison, as the Ranger and the Teryx occupy slightly different spaces in the market. While the Teryx is billed as a sport and recreational side-by-side, the Ranger has been a top dog in the utility arena for years.
Ultimately, your choice might come down to what you want from your UTV. Do you want a rock-solid workhorse to look after your farm, or a lean, mean trail-riding machine? Or something that’s a bit of both?
Let’s take a closer look at the vehicles.
Starting with the basic two-seaters, Kawasaki offers the 800cc Teryx that packs around 60hp. It looks sportier than most Ranger models, and drives sportier too.
It comes with electronic power steering as standard, and its eight inches of suspension travel might sound unremarkable, but don’t be fooled.
All Teryx models come equipped with Fox adjustable shocks. Set them to soft to glide over serious obstacles with ease, then turn them over to stiff for great response in those fast corners.
But it’s also very practical. Its dump bed holds 600lb and it’ll tow 1300lb. Behind the seats, you’ll find huge storage bins, and the cab has plenty of handy cubbies and accessories.
Its contoured seats and solid half-doors will ensure you ride in comfort. It’s a machine that’ll work hard and play hard. However, one problem drivers have reported is the excessive amount of heat the engine emits into the cab. It could make for uncomfortable driving in summertime.
The entry-level Polaris Ranger 500 is a good value option, dependable around the farm. Despite its lower power, it’ll haul 1500lb and the bed holds 500lb. The Ranger SP 570 has the same capacities as the 500 but will nip around a bit quicker.
If you want to throw it around the trails, you’ll need to upgrade to Premium. You’ll get power steering, bringing the price closer to the Teryx.
Polaris’s only other two-seat option is the Ranger 500 EV. This silent electric UTV is great if you don’t want to disturb your livestock with a noisy engine.
Most of the action for Polaris is in the full-size, three-seater arena. The Ranger 570 Full Size squeezes a third seat in, but the action really starts with the Ranger 1000 models.
The entry-level Ranger 1000’s 62hp can tow a whopping 2500lb and has a bed capacity of 1000lb. Again, you can upgrade to Premium for power steering and a couple of extra gizmos.
But the Ranger XP is where things get exciting. The XP version ups the horsepower to 82, sending you along the trails at over 60mph. They’ve also kitted it out with improved suspension and meatier tyres. It’ll conquer any job and it’s also a blast around the trails.
For an even better performing Ranger, the Trail Boss package beefs up the suspension and tryes even more.
The Teryx doesn’t come with three seats. It leaps from two seats to four with the Teryx4. It has two super-comfortable seats in behind the two up front. However, the Teryx4 has the same wheelbase as the Teryx two-seater. To squeeze the extra seats in, the Teryx4’s bed is much smaller.
While you and three of your family or friends will have a great time tearing up the wilderness, you won’t be able to take much gear with you.
Need to take a big team to a repair job, or take all the family for a spin? The Polaris Ranger ‘Crew’, available on 570 and 1000 models, will carry six people. And the lengthened wheelbase means you still get a full-size dump bed.
While the Teryx comes with more included as standard, you get a greater range of customisations with the Ranger. The Northstar packages seat you in the lap of luxury with a fully enclosed, temperature-controlled cab. You can even combine the luxury of Northstar with the performance of Trail Boss for the ultimate UTV. And the Ranger High-Lifter is a beast built to conquer the mud.
The Teryx S and the Teryx4, are available with the S LE upgrade package. This sharpens it up with LED headlights, aluminium wheels and improved suspension.
If you’re looking for a side-by-side that’s purely for sport, the Teryx KRX1000 eats all the Rangers for breakfast. Its 112hp and whopping eighteen inches of suspension travel ensure that no Ranger comes close in terms of trail performance.
However, the Ranger isn’t a sport side-by-side. And when compared to other sport side-by-sides such as the Polaris RZR, the Teryx KRX1000 does underwhelm. Its greater weight makes the acceleration a bit more sluggish, and it leans a little too much in the corners.
While the Teryx is better than the Rangers at play on the trails, there isn’t much difference between, say, the Ranger 1000 XP and the Teryx in terms of performance.
However, the top-end Rangers comfortably outmuscle the Teryx when it comes to heavy lifting, while also offering plenty of thrills when you need them to.