Side-by-Sides Cost About as Much as the Truck to Tow Them

Side-by-sides, or UTVs, are very popular for ranch and farm work as well as recreational off-roading. They are both a useful tool and a toy for grownups. It’s possible to get a side-by-side on the low end for as low as around $5 grand. But the most capable, durable, and state-of-the-art UTVs cost upwards of over $25 grand. A pickup truck capable of towing a trailer loaded with a side-by-side, or even loading one up in the bed, will cost at least that same amount around $25,000.

While side-by-sides are some fun, they can be extremely expensive. About as pricey as the truck to tow them. If you don’t already have a way to cart one around, it’s a good idea to do some research before deciding to buy one. In most states, it is illegal to take them on roads. So, it’s necessary to haul your side-by-side to the trails for an off-road romp.

How much do side-by-sides weigh?

The Weight of a side by side will, of course, depend on how many people it seats. If it’s a 2-seater it will weigh less than a 4-seater, obviously. According to ATV Man, a 2-seater weighs roughly 1,200 – 1,600 pounds. A 4-seater weighs between around 1,400 – 2,000 pounds.

So for hauling one side-by-side down the road to the trail, you don’t need a huge rig. But if you want to take a few at a time, you will want a bigger truck. Plus, if you want to haul your UTVs in an enclosed trailer you’ll definitely have to account for a few thousand more pounds.

2020 Chevy Silverado Pickup Truck in the woods
2020 Chevy Silverado Pickup | GM

The best trucks for towing a UTV

According to the US News and World Report list of best trucks for towing, smaller trucks like the Ford Ranger, Jeep Gladiator, and the Chevy Colorado all tow over 7,000 pounds. On the HP Trailers website, it’s said that a flatbed trailer weighs about 100 pounds per foot. So you’d be looking at around 2,000 pounds for a 20 foot flatbed trailer. A truck like that could handle the load of a flatbed hauling a side-by-side.

However, a larger more full-size truck might be a better choice for towing. The big 2020 pickup trucks like the Ford F-150, the Ram 1500, or the Chevy Silverado can all tow over 12,000 pounds. You could pull a longer trailer and load it with more than one side-by-side. Imagine the possibilities when your rig is capable of towing multiple UTVs.

a Yamaha Wolverine UTV splashing through a creek bed
Yamaha Wolverine X2 R-Spec SE | Yamaha Motorsports

Trucks and side-by-side can cost around the same

According to Off Road Lifestyles, some of the higher end UTVs cost over $20 grand. The average MSRP for a Polaris RZR is $23,526. A Can-Am Maverick X3 has an average MSRP of $25,032. Other UTVs that Off Road Lifestyles reports cost a bit over $20 grand are the Polaris General, the Yamaha YXZ1000R, and the Honda Talon.

Red 2020 Ford Ranger pickup truck with Ford Performance Level 2 Package in the desert in front of a mountain range
2020 Ford Ranger with Ford Performance Level 2 Package | Ford

Recall Alert: Polaris Ranger, General, and Phoenix Utility Vehicles

US News and World Report posts a starting price of $24,110 for the Ford Ranger, which boasts a class-leading payload and a max tow capacity of 7,500 pounds. A tow package is available for the 2020 Ford Ranger for the cost of $495. The 2020 Chevy Colorado, according to US News and World Report, starts at $21,300. Even a full-size truck like the 2019 Ford F-150 start as low as $24,892, according to US News.

Overall you are looking at a likelihood of spending roughly the same amount on a side-by-side or UTV as you will on a new pickup truck. In order to keep yourself off of roads in places where it’s not legal, towing is necessary for travel to public trails. If you don’t already have a truck, the investment might be more than you expected.