— Sporty, but yet practical —
by Joe Kosch
“Those sport UTVs are so cool!”, my friend Jason looked up from flipping back and forth through UTV Action’s “Sport UTV Buyer’s Guide” in the January issue. “I would love to get my hands on that Yamaha YXZ, or the Can-Am X3, or the Wildcat XX, or the RZR, but I really should get the kind with a bed. I wish they’d come out with something with some decent power and suspension with a bed on it. I can only get one, and I want something fun to rip around on, but it would be good if it could haul some stuff, too, you know, like hay bales and things for Heather’s horses.”
Knowing that many sporty, fun-to-drive UTVs with cargo beds have been on the market for years before sport UTVs came along, Jason’s disappointment surprised me a little at first. Then I remembered that he had gone from not noticing UTVs to being obsessed with them in a matter of weeks. I felt like I had Jason’s problem completely solved, so I was glad to give him the good news, and I was pretty pleased with myself in the process. “Really fun to drive machines with good power and suspension—and cargo beds have been around forever. There are some available now that can smoke the first sport UTVs. Have you seen the Textron Havoc X or the Polaris General? Both have 100 horsepower and more than a foot of suspension travel. They’re called recreation utility machines, but they’re truly sport utility vehicles. Lots of UTVers don’t even need anything that radical. I think you’d be amazed with the performance a lot of the recreation machines have now, like the new Yamaha Wolverine or the Honda Pioneer 1000 Limited.”
“Really? Hmm,” Jason sounded disappointed. “Well, I was really kind of hoping all the ones with beds were like the John Deere Gators they use at the golf course, you know the ones that only go like 20 miles per hour. That would make a sport one the only way to go.”
I felt like I had taken great care to grill a delicious steak and served it to a vegetarian. “Hmm, I see, well, if a pure sport machine is what you’re after, and you want to use it for chores, too, there are ways you can make that happen,” I said.
“Tell me more”, Jason said eagerly.
“So far, all sport models have a cargo box of some kind. You could haul a bale of hay in it, but you’d probably have to tie it down. You could put another bale or smaller items on the passenger seat or on the passenger-side floor. A four-seat sport model would offer even more hauling capacity. On any machine, you could remove the seats you aren’t using to create more cargo space. If you had lots of cargo to haul, you could tow a trailer. Many sport models, like Can-Am’s Maverick Sports and the Polaris RZR S 1000 come with trailer hitches. Assault Industries has a rear chassis brace with a trailer hitch for Can-Am X3s, and Extreme Metal Products has a trailer hitch for Polaris XP 1000s. There are cage-top cargo racks for some sport machines, too. A recreation machine with a large tilting cargo bed is really the best bet for hauling chores, but making an extra trip or two in a sport machine wouldn’t be bad, either.”
“So,” Jason said, “it sounds like there are some pretty sporty utility UTVs, and pure sport machines are good for utility use, too.”
“That’s one way to look at it, yeah.”